OTTAWA, Monday, February 25, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, to which was referred Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War, met this day at 4 p.m. to give clause-by-clause consideration to the bill; to study harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and to examine and report on Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities.
Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. We have a busy day today. We will begin with testimony from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. We will be moving on to speak with Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, for an update on the status of affairs on the seas and on his impending retirement, which I think saddens all of us. Later on today, we will be dealing with Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War.
As you can see, we have a busy agenda today. We will begin with the committee looking at the study of harassment in the RCMP.
News reports have suggested that there is systemic sexual harassment, but the report by our first panel of witnesses today found that sexual harassment is in fact a fairly small part of the problem and that harassment in general seems to be a larger issue. The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP began its investigation on November 16, 2011, due to concerns expressed by RCMP members and the public that workplace harassment allegations were not being adequately addressed by the RCMP. This process was not an investigation of whether or not harassment took place; it was a study of how complaints were handled. The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP studied 718 workplace harassment complaints, accepted 63 public submissions and conducted a number of interviews in their self-initiated investigation.
Let me welcome our witnesses today: Ian McPhail, Interim Chair of the commission; Richard Evans, Senior Director, Operations; and Lisa-Marie Inman, Director, Reviews and Investigations. Welcome to you all, and thank you for being with us today.
Mr. McPhail, I understand you have some opening comments.
Ian McPhail, Interim Chair, Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: Yes. Thank you. Madam Chair and honourable senators, thank you for the opportunity to share with the committee the results of the commission's investigation into workplace harassment in the RCMP. You will recall that in the fall of 2011, several female RCMP members came forward publicly with allegations of sexual harassment, which raised questions in the minds of Canadians.
Given how fundamentally important public support is to the ability of the police to carry out their duties and responsibilities, I believed it was necessary to initiate a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of RCMP members regarding the handling of allegations of harassment in the workplace. The investigation examined the adherence to RCMP policies and procedures, the adequacy of those policies and the thoroughness and impartiality of harassment investigations, as well as harassment-related training. In total, the commission reviewed 718 harassment complaints filed between 2005 and 2011. Overwhelmingly, the problem we found was with abuse of authority — in other words, bullying. The investigation also revealed that most of the alleged harassment occurred between regular RCMP members. Over 60 per cent of complainants and 70 per cent of respondents were uniformed police officers. The gender breakdown of complainants was virtually half male and half female, while respondents were predominantly male.
The commission's review also found that most of the harassment complaints were dealt with in accordance with the RCMP's harassment policy. However, that policy could be interpreted in a number of ways, which resulted in its being inconsistently applied. That being said, the investigation also revealed that workplace conflict and harassment in the RCMP do exist.
As such, the report urged the RCMP to take a number of concrete and measurable steps to improve its handling of workplace conflict and harassment allegations, including revising the harassment policy to be more inclusive; instituting a system of centralized monitoring and coordination of harassment complaints outside of the divisional chains of command; establishing an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions that is separate from, but not exclusive of, the RCMP's labour relations process; and establishing timelines for the resolution of complaints facilitated by the new authorities granted by Bill C-42.
The commission also recommended that the RCMP develop a comprehensive method to evaluate respectful workplace efforts that is both measurable and quantifiable and that the evaluation results be made public. All of this is intended to enhance the transparency of the process.
Although the empirical data presented to the commission did not support the widely held belief that the RCMP has a systemic issue with sexual harassment, there is no proof to the contrary. Only if you have what RCMP members themselves see as a fair, open, transparent and expeditious process will people be more comfortable in stepping forward. Harassment is a complex problem requiring a complex solution. Policy statements and written procedures are not enough to address the issue. There must be intent on the part of the RCMP to cultivate a more respectful workplace, and that intent needs to be followed up with action.
I am hopeful that the commission's report and recommendations will help to inform the RCMP in its efforts and to further build on the commissioner's recently released Gender and Respect Action Plan. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much for that opening introduction. I am sure there will be plenty of questions. Just a technical issue in the reporting on this: I think at some point, before the House of Commons committee, you said that there were about 1,000 cases. You have reported on 718. Is there some way to explain that number?
Mr. McPhail: Yes. Actually, the discrepancy is a little larger because at first we were led to believe that there were some 1,200 cases. One of the problems — and this goes back to our recommendation of centralized record keeping — is that the RCMP did not actually know how many cases there were. We ended up reviewing slightly over 700 cases. We also reviewed approximately 200 code of conduct cases, although they did not form part of the report. I also refer you to the fact that individual files can contain more than a single complaint. We start from a position of having some difficulty determining the precise number, but I think we are satisfied that we got a good starting point.
The Chair: Did you talk with individuals?
Mr. McPhail: Absolutely. We invited confidential submissions, and those were most helpful. We interviewed a number of people in different areas, including some who had gone public with their complaints.
The Chair: Thank you for that.
You know the process here. We will take questions from senators. I ask that we stay with our regular format, which is two very focused questions. We will have a round one, so that everyone has a chance to speak, and then we will have more time and will go back and delve into some things perhaps in a more fulsome way. At some point, we will try to go through all of the recommendations and see what your motivation was for those things, but we will just ask for questions in general now.
Senator Dallaire: I would like to quote the following, if I may. In the report, it says, "Some victims may feel that . . . reporting would provoke a retaliatory response either from the perpetrator, co-workers, or others within the organization."
My question is twofold. One, did they describe what these retaliations could be? Were they career-related, or were they simply to do with daily work conditions? What sort of retaliation did you sense from that?
The follow-up will be more about the leadership philosophy behind the institution and how it can permit that sort of context to exist. The first one is more about the specifics of what retaliation might be because it does affect your numbers and, ultimately, what you found.
Mr. McPhail: You are correct, senator; it does affect numbers. As we pointed out in the report, it is impossible to say specifically how it affects the numbers. However, there is a perception amongst some that making a complaint could result in damage to the complainant's career. Again, that is why the focus of our report was to create a more respectful workplace — I am addressing the second part of your question — so that individual members of the RCMP can see for themselves that complainants are dealt with fairly in an open, transparent and expeditious manner. This, we believe, is the goal that RCMP leadership should set for itself.
Senator Dallaire: You are working with a paramilitary organization that has a lot of history — it has its uniform and a persona nationally and internationally. You have members working within that structure who see its failings, particularly that seem to reflect failings of the leadership either structurally, philosophically or in attitude regarding loyalty among the members and, more important, the chain of command towards the individuals.
When you raise these points and other methods of dispute resolution, what sort of character failing in the philosophy did you discern from permitting that type of atmosphere? I am not looking at it from a workplace viewpoint as this is not a construction company. This is a paramilitary outfit, so I am bringing my military background and ethos into this. Where did it no longer work to create in the minds of individuals that they had to worry about how they would be perceived if they saw something that was flagrantly against the ethos of the institution?
Mr. McPhail: I take it from your question that we are looking at the attitude of the leadership of the RCMP.
Senator Dallaire: Yes, and how it is perceived by the members, too.
Mr. McPhail: Yes. As we stated in the report, some 15 years ago the existence of this problem was observed and reported upon. What was lacking was a systematized way of dealing with this problem. When our commission investigated the various files, this was the first time that there had ever been a consistent review of the problem, as best as we could do based on the information that was available.
I would suggest that the failings on the part of senior management were not sins of commission, as it were, but rather of omission — perhaps a failure to recognize the damage that harassment causes to individuals. Many individuals were subject to stress leave or left the RCMP, resulting in cost to the RCMP of losing these individuals, the financial cost of dealing with some lengthy investigations and the cost to its reputation.
Senator Plett: I have a couple of questions. There were 718 complaints that you handled. The report says that was about 2.5 per cent of the total number of employees. I assume there are about 30,000 employees or so.
Mr. McPhail: Correct.
Senator Plett: On page 9 of the report, I see that you have 10 police services listed, but not who they are, in alphabetical order. Obviously we would like to be at zero where police services H and I are, but I see that the RCMP are seventh of the 10 listed and that they have 0.11 cases per police employee. Have you studied where the private and public sector would be in comparison to where the police services are? Where does 0.11 per 100 employees put the RCMP in relation to the private and public sectors?
Mr. McPhail: First, I totally agree with you that ideally we would like to be where police services H and I are because obviously any case of harassment is one too many. That being said, we conducted a review of the literature on the subject. A number of academic reports have been made, and the RCMP is in reality reflective of society as a whole. It was not materially worse or materially better. However, as our national police force and as an important national institution in this country, it has got to be better.
Senator Plett: They are comparable to the private and public sectors.
Mr. McPhail: That is correct.
Senator Plett: I was surprised by another statistic: 4 per cent of the complaints were of a sexual harassment nature — of course, the media painted this as mostly sexual harassment cases; and 4 per cent is about 29 people. I will read from the report:
In the early- to mid-1990s, the RCMP's internal Regular Member Survey found that 60% of female RCMP members reported being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
That is an appalling number. Are we getting that much better? Do you think that there are a number of under-reported cases out there as well if the numbers have changed that much?
Mr. McPhail: We all were equally surprised that the proportion of complaints dealing with sexual harassment was as small a proportion as it was. However, that is exactly where the facts led us, having reviewed every single harassment file.
There are three broad categories: first, where there is a formal complaint made; second, where there is an informal resolution of a complaint; and third, where there may be a problem but it is not reported. One of our recommendations was to keep a proper record of informal resolutions so that we would have some sense as to what was happening. At present, no record is kept, which makes it difficult to compare today's situation with the survey results that you mentioned. Of course, in terms of people not stepping forward, it is impossible to say. Again, it is why we strongly believe in the goal of a respectful workplace, and I think I have given some recommendations that, if implemented, will lead towards that.
I think the one difference between today and back in the mid-1990s is that the RCMP leadership is very publicly and privately committed to resolving this problem.
Senator Plett: Is that why those numbers have improved as much as they have, due largely to leadership in the RCMP?
Mr. McPhail: Impossible to say, frankly. I believe that the commitment that you have got now, if implemented, as I believe it will be, may conversely have the effect of increasing the numbers if more people step forward, but hopefully that would be a short-term result, because part of our recommendations include harassment training of managers so that managers are better positioned to spot some of the symptoms of workplace conflict and harassment and to catch them before they become serious.
It is probably not helpful to rely too much on the numbers because so many of the numbers are based on different fact situations, different approaches, and are not really that comparable. I believe that if you begin with the starting point with what we did uncover and look at the policies to correct this problem as they are implemented, you should be able, in a year or two from now, to go back and measure the changes, measure the difference and results. One of our recommendations is there be continuing review so that we can measure improvement or track changes.
Senator Plett: Thank you.
The Chair: At the least you will have apples and apples instead of apples and oranges at that point.
Mr. McPhail: Yes, exactly.
Thank you for being with us today. Congratulations on your work, as well as for the report that was produced, which seems to me to be complete.
My experience of nearly 30 years with the Quebec public service taught me that harassment is, for many managers, a subject that is very difficult to deal with, and there are a lot of taboos surrounding the subject. When the process is not clearly outlined, victims often refuse to say anything, and it is victims that concern me the most. Also, in cases of harassment, there is often a tendency to treat the victims as being at least somewhat responsible for their troubles.
The management of a harassment complaint is often linked to the quality, good or bad, of the workplace. The more unhealthy, closed and secretive a workplace is, the less likely it is that victims will file a report, because the manager’s support is essential when a victim does so. And if the manager doubts the complaint, the victim will not report it.
I am making this introduction to lead you to talk to me about the complaint management process, not as it relates to the past, since we cannot change it, but as it relates to future victims. For a victim, the quality of the complaint process is often more important than the investigation of it.
In this regard, how would the report and the recommendations submitted for approval be an indicator of the success of the implementation of your new policy, which aims to comfort victims who file a report?
Also, how does this contribute to making your managers better at processing or administering complaints? I am not sure if I am being clear enough with my question, which is rather general, but it is important.
Mr. McPhail: Yes, senator, your question is quite clear and it is very important. You will forgive me if I talk about a number of aspects to this, because it covers a fair amount of territory.
To begin with, we reviewed the module that the RCMP uses for its harassment training of managers. The module is actually very good. The problem is that it has been given only to a relatively small proportion of managers, so we advocate that the training be rolled out as it is important for all managers in the RCMP to receive that training.
In addition, we recommend specialized harassment training of the investigators. Now, one might query: Do some 18,500 regular members of the RCMP really need additional investigative training? The answer actually is yes, because when one considers that the training that an RCMP member receives is that of gathering evidence in preparation for a criminal prosecution, the nature of a harassment investigator's work is considerably different. Now, if there is criminal activity, obviously there should be a criminal prosecution. The vast majority of the cases do not amount to criminality but can nonetheless cause severe harm.
Therefore, the goal of the investigator will be to marshal the facts at first instance to attempt to resolve problems and, if need be, proceed with a formal complaint process.
To answer your question, if one is to create the respectful workplace that we believe is necessary, it is critical to show that better training and assurance to managers, members and investigators is a top priority of senior management.
In addition to that, regular members will judge by results, not by statements or policies. They will want to see that when a colleague steps forward with a complaint it is dealt with in a fair, open, transparent and expeditious manner. It is also important that members see their own individual responsibility of not tolerating harassment. One would hope that when individual members of an organization — whether it is the RCMP or any other organization — see evidence of harassment they will feel free to step forward. I do not mean in terms of reporting problems so much, although that might be appropriate on occasion, but in terms of speaking to their colleagues, letting them know that the behaviour is not acceptable.
That is the type of workplace that I think we all want to achieve. Being a human organization, it will never be perfect, but I think we can make a lot of progress in getting there. I think the leadership is there now. Therefore, I am optimistic. We have presented a road map, and as long as that road map is pursued, we will make very real and very measurable progress.
Mr. McPhail, I do not know much about the context of labour relations at the RCMP; you might teach me about it. I do not believe that the RCMP is unionized, but in many workplaces, there are union representatives. Often, a unionized employee will use an intermediary between the manager and the complaint, which means that there is a kind of buffer between the boss and the employee. A complaint would first of all be filed with a union or a representative, and then personal support and assistance is offered with regard to the manager. Therefore, the employee does not deal directly with the manager when filing a complaint.
Far be it from me to be an apologist for unionization, but in your recommendations, will alleged victims who wish to file a complaint have this type of independent and autonomous support and assistance, or will they have to deal directly with the employer or manager? Do you understand my question?
Mr. McPhail: Senator, your question has been very clear.
First, we did not consider the issue of unionization. That is outside of our mandate and the terms of reference to this investigation. However, your point was that under some circumstances, a complainant might be a little more confident or more at ease in speaking with an intermediary, and that is why one of our recommendations was, in fact, that the investigators and the process should be outside of the normal divisional chain of command but not necessarily outside of the RCMP itself. We considered that but rejected that proposal made by some for a very simple reason: If you contract out a process such as dealing with harassment, it then becomes someone else's responsibility, and I do not believe that is the correct solution. We are careful not to be too prescriptive because it is the commissioner's responsibility for the internal organization of the RCMP.
That having been said, if you have an investigatory process that is outside of the regular chain of command in the division, hopefully that will provide that element of confidence or comfort that you are referring to for complainants to step forward.
Senator Mitchell: Mr. McPhail, I want to congratulate you on your report. It offers a lot, and it is one step in the right direction, another one.
I want to get at two things specifically in my first round. One is about data, and Senator Plett went after that from a different perspective than I will go after it. You were explicit in your report: "The Commission recommends that in order to accurately deﬁne the magnitude of the issue" — inferring, of course, that you could not — "the RCMP implement a systematically compiled and nationally comparable system of data collection and reporting in respect of all incidences of workplace conﬂict, including harassment."
I do not know whether you saw the Simmie Smith report on E Division, where she actually brought people in — just women. Men wanted to come, but they felt that women would not open up. There were 426 of them in B.C. alone, and we see a class action of 300 court cases, not to mention the court cases that are not part of that. There are all kinds of implications for that. One is that you could be low, and two is whether you could, in fact, be low not only because people are afraid to come forward; the level of that is difficult to assess unless you did a poll of it, private without revealing.
However, is it not also the case, as you mention in your report, that some incidences might get put off the formal track because they are handled informally before they ever get to the stage where they actually sign? The corollary to that is this: Did you go in and audit the records of the RCMP? Are you sure you got them all, got them fairly and got 718, all that there were? Therefore, with respect to data, how can you be sure?
Mr. McPhail: We made it quite clear that we do not have all of the data that we should have, but it is also our strong sense that it is not because the RCMP was consciously holding back any data. In fact, our investigators found that the different divisions of the RCMP were totally cooperative. The challenge was in getting the files, and that was a challenge for the RCMP itself, so that gave rise to one of our key recommendations because, as a manager, you have to have accurate data, and at the present time, that was not the case.
That was also part of the reason we recommended that the specifics of cases of informal resolution also be kept because that is important as well. There is so much that we do not necessarily know.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you. I wanted to emphasize that. I know you made it clear, and I wanted to make it clear on the record that there is a long way to go, and if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. That is absolutely true.
The second general theme I am interested in is the question of leadership. Senator Dallaire alluded to that. It was interesting to me, and when you presented, you used your words carefully. I think you said something like if the intent is there to cultivate a respectful workplace, and then when you were answering earlier, you said something like they should set the goal. Now, you have also said you are sure that they are determined to do this. I could show you some cases where I am not sure that they are determined, not sure they get what has to be done.
For example, you talk about training. In your report, you point out that in the supervisor development program, which deals with harassment, 1,872 people started and only 699 finished it. Where is the commitment? For the manager development program, 699 started and only 276 finished it. Where is the commitment? My point is when you say, as you said, the intent is there and they are going to do it, what gives you that confidence?
Mr. McPhail: First of all, senator, you are quite correct that there has not been sufficient follow-through in the past.
I have seen, of course, the public statements of both the minister and the commissioner. I have also had the opportunity of speaking privately with both of them. There is no question that there is a very firm commitment to deal with this issue. Now, will they be able to? The RCMP is a very complex organization. It has 30,000 members, as I believe was pointed out earlier. It is not necessarily easy.
That having been said, I think we have provided a road map that will be helpful. Together with the action plan that covers areas that overlap but are in addition, if pursued, I am actually fairly confident that
Senator Mitchell: If pursued.
Mr. McPhail: Yes. Certainly the commitment is there to pursue it.
You did not ask me this, but I will make the comment in any event. That comment is the cost. We were conscious of the cost of our recommendations. We are fully appreciative that there is some cost involved, but we do not believe that it would be excessive.
We also looked at the cost to the RCMP of lengthy hearings, which, as we reported, went up to four years. That is substantially due, I believe, to a multiplicity of disciplinary processes within the RCMP at the cost to the RCMP of losing the services of committed members who have taken sick leave or who have actually left the service. There is a very real cost to that.
On the balance, I do not believe there will be any additional material financial cost through the implementation of these recommendations.
Senator Mitchell: Pay for itself — great.
Senator Campbell: Welcome. I think that your report has a lot of merit, and the recommendations are of great importance.
The question I have — and it is in your report — is about the fact that there is no start or finish to a harassment complaint. There is no formal process: You make a complaint, it gets a number, an investigation takes place and there is a conclusion, with perhaps an appeal process at the end.
I particularly worry about those cases that are handled informally. "Informally" is a nice cop term. I can use that word because I am an ex-cop. You say you do not know exactly how many there are, because there might not be a record of the ones that came off and went informal.
Within your recommendations, you lay out a process. I wonder if it should not be even more specific, or if we should let the RCMP decide, about how they go through from start to finish. Clearly, we should be able to track these; this is an issue that needs to be tracked.
Did you find that when you were doing your analysis? We had comments about the numbers and how they match up well against other police forces and match up well with society. That either says something about us as a society or — Do you believe if would make a significant difference if we had a start and finish, and could track it?
Mr. McPhail: Again, I think it would be helpful. As I mentioned in my introductory remarks, this is a complex problem and there is no simple answer. However, unless you have the information to start with, how can management implement solutions? Therefore, yes, knowing what has happened in these cases of informal resolution is absolutely critical. How can you deal with problems that you do not know about?
Senator Campbell: The phrase "incredibly complicated" comes out time and time again. Life is incredibly complicated, and I think that sometimes we use that term to excuse or push things off rather than deal with them.
Commissioner Paulson came in in 2011. He said he would make immediate changes. I think possibly one of the difficulties is that, when he got there, he realized it was not as simple as that; the powers were not there. This is two years down the road and still we are here.
You said the RCMP is a complex organization. It is a complex organization, but perhaps more than being complex, would you agree that it is simply steeped in history, that every place you turn is history, every place you look, every decisions that is made? This is not a police force as we know them; it is a paramilitary organization. Would you agree with that?
Mr. McPhail: That is why the RCMP is a national icon, more than any police force that I can think of. It has formed an integral part of our country's history.
To go back to the complexity, I do not believe that our recommendations are complex. I think they are pretty straightforward.
Senator Campbell: I do not believe they are, either; I believe they are straightforward.
Mr. McPhail: I acknowledge that implementing them in a large bureaucracy is not always easy. I believe it can be done, but I am simply acknowledging reality in that respect.
It will require the commitment. I believe the commitment is there. However, I am not suggesting and would not suggest that anyone should take that on faith. That is why we have also suggested that, from time to time in the future, whether one or two years from now and starting from the information we have today, there be further outside review, possibly from the new civilian review and complaints commission to be created by Bill C-42, and that there be further review at that time to measure improvement and deliverables. As long as you are comparing apples to apples, that can be done. In fact, it is the only way to tell if you are making progress.
Senator Campbell: Would you agree that comparing the Mounties to, let us say, a large municipal police force would not be comparing apples to apples?
Mr. McPhail: That is correct. That is why we made the comparison as an interesting illustration, but our recommendations did not rely on that.
Senator Campbell: I would like to go on a second round.
The Chair: Yes. I think at this point there are a couple of questions. This committee will be looking at Bill C-42 at some point in the near future, and we have heard the commissioner on that. To Senator Campbell's point, he was talking about that and how, when he got there, he realized that he did not have the tools and that Bill C-42 might help. I would like your views on that.
However, I wonder if we can touch on the recommendations. You have spoken to some of them, but I would like to go through all of them. If the other witnesses want to comment, they may. Recommendation 1 is to implement a systemically compiled and nationally comparable data system. I think you have explained the rationale for that. The RCMP is to centralize the monitoring and coordination of harassment complaint processes at RCMP headquarters and report directly to a senior executive outside the command but within the system. Who would that person be, for example?
Mr. McPhail: That could be a new office established by the commissioner.
We try not to be prescriptive in the sense that we are saying what should be done; we are not trying to tell the commissioner how to do his job.
The Chair: I just realized something, and I am sorry. Senator Manning, you were on the list for questions and I went into this line of questioning. We will come back to this process when Senator Manning has finished.
Senator Manning: Not to worry, chair.
Thank you very much for your testimony. I want to touch on what some others have touched on with regard to the fact that you investigated 718 complaints out of
Mr. McPhail: Complaint files.
Senator Manning: We are not sure of how many are out there, but I wonder about the process. When you examine collective agreements within the public service, there are usually three steps of grievance. One is the first level of management; second is the intermediate level, and then to the chief executive. There is a fourth step, but most of the time it is waived. How many steps does the RCMP process currently have in place?
Mr. McPhail: I will put Mr. Evans on the spot.
Richard Evans, Senior Director, Operations, Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: That is a difficult question because, as you see in the report on page 17, we have outlined the steps on how the process unfolds and it is really case by case. Different steps will apply depending on the nature of the complaint. Most of the steps in the RCMP process are similar to any other process. You start off with a complaint and look at whether it is amendable to an informal resolution, and then it moves into the written complaint. At that point, you have a screening process. The first part that is not shown would be at the bottom. You will see the criminal investigation as a potential. The complaint is made and the first step, I suppose, is to look at whether it is potentially criminal, should be handled under the RCMP’s code of conduct and therefore a discipline file, or if it belongs in the harassment process stream. At that point, the informal resolution will be attempted.
If the informal resolution does not work and it could potentially be harassment, the next step is whether or not an investigation is required. It may be, and you will see in our numbers that in many of the cases a decision can be rendered, either positive or negative, based on the record at that point without a further investigation.
The investigation, if necessary, will go forward. At that point, the parties will be able to submit their material to the decision maker and a decision will be made. I should say that it is difficult to explain a process that has so many off-ramps, if I can say that, depending on the nature of the complaint. Interspersed throughout this entire process is the ability of an RCMP member to grieve a decision, and that is why we made a recommendation around streamlining the system somewhat. You pick a stream and the complaint stays within that stream without an awful lot of processes available.
Senator Manning: I was trying to get at your recommendation because I am sure, in this convoluted system you just put forward, there are people within the RCMP who would find it a bit insurmountable even to think about lodging a complaint knowing the process they would need to go through to find the end result. When I look at the numbers and listen to the comments made on the possibility of so many others out there, I wonder if it is because the system is of a belief that it is so convoluted that people are not stepping forward. I am trying to find out if you sensed that in your discussions. One of your recommendations is that if we had a streamlined system, more people might come forward with concerns.
Mr. McPhail: There were two reasons, broadly speaking, that we made that particular recommendation. You are quite correct that in terms of the people from whom we received submissions — not everyone referred to this — there was a sense that the process was so convoluted that it was difficult for people to know where they would stand.
They knew that in many instances where complaints were made the process, being so convoluted, would carry on month after month, year after year. Someone's career and their life could be put on hold until that very convoluted process was completed. You did not even have to know the details to know that it was a process no reasonable person would voluntarily participate in.
Senator Manning: In your view of the present day, is the management of the RCMP adequately conveying to its members what standards of behaviour are desirable and expected from them? Getting back to Recommendation 11 where you are looking at doing that, I realize some great steps have been made. It is a learning process for us all because we are talking about it and are hoping to improve the system.
Do you have a sense from your investigation that the message is getting out there from the management to the members?
Mr. McPhail: My sense, like yours, is that the fact that it is being discussed puts it on the front burner. The commissioner has certainly talked about it at some length. It can sometimes take a while for the message to filter down, so it is difficult to give a precise and accurate answer to that question. However, in the sense that the matter is being addressed and discussed, that is certainly a key starting point.
The Chair: Thank you very much. I will try to speed through these. We talked about Recommendation 1, which was compiling the data nationally so it is not hived off in areas. Recommendation 2 is that they centralize monitoring and coordination of the complaint process, probably with a new person outside the chain of command. As I understand it, a lot of complaints would be in the bullying category with a superior throwing his or her weight around.
Mr. McPhail: Exactly.
The Chair: Recommendation 3 is that a centralized coordination function be responsible for receiving complaints of retaliation. That would be the same person, or the same office, as you are saying in Recommendation 2?
Mr. McPhail: Yes. Again, we do not know how big the problem of retaliation is. However, as long as there is a fear of retaliation there should be a process in place to address it.
The Chair: Recommendation 4 — and this is what Bill C-42 envisions — is an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions and the process.
Mr. McPhail: That is correct.
The Chair: Recommendation 5 is that the RCMP's policy regarding fostering a respectful workplace be defined as equally applicable to precursors of harassment, such as workplace conflict, and that dispute resolution might happen at an earlier stage. That is a change in policy where you can go sooner in the process?
Mr. McPhail: That is correct. As I mentioned earlier, it is also part of what we would see as a manager's training, which is already in the module to train managers, to be able to better see the precursors.
The Chair: If you see a personality conflict developing, be proactive?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
The Chair: Number 6 is that investigators receive mandatory training. Even the investigators are kind of new; I think the commissioner has appointed 100. Is that correct? I am not sure.
Mr. Evans: I believe that is in British Columbia and relates to training. It was taking existing RCMP members and ensuring they have the training we are talking about.
The Chair: You are saying this would be nationwide. They would be regular people already in the force?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
The Chair: Number 7 is that the RCMP develop clearly defined investigative standards in respect of this. This is point A and this is what happens. This is point B. It spells it out.
Mr. McPhail: As I mentioned earlier, the standards vary from division to division at the present time.
The Chair: Again, centralized.
Number 8 is that the RCMP implement timelines for the treatment of harassment complaints, including for early resolution. Do you have some notion in your head? Is six months reasonable? Is a year reasonable?
Mr. McPhail: I do not know what is reasonable. All I know is that two, three or four years is not reasonable.
The Chair: Okay, so that is a specific one.
Number 9 is that all supervisors and managers, upon appointment, be required to complete a relevant training programming addressing workplace conflict and harassment within a set time of assuming their responsibilities. That is separate from the other training. That is everyone.
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
The Chair: When you sign up and if you go up the food chain in terms of responsibility, you would be retrained in, obviously, a more detailed way?
Mr. McPhail: Correct.
The Chair: Number 10 is that the online training module, which should address workplace conflict, including harassment, be delivered on a regular basis. That is for everyone?
Mr. McPhail: Yes. At the present time, if I can give a little background to that, there is actually excellent training of the cadets on this subject.
The Chair: And zero incidents at Depot?
Mr. McPhail: I certainly have not heard of any.
The Chair: I think that is what we read in the statistics.
Mr. McPhail: I had the opportunity to spend a week there. You do not learn everything in the course of a week, but I can tell you that I was very impressed with the quality of the training, not just in harassment, but also in terms of training the cadets on how to de-escalate dangerous situations. It was very sophisticated, first-rate training. The problem is that you then come out into the RCMP, and, certainly on the harassment side of things, it is not further dealt with. That is why we recommend regular retraining — reinforcement, if you will.
The Chair: Number 11 you have spoken to a bit as well — a comprehensive method of evaluation to ensure that the changes are producing the desired effects. A progress report or some way to measure whether the number of incidents has declined or increased in one or two years might be a sign of success.
Mr. McPhail: Yes. Again, that is why I said that we should not be focusing on numbers so much as on the results. As part of that, too, you might conduct studies of members — not every member, of course — on a systematized basis to determine what their attitudes are and what they see as happening as well. We found that the anecdotal evidence was helpful in our report, and I think that would be helpful in any review as well.
The Chair: Okay, thank you. We will save a little time at the end to do Bill C-42 specifically because we would like to hear from you on that. We will continue now with our second round.
Senator Dallaire: The RCMP is, in your words, a national icon. You have agreed it is a paramilitary organization.
Mr. McPhail: If I may step in, I am not certain I used the word "paramilitary."
Senator Dallaire: No, but it was queried and you did not argue it. I am taking for granted an acceptance.
Mr. McPhail: I would have to think about that.
Senator Dallaire: You are using terms like "chain of command" and things of that nature, and that is certainly very much part of a paramilitary structure.
However, then you said that the results, as you have been able to acquire them — because there are limits on what you have been able to acquire — are reflective of the general population and no worse than anybody else. How is it possible that an institution with such high standards of selection and training, a national icon to which everyone is looking, is no better than anybody else? How is it conceivable that that could be the state of affairs of an institution with so much ethos, history and culture? How can it see its individual members undergo such arcane processes, and how can it have, at times, so many neanderthals running around the outfit when it has such a high standing that is the starting point upon which to build?
Mr. McPhail: Senator, I think that is exactly why there is so much public interest and concern about this issue. The public does expect the RCMP to be not as good as any other organization but better, to set the standard. I think that our recommendations, when implemented, will help them to set the standard that they should be setting.
Senator Dallaire: Coming back to your recommendations and also to the nature of the beast, I am finding it difficult when I hear the terms "management," "managers" and "employees" when, in fact, we have a chain of command, commissioners, commanders, detachment commanders and police officers. Just using those terms is totally contrary to what I think should reflect what the institution is. That is just a backdrop to the question. You are optimistic that your recommendations will be implemented after we have seen study after study of reform — I go back to the 2010 report on reform of the RCMP — that have not seen such positive results.
Have you looked at how, as an example, National Defence went through its 1990s crisis with Somalia and so on and how they have handled these types of problems, for which they actually imposed a number of civilian oversight committees looking at very specific areas and monitoring them? The whole chain of command had to be held accountable to them, and they did, in some cases, up to six years of reviewing and monitoring to get the answer. Your recommendation 11 does not go that far.
The Chair: Please feel free to interrupt. If you want to challenge the assumptions of the questions, please put that on the record. That is fine.
Mr. McPhail: I am trying to remember the different points so that I can address them all.
In terms of the RCMP being a paramilitary organization, obviously it is a hierarchical organization, but about one third of the members are actually non-uniformed civilian employees. There is a bit of both.
To deal with your other question concerning the experience of the Canadian Forces, while it was not part of our report, I am very much aware, though in nowhere near the detail that you, senator, would be, how there was a crisis of confidence in the Canadian Forces in the early 1990s, due, to some extent, to the Somalia affair, and how improved oversight — checks and balances, if you will —turned public confidence around to a very dramatic degree.
Recommendation 11 does not, as you point out, incorporate the various committees that were in place with respect to the Canadian Forces, but it does deal with the area of checks and balances, proper reporting and a more open process. I very strongly believe that that, if implemented, will have an effect on public confidence. Public confidence — and I think you would agree with me — is not something you create through nice words. It is something you create through actual deeds and results.
Senator Dallaire: I have a question only to conclude. What you were looking at that is also of great significance was the confidence of the members of the RCMP within the institution being able to work in an atmosphere where they are loyally protected and loyally supported. That is not necessarily reflective of the ethos in the field. Is that correct?
Mr. McPhail: I could not tell you what the ethos is in the field because we did not study that. However, I can tell you, and we emphasized this time and again, about the importance of that kind of confidence and how you gain that confidence. You gain the confidence with a process that the people most affected by harassment and workplace conflict see as being fair, open and transparent. You have to inspire confidence with deeds.
Senator Plett: I want to continue along the line of Senator Dallaire. I said in my notes that the RCMP are like the armed forces, so maybe I will not use that term. Certainly, as Senator Dallaire pointed out, there clearly is a chain of command in the armed forces and in the RCMP.
In light of the fact that the vast majority of the harassment claims are not of a sexual nature but of something else, sexual harassment is fairly cut and dried and could be pointed out as such. However, another kind of harassment might be a little more difficult to point out, such as bullying.
In my office, if I ask my policy adviser to do some research for me, I might ask her nicely to do the research for me. If it did not happen, maybe we would discuss it. In the RCMP or in the armed forces I would assume there is instruction to do a task. For example, General Dallaire did not ask someone to do a certain task in the morning; he gave them a clear instruction to do a certain task. I assume the RCMP would do that as well.
Would it be difficult in the RCMP, or in a police force, to define "bullying" quite as easily as it would be to define it in the private or public sector?
Mr. McPhail: That is an excellent question and one that we have given quite a bit of thought to. I agree: I suspect that General Dallaire did not offer suggestions to the people further down the chain of command.
We looked at a lot of different definitions of "harassment." There is a lot of literature on the subject, as you can imagine, and there is no clear consensus as to what harassment consists of. It varies widely. We did not attempt to come up with a definition that we are asking the RCMP to adopt. We observed that the definition currently used by the RCMP is a little too general and, as a result, is susceptible to different interpretations. Therefore, we have urged them to look at the definition and to come up with something a little more specific that can be part of the whole process. With something more specific, it is more easily measurable. As you correctly pointed out, the RCMP is more hierarchical in its organization than many, and what might be considered harassment in a private business might simply be blunt instructions in the RCMP.
Senator Plett: Thank you very much for that. Since we are talking about the definition of "harassment," my next question is: What is "very subtle harassment?"
Mr. McPhail: Definitions such as "very subtle harassment" can be difficult, but it could be demeaning remarks, or that sort of thing. I am sure that in his career General Dallaire has seen cases during the training of recruits where demeaning remarks were probably used. A lot depends on context. I know I am getting outside the field of the report, but whether a remark is demeaning depends on the context in which it is used. For example, I would suspect that — and I was only in cadets, never the regular armed services — pretty blunt remarks might be made in the course of basic training that in other circumstances could be considered demeaning. My point is that the context of the remarks matters.
Senator Plett: Would code of conduct issues be along the same line? You speak about harassment as well. Code of conduct has been raised a few times today. Is there a similarity between code of conduct issues and harassment issues?
Mr. McPhail: There is. I will ask Mr. Evans to address that.
Mr. Evans: It is a good question because it speaks to the multiplicity of processes that Mr. McPhail spoke of. Depending on the degree of conduct involved in the harassment claim, it could certainly be a violation of the code of conduct. The code of conduct has one very general term for discreditable conduct that brings discredit on the RCMP. It is a rather general term. It also has another section that speaks to failing to respect the rights of another. Both of those could constitute harassment. Depending on the severity in the screening process, a complaint might go into that harassment stream. It might also start off in the harassment with a formal process or formal form being filed and then find itself, upon further investigation, moving into the more severe forms that would be in the discipline realm. That speaks to the multiplicity of processes that we have addressed.
Senator Plett: Harassment would always be a code of conduct violation but a code of conduct violation would not necessarily be harassment.
Mr. Evans: I would agree with that.
Senator Mitchell: I am very interested in the fact that you have identified an issue and, although we cannot define it, everyone agrees that it exists. You have one specific set of solutions that revolve around process — absolutely. Of course, those processes come after the problem. There is harassment and then the process kicks in. The more rigorous that process is, the more likely it will send messages that it should not happen in the first place. There are many other elements of an organization and its abilities to deal with this kind of problem. In fact, this problem may be symptomatic of a bigger issue, such as leadership. You talk about management; and there is a distinction between management and leadership. At this level, there are many components to dealing with this problem that are not only management, rules and regulations, codes and processes but also leadership.
Have you given any thought to how you cultivate great leadership in an organization like the RCMP?
There is one thing that needs to be addressed, so I will just raise it. In the RCMP's own recent November report on gender-based assessment, both genders, interestingly, identified the possibility of selection bias at certain stages; and if you read between the lines, it is kind of at some point who you know. Does that not underline the problem of merit-based promotion so people know you get the best and not just the person who knows someone? Is that an element of cultivating leadership? Is that an element of solving this problem?
Mr. McPhail: Absolutely. In any organization you have managers. Even generals in the armed services are managers, but one of the attributes that you want to see in good managers is leadership, and some managers show it; others do not. It is critical, I agree with you, to have both the commissioner and the other senior members of the RCMP show leadership on this issue. I believe that if the commissioner, as he has done, has shown leadership by making it clear that this is an issue that is important to him, that gradually that attitude will filter down through the organization.
Now, many books have been written on the subject of leadership, and we could talk about that at some length because it is not an easy issue to determine why some people are effective leaders and some less so. Again, you will excuse me for getting outside the parameters of the report, but I would see effective leadership as including having a plan, being able to communicate that plan to others, inspiring people to want to implement that plan, and understanding the process of how to implement that plan in your organization.
Senator Mitchell: It is a very human process and human problem to, as a leader, rise above. You think that some of the leadership has been there for 25 years and it may be they are some of the people who might be the problem or some of their best friends who have been through lots of things together, dangerous situations, and they have grown up in this "boys will be boys" kind of atmosphere. The only way to change that is to have the senior-most people, any time they hear off-putting remarks about women, for example, say "No, never. In our organization that will never, ever occur," and that is more leadership than management. You can comment on that.
I have a question down in the weeds again about data. I see Ms. Inman, the methodology person, getting her pencil ready. You say that 2.5 per cent of the population of the RCMP, the 718, have had a problem or have registered a problem. At the same time, in that chart about comparing police forces, you have 0.11. That is one tenth of a per cent. How do you reconcile the two pieces of data? It is 2.5 per cent and 0.11 per cent. You cannot have it both ways.
Mr. McPhail: It is very easy as it is over different periods of time.
The Chair: I did it over different periods. Even if you do it over the six years that you said, if you put six into 2.5 per cent, it is still four times the data on that chart; so it is still at least 0.4 per cent per year, and we are talking 0.1 per cent per year.
Mr. McPhail: I will defer to Ms. Inman, our numbers person.
Lisa-Marie Inman, Director, Reviews and Investigations, Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: I am not entirely sure I understand the question.
Senator Mitchell: There is a chart in your report.
Ms. Inman: Is it the chart on page 9?
Senator Mitchell: It is in green and lists another interesting feature, that 36 per cent of the cases in Saskatchewan
Mr. McPhail: May I just interrupt for a moment?
Senator Mitchell: Yes.
Mr. McPhail: Just looking at that, it is the rate per 100 police employees.
Senator Mitchell: Right, so that is 0.1 per cent.
Mr. McPhail: Right.
Senator Mitchell: The 2.5 per cent is the rate per 100 employees too, so that is 0.1 compared to 2.5. We have a common base here. One is at least four times lower than the other if you go by year.
Ms. Inman: Right, and this table is only for 2011, so it is the rate for 2011, whereas our 718, 2.5 per cent, was over the six years. The reason we used 2011, to be clear, is that when we asked for data from other police services it was the only consistent year we got back from these other 10 services. The only reason we did it for 2011 as opposed to over a different or longer period of time was that was the only data that was able to be compared. The chart was for purposes of comparison, but it was only for that one year.
Senator Mitchell: Did you take the 2011 portion of that 718 and single them out?
Ms. Inman: Yes.
Senator Mitchell: Did you get another figure from the RCMP?
Ms. Inman: No, we took the 2011 portion of the 718.
Senator Mitchell: The whole question of public oversight is really critical. We get your point about the RCMP having the responsibility, so if you took it away from them, but if you look at a municipal police force, in my city of Edmonton, there is a public independent group. At the very least, the mayor will have something to do with it. In our case, there is a council that he sits on. However, there is this conundrum that if you do not get enough independence and enough civilian oversight you may not solve the problem at all. Can you comment more on that? I think we need to get independent civilian oversight.
Mr. McPhail: I would be in total agreement. To answer your question almost involves getting into Bill C-42, but let me tell you about the Commission for Public Complaints as it is presently constituted, which reports to Parliament through the minister and is totally independent. In the three years that I have been involved, there has never been a suggestion, express or implied, from anyone as to any specific action that the commission should take.
The core work of the CPC is the investigation of public complaints, but in addition, the commission has conducted what are called chair-initiated complaints, this being perhaps the most important done during the time that I have been at the commission, but we have done others. We did an investigation of policing in the Yukon; we have investigated cases of death in custody. We have what I think is pretty effective and robust civilian oversight now.
At the risk of getting into other territory, Bill C-42 will strengthen that oversight in a certain number of areas: the ability to conduct specified activity reviews; the ability to compel testimony from witnesses; and something I believe is important, which is the ability to conduct joint reviews with provincial counterparts, because a lot of policing activities today are joint.
As a specific example, we conducted a review of RCMP involvement in G8/G20. Now it would have been helpful, because there was a multiplicity of reviews of G8/G20, had we been able — although we cooperated with our provincial counterpart in Ontario — to do a joint review.
Senator Mitchell: Yes, great. I would like to go on the third round.
Senator Manning: It is not necessarily in the report, but I have a general question. I realize that we cannot look just at numbers, although I will use a couple of numbers and you will understand why I am doing that.
We looked at the complaints filed from the Yukon of zero to British Columbia of 160, and the percentages of employees from the Yukon are zero to 7.5 per cent in the Northwest Territories. I realize where you are coming from with the numbers, and you have to look at the population of the forces in the different provinces. Coming from Newfoundland and Labrador, I realize we have a smaller population of police than British Columbia would have.
You do not necessarily have to specify but just give a general answer to this question. In your work, did you find places in the country where they may be doing it right, places where others could learn from in relation to how harassment is dealt with? I do not mean necessarily the complaint of harassment as much as harassment itself in the workforce. It is like every aspect of society, some places do it better than others. Is there someplace where we or others could be looking at to learn from?
Mr. McPhail: Again, I will step away from the parameters of the report and speak, and this will be kind of anecdotally. I have the opportunity to meet and to talk with the provincial counterparts all across the country. This is not meant to be reflective of anybody else, but I have found that in terms of the provincial counterparts in the Prairie provinces, with respect to oversight, their provincial bodies have been particularly robust and, I think, on balance, pretty effective. That is not say that there not problems; there are issues everywhere.
Senator Manning: Do they seem to be stepping up to the plate overall?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, they seem to be. That is what I have tried to answer.
Senator Manning: Again, looking at your recommendations and returning to my original question about the process of filing a complaint, you and Mr. Evans elaborated about the time from the original complaint to when it might be dealt with, if ever, in regard to the satisfaction of the complainant. In your view, what would be an acceptable time frame to impose on the RCMP for a response to a complaint? Will the person who is sitting down today, who is being harassed in some way, shape or form, make a complaint or bring forward a concern if he or she has no idea if we are talking weeks, months, years or a lifetime? There must be some rule of thumb that says if a complaint is lodged it should be dealt with in a certain period of time. Have you given thought to that period of time?
Mr. McPhail: I have, but, again, as I said, I have tried not to be prescriptive because I do not purport to fully appreciate all of the internal workings of the RCMP. It is like the issue of timelines for dealing with public complaints. Timelines are necessary, and we are working with the RCMP now on developing timelines in that area. I can tell you that they have been very responsive to us. Therefore, again, we are not trying to say six months is the appropriate time. There will be instances where that is too much or too little. However, as I say, our experience in working with the RCMP in developing timelines for resolution of public complaints gives me, I think, justified optimism for thinking that we can do the same in terms of harassment complaints.
Senator Manning: You could not have a situation in one province where a timeline will be a year, and in another province where it will be 19 months.
Mr. McPhail: No, they have to be consistent.
Senator Manning: I guess we hope to have at the end of day a process where that will be the case.
Mr. McPhail: If the process is simplified, as Mr. Evans mentioned earlier, because even in trying to address what the process is currently, it is sufficiently confusing that the nature of the process extends the timelines at the risk of oversimplifying an issue. Having a process that is in itself simpler and more understandable will reduce the timelines.
The Chair: Thanks very much for that. As I mentioned, I would like to hear from you on Bill C-42, as that is coming before this committee shortly, and to save you a trip back, we will have some of that discussion now. Obviously, you have looked at this piece of legislation. How would you describe it in terms of its remedial nature, given what you would like to see happen in light of your recommendations?
Mr. McPhail: Well, I had the opportunity of speaking before the house committee last October. In fairness, I did not come prepared to talk about Bill C-42, but I would like to address some of the issues.
Bill C-42 helps in terms of the kind of effective civilian oversight that Senator Mitchell was referring to because it will give the new review and complaints commission the power to conduct joint investigations and joint reviews, which is, I think, is important. It will give the new commission the power to compel the production of evidence and testimony.
I have a couple of concerns that I raised at the time. One was the immunity of the chairperson. I think I was the only person not being granted immunity, and that suggested amendment was made purely out of self-interest.
The Chair: That seems reasonable.
Mr. McPhail: In addition, the original draft, which I suspect was an error, gave the commissioner of the RCMP the ability to close off commission review of systemic activities. That amendment has been made, so that is no longer the case.
I expressed my concern about timelines, and the responsibility to highlight privileged information that was being presented to us. As I think I mentioned a bit earlier in response to Senator Manning, we have been working with the RCMP in developing a memorandum of understanding in anticipation of Bill C-42 becoming law. That process is working very effectively.
The Chair: Are you pleased with how it stands today?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
The Chair: Are there any specific questions on Bill C-42?
Senator Dallaire: We will not let him off the hook that easily. When we review the bill, we would possibly like them to return, because we have not prepared to discuss that in any detail today.
The Chair: Given our tight timelines, that is the issue, which is why I wanted to hear from you today.
Mr. McPhail: I would be happy to come back and talk about Bill C-42.
Senator Mitchell: In the briefing I received, I notice that you are using this idea of workplace conflict. However, it seems like that is moving away from the idea of harassment and sexual harassment. You talked about not being able to manage it if you do not measure it.
This is related to Bill C-42. There is some suggestion that the RCMP will start talking about workplace conflict and will be dropping harassment and sexual harassment. Can that work? Do we not have to define sexual harassment, in particular, and not just see it washed away? It is fundamentally different and very serious.
Mr. McPhail: Workplace conflict is broader than pure harassment. However, I do not think you can ignore harassment as a very key subset within workplace conflict. As you are aware from our report, we believe that harassment should be much more specifically defined than it is at the present time. That definition will help members know more clearly what is not acceptable. It should also help managers and officers within the RCMP in the conduct of their duties in both recognizing harassment of any nature and dealing with it.
Senator Mitchell: You may have mentioned this earlier and maybe it is obvious but I have not read it anywhere: Regarding the new civilian oversight group that is proposed under Bill C-42, which you make a strong point will relate to the minister and other things, will that replace you?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, it would.
Senator Mitchell: Outright, okay.
The Chair: Senator Campbell, you were on an earlier list.
Senator Campbell: I am fine.
The Chair: We will then go to Senator Dallaire.
Senator Dallaire: Depending on what happens with Bill C-42 aside, when you present these recommendations of this report, the recommendations have some very specific elements in regard to the whole leadership structure and how it will implement such, inasmuch as you see it as essential. We can quote you a number of times where you see that the leadership must demonstrate that it will implement these recommendations for the force within itself to regain its own self-confidence, let alone alter how it is seen by the outside world.
I am still caught up with the problem of monitoring this. It seems to me to be helpful for the commissioner to have an organization that would be able to conduct whatever depth of analysis of how we are doing so far with your recommendations and give an assessment of that. Does your body or whatever will replace it have that mandate? You have not indicated in here that, in two years, you will review this whole thing and see how we are doing so far and hold people accountable for it. Do you see that as part of your mandate?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, I would. Bill C-42 gives the new commission the power to conduct specified activity reviews.
I will speak just generally about the whole issue of civilian oversight. When the present commission was brought into existence in the 1980s, as I understand it, there was a sense among many members of the RCMP that this was somehow an organization that would be in conflict with them. Since I have been here, I think that attitude has changed 180 degrees. There is now a recognition that effective civilian oversight is actually helpful to the RCMP, because our goals are really the same — namely, effective policing, which I think virtually all Canadians would want.
To answer your question specifically, yes, I absolutely envisage the replacement commission doing a review and an analysis of progress that is being made. In order to give the Canadian public the confidence that the RCMP is making progress, you need that independent review.
Senator Dallaire: I certainly remember feeling the same way when we had the six oversight committees introduced after Somalia.
Mr. McPhail: I do not think we need six.
Senator Dallaire: They did cover a broad spectrum of reform that was articulated as essential.
A term was used in the 2010 report and that is "reform of operations and organizations." Do you think the commissioner should be looking at what is happening in the context of having to bring a reform of the RCMP to bring it into not just the mores but the values, ethical references and the ethos that one expects of a modern police force, whether you call it paramilitary or not, and would he have to go to that extent of argument to achieve the aim?
Mr. McPhail: In my discussions with Commissioner Paulson, I believe he is. However, I will leave the answering of questions such as those to him. I understand the commissioner will be appearing before you.
Senator Dallaire: In the number crunching that you did, were you able to separate the uniform statistics from the non-uniform statistics?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, we were.
Senator Dallaire: I did not pick it up clearly.
Mr. McPhail: I made a reference to that in the introductory remarks. The interesting piece of information that we learned was that the harassment occurrences did not vary all that much between the non-uniformed and the uniformed. That leads to an interesting conclusion, because so many people have said that part of the problem of the RCMP is its hierarchical or paramilitary nature, but those numbers did not bear that out.
Senator Dallaire: After complimenting them on the basic training, one would think there would be a significant difference between the two numbers. There should be less of a nature of harassment and such conditions.
Mr. McPhail: We can discuss that. On one hand, I would agree with you, because the training was effective, but is not followed up, so we advocate following it up.
On the other hand, amongst the non-uniformed members you do not have the hierarchical or paramilitary aspect there. The answers are not necessarily clear.
Senator Dallaire: Thank you very much.
The Chair: In answer to Senator Plett earlier you said you did not see significant differences between the public and private sector?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Plett: Thank you. In light of time I will ask my last two questions very quickly. First, you examined files specifically between the dates of February 1, 2005, and November 16, 2011. Why did you pick those dates? Were you instructed to pick those dates? Why did you specifically choose those dates?
Mr. McPhail: Nobody instructed us. We chose the commencement date because that was the date of the current RCMP anti-harassment policy, so it seemed as good a time to start as any. Our end date was essentially about the time we commenced the investigation.
Senator Plett: Mediation is recommended as opposed to anything else. How many of your 718 cases have been mediated and how many, if any, have had a criminal investigation?
Mr. McPhail: The mediated cases are the informal resolution cases and, as I mentioned earlier, that was an area where we do not have numbers because records have not been kept.
In terms of how many went on to criminal investigation, I believe that would be about 7 per cent.
Senator Plett: Seven per cent?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Ms. Inman: I want to clarify, the 7 per cent is the number of files that were shown through the file review to have been resolved through mediation but would not include anything that was not made specifically as a complaint and resolved through mediation. The informal files Mr. McPhail was talking about were ones where a formal complaint was never made and never tracked.
Senator Mitchell: I am quite interested in the union issue and very compelled by Senator Boisvenu's points. It is difficult to fire someone, and we have to be careful in the RCMP because they are in very difficult situations that most of us could not imagine, often dangerous. However, there remains this problem of doing that effectively.
Would a union not assist, because it does in many police forces, in making certain we have defended the rights of the constable who is in question and there are processes, negotiation and defence from an objective point of view — the union — so when it comes to letting them go we know everything has been done well? Could the union not strengthen that and give us confidence that they are treated well?
Mr. McPhail: We did not investigate that issue so you will excuse me if I do not answer that particular one.
Senator Mitchell: You have been really good.
The Chair: Thank you very much. This has been really thorough. Our timelines are short for looking at these issues, and you have been generous with your time and insights.
Mr. McPhail: My colleagues and everyone at the commission appreciates the opportunity to talk to you about our report. I can say a lot of people put a lot of work into this, as you can appreciate.
The Chair: Your most important recommendation is to put yourself out of a job and give it to someone else.
Mr. McPhail: There you go.
The Chair: I appreciate Mr. Evans, Ms. Inman and Mr. McPhail being here. Thank you for your time.
As promised, we will now switch our focus and take a look at the navy. We welcome Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. This will probably be Vice-Admiral Maddison's last appearance here because he is soon retiring after a long and very distinguished naval career. We thank you for that and say that many of us will miss you. You have been such a strong and optimistic voice for the CF and the navy in particular.
Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, National Defence: Thank you.
The Chair: As he prepares to depart, what we decided we would like to do is a bit of an exit interview to talk about how the transformation is affecting the navy, about the status of the pending new fleet, about the rising importance of Asia and the Pacific, which we touched on last time you were here, and about where the RCN may fit into what Vice-Admiral Maddison has called the "maritime century."
With the admiral today is Chief Petty Officer (First Class) Tom Riefesel. Welcome as well, sir. We appreciate your being here.
Vice-Admiral Maddison, I know that you have opening remarks, so we invite you to make those.
VAdm Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, National Defence: Madam Chair, I would like to thank you for giving both Chief Petty Officer 1st class Riefesel and myself the opportunity to provide an update on the Royal Canadian Navy. To do so, I will speak, as I did last year, of our purpose, our ships, our submarines, our sailors, and our pride. Let me begin with purpose.
Since we last met, your navy has continued to demonstrate why it is among the government's most agile instruments of national power and influence. Today, HMCS Toronto is patrolling the Arabian Sea as the third frigate to be forward deployed under Operation ARTEMIS since I met with you last February. She, along with her embarked Sea King helicopter and her unmanned aerial vehicle, is part of a standing multinational counterterrorism mission. She is there to demonstrate Canada's strategic interests, to reassure our regional partners, to help prevent conflict and to contribute to the safety of global ocean commerce, upon which Canada's prosperity as a trading nation depends.
In 2012, as part of Op CARIBBE, the RCAF contributed over 400 Aurora aircraft flying hours and the six RCN warships to patrol the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to help to keep cocaine off of Canadian streets. This includes a successful interception, by HMCS Ottawa, of one ton of cocaine — worth about $30 million — an accomplishment that impressed our security partners in Colombia and Brazil, as I learned when I visited their navies in December.
As we speak today, two Kingston-class coastal defence vessels have taken up our latest Op CARIBBE patrols, with U.S. Coast Guard boarding teams aboard embarked to apprehend traffickers for prosecution in American courts.
We maintained a sovereign presence in Canada's three ocean approaches. Most notably, during last summer's Operation NANOOK, HMC ships St. John's, Kingston and Goose Bay operated near Churchill, Manitoba, as part of a counterterrorism scenario, alongside Canada's Special Forces, the RCAF, the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard.
We supported the nation's diplomacy throughout the Americas and the Asia-Pacific — I would say the Indo Asia-Pacific — while advancing our most important navy-to-navy relationships around the world. The excellence that the RCN displayed at all times proved, once again, why your navy is so widely admired and respected, a fact underscored by the appointment, last summer, of a Canadian rear-admiral as deputy commander of the world's largest international joint and combined maritime exercise, exercise Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, 2012.
We are making steady progress towards the operational steady-state for the Victoria-class submarines. Victoria
herself is now fully operational on the West Coast. You will recall that she demonstrated her lethality this past summer by sinking a decommissioned American warship during exercise RIMPAC.
HMCS WINDSOR, another submarine, is at sea on the east coast, progressing through a readiness program that will see her operational by the end of this year. The HMCS CHICOUTIMI is due later this year to return to the fleet after undocking, permitting HMCS CORNER BROOK to replace her in deep maintenance.
The frigates Halifax and Calgary
have been returned to the fleet following their mid-life modernization refits, and both have embarked upon an extensive set of trials that will bring them back to full operational status. We are making impressive progress towards modernizing all 12 frigates by 2017, and this goal is crucial as the modernized frigates are both an important change in our combat capabilities and our link to that future fleet set out in the government's Canada First Defence Strategy.
On that note, I remain greatly encouraged by the government's steadfast commitment to equip the Canadian Forces with the tools our sailors need to succeed. Since we last met, I can report that all three of the RCN's major Crown projects — the Joint Support Ship, the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship and the Canadian Surface Combatant — are in project definition, being advanced within the framework of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
We’ve also made excellent progress in implementing transformational business process changes to prepare for the arrival of the new fleet, while also realigning our core maritime readiness and training structures as we seek smarter and more efficient ways to generate combat-capable maritime forces.
I trust, Madam Chair, that you and your committee came away from visits to Esquimalt and Halifax last year inspired by our sailors' sense of duty, tremendous pride and fierce dedication to succeed. A modern navy might be one of the most technologically intensive organizations you will find anywhere, but it is our people and their families that are at the heart of everything we do.
Our people understand that their government is strongly committed to them. They are truly energized by the Canada First fleet being delivered to the waterfront. They are grateful for the recognition that Canadians everywhere have bestowed upon them for their contributions to this great maritime nation.
In closing, Senator Wallin, permit me, in this final appearance before your committee, to express my own personal thanks for the important work that you and your fellow senators perform in service to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Chief Riefesel and I look forward to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much. I must say that our visits to both of our coasts and to watch naval operations were fascinating, important and educational for us. I think it is key that we are the lucky ones in the sense that these committees get to see some of these things up close and personal, and it is our job to try to translate that to the population at large. Thank you very much for that because the important work is there.
We will do a pretty broad look today, and I guess we could just start with your sense. We have had Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare, who is putting together the new Joint Operations Command so that our home and away games are managed by one person. We have had Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin here talking about coping with the reality of transformation and reduced budgets, and we are seeing what is happening stateside with some massive cuts to military spending being proposed there.
What is your sense as to where we are today in terms of the military?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I would say that we are sitting pretty good. Our first priority is always to succeed in operations. If you look at where the Canadian Forces are deployed and specifically from where your navy is deployed, we have HMCS Toronto
today deployed in the Arabian Sea. We have two MCDVs of the Kingston class deployed at sea in the counter-narcotics mission that is part of Joint Interagency Task Force South. I have a task group exercise beginning today on the East Coast involving an AOR, a destroyer, two frigates, as well as maritime aircraft. We have just completed a task group exercise in the op areas around Hawaii with our American colleagues.
We continue to focus on maritime domain awareness in our three ocean approaches, and understanding and seeing what is there and focusing on what are the anomalies in the recognized Maritime picture that, alongside our whole-of-government partners, might represent some kind of an emergent threat to Canadians, Canadian infrastructure and Canadian interests.
Certainly, we have gone through a strategic review, the Deficit Reduction Action Plan, the Shared Services Canada piece. All of these have introduced pressures, but the focus is always, in my perspective, on the readiness of the fleet. The readiness is always prioritized, and I always find the resources to ensure that what I am responsible to the Chief of the Defence Staff to generate is there on any given day.
Certainly, the senior leadership across the Canadian Forces is seized by the imperatives of government with respect to efficiencies. We in the navy are doing our bit to ensure that we are finding each and every opportunity, through business process renewal, and how we do our business and how we operate as one navy, reducing redundancies wherever we can across corporate and administrative processes to meet the remit of government, of the Chief of the Defence Staff, while continuing to generate the readiness that Canada requires.
The Chair: Thank you. We will get into some specific questions now.
Senator Dallaire: First, it is essential that we recognize the performance of many naval personnel on land during the Afghanistan campaign in particular. You have suffered casualties and also have done magnificent work by those naval personnel. That at times is forgotten. I wish to applaud the flexibility that they have demonstrated in turning to their role on land.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you.
Senator Dallaire: I know it is not our purview to debate or discuss this, but I am quite surprised at the scale of the general officers’ posting plot this year and the scale of people retiring and maybe at times the early retirement, but it is my interpretation of that and I am not asking you to respond to it; it is just rather a feeling that I have of the significant scale of it this year.
I want to ask about the transformation-cum-budget requirements that have imposed significant impacts on the forces as they adjust, with whatever terminology you want to use, efficiency and so on. However, as you are managing a very complex transitional time frame, are you telling me that none of the major Crown projects for navy have been moved to the right or downscaled in any way? Can you tell me whether you are getting all the days you need at sea plus the number of ships at sea that are required to do the job, or are you restrained now in achieving that? Are your reserves able to meet the demanding technological qualifications required for them to serve on some of these ships, including things like the Orca and so on?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you for the question and for the comment on Afghanistan. I would remind the committee that through all the rotations going back to 2006 the navy generated about 50 sailors per rotation and sailors inside the wire, outside the wire, especially our clearance diversity. We were basically the front-line counter-IED specialists. Of course, you referred to the loss of Petty Officer Craig Blake on the last day of the first 100 years of the Royal Canadian Navy. He fell in Afghanistan. We have leaders in Kabul today in the training mission, so it really is a joint training mission.
To your question about the major Crown project, the budget that I control is not a budget that comes from major Crown projects.
Senator Dallaire: I know that.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Major Crowns are managed by the Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel).
I am very encouraged by where we are, having gone into project definition around the AOPS, the JSS and CSC over the past year or so, all ignited by the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. That announcement was made; the umbrella agreements have been negotiated with the two key yards on both coasts. Auxiliary contracts have been negotiated, and the yards are investing in the infrastructure they require to produce these new capabilities and bring them online. It is a very complex process, and it is an interdepartmental process where I am the customer and very much reliant on others being held accountable for their part of this great play.
What I see in the meetings I attend and in the briefings that I am part of is a great many people extremely capable and motivated doing great work towards moving these major Crown projects forward.
Senator Dallaire: You did not tell me if any are delayed or down-scaled from your planning process. You have to man these things and train the people.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: From the Joint Support Ship perspective, the requirement of two ships, one on either coast, we will soon be at a decision design point this spring where a decision will be made between a design that is in service at sea today with the German navy and a new in-house Canadian design. We will make that decision in the next couple of months based on criteria relating to affordability, capability and risk, and once that decision is made it is a matter of Public Works leading the next phase of the contracting agreement with the yard on the West Coast and they will get into build.
There is an issue around the sequencing between the Joint Support Ship and the polar icebreaker that is being built by the Canadian Coast Guard. I have a vested interest in how that sequencing will unfold, but I am hoping that the JSS will be the first rebuild such that the first is delivered in around 2017, the second coming in right behind it, such that we have these two new ships at sea by the end of this decade replacing the current AORs that are, as you know, more than 40 years old.
For the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship, last year you may recall that I expected to see steel cut in 2013 or 2014, and in fact what has unfolded over the past year is that the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship steel on the first hull will be cut in 2015 with delivery around 2018, that being a logical outcome of negotiations between the Crown led by Public Works and the Irving-owned yard on the East Coast. It just goes to show the complexity around these sorts of major Crown industrial projects. There will always be unknown unknowns that become known as you get into each successive cycle around getting to the point where you are cutting and building.
Senator Dallaire: For my last question, I want to come back to reserves and your one-navy concept. Do you think the reserves will be able to meet the very demanding technical training that you are probably going to ask of them as you move your navy personnel plans to man all these ships that you are bringing online?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: As an aside, I met your daughter at HMCS Discovery about a month or six week ago.
Senator Dallaire: She had better be sober when she does that.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: She is a very impressive sailor, and I mean that most sincerely. She introduced herself and left a lasting impression — very impressive ship's company on
Discovery, I might add. They are full of spirit and very proud of who they are as part of the navy; and they are a diverse group. It is interesting to note that when you visit the naval reserve divisions across the country, especially in the urban centres, you see a diversity that is not yet reflected in the regular force. It is an important force in function and reflects where we need to go demographically across the Canadian Forces and how we attract all Canadians into service.
As you know, the naval reserve is made up of full-time reservists and part-time reservists. The two Kingston-class vessels at sea in the Caribbean today are crewed by full-time reservists, and there will be a couple of regular force folks as well. We are not having any difficulties in training those people to operate not in a combat environment but in a very complex, challenging environment not only from a sea-keeping perspective but also in a communications domain with awareness and intelligence. It is a complex op that they do quite well in the Arctic.
To answer your question, I do not see a huge challenge as we go forward. However, the Commander Naval Reserve, Commodore David W. Craig, is driving down this path with the naval reserve headquarters in Quebec and the naval reserve commanders across the country to move naval reserve training to a degree where it will be better placed to enable one navy. With the trade training that they receive in naval reserve courses, there will not be much light between what they are learning and what the regular force sailors are learning. We have had reservists go to sea in our high-end combatants for years. Of course, back in WWII, the naval reserve was the core of the navy that succeeded in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Senator Dallaire: It is nice to see reservists on the CPFs, which was not always open to them. It is excellent.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Correct.
Senator Plett: Admiral, I want to echo Senator Dallaire's comment about our appreciation for what our men and women have done, are doing and continue to do. We can never overstate our appreciation for that. Thank you very much.
You spoke of the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship, and I want to ask another question about the Arctic and the docking and refuelling facility in Nanisivik in the Arctic. At what stage is that project? Describe it and its intended use, if you would.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I would remind the committee that the infrastructure lead within the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship project is the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment).
The Chair: We have this issue all of the time. What the CF and the different forces put forward is what they need to be operational. You do not make that decision. As you described yourself, you are a customer. That is not widely understood.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I bring the requirement forward. The assistant deputy minister grabs it and runs with it. I own the requirement for the ships, which I can speak to. With respect to Nanisivik, the department is driving forward on a $130-million infrastructure improvement piece. It is a refuelling and birthing facility aimed at enabling sustained operations by the AOPS in the High Arctic during the navigable season with a view to ships sailing out of Halifax up to not only the low Arctic around Iqaluit, the southern part of Baffin Island and the northern part of Hudson Bay but also up to the top where Nanisivik is at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage and further. That is where we need to be. The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship is designed to have the endurance, sea-keeping capability and icebreaking capability to operate for a period of time in a very austere environment, which then requires access to a limited maintenance and fuelling capability. That is what we will see in Nanisivik.
Senator Plett: The last time you were here, you said something along the lines of, and I do not know whether this is a direct quote, that we are at the end of the long beginning when we talk about submarines. Are we past the end and past the beginning? Can you update us on where we are with submarines?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Yes. "The end of the long beginning" I have not used for a while because we are past the end. The end of the long beginning was the long road to operationalizing the Victoria-class submarines. As I said last year, we were exactly where we wanted to be, but it took us longer to get there than we had hoped.
In the past year, what has happened has been very impressive, and 2012 was a remarkable year for our submariners. I give our submariners at sea and ashore, the civilian dockyard workers, and those here at the strategic level who enable the submarine program, full credit for their extraordinary leadership, determination and hard work in getting that job done. HMCS Victoria worked her way up through the whole operational readiness cycle of workups and torpedo firing drills. She was deployed to RIMPAC exercise, fired a mark-48 war shot torpedo, sank a ship, returned, went through acoustic grooming, which is very important for a submarine as a weapon of stealth, and is now deployable for Canada.
HMCS Windsor is about a year behind, as was the plan, on the East Coast undocked earlier last year. She dove in December, just as Victoria did, in December 2011. Currently, she is going through a workups program and will follow the same path to readiness as Victoria did. We will have two submarines operating on both coasts, which is what we had planned and what I said a year ago that we would do.
HMCS Chicoutimi, which is in an extended maintenance period, will undock this year and begin the same path that
Windsor is on. She will leave Corner Brook, as planned, as the boat in deep maintenance. The steady state that we have always described is with the
Victoria in service support contact with deep maintenance with industry on the West Coast; there will always be one submarine in deep maintenance and two at high readiness — one on either coast. One is a swing boat depending on where we are in the cycle; and each submarine will run an eight-year cycle.
We are driving to that steady state now over the next couple of years. You will recall that last year I spoke to a concern over the number of qualified submariners — those who wear dolphins on their uniforms. I am pleased to report to the committee that we have closed that gap significantly.
Right now I think I am about 45 dolphins short in an establishment of about 372. This includes the submarines themselves, the crews, the training infrastructure ashore and key staff positions. As
Victoria has run, as she went over to Hawaii, as she has done force generation right now on the West Coast, that captain is qualifying submariners in a very deliberate training cycle, and of course, success begets success. As we see the submarines running and support growing, as we see public statements being made around the importance of submarines, it is attracting those in the recruiting centres to say, "Not only would I like to join the navy, I would like to be a submariner." This is the state we have been driving toward, and we are enthused by that.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that it is a privilege for me to replace Senator Lang, who is absent this week and next week. I am all the happier to replace him when I know that I will be dealing with the leaders of our Canadian armed forces. I am very honoured to be here. I am very proud of the Canadian armed forces, especially the Royal Canadian Navy. I want to congratulate you for the work that you do, and I hope that in the near future, I will become a member of this committee.
You said that this was going to be your last presentation. Are you going to be retiring?
VAdm Maddison: Yes, sir.
Senator Boisvenu: I want to wish you a very good retirement, and as final testimony, or legacy that you could leave to this committee, I have a general question to ask you.
You said that our government has focused on modernizing all levels of the armed forces, and that is a very important challenge. If you had a message to leave with us, how would you describe the challenge or challenges that the Canadian Forces will have to face, particularly the Canadian Navy, over the next few years? Without a doubt, this will become a benchmark for us when we have to do our homework as politicians with regard to public expenditures.
VAdm Maddison: I would say that the big challenge is to keep a very high level of readiness as we modernize the fleet. We are currently modernizing 12 Halifax-class frigates, and right now, I have 7 out of 12 frigates that are out of action.
They are in dry dock.
That means I am managing risk. We are modernizing the frigates, absolutely essential. This was always planned. The capability that is being delivered with Halifax today, coming out of refit on the East Coast, Calgary on the West Coast, is a capability that will allow our ships to forward deploy or to deploy here in Canada with capabilities that match how the operating environment has evolved and become more congested, complex and characterized by increasingly sophisticated threats.
Senator Boisvenu: I am sure you cannot rent a boat.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: You are right.
The introduction of the new capabilities is also a challenge, will be a challenge for the navy, a welcome challenge: the transition from the AORs to the Joint Support Ship; the introduction of a whole new class of ship, the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship, a hybrid design for not only open ocean patrol on the east and west coasts of Canada but the icebreaking High Arctic operating capability which, quite frankly, is a capability that the Royal Canadian Navy ceased to focus on about 50 years ago.
We have been putting a lot of emphasis on re-establishing competencies in navigation, in planning, in sustaining operations, and that is why we have deployed in Operation NANOOK every summer now for years in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard and others.
We are arriving at end of life for the Iroquois-class destroyers. These great ships were modernized 20 years ago with a global deployable capability for command and control embarking a task group commander and his staff, leading a multinational task group anywhere in the world. These ships are approaching end of life, and they also have a key capability in the battle space, which is that area of air defence missile. Both of these capabilities, to some degree, will be gapped between paying off our destroyers and the delivery of the Canadian Surface Combatant in the next decade.
A challenge for me would be to do everything I can and urge everyone coming in behind me to work as constructively as they can with all of the partners involved in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy to identify and find ways to avoid any delays in the process.
Thank you very much, and have a good retirement.
Senator Campbell: Welcome, and I add my best wishes to you for a happy retirement. As the general said, you look a little young to be going out the door, but I guess looks can sometimes fool you.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: It is the salt air that keeps you young, senator.
Senator Campbell: I do not know. I live in British Columbia, and I am not doing too well on that one.
I do not have to tell you how important the navy is to British Columbia. I spent many happy hours in Nelles Block at Esquimalt when I was in the Mounties, so I understand how important the navy is. It became even more important with the removal of regular land forces. Also, the navy is important to British Columbia from an economic point of view, as you can imagine. While I understand that you are the customer and others set up the timetables, I am encouraged by your comments and the hope that this is ongoing.
There is a concern on the West Coast of its being put off due to the financial conditions we find ourselves in, and everyone understands that, but I sincerely hope that does not take place.
Following up on a question from Senator Dallaire asking do you have enough days at sea, is a better question do you ever have enough days at sea? It seems to me, every time I speak to people from the military, that the training is so important that you simply cannot ever have too many days.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you, senator.
Training from cradle to grave, classroom instruction, schoolhouse teaching — and I can talk about how we are transforming the Canadian naval training system to be more efficient in how we are moving our sailors through the pipeline — individual training at sea and collective training at sea, driving right up to a ship's company, and even a task group being certified at high readiness and deployable anywhere in the world for Canada — that is what we do.
The budgets I am allocated, the flexibility that I have, a large portion of that flexibility is reserved for what I call the operational schedule. The operation schedule is those sea days. Sea days are very much a function of fuel, and that is where much of the cost comes in a sea day.
I take the budget, convert it to fuel through my formation commanders on the two coasts and turn that into sea days. For a standard readiness frigate, for example, we aim for 105 days at sea, and for a high readiness frigate, 165 days at sea. We want those days at sea to be high value, and I can tell you the chief and I have seen over our careers how a day at sea has become much more dense, very active and much more efficient 24 hours a day in terms of every opportunity for individual and collective training at the ship level and at the task group multi-ship level.
I mentioned to you that I have a number of ships in refit, so from a sea-day perspective, I am not feeling too much pressure because those ships in refit are not going to sea.
Where it will become a bit of challenge going forward will be when the Halifax-class frigates are all modernized. We are bringing the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships online, the Joint Support Ship is coming, the Canadian Surface Combatant is coming, and these will be discussions for the future in terms of potentially rebalancing resources. There will be probably pressures in that operations budget that will have to be resolved.
We have a tiered readiness system in the navy, which means not all ships are held at high readiness. Toronto forward deployed today is high readiness, and Regina coming back from her seven- or eight-month deployment is high readiness. However, Ville de Quebec and St. John's, two frigates conducting exercises off the East Coast today, are standard readiness frigates, and that means they are not being held at the same high level from a maintenance perspective, from a systems availability perspective and even from the size of crew perspective. Those standard readiness frigates are ideal for training, optimizing those sea days and giving our sailors what they need to maintain their perishable individual and collective skill sets.
Senator Campbell: With any luck, once that pipeline to the East Coast gets built, that fuel problem will be taken care of for you. You will not have to worry about it.
I am in the Duke's regiment in B.C., and we have a concern that we can be cut 40 per cent of full-time militia. Do you have concerns about that with respect to the navy reserve?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: No, I do not, senator. The naval reserve establishment is relatively small compared to the militia for a number of reasons. The full-time naval reserve establishment was set last year after a fairly aggressive review, and I am satisfied with where we stand now with about 610 full-time Class B positions, another 330 full-time Class C positions, these being primarily the crews of the Kingston-class vessels, and I have establishment of another 3,500 to 4,000 Class A reservists, those being the part-time reservists in the 24 naval reserve divisions across the country.
Senator Campbell: Thank you very much.
Senator Mitchell: All the best in your retirement — you will be missed.
Can you tell us what percentage your budget will be cut and what percentage it has been cut?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Yes, sir. I hesitate to speak to numbers, but I think it is important to speak to perhaps scale or proportion. I would say that about 10 per cent of the defence services program is directly related to generating sailors and ships to do the business for Canada. Out of that 10 per cent, just less than half of that comes from the navy in terms of reserve salaries, civilian salaries, national procurement, spares and inventory management. About 10 per cent of that overall 10 per cent is my operations and maintenance budget, and there have been some pressures there so that, obviously, I need to do my part and the navy needs to do its part as part of the greater deficit reduction program across the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence.
For strategic review, it is about $45 million off the baseline; defence, the DRAP, Deficit Reduction Action Plan, another $38 million. I am comfortable with this, but I will tell you that it has caused some pressures to be expressed by my formation commanders in Halifax and Esquimalt and by those who serve them. However, it has caused us, and this is positive, to leave whatever comfort zone we were in and to focus very much on across the entire enterprise identifying innovative ways to be smarter, to be more efficient in what we do, to privilege readiness and operational output, and I am seeing some clever ideas being brought forward. For example, in the naval training system, there is something called the "universal classroom," and I toured this at the Fleet School Esquimalt just a couple weeks ago with the chief. This is simply applying technology and creating a virtual classroom, which allows you to have a group like this, in this kind of human engagement, with instructors and classmates but completely displaced in space such that you do not have to pay to fly folks out to the West Coast or East Coast for a course or pay to put them into accommodations or for their rations or for that sort of intangible, which is the impact it has on home and family when you are not at sea — which is what we understand families will support us to do — when you are ashore but not at home.
These exercises in efficiency are forcing functions for good ideas. We anticipated this coming a couple of years ago, and so we met as a senior naval leadership in 2010, and that was the genesis of the one navy concept. We have driven to a number of pan-naval authorities, which has made us more efficient in how we plan and execute at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. One example is the naval training system where we had five distinct schools with three different reporting lines. You can imagine the redundancy in administrative or corporate services. We smashed that altogether, appointed one commodore and said, "You are the dog to kick, and you are responsible for sorting the stuff out and making it more efficient," and it has been an impressive display by my team.
We have done that across a number of activity domains, and I am sure that that activity that we started three years ago gave us the confidence and the institutional resilience to be able to take on the DRAP and the SR results with gusto.
Senator Mitchell: Is it $83 million, $45 million plus $38 million?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Yes, sir.
Senator Mitchell: You said on baselines, which is the 10 per cent of the 10 per cent, so it is $83 million reduced from what is the baseline?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: That would have been out of about $700 million.
Senator Mitchell: It is almost a 15 per cent reduction.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: If you looked at the math, I think it is around 11 per cent.
Senator Mitchell: Okay, $83 million on $700 million; we can do the math. That is great.
My final question is on Cyclones. We visited the base and saw them sitting there, but our pilots have never flown them. What is your take on when we will take possession of those?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Again, that would be a great question for the commander of the air force or ADM (Mat). I am the customer here, and I would like to see capability delivered, just like ships.
I sat in an S-92 down in Florida and saw them fly in Halifax when I was the commander there. This will be an impressive capability when delivered. I understand there are issues around the requirement in how negotiations are progressing between the Crown and industry. My view is that once resolved, these will see a rapid introduction of an exponential step increase in capability in the Canadian Forces, not just at sea but across the land domain as well.
Understanding there are frustrations, and obviously schedules are not as one had hoped, I think we are going to see this capability delivered in mid-decade and then we will move forward.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you.
Senator Manning: Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would like to echo the comments of my colleagues wishing you all the best of health and happiness in your retirement and thank you on behalf of Canadians for your service to our country and the wonderful job our Canadian Forces do at home and abroad.
Coming from Newfoundland and Labrador, the navy is a warm spot because most of the people I know who are involved in the Canadian Forces, even back in World War II, were people involved in the Royal Canadian Navy, and they are very pleased that it is called the Royal Canadian Navy again. They are happy with that.
I did not have the opportunity to travel out to the West Coast but I did take in our trip to Halifax. To say I was overwhelmed by my experience would be an understatement. However, I was also overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the people involved in Halifax and certainly the great feeling they have.
One of the things I was very impressed with was that we had a presentation on RIMPAC. You touched in your opening remarks on the appointment last summer of a Canadian rear-admiral as deputy commander of the world's international joint and combined maritime exercises, known to us as RIMPAC.
Could you tell us the impact that has had on navy operations? It certainly came through to us that day that it is playing a very important part to the people who have been involved and to the navy in general. I want you to expand on that.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: To go back to your comment about Newfoundland, I often tell anybody when talking about Newfoundland to thank God that Newfoundland came into Confederation in 1949 because I do not know how we would put ships to sea in 2013. You go on any ship, even on the West Coast, and you have lots of Newfoundlanders. It is an extraordinary service that Newfoundlanders perform out of proportion to the Canadian population. I want to recognize Newfoundland.
Senator Manning: It is 1.5 per cent of the population and 10 per cent of the CF.
Senator Dallaire: Is that because they want to get off the rock?
Senator Manning: No, we are homing pigeons; we do not want to leave.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: RIMPAC is the opportunity to hone the skills of sailors of warships. It provides all the training tools you need. You have fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, submarines, missile firing areas and the multinational interoperability of different navies working together. The resources the Americans bring can generate a rich threat environment for training and it has always been that way. The first time I deployed was in 1982 and it has increased every two years since and has become more complex and value added for our sailors.
What has become different over the past couple of years is the number of international participants. Over 22 nations participate, which is great because it is a force and function for interoperability to get to know each other. It is about strategic trust between sailors at the tactical, operational and strategic levels, and the exercise has become broader in scope. It is not blue water anti-submarines warfare; it is operating in the littorals, amphibious operations and special forces. There is no better training ground, and that is important for the navy.
On the East Coast we can come close to that with exercises run by the Americans in Norfolk and going over to Scotland with the British from the Royal Navy for a Joint Warrior exercise.
The other aspect of RIMPAC that is really exciting is that the Canadian Forces as a whole is viewing RIMPAC as a means by which we can practise to deploy a joint force anywhere in the world — commanded by a Canadian joint task force — with sea, land, air and special forces components, command and control it, sustain it and bring her home.
That is what we did this summer, and I believe the intent of the Chief of the Defence Staff remains to view RIMPAC every two years as an opportunity to improve upon that. For the odd years, there is the new exercise — you may have heard it referred to as JOINTEX — which is to take place in the next few months, bringing together the navy's task group exercises, air force and the army together under a single command and control structure that General Beare owns as the Commander of Joint Operations Command.
RIMPAC is a great opportunity and speaks to how highly the Canadian Forces is held. The Americans routinely come forward and invite us into senior command positions, and our allies on these exercises are quite pleased to see us do that.
Senator Manning: Thank you.
The Chair: As we wrap up, does the chief have a word he would like to offer at this point?
Chief Petty Officer (First Class) Tom Riefesel, National Defence: In your visits to Halifax and Esquimalt you saw it, and what has been said here paints a nice picture of the pride that our sailors have in what they do, and that comes from understanding their purpose and why they exist.
They are extremely excited about the opportunities they have ahead of them with the introduction of new capabilities, the introduction of submarines and new capabilities that Halifax class will bring, and the JSS and AOPS and CSC. Our young sailors today are technologically advanced, adaptable and ready to take on the challenges.
The Chair: We certainly saw that aboard some of the ships. These are more high-tech than we could imagine.
Senator Dallaire: I would like to indicate that the admiral and his wife were supportive of the family support centre concept and I remember seeing him there. We hope that will continue and we will not see reductions in the quality of life dimensions of the forces with the demands of our financial constraints. I hope that will continue.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I feel strongly about the military family. I feel the military family should be celebrated as a unique subset of the Canadian fabric. The Canadian military family enables our service men and women for success in operations and they are therefore in service themselves. They are subjected to enormous strains and pressures that cause them to make sacrifices that sometimes lead to mental health issues.
My wife is a PTS survivor like you, sir, and is passionate about finding ways to raise awareness of issues around the military family so that military families can be celebrated for who they are and what they do; so that the resources will always be there, whether it is daycare, special needs education or special needs health care; and so that whenever a soldier, sailor, airman or woman is suffering from an OSI, we all know that the family is suffering equally. The family needs to heal as well. That is where my wife is at and where she will stay as we transition out of service to Canada.
Senator Dallaire: Put a decent gun on that new surface combatant so that we get naval gunfire back.
The Chair: Thank you, Admiral. We appreciate those final words as well.
I know that when one former head of the air force retired, he decided to go and build airplanes in his backyard. I do not know if, perhaps, you will be building ships. That seems like a scene out of NCIS or something, building ships downstairs.
We appreciate our time with you and we have enjoyed your hospitality and education that you have afforded this committee. Thank you and good luck. Enjoy the time in retirement.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you for being here as well.
We will next move to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War.
This bill is sponsored by Senator Yonah Martin, a Canadian of Korean heritage; and co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Day, who is usually with us at committee but is not able to be here today.
Two weeks ago we heard from Senator Martin and from two Canadian veterans of the Korean War who strongly supported this bill. Bill S-213 would set aside July 27 each year as Korean War Veterans Day. July 27, 1953 was the date of the armistice that ended the hostilities on the Korean peninsula, known as the Korean War.
For the longest time the Korean War was Canada's forgotten war. Yet more than 26,000 Canadians served there in the United Nations force during more than three years of what is no less an epic struggle; 516 Canadians died there. Now, on the sixtieth anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, the government has declared 2013 to be the Year of the Korean War Veteran, and Parliament will have the opportunity to declare July 27 each year to be Korean War Veterans Day.
You have, I hope, a copy of the bill in front of you. We are going to proceed then to clause-by-clause consideration. Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-213?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Okay. Shall the preamble stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Clause 2 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 3 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Is it agreed that I report this bill to the Senate at the earliest opportunity, which I believe is tomorrow?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you. It is terrific to have this done.
I will say to our viewers that this is a bit of an inside joke, but this committee does in fact get on very well and there is very little partisan activity.
We will adjourn this meeting. Thank you very much, senators.
(The committee adjourned.)