THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Monday, April 29, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence, to which was referred Bill C-42, An Act to amend the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make related and consequential
amendments to other acts, met this day at 4 p.m. to give consideration to
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence for Monday, April 29. Before we
welcome our witnesses, I would like to begin by introducing the people
around the table.
My name is Daniel Lang, and I am a senator from
Yukon. On my immediate left is the clerk of the committee, Josée Thérien; on
my right is the Library of Parliament analyst assigned to the committee,
Holly Porteous; and Dominique Valiquet, when he is back.
I would like to go around the table and invite
the senators to introduce themselves and state the region they represent,
starting with the deputy chair.
Senator Dallaire: Senator Roméo Dallaire. I
represent the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Magdalen Islands.
Senator Mitchell: Grant Mitchell; I
represent all of Alberta.
Senator Day: Joe Day, Liberal senator from
Senator Plett: Senator Don Plett, from
Senator Manning: Senator Fabian Manning,
from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Senator Patterson: Dennis Patterson,
Senator Nolin: Senator Pierre Claude Nolin.
I represent Quebec and, more specifically, the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
The Chair: Thank you. Today we will
continue consideration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other
Acts. With us are representatives from the Commission for Public Complaints
Against the RCMP: Ian McPhail, Interim Chair; Richard Evans, Senior
Director, Operations; Lesley McCoy, Legal Counsel. From the RCMP External
Review Committee, we have Catherine Ebbs, Chair; and David Paradiso,
Executive Director and Senior Counsel.
Welcome back to the committee. We are pleased
to have you here as we consider Bill C-42. We are scheduled for an hour and
a half during this first panel.
Mr. McPhail and Ms. Ebbs, I understand that
each of you have an opening statement to make. Ms. Ebbs, do you wish to
proceed first? I will then invite Mr. McPhail to speak, and then we will
proceed directly to questions.
Catherine Ebbs, Chair, RCMP External Review
Committee: Mr. Chair, members of the committee, Mr. Paradiso and I are
pleased to appear before you to answer your questions about the RCMP
External Review Committee, or ERC, and Bill C-42 as it relates to the ERC.
At the outset, I would like to reiterate that
the ERC is an independent federal agency that is separate from the RCMP and
also separate from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. We
are experts in RCMP labour relations, specifically grievances, disciplinary
proceedings and discharge and demotion appeals. The ERC has provided its
findings and recommendations to the various commissioners of the RCMP for
the last 25 years.
Bill C-42 proposes that the ERC will continue
to provide an important and independent outside voice to the commissioner of
the RCMP in cases referred to it. The bill also maintains the provision that
the commissioner is statute-bound to consider ERC findings and
recommendations. If he does not follow them, he must explain in writing his
reasons for this course of action. Historically, the commissioner's
acceptance rate of ERC recommendations is in the range of approximately 85
Bill C-42 seeks to empower the RCMP to develop
and implement a restructured system for discipline and grievance processes.
Under Bill C-42, the disciplinary process will
be streamlined and senior management will have access to more options,
allowing them to impose immediate sanctions on targeted employees.
Serious cases would continue to be referred to
a conduct board. It is also being proposed that the board be given the
discretionary power to resolve certain cases without holding a formal
Furthermore, the RCMP will develop a new
grievance process system, the details of which will not be known until the
changes are made and Bill C-42 is passed.
The ERC is not affected directly by Bill C-42.
However, the changes that will occur as a result of the passing of Bill
C-42, including the overhauling of RCMP processes, will likely have a
significant impact on the ERC. For example, RCMP internal processes will be
streamlined. This could mean more work for the ERC. For example, in
discipline cases now, the ERC receives a very complete record, which
includes a transcript of the disciplinary hearing that took place
internally. Because the RCMP disciplinary records are so complete, the ERC
has rarely needed to use its authority to hold a hearing of its own. In the
new system, some disciplinary decisions will be made without a hearing, or
after a hearing that may be less formal than what currently exists. This
means that in those cases, the record sent to the ERC will be different. The
question then will be whether the ERC has sufficient information on which to
base its findings and recommendations. If not, the ERC may be required to
hold hearings more often. Such a change, if it were to occur, would have
significant implications for the ERC, particularly as related to resourcing.
Bill C-42 will provide the flexibility
necessary for the RCMP to renew, revitalize and reform their internal
processes. Issues such as unacceptable delays can be addressed. Streamlining
the process requires that inefficiencies be eliminated, and this is a very
positive exercise. However, it is also a balancing act; changes must be made
in a way that will at the same time preserve the essential principles of
fairness, openness and consistency. Everyone involved understands that
achieving this balance is a challenge.
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate something
I said the last time I appeared before the committee. We know that the
quality of service delivered is a direct reflection of the quality of the
workplace. For 25 years, the RCMP external review committee has brought an
impartial and clear approach to the resolution of workplace disputes within
Now, with the RCMP under more scrutiny than
ever, an independent and external perspective is essential to guarantee to
management and members that the internal labour relations processes are
effective and credible, and also to assure Canadians that the RCMP takes
seriously its obligations as a modern employer.
Thank you. I would now be happy to answer your
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Ebbs. I will now
call on Mr. McPhail.
Ian McPhail, Interim Chair, Commission for
Public Complaints Against the RCMP: Mr. Chair, honourable senators,
thank you for inviting me and my colleagues here today to speak to Bill
A robust civilian review regime, with the
necessary authorities to investigate and assess public complaints and
concerns, is essential to maintaining public trust and confidence in any
policing organization, including the RCMP.
I believe that a review mechanism should offer
constructive, remedial recommendations that address both concerns about the
conduct of RCMP members in the execution of their duties, and policy,
procedural and training gaps that risk contributing to systemic problems.
The critical role played by the commission has been underlined most recently
in the commission's completion of its investigation into workplace
harassment within the RCMP, which I was pleased to discuss with this
committee shortly thereafter. In response, the RCMP commissioner committed
to implementing the commission's recommendations for improvement.
We are in an era of change with respect to how
policing organizations are held to account. Bill C-42 creates the new
civilian review and complaints commission, or CRCC, which will contribute to
enhanced RCMP accountability by providing greater access to information,
authority to compel witnesses and evidence, the ability to initiate reviews
of specified RCMP activities, authority to conduct joint complaint
investigations with our provincial counterparts, and finally, providing
better control of the complaint process.
As Minister Toews noted to this committee last
week, the bill was amended to address concerns I previously raised,
including immunity for the chair, and ensuring that the commissioner cannot
refuse to investigate a chair-initiated complaint.
I had also raised concerns about the
requirement for the RCMP to flag privileged material released to the
commission and the need for service standards for the RCMP with respect to
how they respond to public complaints. Through discussion with the RCMP, we
have found solutions to these concerns. I would be happy to elaborate
further during today's question period.
As we move forward, the enhanced authorities
set out in Bill C-42, along with an increase and stabilization of funding,
will set the new CRCC on firmer ground and allow it to accomplish even more
for the RCMP and for Canadians.
I believe that Bill C-42 is a strong step
forward. I welcome the committee's interest and the minister's support in
reviewing the bill in three years' time. I would be happy to respond to your
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. McPhail. As the
chair, I would like to ask you a question, and Ms. Ebbs as well, and it is a
question about the oversight and accountability that is being requested in
Bill C-42. You have both been involved in the system the way it is, and now
we are looking at a system that will be substantially revised.
The question I have is, for the record, are you
satisfied with the authority and oversight granted in the bill to the new
civilian review and complaints commission and the External Review Committee
as it relates to greater transparency and accountability for the RCMP?
Ms. Ebbs: As I said, Bill C-42 maintains
the independent, objective review that the ERC provides in labour relations
cases. Although there are things we do not know regarding what will happen
once the bill is passed, I am pleased to see that external review is
emphasized and that its value is reinforced in the bill.
Mr. McPhail: Very simply, Mr. Chair, at the
present time, we have found that we enjoy excellent cooperation from the
RCMP in terms of disclosure of documentation, in terms of any information
that we have requested. What Bill C-42 does is codify this into legislation
so that the new CRCC will enjoy the ability to access information as a
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Dallaire: The first of my two
questions comes from experience in your roles and what is coming down the
road with this new CRCC. The area that has caught my attention in particular
is the ability, as it is written, of the CRCC to be directly involved with
the promotion process of people. To what extent do you see how you can in
fact be engaged in that process, everything up to deputy commissioner?
Mr. McPhail: I am sorry, senator; there is
an aspect to the question that I do not understand. I will ask Mr. Evans if
he has more specific knowledge on that score.
Richard Evans, Senior Director, Operations,
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: I think, senator, you
would have to be more specific in terms of what the CRCC's role would be
with respect to those promotions.
Senator Dallaire: That is exactly what I am
trying to figure out.
Mr. Evans: The straightforward answer is
that we have no role in that.
Senator Dallaire: In the second round, I
will bring forward the references that we have in here with regard to the
CRCC and its input into the promotion process. I will return to that.
My second question has to do with the
following: The commissioner and the minister — the minister in particular —
can give mandates to the CRCC to do studies to look into things, which I
gather is not an unusual circumstance within your current roles, correct?
Mr. McPhail: That would be correct.
Senator Dallaire: As an example, instead of
being sort of an audit on procedures and processes that have been ongoing,
to what extent did you see your ability to go into the nuts and bolts of an
office of RCMP members in a division — or let us bring it down to the
detachment level — to look into practices being conducted there between the
different members and whether they were copacetic with the policies that
were being applied at the senior level? Did you ever get that sort of
mandate from previous ministers, even commissioners, of going in and seeing
what the attitude was of people towards certain policies and to what extent
the leaders were applying these policies?
I will give one example, if I may. In the DND,
we used to allow people to hang up pornographic pictures in their command
posts, even to have books or the old garage calendars, if you remember,
stuff like that. However, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and gender
presence, that was verboten. We stopped all of that and deliberately gave
instructions to stop.
Have you ever been involved in that type of
process? Do you see the new CRCC having that mandate?
Mr. McPhail: It is an excellent question,
senator, and it ties in very much to the subject matter of my previous
appearance before this committee when we were reviewing the commission's
report on harassment within the RCMP.
There is some question as to mandate. It could
be argued by some that that was stretching the mandate of the existing
commission. However, because the RCMP commissioner and the minister both
wanted us to do this and because we at the commission thought it was an
important issue and that we should be doing it, we were able to do that with
full cooperation from all concerned. As you know, we dug down right to the
local detachment level.
Bill C-42 would enshrine that ability into law
through the commission's ability to do reviews of specified activities so
that we do not necessarily have to respond to a complaint or a particular
problem, but rather if the new commission believes that there is an issue of
public importance, it will be able to investigate and review that matter
without awaiting an invitation to do so.
Senator Plett: Mr. McPhail, with regard to
a claim made by the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada that
under proposed Bill C-42, RCMP members may be forced to incriminate
themselves during investigations, from what we have heard — and I would like
you to clarify this — they need to testify without due process or without
possible legal advice, so on and so forth. That could be problematic to
them. Would you care to elaborate on that?
Mr. McPhail: That is an interesting
question, and it depends on what forum the RCMP member is being called in to
testify. If it is before the new CRCC, the CRCC does not have the ability,
nor is it part of its mandate, to prosecute or to recommend criminal
prosecutions. I would not see that as being an issue with respect to the
I will ask Mr. Evans. Have we run into that
problem? I am not aware of a situation in the past three years where that
has been an issue.
Mr. Evans: No. The legislation that enables
the CRCC to compel statements I think is the area you are going into. There
are safeguards built into the legislation limiting the use that can be made
of those compelled statements. Except for a potential prosecution for
perjury, no use could be made of a compelled statement. To Mr. McPhail's
point, this is not something we have seen the need to exercise, certainly in
the last several years, notwithstanding that it is in the new legislation.
Senator Plett: Along the same line of
questioning and further to a claim made by the MMPAC that RCMP may be able
to conduct searches of a member's home for non-criminal administrative
measures, obviously without search warrants, is that factual?
Mr. McPhail: If they were able to do that,
I think the RCMP could be subject to a complaint itself, which the CRCC
Mr. Evans: There are certainly no
provisions in there for the CRCC to be conducting searches.
Senator Plett: That would not be done under
Bill C-42, under the legislation?
Mr. McPhail: No.
Lesley McCoy, Legal Counsel, Commission for
Public Complaints Against the RCMP: Not under Part VII of the RCMP Act,
which is that portion of Bill C-42 that applies to the CRCC.
Senator Mitchell: Thanks to all of you.
Much has been made about the power to fire on behalf of the commissioner
that is in this act, but that in a sense begs two issues. First, what if it
just gives harassers more power to fire the people they are harassing, who
then complain? On the flip side, what if someone is fired who should not
have been fired and the person who should have been fired is not fired? What
recourse do your two bodies have in those two cases?
Ms. Ebbs: You are talking about discipline
where the final result would be that the person is dismissed?
Senator Mitchell: The wrong person is
dismissed or the right person is not dismissed.
Ms. Ebbs: For cases where there is a
possibility of dismissal, Bill C-42 maintains a process where, in the
internal level, there would be a conduct board decision. That decision could
be appealed to the commissioner. At the appeal stage, the ERC would review
that case, as it does now, and provide findings and recommendations. A
member who has been disciplined and dismissed would have an appeal route.
Senator Mitchell: What about the case of
the sergeant who, in a tribunal, was found to have exposed himself and was
not fired? It seems obvious he should have been. Would you be able to step
in and do something about that?
Ms. Ebbs: At the stage the decision was
made, there would be the two parties: the member who was the subject of the
discipline hearing and the officer or the conduct authority that initiated
the whole process. If a decision was made in favour of the member, the
conduct authority could appeal that measure, I believe.
Senator Nolin: Thank you for agreeing to
appear before the committee to contribute to our study on Bill C-42. I want
to pick up on the issues Senator Plett raised pertaining to rights.
I am, to some extent, looking for some
reassurance from you. I understand that you are not a tribunal, in either
case. You are not there to charge anyone. Ultimately, you are there to
support the RCMP in fulfilling its mandate. The fact remains that the
individuals called to appear — and I am using the word "appear" in the
quasi-judicial sense — have rights that are protected under the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, rights they have acquired over the years
through the case law.
Reassure me that, once Bill C-42 comes into
force, the rights of those individuals will be protected when they appear
before either the new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission or the RCMP
External Review Committee.
Mr. McPhail: Senator, yes, I would be
pleased to do so. First, I would like to apologize. While my French has
improved considerably, I do not think it is quite at the level necessary for
This gets back to the fundamental mission of
the CPC and the new CRCC, which is to ensure, number one, that actions of
the RCMP comply with law, that they comply with policy and procedures of the
RCMP — or perhaps policies and procedures need to be amended — and that they
reflect public sentiment or public values that we have in Canada. As an
institution, because that is our mandate, I think we would be particularly
sensitive to the need to adhere to those values ourselves. That is perhaps
not a legislative commitment, but it is certainly a commitment from this
Ms. Ebbs: Efforts to make existing dispute
resolution processes pertaining to workplace relations more efficient are
always helpful. That said, it is important to make sure that members’ rights
continue to be protected. That is the challenge in changing processes to
make them more efficient.
Senator Nolin: Hence the importance of
respecting people’s rights.
Ms. Ebbs: Yes.
Senator Nolin: My second question is for
Some comments were made about — let us assume
that you will be that person — your new commission. How do you see the power
of the new commission to reach out, to find the documents available
somewhere to support or not or to help the new commission to do its job? I
think many discourses and speeches were made about that right to access
documents. Can you elaborate on those?
Mr. McPhail: Absolutely, senator. The first
step, I believe, is to know what you are looking for. We at the commission
have both members of the commission and outside investigators who are former
experienced members of the RCMP. By and large, they know what should be in a
file and what we need.
You are correct in suggesting that there can be
a challenge as to whether we are getting the full story. As I have said
before, we have established a relationship of mutual trust with the RCMP,
not without verification, but in the sense that the commission does not
misuse confidential information that it is given. We have never leaked
confidential information, and thus the RCMP has become much more willing to
provide us with that sort of information.
In talking to our investigators, there has
never been a sense that we have been prevented from getting information that
we have needed. Where there has been difficulty on occasion has more to do
with internal RCMP processes, with different computer and file retention
processes from one division to another, rather than with any effort to
prevent our access to information.
Senator Nolin: Thank you very much.
Senator Day: I am following the legislation
and trying to understand all the processes and the various boards created. I
must say initially that the use of commissioner for the head of the RCMP and
the commission does not make it easy to read to find your way through all of
this. If I ask a question that seems quite basic you will understand that I
have not been through all of this previously.
Maybe I could go first to page 18. Just bear
with me here. I guess what I am trying to understand is the role. We have a
code of conduct that is generated, and I would like to ask you a question
about the code of conduct. Then there is a conduct board that I am taking as
being one of the authorities that looks into whether there has been a breach
of a code of conduct at some time along the way. However, that hearing of
the conduct board can jump to the committee, Ms. Ebbs, at some time along
the way as well, if it appears that it should. Can you explain these various
steps and how that gets to the external committee?
Ms. Ebbs: Yes. From my understanding of the
bill, I can talk about that. At the internal stage within the RCMP, from
what I understand the bill to say, if a member is alleged to have breached
the code of conduct, there will be different ways of dealing with it,
depending on how serious the breach is and what the consequences may be. I
understand the term "conduct authority" to be the person in charge who will
decide to start this discipline process rolling. That would be the conduct
It is a serious alleged breach, and if there is
a possibility that there could be an order to resign or dismissal, then that
case has to go to a conduct board, which is presently known as an
adjudication board. The decision of the conduct board could be appealed to
the commissioner. If it is appealed to the commissioner, then that is when
the ERC would see it.
Senator Day: Is the adjudication board
referred to in the legislation at section 44 just disappearing, or will that
still be there?
Ms. Ebbs: The conduct board basically will
have the same functions as the adjudication board now, but there could be
changes in how that board operates. Those changes will come with the changes
in regulations and commissioner's standing orders. There are some things
that are not laid out in the bill that will follow the bill.
Senator Day: I found adjudication board at
proposed section 44, and I was going to ask you about that. Then there is a
board of inquiry that also appears in here. There seems to be a rather
extensive list of boards, commissions and committees, all appearing in this
one piece of legislation. I appreciate that human resources and breaches of
codes of conduct, et cetera, is a complicated matter, but if you had this to
do over again, Ms. McCoy, would you start with all of these various names
and then just make slight changes or would you start afresh?
Ms. McCoy: I agree that the use of
"commission" and "commissioner" is confusing, and some people do make that
mistake. I also like to say "RCMP Commissioner" when referring to it, to
distinguish it from the commission. When you do review either the existing
RCMP Act or Bill C-42 in detail, it does make sense and it is
understandable, notwithstanding the use of various terms.
The bill itself covers, as Mr. Potter from
Public Safety explained when he was here, three different tracks: the public
complaints route, the internal disciplinary route, as well as what is known
in the bill as the serious incident investigation route, which is like a
criminal investigation. There are various entities involved in each.
Unfortunately, I think the way it had to be is — I will not say complicated
— but a little difficult, perhaps, initially to follow.
The Chair: I will put you on second round,
if you do not mind.
Senator Manning: Could you maybe elaborate
somewhat and give us a picture of the number of instances of harassment that
you have dealt with and whether they were formal or informal — that is, some
numbers in relation to the size of the force and how many have come forward
in the past?
Mr. McPhail: Is that directed to me or to
Senator Manning: Either one.
Ms. Ebbs: As part of the ERC's mandate, we
would be reviewing grievances related to harassment that were sent to the
commissioner on appeal. I think we do have some statistics on ERC cases, if
I could defer to Mr. Paradiso.
David Paradiso, Executive Director and Senior
Counsel, RCMP External Review Committee: In the history of the ERC, it
has received 117 grievances related to harassment. Those are appeals from
either member relating to the issue of harassment. It could be a discipline
or it could be a grievance. It gets complicated, but that is what has come
to the ERC in its history.
Senator Manning: One hundred and seventeen
The Chair: Is this in 20 years?
Mr. Paradiso: In 25 years.
Senator Manning: Have you seen an increase
in the past few years? It seems like it has become more public, for lack of
a different word, in the past three, four, five years, or is it even across
the 25-year span?
Mr. Paradiso: It has been increasing, but
that is marginal when you look at how small the numbers are. Percentage
wise, it increased quite considerably over the past five years, and that is
just what we have received.
Senator Manning: Mr. McPhail, you stated in
the past that commission investigations have been hampered by RCMP delays in
handling complaints. Do you feel Bill C-42 addresses the issue of
streamlining the current complaints process?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, it does. As I have stated
previously, I believe before this very committee when we were discussing the
harassment report, with the time required to deal with complaints, internal
grievances, which we found could be as long as four years, it was asking an
awful lot of any individual to put their career and, indeed, their life on
hold for that period of time. No reasonable person
could be expected to want to voluntarily do something like that.
To the extent that we reduced the multiplicity
of processes, while still maintaining natural justice and protection for all
individuals concerned, to the extent that we can expedite the process, I
think that will make a big difference, both in terms of justice to the
individuals involved and also in the willingness of aggrieved persons to
Senator Patterson: Thank you to the
witnesses. Perhaps I might just follow up on Senator Manning's question
about the expeditious handling of files; we have heard some real horror
stories about the delays.
Mr. McPhail, could you say how the bill would
achieve more efficiency in a more reasonable period of time, please?
Mr. McPhail: Let me give you an example. I
would ask Mr. Evans, who has more direct experience in this area than I do,
to step in if I misstate anything.
In a grievance hearing, for example, at almost
any step of the process, there can be an application for review of decisions
made. Bill C-42 gives the commissioner the authority to streamline the
process so that applications for review should surely not occur until the
grievance process has been completed.
Something as simple as that would result in
many instances during expedited hearings without any detraction from the
rights of natural justice, the rights of the parties.
Senator Patterson: Was that possibility of
applying for review at every little stage of the grievance process one of
the real causes of delay that has been eliminated through this bill?
Mr. McPhail: I will ask Mr. Evans to deal
with that part specifically.
Mr. Evans: I would say it has the potential
to be eliminated because that goes to what has developed by way of rules
under the grievance process.
From the perspective of the CPC, I can
certainly say that during our investigation into how harassment was being
dealt with, there were files where you could see members grieving decisions
made at various stages throughout the process.
Bill C-42 allows the Commissioner of the RCMP
to streamline that somewhat by, as Mr. McPhail says, allowing the process to
unfold and then having a review of it done at the end as opposed to all of
these various stages. While that is not specifically provided for in Bill
C-42, the ability of the RCMP to implement something like that is what is
Senator Dallaire: I found the references I
was looking for only to discover that between commission and commissioner, I
got turned on my own tail.
The Chair: You got promoted.
Senator Dallaire: What a zoo. There is one
point I would like to query you on with the application of this new
delegation of authority. It seemed to create a bit of nervousness in regard
to some of the investigations, results summary trials or inquiries — those
were terms that were used — and whether that would be on the same level as
It says here, if I may, the commissioner could
under this amendment, which permits him to delegate authority to discipline
and so on, be given a great deal of room to appoint other members — likely
commanding officers — of the force to become chairs of their own boards of
inquiry should grievances arise.
Do you see this legislation permitting that to
Ms. Ebbs: I do understand that the bill
opens up more opportunity for the commissioner to delegate authority. I do
think that is part of the bill.
Senator Dallaire: Yes, that is true, but to
actually be able to be the chair of their own boards of inquiry in their own
area of responsibility, would that make any sense? Can a commanding officer
chair his own board of inquiry on a grievance?
Ms. Ebbs: I think there would still be
rules around fairness and the appearance of impartiality. I think all those
procedural safeguards would still be there.
Senator Dallaire: That brings me then, if I
may, to my second question. Do you believe the institution, which will now
be significantly modified with this power, has built the capacity to handle
these new authorities and is, in so doing, reinforcing the discipline and
the assurance that there are no rogue elements in the RCMP? Or are you
concerned — I look at both of you — from the data you have from previous
complaints that, in fact, there is a process that should be implemented in
parallel to this new legislation that implements a new program of education
and development, even training, within the officer corps, in particular in
the NCO corps of the RCMP, and apply it with the transparency people are
hoping it will achieve?
Mr. McPhail: Senator, those are areas that
the RCMP is working on at the present time and we are working on with them
through, as I made reference earlier, the development of a memorandum of
There have been extensive discussions, which
include the issues that you are referring to. Yes, we recognize and the
leadership of the RCMP recognizes that the changes we all want to see take
place will not be easy. They require significant changes, but we are working
on them to contribute to the extent that any review agency can. I do not
know if that is an adequate response.
Senator Dallaire: I was hoping you would
not be so diplomatic. Can they or can they not handle it?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, I think they can handle
it. I cannot give you a final answer because it is a work-in-progress. That
is the frank answer.
Senator Plett: Another concern I have heard
is that Bill C-42 possibly gives the commissioner a little bit too much
power all on his own. Then I have had it explained to me that a number of
steps are required before someone can be dismissed.
I would like you, for my benefit and for the
record, to tell me in a fairly short version, if I am an RCMP officer and I
have a complaint against a superior or against a fellow RCMP officer, what
are the procedures I follow? What steps are taken before the commissioner
would be able to dismiss the person I am complaining about or possibly say
that there are not enough grounds to dismiss that person?
Ms. Ebbs: The internal process would start
with a conduct authority or a supervisor deciding that it was warranted to
have an investigation about a certain member. Allegations arose about a
certain member, and then there would be a decision on the part of the
conduct authority to have an investigation. If that
investigation discovered something, it would go further, and a decision
would be made on discipline — whether or not this misconduct happened and if
so what the consequences would be for the member.
Senator Plett: Who would make that
decision? Sorry for interrupting.
Ms. Ebbs: The conduct authority, the
officer initiating the process, or a conduct board. If it is more serious
and the possibility of dismissal arises, then a conduct board would hold a
hearing with the member and make a decision. If their decision was that
there was misconduct and dismissal was in order, then the member could
appeal that decision to the commissioner. Before the commissioner deals with
it, it would have to come to the ERC, and we would provide our own
independent neutral review.
The commissioner's role comes at the end of the
process, when there has been an appeal of a discipline.
Senator Plett: The commissioner would
almost be an arbitrator? That would not be the correct term, but he would
make the decision after the recommendation was made, and he could either
accept the decision or change it?
Ms. Ebbs: He could accept the decision or
he could change it. Both parties would have a chance to make submissions to
the commissioner about what they thought should be done, and then the
commissioner makes the decision, and that is the final decision RCMP-wise.
If it was taken further, it would go to Federal Court.
Senator Plett: It is also possible to have
a judicial review. Thank you very much.
When the minister appeared, I did ask about the
budget. Mr. McPhail, do you believe, given the number of cases that
potentially there could be, and I think your budget is somewhere around $10
million — you can correct me if that is wrong — there is a sufficient budget
to accomplish your mandate?
Mr. McPhail: Senator, we have looked at
this very closely. The anticipated budget is in the range of $10.4 million,
which is an increase of $1.9 million. We anticipate that the costs of
implementing the expanded mandate will be greater than $1.9 million, but
through internal efficiencies, a shifting or reallocation of resources from
administration to operations, we have been able to come up with the
necessary resources, so I am confident that we will have sufficient.
If it should happen that there is a major
inquiry of some sort that we are asked to conduct, then, as has happened in
the past, the commission would apply to Treasury Board for specific funding
for that purpose. However, in terms of ongoing operations, I believe that
the anticipated budget would be sufficient to enable the commission to do
its job and to do it well.
Senator Mitchell: One of the problems with
the grievance process as it exists today is that people are afraid to come
forward because they are targeted, they are ostracized immediately once they
complain, and that might explain why there are only 117 cases that have ever
got as far as you.
You are the expert, Ms. Ebbs, on this kind of
thing. Could you tell us what could be different about the new grievance
process that might be set up under this legislation that would ensure that
people would not be afraid or inhibited in coming forward with their
complaints for fear of reprisal and repercussion?
Ms. Ebbs: Just as you, I become aware of
things that are happening internally in the RCMP. I think the work that is
being done on changing the grievance process, the harassment complaint
process, the discipline process are all positive initiatives and should lead
to an improvement in the workplace, improvement in the culture, because
labour relations processes are very much tied to workplace satisfaction.
However, those by themselves I do not think
would be enough. I think that the commissioner and others in the RCMP have
been talking a lot about a respectful workplace, changing the culture,
getting people to think more, maybe preventing issues of harassment rather
than dealing with them after the fact.
All of those pieces will be really important.
They are all challenging. It is a very ambitious exercise, but I think that
with Bill C-42 and all the discussion that has gone on recently, the
momentum is there to make some real changes.
Senator Mitchell: Of course none of this
new budget is going to respectful workplace, so there is no clear indication
that there is actually a new budget for that.
My next question is about civilian oversight.
Every last analysis from O'Connor to McAusland to Brown to probably you has
said we need real civilian oversight. What the CRCC will be doing is really
a limited feature of that. It is after the fact. There may be some
before-the-fact looking at policy, but really the issue of police planning
and budgeting, which are common to civilian oversight bodies, will not be
part of the CRCC. Is that right?
Mr. McPhail: The difference, I believe,
senator, is that we will still continue the basic or core work of the
commission, which is specific public complaints; but in terms of your
question, the breadth of reviews, this is covered by the new ability to
institute systemic or operational reviews of almost any activity within the
RCMP. It is not necessarily complaint-driven but rather an area that the new
commission believes would be in the public interest to review.
You make reference to some of the reports that
have been done in the past, and I recall that in Mr. Justice O'Connor's
review he makes some specific suggestions. This came up before this
committee, where there were some specifics, but the broad one was that
review should encourage the organization being reviewed to reflect the
broader values of the community, to reflect the public interest, and that is
not a simple process. However, depending on how much time we have, I think
there are a number of instances where the commission has contributed to that
and where I think we can contribute even more in the future.
Senator Nolin: I want to continue on that.
I was waiting for Senator Mitchell to introduce that subject, which is a
I want to tie your last answer in with an
answer you just gave to Senator Plett. Let us assume that you on your own
authority decide to investigate something, of course around the RCMP
mandate. You do not have to knock on the door of the RCMP to fund the
investigation if you need more money. You go directly to Treasury Board on
your own will to support that endeavour, right?
Mr. McPhail: That is correct. The
commission has never relied on the RCMP for funding.
Senator Nolin: It is important to note that
with that new authority you can investigate without having to please anyone
or to wait for anyone to say, "Of course, here is the money to do it." That
Mr. McPhail: Yes. Could I jump in here for
Senator Nolin: Of course, you are the
Mr. McPhail: No, no. It is give and take,
and this is helpful.
The most expensive aspect of review would be
public hearings. They can cost millions. To the extent that our commission
can do its work through reviews and investigations, I believe in the vast
majority of cases it produces the same or even a better result in a much
more cost-efficient manner.
Senator Nolin: I have one last question to
help me get a sense of the scope involved. My colleagues asked about the
number of complaints over the past 25 years.
Senator Dallaire: May I have a supplemental
question on this comment that was just raised in regard to obtaining the
funds to be able to implement an investigation? I do not believe you go
directly to Treasury Board. I believe the Minister of Public Safety goes to
Treasury Board in your name. Is that not correct?
Mr. McPhail: That is correct, but we make
an application, which is reviewed by Treasury Board.
Senator Dallaire: Of course. I mean, they
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Dallaire: But you still function
through the Minister of Public Safety, who also has oversight on the RCMP?
Mr. McPhail: Just in the same manner that
our regular budget comes from Public Safety Canada.
Senator Dallaire: That is right. So it is
not independent from the process of security of the ministry; the minister
could still influence the outcome of this regarding his relationship with
how he sees the problem in the RCMP.
The Chair: If I could interject, I would
say this: It would be difficult for the minister to refuse such a request,
obviously because the commission, I would think, has done all their homework
and subsequently would have a lot of justification for the request.
Senator Day: That is a bit of speculation.
The Chair: But on both sides, senator.
Senator Nolin: I will follow up with a
Mr. McPhail, could you explain this to my
colleagues: When the Supreme Court needs money, how do they do that?
Mr. McPhail: They have to get that from the
government, do they not?
Senator Nolin: Is it a minister who goes to
Mr. McPhail: Frankly, I do not know.
Senator Nolin: You are a quasi-judicial
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Nolin: Like the court, you will
knock on the door of the Treasury Board because that is the only place the
Mr. McPhail: Exactly.
Senator Nolin: Like a court, you would get
your money there?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Day: On that point, it seems to me
that somewhere in here we looked at before you can initiate this inquiry,
you have to be satisfied that sufficient funds exist to do it. Is that not
in there somewhere?
Mr. McPhail: Yes; it is.
Senator Day: That sort of rounds that out.
I could not find it in a hurry.
Mr. McPhail: Add to that, senator — and I
was making mention of this in response to Senator Nolin — the cost of a
public inquiry, for example, which will be infrequent, but it will happen on
occasion. Under those circumstances, I think clearly you would have to go to
the government to ask for additional funding.
In terms of our ongoing operations — and this
gets back to Senator Plett's question — do we have sufficient funding for
what I would anticipate to be the ongoing work of the commission? Bearing in
mind the new responsibilities and based on the number of special reviews
that the commission has done in the past, it appears that we do. I
Senator Day: No. That is quite all right.
What we are required to do is to understand this legislation to the extent
we can vote for or against it. I think all of our questions are going to try
to understand it. I am looking now at page 33, which is proposed section
45.16(10). This is the section that talks about starting a hearing process
that might move over to the committee. It says:
Despite subsection (9), the
Commissioner may rescind or amend the Commissioner's decision . . .
I read that and I wondered is that because
there might be a change of commissioners at the office or is this another
commissioner that I do not know about? I was jumping around on that.
I then read the French, which says:
Le commissaire peut annuler sa décision.
In French, I understood it, but in English I do
not understand why the commissioner can rescind the commissioner's decision
and not his or her decision. Can you help me with that, any of you? Mr.
Paradiso or Ms. McCoy?
Mr. McPhail: It is Ms. Ebbs' bailiwick.
Ms. Ebbs: This is similar to the power that
the commissioner has now, that if there is new information —
Senator Day: I understand the overall
section, that there is new evidence.
Ms. Ebbs: You mean why does it say
Senator Day: Why did the commissioner amend
the commission —
Ms. Ebbs: Could it be a former
commissioner's decision that the new commissioner amends?
Senator Day: That is what my thought was,
but then I read the French.
Ms. Ebbs: I would not think that would ever
Senator Day: The commissioner can rescind
the commissioner's decision. This is another commissioner, then, and who is
that other commissioner?
Ms. Ebbs: No, I think it is the same
meaning. That is, if the commissioner made a decision and then, subsequent
to making that decision, found there was an error, it would be their own
decision they were amending.
Senator Day: Why does it not say the
commissioner can rescind his decision, unless it means something else? I
asked Ms. McCoy and Mr. Paradiso, thinking they may be able to help me with
the wording, but maybe you want to think about this because I will run out
The Chair: No, you are okay, senator.
Senator Nolin thinks he might be able to give you the answer.
Senator Nolin: I will suggest an answer.
Just say "yes" or "no"; I may be totally off field. Instead of focusing on
an individual, we have to focus on a position. I think that is the answer. A
commissioner can be A, B, C, D, E, and the bill refers not to individuals
but to a position. That is why the wording is such. Do you think I am right?
Mr. McPhail: I do.
Senator Day: It reads quite differently in
Senator Nolin: That happens often.
Senator Day: It says "sa décision" in
The "commissioner's decision" suggests to me in
English that it is some other commissioner than this commissioner. I will
leave it there.
Mr. McPhail: It is an interesting point,
because why would it not say the commissioner may rescind or amend his or
Senator Day: Yes, like they do in French;
absolutely. "Interesting" is a nice word.
I have many questions, and that is why I wanted
to move on. You cannot count the intervention of one of my colleagues.
The Chair: I am starting to count.
Senator Day: Start now, then.
The commissioner is not bound to act on any
findings. That was the point made earlier to the committee's decision. That
is in this section as well. What I want to refer you to is the new section
45.17, where it refers to a special treatment of deputy commissioner. In the
case of a deputy commissioner, there are sections in here — this is one of
them and there is an earlier section — that state that in the event of some
disciplinary action contemplated, if it is a deputy commissioner, there is a
different process. Can you explain why the deputy commissioner would be
singled out with special process?
Ms. Ebbs: It is because of the difference
in the appointment. Deputy commissioner is an appointment. It is an
order-in-council position. All the other positions are not order-in-council.
That is why there needs to be a provision for the deputy commissioner that
it is only a recommendation, because it is an order-in-council position.
Senator Day: Thank you. That is helpful. It
appears two or three times in here; I will not take you to the others.
My final question this round: Thank you for
reminding me that at page 14, section 24.1 of the act is amended by adding
here "Commission." It says:
(1.1) For greater certainty, the power
to appoint under subsection (1) includes the power to appoint all or
any of the members of the Commission.
We are way back at the front end; we have not
started talking about the commission yet. The commission comes quite a bit
later in the act. Then I looked back to page 35 and I found that the
appointments to the commission are orders-in-council, whereas this allows
the commissioner to appoint members of the commission. Am I misreading this,
or is there an error in this drafting? The explanation to it says the same
thing, "members of the Commission." That means that the Commissioner of the
RCMP can appoint members to the commission. However, if you go over where he
talks about the commission, they are order-in-council appointments. Are you
with me on the question?
Mr. McPhail: That has to be a different
Senator Day: That may well be. There are so
many in this piece of legislation.
Mr. McPhail: It cannot be the CRCC, because
the Commissioner of the RCMP has no rights in that respect at all.
Senator Day: That was my thought. What
other commission are we talking about here? You may want to look into these.
The Chair: Perhaps we can get something
back in writing, because I do not think we will make a decision here today.
It is a valid question.
Senator Day: I think you are probably
The Chair: Can we move on? Senator Day,
have we satisfied most of your questions?
Senator Day: You have not satisfied me with
an answer, but I think these are important for all of us to have answers to
before we vote on this.
The Chair: We will move on.
Mr. McPhail: Mr. Chair, if I can step in
for a moment, even though that section does not pertain to the new CRCC — I
will avoid the use of the word "commission" — we would be happy to take a
look and respond in writing to your question.
Senator Day: If either or both of you
could, and if you have different answers, that would be fine too.
Senator Dallaire: I read the following: At
National Defence, you, as commanding officers under the Queen's Regulations
and Orders, have authority that you can delegate to subordinates in order
for them to apply the disciplinary process according to the Queen's
Regulations and Orders that are a derivative of the National Defence Act.
In the RCMP, I read you have the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Regulations, 1988, and pursuant with the RCMP Act, they have
the commissioner's standing orders and rules that are treated as regulations
on the justice, laws and so on.
I do not believe you have had many complaints
in the past from people who feel they should have been promoted or not
promoted or that the penalties or what they have received as what one calls
"getting a punishment" from an authority has come to your place because
there has not been much ability by the commissioner, and certainly delegated
officers, to actually punish people. Am I correct in that?
Ms. Ebbs: In terms of promotions?
Senator Dallaire: In terms of conduct,
stopping a promotion because of conduct and things of this nature.
Ms. Ebbs: With the system that is presently
in place, there is a series of possibilities for a sanction for a member who
has had some misconduct. There are two different processes. The first is
less serious. There is an informal process and the sanctions are less
serious. Those are a different stream. The formal processes, where the
sanctions can be more serious, are the ones that could end up at the ERC.
However, we do not see the cases where a more informal process is chosen.
Senator Dallaire: The new process will not
make it available either.
Ms. Ebbs: The new process gets rid of the
distinction between informal and formal.
Senator Dallaire: My question was the
following: Have you been consulted in the process of writing or rewriting
these standing orders or rules with regard to amending the disciplinary
regime that is available now to delegated officers in order for them to
apply this legislation?
Ms. Ebbs: No. We attend different RCMP
working group meetings where they discuss changes to their internal process,
but we have not been consulted on any changes to rules or regulations as
Senator Mitchell: I am interested in
pursuing the scope issue of civilian oversight, and that really comes down
to the balance between proactive and reactive initiatives. Complaints are
reactive. To this point, how much of your commission's time has been spent
on reviews, special reviews, i.e., proactive, that would apparently be
bolstered now? How much has been spent on reactive — the mainstream of your
work — to this point? How much do you anticipate that will change to a
greater weight on proactive? You must have some idea on that because you
have said the $1.9 million would not be enough if you had not taken some
initiative, but it will be enough.
Mr. McPhail: That is correct, although part
of the responsibilities involve greater engagement with the provinces, the
contracting jurisdictions and the more formal ties with our provincial
counterparts. If I can briefly summarize what the commission has been doing,
we conduct roughly about 250 reviews or investigations per year of specific
complaints or requests for review from members of the public. In addition,
we have the much smaller number, but far more extensive in scope,
chair-initiated complaints or systemic reviews such as the harassment
review. We anticipate that the core work of the new commission, those public
complaints, will continue at roughly the same level.
However, bearing in mind the new
responsibilities of greater involvement with our provincial counterparts and
the ability — and I think it is more than the ability; there is clearly an
expectation on the part of both the government and the public that we will
be more proactive in doing systemic reviews of activities — I think that
that area of involvement is going to increase. To what extent is difficult
to say. Perhaps I will ask Mr. Evans because you asked about percentage.
Senator Mitchell: Roughly, how many are you
doing, how much time is spent now?
Mr. Evans: We process about 2,500
complaints in a year. That is sort of a round number.
Senator Mitchell: How does that square with
Mr. McPhail: That is reviews and
Mr. Evans: Ten per cent of those people are
not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of that complaint. Those are the 250
reviews Mr. McPhail is referring to.
In the area of chair-initiated complaints, I
would have to do a bit of checking. We can give you that. It is in our
annual report. We will itemize each one of them. It is fewer than 10 a year,
Senator Mitchell: How much do you think
that would go to?
Mr. Evans: The chair-initiated complaints
do not change. It is the specified activities provided for under the act. As
Mr. McPhail said, our core business remains processing the complaints, and
it will have to wait and see, quite frankly.
Senator Mitchell: There is a recent case
that came out where a junior person was sexually harassed. The constable who
did it was found to have done it and had to apologize. In the end, the
junior person, the woman, moved because she was ostracized. She takes the
risk of going into the grievance processes, gets targeted, and she has to
It seems to me someone should have phoned her
and said, "Do not move. I will make the others move." Would you be able to
step in and say that was the wrong decision? That young woman should have
been able to stay where she was and the people who targeted her should have
been moved because then you would send a message about culture.
Ms. Ebbs: In terms of the ERC, we do not
have any authority to initiate our own investigations. We review
appeal-level labour resource decisions that have already been started by
The Chair: Could I intervene? This has been
a concern, and if you are not comfortable responding to that question —
Mr. McPhail: It is public.
The Chair: — it does not necessarily mean
that the witness feels comfortable commenting on it.
Mr. McPhail: I think, Mr. Chair, we could
comment on our jurisdiction, if that would be helpful to the committee.
The Chair: If you are comfortable with
that, go ahead.
Mr. McPhail: I will ask Mr. Evans to
Mr. Evans: It is important to make the
distinction between conduct issues and public complaints.
When you are talking about the conduct of
members, the commission's mandate is to exam the conduct of members engaged
in the execution of their duties. That type of complaint would be dealt with
under the RCMP's authority as employer to deal with conduct issues.
In the new legislation of Bill C-42, it
clarifies that somewhat at proposed subsection 45.53(4), whereby members of
the RCMP cannot make complaints to the CRCC if it could be dealt with
elsewhere — in other words, under the conduct of the grievance system. It
clarifies somewhat that our focus is on taking complaints from members of
the public and dealing with those.
Senator Campbell: Would you agree with me
that your position as quasi-judicial, as time goes on, is evolutionary?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Campbell: You would agree with
that. When you do inquiries, eventually you build up a base. If you have
already done an inquiry that involves this issue and you already have a base
to go on, you would have recommendations that you can make and you would
have dealt with it. Would you agree with that?
Mr. McPhail: Yes, I would, senator.
Senator Campbell: We seem to be, for some
reason, hung up on numbers. As someone who was in a quasi-judicial position
for 20 years, would you agree that it is not about the numbers? It is not
whether there are 400 or 4; it is about how the investigation takes place,
the results of that investigation and the ability for an agency to react to
your recommendations. Is that correct?
Mr. McPhail: I would agree, senator. I can
give you two examples.
Senator Campbell: Yes, please.
Mr. McPhail: There is the commission's work
on conducted energy weapons or taser use. I would be the last person to say
this is solely as a result of the commission's work, but I think the
commission contributed to this.
The commission reviewed the RCMP policies and
actions in this field. We have conducted annual reviews and reports. This
has contributed, I believe, to an increasing consciousness within the RCMP
that tasers are not to be used as a first response.
Senator Campbell: In a cavalier manner.
Mr. McPhail: Exactly. The practical result
has been that taser use has dramatically declined.
The other area is use of force. We have done
studies and continuing reviews on use of force incidents. If there is an
occasion where there has been a use of force, an RCMP member, unlike members
in almost any other police force, has to go back and provide a written
record and justification for that use of force, which contributes to a sense
that this is a serious matter and has to be considered more carefully.
I think that is a good illustration of your
point, where in that case just two instances, two reviews, have actually had
a measurable impact in the culture of the RCMP.
Senator Campbell: Do you make
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator Campbell: Do you follow up on those
Mr. McPhail: Yes, we do.
Senator Campbell: What is your rate of
Mr. McPhail: The rate of success is in the
85 per cent range.
Senator Campbell: The success is that they
have followed your recommendation. Is that correct?
Mr. McPhail: Correct.
Senator Campbell: That is a success. That
is actually quite an impressive number.
Senator Nolin: I understand it is a matter
of figures, but just to gain a bit of perspective — because those following
our proceedings may not know — how many RCMP employees are you responsible
for, do you have authority over?
I do not need the exact number. Are we talking
about 20,000 or 25,000?
Ms. Ebbs: Regular members and civilian
Senator Nolin: How many people is that?
Ms. Ebbs: I am not sure of how many
Senator Nolin: I do not need to know the
exact number, but could you give me a general sense of how many, for
Mr. Paradiso: It is around 27,000 or 28,000
Senator Nolin: So the 117 complaints you
mentioned earlier, over 25 years, cover a total workforce of between 25,000
and 28,000 people?
Ms. Ebbs: Yes, the number has gone up over
Senator Nolin: No doubt. I just wanted to
get a sense of the number of people overall, so we could appreciate how
major or minor the problem was.
Senator Day: The act provides that
regulations shall be generated and referred to as a code of conduct. Do you
anticipate any significant changes in the existing code? Will that be
something that is already done, or will it be a lot of work before we get to
see that in regulation?
Ms. Ebbs: I would only be speculating, to
answer your question.
Senator Day: Is there an existing code of
Ms. Ebbs: Yes, there is, and it is in the
regulations. Those regulations will be opened up and the code of conduct
could be modified.
Senator Day: Yes, but you do not have any
information to give to us?
Ms. Ebbs: No details.
Senator Day: What I am trying to
contemplate is assuming that this legislation is passed in this or a
modified form, how long is it likely to be before it is implemented and
brought into force?
Ms. Ebbs: I believe that once the bill is
passed, there is a year given to prepare for implementation. I believe that,
but I am probably not the right person to speak to that.
Senator Day: If it turns out to be
otherwise, you can let me know, but we will assume it is approximately a
year at least.
Ms. Ebbs: I believe so.
The Chair: For the record, senator, I think
that information was given to us last week by previous witnesses, and they
indicated they had up to a year to put the regulations and policies in place
over the forthcoming review.
Senator Day: I am not hearing anything that
contradicts those previous witnesses. Thank you.
The Chair: I would like to thank our guests
for their presentations.
Joining us now via video conference from
British Columbia is Mr. Tom Stamatakis, President of the Canadian Police
Association. Mr. Stamatakis, welcome; we are delighted you are here and able
to join us today. I understand that you have some opening comments, if you
would please proceed.
Tom Stamatakis, President, Canadian Police
Association: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and honourable members of the
committee. Thank you very much for inviting me to appear today before you
regarding Bill C-42, the enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police
accountability act. While I would have liked to appear before you in person,
thank you for accommodating me and arranging this video conference.
Today is my first time appearing before the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, so let me begin
by giving a brief background on the Canadian Police Association.
The CPA is the national voice for over 52,000
police personnel across Canada. Membership includes front-line police and
civilian personnel serving in 160 police services across Canada, from our
country's smallest towns and villages, as well as those working in our
largest municipal and provincial police services, and members of the RCMP,
railway police and First Nations police personnel.
With respect to the RCMP in particular, the CPA
represents two of the national voluntary associations that have been created
by RCMP members themselves: the British Columbia Mounted Police Association
and the Mounted Police Association of Ontario. Both of those organizations
have a seat on our board of directors, giving our organization additional
perspective when it comes to the issues facing front-line members of our
national police service.
I also should note that as police officers,
whether within the RCMP, a provincial police force or a municipal police
force, having the confidence of the public we serve is of paramount
importance. While there is no doubt that recent events have put our
colleagues within the RCMP under the microscope, we cannot emphasize enough
that the men and women who make up Canada's national police force are, by
and large, a credit to our country and the communities they serve and
Bill C-42 contains a number of positive
elements. However, there are some areas of this proposed legislation that
cause concern, and I would like to take this opportunity to briefly
highlight those, particularly from the perspective of a front-line police
The first area I will touch on is that there is
no doubt that streamlining the discipline and grievance processes for RCMP
members is a desirable goal. Bill C-42 provides the commissioner with
extraordinary powers in this regard, powers that go beyond what one might
find in other police services across Canada.
For example, in Ontario, a police officer who
is subject to a disciplinary process retains the right to appeal the
decision to the independent Ontario Civilian Police Commission, a
quasi-judicial body that provides an impartial review of the process and
ultimately a decision.
Without any additional, and most importantly
independent, avenue for appeal, I would suggest there is a possibility that
RCMP members could lose faith in the impartiality of a process against them,
particularly in situations where the commissioner has delegated his
authority to discipline.
Clause 40 of Bill C-42 is another area of
serious concern as it deals with investigations when an RCMP member has
contravened the code of conduct within the force. First, the legislation
specifies that an officer can be compelled to testify against herself or
himself. Second, the legislation sets out the conditions under which a
warrant can be issued under the RCMP Act to potentially search the residence
of an RCMP member under the direction of the Commissioner of the RCMP or
another officer who has been delegated that authority. That is particularly
troubling when we are dealing largely with an administrative process
designed to deal with conduct issues that arise through the RCMP officer's
Unfortunately, both of these provisions, while
hopefully well-intentioned, are seemingly violations of the basic Charter of
Rights and Freedoms that all Canadian citizens enjoy and that should not be
ignored simply because someone is a member of the RCMP. In fact, I can only
imagine the public outcry that would follow should our front-line officers
conduct their own criminal investigations under provisions similar to those
included within Bill C-42.
A final area I would like to highlight comes
out in the testimony that was given at the House of Commons committee
studying this legislation regarding avenues of redress that RCMP members
might be able to take following a ruling that calls for the dismissal of an
Officials from the Department of Public Safety
pointed out that judicial review is always available for an officer who
wishes to appeal a commissioner's ruling under the new provisions of this
Unfortunately, this runs up against a
long-standing issue that the Canadian Police Association has been trying to
address, which is that the RCMP remains the only police service in Canada
that continues to be denied the right to associate. There is no doubt that
judicial review is an important aspect. However, as this committee knows,
taking a case through the court process is not without cost. Without an
association to represent the member or to help defray the cost, this avenue
may be beyond the means of an officer who has just recently lost employment
based on a discipline judgment in what most often will be largely an
Obviously this is only a brief overview of the
concerns that the Canadian Police Association has on this legislation.
I would be happy to expand or clarify any of
these areas for the benefit of committee members during our question and
answer period or any other areas I might be able to assist members with
before you begin your substantive deliberations on this legislation.
To conclude, there is no doubt that our
colleagues within the RCMP face unprecedented challenges, but there needs to
be a sense of balance. We cannot take steps to restore or enhance the
public's confidence with the RCMP at the expense of weakening RCMP members'
own confidence with their employer. There is room for management and
front-line officers to come together. This is evidenced by the collective
agreements arrived at with provincial and municipal police forces across
Canada. I hope this committee is able to amend Bill C-42 at this stage in
order to best find that balance that allows the RCMP to continue its role as
Canada's national police service engaged in federal, provincial and
municipal contract policing activities.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Dallaire: Good afternoon. I come
from a military background instead of a paramilitary background, which I
consider the RCMP, versus a police background, which I consider to be a
civilian structured organization with very specific roles, responsibilities
and a uniform. I do not have a problem with the commissioner delegating
authority for disciplinary matters down to subordinate commanding officers.
I do not even have a problem with the commissioner having authority of
discipline. What I find difficult to comprehend from your angle is why the
institution is fearful, particularly the junior members, that the seniors
may abuse the authority they have received versus appreciating that the
authority being closer down would probably get a fairer summary trial on
things that they have done.
Mr. Stamatakis: I guess I would answer your
question in two parts. One is that I think the obvious answer is they are
fearful because of experiences that they have historically had in this
existing model. The second part of the answer is that unless you can at
least provide an option that a complaint, particularly around a conduct
issue, can be independently reviewed — where the typical dynamics that exist
in the workplace or between individuals can be separated from the conduct
issue — there will always be that element of doubt around whether an outcome
is the right one based on an objective analysis of the circumstances or
whether it is being influenced by subjective or anecdotal opinions around an
individual or other similar dynamics that often exist in the workplace.
With the greatest of respect, senator, the fact
is that the RCMP is engaged in municipal and other policing activities in
their role as a provincial police force, which are very similar to those of
other municipal and provincial police agencies and are focused on community
policing and relationships with individuals in a community. For that to
happen successfully I think there must be good, strong relationships within
Senator Dallaire: My second question
derives from the first one. I am not even going to enter the debate on why
we have RCMP at provincial or municipal levels to start with. That is part
of their employ, but it does not negate the fact that their commanding
officers are still within a structured organization that comes nationally
and has certain ramifications when they have these provincial contracts.
Within the organization I come from, people would prefer being held
accountable and that discipline be handed out by people at the lowest level
of authority — a unit or a subunit — versus having it moved to a court
martial or things of that nature, which means moving it higher.
Why is it that you think a reverse thought
exists in the RCMP, and if there is a concern about the leadership being
able to handle that in an objective and responsible way, what do you think
they have to do to retrain their people to be able to handle something like
Mr. Stamatakis: To be clear, we do not have
any quarrel with the notion that if there is a conduct issue, it should be
dealt with at the lowest level possible. The issue is where that does not
happen or if that process goes off the rails or goes sideways, there needs
to be some mechanism for the member to go to some other alternative
mechanism or adjudicative body to have the issue looked at independently.
That is the issue. I have no quarrel with the notion that the commissioner
should be able to delegate his or her authority. That makes sense, frankly,
and it is consistent with what occurs in provincial and municipal police
departments across the country.
Senator Plett: It is nice seeing you again,
Mr. Stamatakis. It was great having you and your colleagues in Ottawa last
Mr. Stamatakis: Thank you, senator.
Senator Plett: We appreciate all the work
you do. I have two questions. The first is a continuation in part with what
Senator Dallaire already talked about. We had a panel here a few minutes
before you and I asked a question about one of your concerns. They told us
that, in fact, there is quite a process if someone brings a complaint
forward. If I complain about a fellow officer, I go first to my superior who
decides whether it warrants an investigation, and then it goes to a panel
that does the investigation, and that panel makes a recommendation to the
commissioner. The commissioner then decides whether or not this individual
should be dismissed, should not be dismissed, certain disciplinary action
taken. If that individual does not like it, he or she can still appeal to a
judicial review body or to the courts.
I see that as quite a process, yet you have a
concern with that. Now, explain to me what you do. I think in your case, the
chief can dismiss or fire someone and an arbitrator can overrule that. Tell
me why you have a problem with quite a cumbersome body as opposed to your
suggestion that it was not enough people involved.
Mr. Stamatakis: We do not have an issue
with respect to the process and that if there is an issue, you go to your
supervisor, the supervisor tries to resolve it and if not it goes to some
other step. The issue from our perspective is that when it gets to the point
where the commissioner, for example, decides to uphold a decision of the
panel to dismiss or impose some significant amount of discipline, there is
no mechanism similar to what would exist in every other municipal and
provincial police force in this country. We could go to an arbitrator, or if
it is a conduct issue within the context of provincial legislation, the
police act legislation where they go to an independent police complaints
commissioner to raise the issue.
The problem with relying on the judicial review
process is that it is very onerous and typically beyond the means of an
individual officer, so it raises a number of challenges. It is almost a
false promise that it is reasonable for an individual to undertake that
process given how complicated and legalistic some of these complaints
processes can be.
Senator Plett: I do not want to belabour or
debate it with you, but it sounds to me like you are advocating that one of
the problems here is a lack of an association, which of course Bill C-42
does not deal with.
Mr. Stamatakis: That is correct. That is
one of our main issues, and you are right, Bill C-42 does not deal with
To be clear, there are changes that are
contained within Bill C-42 that we think are good changes. In terms of the
process of initially dealing with a complaint, the process you described is
quite similar to what occurs in most police organizations; it is just the
ending that is different.
Senator Plett: My second question is with
respect to something you raise as one of your concerns. It is in regard to
search warrants for a member's home for non-criminal administrative
measures. If you permit me, chair, I want to read a few notes here: "That
the authority to obtain a search warrant or production order during an
administrative investigation would not be unique to the RCMP. These
authorities have existed in police statutes" — and I find this interesting —
"in British Columbia and Ontario for several years. A search warrant is also
available to Ontario police investigators during an investigation into
performance issues in addition to ones regarding conduct."
Bill C-42 goes further than these other regimes
by requiring that internal authorization be sought from a designated officer
before an application can be brought before a justice, and finally, the use
of a search warrant will be guided by the Charter in a manner similar to
what exists under criminal law.
What problems do you have with that particular
order, especially considering you are from British Columbia and you have had
this for a while?
Mr. Stamatakis: The problem I have with it,
remembering what I said in my opening comments, is that we are dealing with
legislation that is essentially administrative in nature. It deals with
issues related to conduct related to your employment as an RCMP officer, if
you look at the courts generally, and the view they take around a person's
home and the sanctity of the home. To us, it seems to go too far to include
search provisions in this kind of legislation when you are talking about
issues related to conduct related to your employment.
You will find that I made the same submissions
in British Columbia around the provincial statute that was enacted in B.C.
dealing with police conduct issues. We would make the same submissions in
Ontario with respect to including provisions like this.
I think when you are dealing with an issue
involving a police officer where there would be a need to conduct a search
of a person's home, typically you would be dealing with criminal allegations
of misconduct, and there are many provisions in the code that deal with
that. That is totally appropriate. I think if those were the kinds of
allegations we were dealing with, then we would have no quarrel with it.
However, for the purposes of a piece of administrative legislation dealing
with issues related to employment, we say it goes too far.
Senator Plett: Thank you, Mr. Stamatakis.
The Chair: I would like to just follow up
on the conduct board with the witness. It has not been discussed in
committee. That is the question of the designation of the conduct board and
the ability for the member who is being considered for discipline to have
the right to ask that an individual who has been appointed to the board be
removed if he or she thinks there could be a conflict.
I am asking the witness this: It would seem to
me this is another safeguard in the system to ensure that the individual's
rights are being considered at the initial stages of the review. Do you
think that would give an individual some comfort in respect to ensuring that
the process was fair and impartial?
Mr. Stamatakis: Yes.
Senator Mitchell: Thanks very much for
being here. You made a very specific and articulate presentation.
Roughly what percentage of major police forces
today in Canada would you say have a union?
Mr. Stamatakis: All of the large municipal
police forces and provincial police forces in Canada have a union. I would
say the vast majority of the smaller ones also have a union. Some of our
Aboriginal police forces do not, or they are represented by — for example, I
was dealing with a member at an Aboriginal police force in Ontario, and they
were represented by PSAC, so they are not part of a police union or the
Canadian Police Association.
Senator Mitchell: One concern we hear over
and over again in the RCMP is that many people are afraid to grieve because
they get singled out, targeted and ostracized. Is there anything you could
imagine could be construed in this new grievance process internal to the
RCMP that would ever alleviate that, short of having a union that would give
you objective representation in a grievance process?
Mr. Stamatakis: I think you hit the nail on
the head. The reality in this process, despite some positive changes, is
that the onus is still on the individual member, and it is often difficult
for individual police officers in the context of our environment to step
forward and raise an issue because they do feel that somehow they are
letting someone down or it could often expose them to some risk of
consequence somewhere later on.
Senator Patterson: I would like to ask the
witness about your concern regarding the questioning of members during
conduct investigations. You were concerned that the compulsion of an officer
to testify against themselves would be contrary to the Charter.
First, would you agree that this authority to
compel members to respond to questions during conduct investigations is in
place under the present legislation and has been so since roughly 1988?
Mr. Stamatakis: I have to apologize because
to be honest, I have been focused on this new legislation and I have not
reviewed the provisions closely enough to say. If you are suggesting it has
been, I will not quarrel with that.
Senator Patterson: Yes, I am suggesting
that it is already in the present legislation.
Further, where a member is compelled to provide
a response to a question, that response cannot be used against the member in
any civil, administrative or criminal proceeding, unless there is an
allegation that the member knowingly made a false statement.
My understanding is that this is a protection
that is consistent with the requirements of the present Charter. I was
wondering if you would comment on that, please.
Mr. Stamatakis: Thank you. I would say two
things. One is the requirement to compel someone to make a statement without
any opportunity to get advice, particularly when the consequences could be
quite significant — for example, if you are dealing with an allegation of
misconduct where a recommendation could include dismissal, those are pretty
significant consequences, and in our view, someone should have the
opportunity to get some advice prior to giving any statement that could
later be used, even in this kind of administrative process.
The reality is that if you are dismissed from
your employment as a police officer, there is not just the consequence of
losing your employment; you are essentially out of the profession and you
will never work as a police officer again anywhere in the country. The other
issue is that it has a continued impact looking for future employment in
other sectors in that it takes a bit to overcome the fact that you have been
dismissed from your employment as a police officer. That is one issue.
The second issue is that these proceedings are
all public proceedings for the most part. The reality is that once you make
a statement, that statement will stick with the process right to conclusion.
In this day and age of disclosure, and what we have seen on the municipal
and provincial side, where there are similar provisions in that there is a
duty to cooperate, in all of the provinces that have statutes around police
conduct, there is an opportunity to get advice from your union
representative. Currently for the RCMP, it would be the staff relations
representative. At least there is that opportunity,
even though you still have a duty to cooperate, which is fine. We have no
quarrel with that. However, where those statements are causing issues for
our members is that they are often being disclosed as part of a further
complaints process, and then individuals are using those statements in civil
proceedings or other processes. It is quite nuanced. They might not enter
the specific statement as an exhibit, but they definitely use the
information contained in the statement to further argue whatever their
Senator Day: Thank you very much for
outlining the areas of concern. I have been focusing on the one of
self-incrimination, proposed section 40, to which you referred. I am looking
at 40.8, at page 25 of the act. It says:
No one is excused from complying with
an order made under section 40.3(1) on the grounds that the document
that they are required to produce may tend to incriminate them or
subject them to criminal, civil or administrative action or
This is part of your concern, I understand.
Mr. Stamatakis: Absolutely.
Senator Day: It goes on to say:
However, a document that an individual
is required to prepare shall not be used or received in evidence
against them in a criminal proceeding . . .
Your colleagues can be required to produce the
document. The document itself cannot be used in the criminal investigation,
but certainly it can be used in any civil proceedings by anyone thereafter.
I understand your concerns there. That is an ex parte application
under section 40 to a justice, and you understand"ex parte"
means the individual who is being investigated will not know about this,
will not have an opportunity to explain his or her case to the justice
before the order is issued. That is your understanding?
Mr. Stamatakis: That is right, and that is
exactly the concern. I do not think it is clear in the legislation that in
fact you would have those protections. I think ultimately once a document is
produced, given what you have just outlined, the member will not know or
have an opportunity to argue why something should not be disclosed. It is
the same issue around the warrant issue. It is only after the fact that the
member finds out why a warrant might have been executed on their residence.
There is no opportunity in advance to argue why that goes too far. We think
it is an unnecessary step.
Senator Day: The second point I would like
to make is also under the new section 40.4, at page 23, which states that an
order made under this section — and that is the ex parte, no
representation by the person who is to be searched:
. . . may contain any conditions
that the justice considers appropriate including conditions to
protect a privileged communication . . .
That is fundamental to natural justice.
Privileged communication between the individual and his or her lawyer is
privileged communication. But it says "it may"; it does not say "it shall."
This is an ex parte application, and there is nothing in here that
requires the police officer or the agent of the RCMP who is seeking the
order to explain to a judge that there is privileged communication, and
therefore the justice may or may not put it in there. If it is not in there,
then privileged communication is open to be used, the way I interpret this.
Is that your understanding?
Mr. Stamatakis: Yes; that is my
understanding as well.
Senator Dallaire: I would like to go back
to the people who will be holding these responsibilities, the chain of
command, if I may use the term, in the RCMP, and who will be delegated these
different authorities. From the police services of this nation at large
which you represent — I had the Quebec gang in my office last week also —
when you have matters of good conduct and prejudice to discipline, usually
not extensively complex problems, for example, people either not dressing
properly or having pornographic calendars on their wall, or things of that
nature, what is the ethical framework that you have in police forces across
this country to educate the officer corps and also the troops on what is
good conduct that could be prejudicial to discipline?
Mr. Stamatakis: It forms a significant part
of our initial training of all police officers. I think that is pretty
consistent across the country. My experience is in British Columbia, so I
can speak in more depth around what happens in British Columbia. It forms
part of their initial training. For example, in the province of British
Columbia, we have a code of ethics that is well published and circulated
among the police forces and the members. It is jointly endorsed by both the
police organizations and the police unions or associations. We have internal
policies around things like harassment and what kinds of behaviour or
activities constitute harassment, and the expectations around that. Again,
we jointly endorse those policies.
There are ongoing reminders of the expectations
with respect to behaviour, conduct, and the kinds of activities that could
lead to someone perceiving something unwanted or an activity that could
offend someone. They are quite robust attempts to make sure our members are
familiar with the expectations with respect to conduct and also to make them
aware of the kinds of conducts or behaviours that could lead to a perception
that someone is harassing or bullying or engaging in inappropriate
behaviour, which sometimes can be innocuous behaviours, but it is how they
are perceived that ultimately creates the problem.
Senator Dallaire: Let me pursue with the
following: I am trying to grasp the system of discipline within the police
forces, let alone the RCMP, to see the comparison. I am doing this because
we are changing the nature of the discipline structure within the RCMP in
this legislation. When you have some Neanderthal sort of action still within
the force of comments like "boys will be boys" and similar sort of
gender-based, inappropriate actions, which the general population considers
inappropriate, but we are finding it may not be inappropriate in a
conservative sort of closed and intimate group, like a police force. How is
the policing of that done, and what sorts of punishment or disciplinary
actions are taken at that level? Will the RCMP now be able to do what you do
in your outfits with this change of legislation?
Mr. Stamatakis: To answer the last part of
your question first, yes, the idea is that when you identify this kind of
conduct or misconduct is occurring, what is most important is that you react
to it quickly and that there is an immediate response. Lowering the level of
response to the lowest level of supervision, if you want to call it that,
which can respond is a good thing. I find in my experience, which is pretty
significant, the quicker you can respond to a concern around harassing
behaviour or conduct, the easier it is to resolve and the more likely it is
that people will be satisfied with the outcome. That is very typical with
how it is dealt with in municipal and provincial police forces in the
country. We have structured committees, for example, where issues can be
brought and discussed and resolved. I think that part of it is good.
In terms of what the discipline or the outcome
is, it just depends on the conduct. In many cases, it is just a matter of
making someone aware that their conduct is inappropriate and is offending
someone. Most people generally are very responsive to that and they stop
engaging in the conduct.
If, on the other hand, it goes on further or
continues, then the penalties escalate. It is generally progressive in
nature. I do not think there is any intent within this legislation to go
away from that kind of model. The model is okay. The issue is what you do at
the end when there is a dispute around the ultimate outcome. Can you go to
an outside, independent adjudicator to turn an objective eye to it?
Senator Plett: I asked you the question
whether part of your issue possibly was the lack of an association or a
union and that a member would not be able to have help. In your role as
President of the Canadian Police Association, do you in any way represent
RCMP? Are they somehow related to your association?
Mr. Stamatakis: Yes. We represent those
RCMP members who are trying to obtain the right to form an independent
association. The British Columbia Mounted Police Association and the Mounted
Police Association of Ontario are trying to obtain those rights.
Senator Plett: Public Safety Minister Toews
indicated to this committee that he decided against incorporating language
in this particular legislation pertaining to unionization because the courts
were taking too long to render a decision on this issue. Do you have any
comments in that regard?
Mr. Stamatakis: There is a case before the
Supreme Court right now I think due to be heard in November. I suppose when
the Supreme Court makes a decision perhaps it will give everyone some better
guidance around the issue. I am not sure what more I can say about that.
Part of the issue, which you touched on, is
that a number of RCMP officers who are working within the RCMP do want to
have the right to form an independent association like other municipal
police forces and like other provincial police forces in Canada.
Senator Plett: You basically stated three
main concerns, and other than that, you are fairly supportive of this
legislation, and we appreciate that. Would most of your concerns be
alleviated if there was an association or if the RCMP were part of your
Mr. Stamatakis: Many of the concerns would
be alleviated if there was an independent association, along with, at the
end of the process where the commissioner made a final ruling, the ability
to use an independent adjudicative process to get a final and binding
decision, like exists with other municipal and provincial police
Senator Mitchell: Back to the grievance
process, or continuing with it, one of the concerns many members of the RCMP
share is that if they do grieve they are represented by a staff
representative who is internal to the chain of command and who might not be
as objective as one would like, perhaps due to pressures. You mentioned that
the process under an association or a union has union reps. How would they
function differently? They would be employed directly by the union and not
any longer by the police force?
Mr. Stamatakis: It varies from organization
to organization. Predominantly, though, in the police sector, elected union
officials are in fact police officers, and the unions or associations will
hire additional support staff that will assist members. Even within the
existing RCMP structure where you have the staff relations representative
program, the key difference is, if a front-line RCMP officer is being
represented by a staff relations representative, it is an internal process.
If at the end of the day there is not an
agreement on what the outcome should be — so the commissioner lands on one
place and the staff relations representative could be with the member
disagreeing with the commissioner's decision — there is nowhere else to go.
That is what leads to some of the frustration; that leads to the kinds of
issues we are seeing within the RCMP. If a person is not happy or satisfied
and they do not feel they have had a fair and objective look at their issue,
then the issue ultimately, regardless of the finding, remains unresolved,
and ultimately that has a disruptive long-term impact because issues fester
and become bigger problems and lead to this disgruntled employee situation.
Senator Mitchell: Most police forces, as
well as having a union, also have real civilian, public, non-political
oversight through police commissions. Could you give us some idea of your
experience, both in the union and generally as a police officer and
observing the process of policing in Canada, how that works in a way that,
for example, this new CRCC just will not have any kind of day-to-day
supervisory capacity over the police force?
Mr. Stamatakis: Yes. I use B.C. again as an
example. All of our public complaints involving police misconduct are
overseen by the independent Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
They have the ability, through their statutory authorities, to direct the
police investigation. I am just talking about the police conduct issues
related to employment. They are ultimately the body that can confirm an
outcome to that police investigation if they are not satisfied with the
outcome that is contained within any final investigation report. They can
order a re-investigation or a number of other things.
In British Columbia in particular, where it has
been around now for 10 or 15 years, it has really helped in terms of the
public's confidence around conduct issues and complaints because it is
independent of the police forces, even though the police forces still
conduct the investigation. Now, in addition to that, we have the Independent
Investigations Office, which does all of the investigations involving
serious injury or use of force. In British Columbia, the RCMP is part of
that, participates in that, and I think it will go a long way to enhancing
the public's confidence in policing generally.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Stamatakis, for
being here this evening. It was very enlightening.
Senator Campbell, do you have something?
Senator Campbell: It was not lack of
interest, Mr. Stamatakis. I just wanted to listen to your answers, and they
were, as usual, always good. Good to see you.
The Chair: With those comments, I will
excuse the witness. Thank you very much for being with us.
Honourable senators, next week we have a number
of witnesses, and then we will go to clause by clause with the bill next
Senator Day: Mr. Chair, there has been some
tradition that has been more in breach probably than followed. Out of
respect for witnesses and to give honourable senators an opportunity to
consider the evidence they just heard, we traditionally do not proceed
immediately with clause by clause following witnesses.
The Chair: Could I intervene, senator? That
was discussed looking at the time frame we have in respect to the business
we have. We agreed that would be the schedule. There will be at least a
15-minute break in between the final witness and the clause by clause, so if
an issue is raised, members have a chance to ascertain the importance of
that particular issue. We recognize that and did have an agreement with
respect to the schedule I am presenting to you right now. I understand your
Senator Day: With respect, I do not think
15 minutes would give me enough time to prepare an amendment. However, I
appreciate your trying to bring forward an agenda that this has to be done
at a certain time.
Senator Mitchell: Just an administrative
matter, Mr. Chair. You will know from your experience with the Energy
Committee that the Energy Committee is on the new system where we can get
all our documents provided electronically on the remote system. I find it
very useful and helpful. You can put it on a system where you can write on
it and so we reduce paper and so on. Three committees are now doing that. I
would like to propose that you consider the possibility of our doing the
The Chair: We will bring that to steering.
It is definitely a suggestion we will take seriously.
Senator Mitchell: It does not cost
The Chair: Next Monday we will be doing the
clause by clause at the end of the evening. If members have any observations
or comments they want to bring forward at that time, we should take those
into consideration as well.
Senator Day: How will we prepare
observations in 15 minutes after these witnesses? It just does not make
sense to be able to deal with the witnesses. I would rather not have any
witnesses and deal with the clause by clause.
Senator Campbell: Could we just go with the
witnesses, and if in fact there are observations that flow from the
witnesses, we can make a decision at that point? We may listen to the
witnesses and nothing changes for us; we have no concerns. If there are
concerns, then we should address them by the senator’s saying, "I want to do
some work on this," and then we can have a discussion.
The Chair: Is that fine with colleagues?
Senator Plett: Senator, would you mind
explaining that a little more when you said if you want to discuss this we
do not go to clause by clause?
Senator Campbell: No. All I am saying is if
something new comes out of the witness testimony — and my sense is there
will not be anything; we have been able to read all of this — we make a
decision at that point. If someone feels that strongly about it, we should
talk about it. We are assuming there would be observations that will flow
out of the new witnesses, and I am just saying that may not be and we may be
talking about a moot point.
The Chair: Could I put this to members? If
anyone has any thoughts or observations, please bring them forward to the
members of the steering committee. If there are some suggestions or
recommendations, perhaps we can meet towards the end of the week and then
bring a draft to the members. That is one way of handling this.
Senator Dallaire: Mr. Chair, I do think
Senator Campbell has provided us the flexibility we need, and if we have to
work later to get the observations and so on put together, because we are
constrained on the other study, then we just work later and bring in a vote.
The Chair: Thank you, Senator Dallaire. We