THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Monday, May 26, 2014
The Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence met this day at 1 p.m. to study the status of Canada’s
international security and defence relations including, but not limited to,
relations with the United States, NATO, and NORAD (topic: ballistic missile
defence); to examine Canada’s national security and defence policies,
practices, circumstances and capabilities (topic: review of RCMP); and for
the consideration of a draft budget to study the
medical, social and operational impacts of mental health issues affecting
serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces, including
operational stress injuries (OSIs) such as post-traumatic stress disorder
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the
The Chair: Welcome to the Senate Standing
Committee on National Security and Defence. Before we welcome our witnesses,
I would like to begin by introducing the people around the table. My name is
Daniel Lang, senator for Yukon. On my immediate left is the clerk of the
committee, Josée Thérien, and on my right are our Library of Parliament
analysts, Holly Porteous and Wolfgang Koerner.
I would like to invite the senators to
introduce themselves and state the region they represent.
Senator Dallaire: Roméo Dallaire, Gulf of
St. Lawrence, Quebec.
Senator Day: Joseph Day from New Brunswick.
Senator Oh: Senator Oh, Ontario.
Senator White: Vern White, Ontario.
Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais,
Senator McIntyre: Paul McIntyre, New
The Chair: Thank you.
This afternoon the committee will be meeting
for the full four hours. In our first panel, we will continue our study of
ballistic missile defence. In panels two and three, we will return to honour
our commitment made last year to seek an update on the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police and the progress it is making. In our final hour, we will go
in camera to consider a draft report from the Subcommittee on Veteran
Affairs, as well as a draft budget from the subcommittee on its future
Colleagues, on December 12, 2013, the Senate
adopted the following reference:
That the Senate Standing Committee on
National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on
the status of Canada's international security and defence relations,
including but not limited to, relations with the United States,
NATO, and NORAD; and
That the Committee report to the Senate
no later than December 31, 2014, and that it retain all powers
necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling
of the final report.
As we continue our look at ballistic missile
defence, we are very pleased to welcome two distinguished former ministers
of defence to our committee. Mr. David Pratt served as a member of
Parliament from 1997 to 2004. From 2003 to 2004, he was Minister of National
Defence and was involved in the early discussions surrounding ballistic
missile defence. Sitting next to Mr. Pratt is Mr. Bill Graham, member of
Parliament from 1993 to 2006. Mr. Graham was Minister of National Defence
from 2004 to 2006, and prior to that served as the Minister of Foreign
Affairs from 2002 to 2004.
Mr. Graham and Mr. Pratt, welcome. As I said
before, this is the first time we have had two former defence ministers
appear, and I think it is the first time ever before this committee. We look
forward to your sharing some of your understandings with the committee on
the subjects of ballistic missile defence and the importance of Canada's
U.S. relations, especially with regard to NORAD and NATO, as well as your
recommendations to help us proceed on these important subjects.
I understand you each have an opening statement
and the Honourable David Pratt will begin.
The Honourable David Pratt, P.C., former
Minister of National Defence, as an individual: Thank you to the
committee for the invitation. I'm honoured to be here.
From my perspective, the fact that you are
holding public hearings on missile defence is a good thing. I would like to
congratulate the committee for this initiative. I understand you have heard
a variety of testimony from many experts, including people like Colin
Robertson, George MacDonald, Jim Fergusson and Frank Harvey. I completely
support the messages they have conveyed.
I must confess that I'm not entirely confident
I can add much to what you have heard thus far. Nevertheless, I do hope to
make some contributions, however limited, to your deliberations. I thought I
would take a little bit of a historical perspective on the Canada-U.S.
defence relationship and focus a bit on that.
As you indicated, Mr. Chairman, I was Minister
of National Defence from December 2003 to July 2004. While I was serving as
chair of the Defence Committee prior to that, my travels with the committee
took me to some very interesting places, not the least of which was Colorado
Springs, inside the command centre at Cheyenne Mountain. At the time, I
received briefings from U.S. Space Command, NORAD and other aspects of
continental defence, including the response at that time to 9/11.
I followed the missile defence issue with great
interest at the time, and when I took over from John McCallum as Minister of
National Defence in 2003, my involvement in the issue was very much a
continuation of the efforts that began with the Chrétien government.
In May 2003, statements were made in the House
of Commons by my friends and colleagues Bill Graham and John McCallum on the
subject of pursuing missile defence talks to "ensure the security of
Canadians and the future of NORAD." I have always viewed missile defence
within the broader context of Canada-U.S. military cooperation, which I'm
sure you are aware is probably the most comprehensive defence relationship
between two countries with the exception of the missing link of missile
defence. There are roughly 80 treaty-level agreements, more than 250
memoranda of understanding and 145 bilateral forums on defence issues. The
principal institutions, as I'm sure you are aware, are the PJBD; the
Military Cooperation Committee, formed in 1946 to coordinate military
planning; and NORAD.
My contribution to the missile defence issue
was primarily through a letter that was sent to Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld in early January 2004. With your indulgence, I would like to read
into the record the text of my letter and Mr. Rumsfeld's response, because
the language used is important to note.
My letter was dated January 15, 2004, and is as
Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:
For decades the United States and
Canada have been partners in the defence of North America,
cooperating within the framework of the Ogdensburg Agreement, the
North Atlantic Treaty, and the North American Aerospace Defence
Command (NORAD) to preserve our mutual security. In light of the
growing threat involving the proliferation of ballistic missiles and
weapons of mass destruction, we should explore extending this
partnership to include co-operation in missile defence, as an
appropriate response to these new threats and as a useful complement
to our non-proliferation efforts.
A key focus of our co-operation in
missile defence should be through NORAD, which has served us well
since 1958. NORAD's long-standing global threat warning and attack
assessment role can make an important contribution to the execution
of the missile defence mission. We believe that our two nations
should move on an expedited basis to amend the NORAD agreement to
take into account NORAD's contribution to the missile defence
It is our intent to negotiate in the
coming months a missile defence framework Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the United States with the objective of
including Canada as a participant in the current U.S. missile
defence program and expanding and enhancing information exchange. We
believe this should provide a mutually beneficial framework to
ensure the closest possible involvement and insight for Canada, both
government and industry, in the U.S. missile defence program. Such
an MOU could also help pave the way for increased
government-to-government and industry-to-industry co-operation on
missile defence that we should seek to foster between our countries.
We understand the United States is
prepared to consult with Canada on operational planning issues
associated with the defence of North America. I propose that our
staffs work together over the coming months to identify
opportunities and mechanisms for such consultations and Canada's
The technical extent of protection
afforded by the U.S. ballistic missile defence system will evolve
over time, and our bilateral co-operation in this area should also
evolve. We should continue to explore appropriate technical,
political and financial arrangements related to the potential
defence of Canada and the United States against missile attack,
within the framework of our laws. Our staffs should discuss ways in
which Canada could contribute to this effort.
If this overall framework for
co-operation that I have proposed meets with your approval, I would
appreciate hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.
Mr. Rumsfeld's response to me read as follows:
Dear Minister Pratt:
Thank you for your recent letter
regarding cooperation between the United States and Canada on
As you noted in your letter, the United
States and Canada have been partners in the defense of North America
for over 50 years. In light of the threat involving the
proliferation of ballistic missiles, I agree that we should seek to
expand our cooperation in the area of missile defense.
I am supportive of the approach to
missile defense cooperation that you outlined in your letter and
agree that this should be the basis on which we move forward.
Thank you again for your letter. I look
forward to continuing the long-standing defense cooperation between
the United States and Canada.
US Secretary of Defense
At the beginning of my letter to Secretary
Rumsfeld, there's a brief mention of the historical context within which the
Canada-U.S. relationship has evolved. We all know what was happening in the
world when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King signed the Ogdensburg
Agreement in August 1940. Nazi Germany had control of most of continental
Europe and Britain, and the Commonwealth stood alone against Hitler's
onslaught. Yet Roosevelt and King felt quite rightly that they had a
political responsibility to act when they signed the agreement to establish
the Permanent Joint Board on Defense. There is a lot in a name. It wasn't
the ad hoc or semi-permanent board on defence, but the Permanent Joint Board
on Defense. It was seen as lasting as long as the two countries lasted,
It is also important to note that both men were
taking substantial political risks. For Roosevelt, it was a matter of
supporting Britain and the Commonwealth while at the same time not running
afoul of the U.S. Neutrality Acts, which prevented the U.S. government from
selling arms to belligerents.
For Mackenzie King, there were also political
risks. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Arthur Meighen, who would
take over as leader of the Conservative Party in November 1941, was highly
critical of the Ogdensburg Agreement as undermining Canada's defence
relationship with Great Britain. Churchill also privately had some critical
words for Mackenzie King about Ogdensburg, but he subsequently acquiesced as
he came to better appreciate King's rationale for getting closer to the
I mention this because political decisions
often entail political risks. Roosevelt was prepared to weather the
political storm for giving 50 destroyers to Britain and Canada in exchange
for bases along with approximately 200 aircraft as well as a quarter of a
million rifles. And Mackenzie King was prepared to embark on a closer
defence relationship with the U.S. because it was fundamentally and
inextricably tied to Canada's short- and long-term national interests.
On the subject of missile defence, I think some
of our political leaders, both Liberal and Conservative, have been all too
often inclined to stick their fingers into the political winds and make
critically important decisions with enormous ramifications for national
interests on the shifting tides of public opinion. I believe this was the
case with the Martin government in 2005, and it continues to be the case
with the current government. Let's face it: There will always be political
considerations and messaging from particular decisions, but when the chips
are down it is the responsibility of leaders to explain their decisions and
take measures consistent with our values and interests.
Let me close by saying that I hope you strongly
endorse the idea of Canada participating in continental missile defence. And
let me express my hope as well that your committee speaks with one voice —
Liberals and Conservatives together — to support Canada's involvement.
The Honourable Bill Graham, P.C., former
Minister of National Defence, as an individual: Thank you for your
invitation to appear before the committee this afternoon. I appreciate this
opportunity to share some of my experiences and perspectives related to
ballistic missile defence. My colleague, David Pratt, has laid out an
extensive historical context in which this is discussed. I will try not to
review those matters, but perhaps my experience as a foreign minister and
defence minister in the 2000s may shed some light around the reasons that
decisions were made — and the context in which previous decisions were made
— so that might enable you to make future decisions about the
appropriateness of where we should go from here.
Senators will recall that at the time,
ballistic missile defence was an emotionally charged issue, in many ways not
unlike the Bomarc debate of an earlier period. It was influenced in the
public mind by its association with President George Bush's foreign
policies. Missile defence was perceived by many Canadians not as a defensive
program but rather as a tool for an aggressive U.S. foreign policy, as
exemplified by the then recent invasion of Iraq.
There were many who argued that BMD was akin to
the Reagan administration's Star Wars program and the weaponization of
space, which by the way is not my view any more than ballistic missiles
themselves are weaponization of space. It is a land-based system, not a
space-based system. However, that was a factor in the debate. There was also
a great deal of skepticism over whether or not BMD worked or could possibly
work, which I think would still be true of considerable concerns, although
the experience of the Iron Dome in Israel and others have moved the
technology along significantly since we were debating it in those days.
Furthermore, opponents believed that missile
defence would lead to a new arms race. This view was reinforced by the
Russian government, which strongly opposed it on the grounds that it would
threaten their defensive capacity to act in the case of an attack.
Proponents pointed out that BMD could never be more than of limited use and
was designed to respond to rogue states with small numbers of missiles, such
as Iran or North Korea. The BMD system did not, therefore, pose a threat to
the Russian and Chinese nuclear deterrents. This debate was replicated
recently in Europe, as you know, around the decision of whether or not to
deploy the system in Europe.
In developing Canadian policy on ballistic
missile defence, my colleagues and I were primarily concerned about the
defence of Canada in the context of North America. But as David Pratt has
pointed out, one of our major concerns in the context of the defence of
North America was the need to protect NORAD as a vital instrument of
Canadian security and foreign policy.
As you know, in the wake of 9/11, the United
States created a new military command which would be responsible for North
American security: NORTHCOM. NORTHCOM became operational in October 2002,
and its new commander was double-hatted as the commander of NORAD.
There was a great deal of uncertainty at the
time about what the creation of NORTHCOM meant for the future of NORAD.
Since 1958, NORAD has been one of Canada's key defence institutions, playing
a vital role in safeguarding North America's skies. But NORAD's significance
to Canada, in my view, extends beyond its mission to secure American
airspace. Its binational command structure is an important political system
of equality dealing with our most powerful ally. In addition, NORAD offers a
unique and invaluable window onto U.S. strategic thinking and security
As Minister of National Defence, I was
concerned that a decision not to participate in BMD would marginalize NORAD.
There were already concerns in the early 2000s that NORAD was something of a
Cold War relic with little relevance in a post-Soviet world, and
particularly one in a missile world rather than one where aircraft were the
concern that were originally tracked by NORAD. In my view, and in the view
of many in my department, a failure to participate in BMD would give the
Americans more reason to shunt NORAD aside in favour of NORTHCOM.
This concern had already been acted upon by my
predecessor as Minister of National Defence, David Pratt. He has described
the letter, which he shared, and the response he got from Secretary Rumsfeld
in respect to that.
At that time, he committed to amending the
NORAD agreement so that NORAD could provide early warning information for
missile defence. In so doing, Canada aimed to protect NORAD by giving it a
function in any future BMD system.
When I became defence minister in July 2004,
one of the first things I did was implement this decision to amend the NORAD
In a roundabout way, however, amending NORAD
actually strengthened the hand of BMD's critics in Canada at that time. Once
we had amended the agreement, it was felt by many that we had done enough to
assure NORAD's survival and that there was now little reason for Canada to
participate in the BMD delivery aspect. As a result, in February 2005, the
Government of Canada announced that it would not be participating in the
U.S. missile defence program.
The question I believe you are studying is
whether today have conditions changed, and should this decision be reviewed.
In my view, it should be. In my view, NORAD has
been weakened as a result of that decision. Though NORAD was renewed in
perpetuity in 2006, it is clear that the U.S. regards it as a secondary
operation compared to NORTHCOM. Consequently, NORAD's future still remains
in doubt. Unless some unforeseen threat materializes, it seems likely NORAD
will end up like the Cheshire Cat fading way to little but the grin. Of
course, honourable senators would be far more familiar than I am with
whether the Bi-National Planning Group, which we added to NORAD with the
maritime security dimension, has been such to strengthen NORAD sufficiently,
but I would argue strongly that you should have a look at whether or not
those additional elements are in themselves sufficient.
I argued at that time that we should be
involved in BMD and I still think we should be. Participating in BMD would
help preserve NORAD and Canada's overall security relationship with the
United States. Furthermore, in my view Canadian involvement in the BMD
program would give us a voice in the creation and use of BMD, thereby
strengthening and not weakening our sovereignty.
David Pratt has described the Ogdensburg
Agreement and its origins. I ask: Is it feasible for us here in Canada to
watch from a distance while fundamental decisions about the security of this
continent are made in Washington without our input?
There were many that argued when I travelled
across the country that the way BMD would operate is that the Americans
might choose to shoot down a missile as it was coming across Canada.
Therefore, we should not participate. My argument was completely reverse. If
we're concerned about how the United States is going to use the BMD system,
then we should be on the inside of the tent making the decisions along with
them rather than outside having no control over it.
That is a fundamental decision we have to make
and that, obviously, governments of today will have to make. But my view is
that to the extent our resources allow us, we should be involved in the
architecture of North American defence, and this does include BMD. As the
United States continues to evaluate the future of its missile defence
programs, Canada should be open to further cooperation with our neighbour on
this still-evolving security initiative.
Thank you, honourable senators, for your time
The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, and we
certainly appreciate your coming before the committee.
One of the reasons you were invited, obviously,
was not only from the perspective of having served in the ministerial
portfolio for the periods of time that you did but also from the perspective
of clarifying the historical political perspective at the time when
decisions were being made. A number of fundamental issues were put forward
by those who were opposed to Canada’s taking part in the ballistic missile
defence. I'm wondering if either one of you would bring to the floor the
issues that they brought forward that you were facing then in the political
debate so that we understand the perspective at that time.
Mr. Pratt: In the period when I was
minister, we were encountering a fair bit of resistance in the Liberal
caucus. There were a number of members who, as Bill has mentioned, equated
ballistic missile defence with George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, who, for
some of the members of our caucus — I shouldn't say many — were political
characters they just did not want to be associated with in any way.
Ballistic missile defence was in many respects tainted by the Bush-Rumsfeld
Politically, from the NDP's standpoint, their
talking points were mainly on the subject of the Reagan SDI, the Strategic
Defence Initiative, that went back to the 1980s, and I can say for my part I
tried to explain in the House of Commons on many occasions that ballistic
missile defence had nothing to do with SDI and had nothing to do with what
they referred to as Star Wars, that, in our view, it was not going to
contribute to a destabilization of the nuclear deterrent that existed, and
that what we were focused on at that time were North Korea, Iran and their
missile development capabilities. Back in early 2000s, even at that time, I
think North Korea had the Taepodong missile, which was an impressive missile
capability for a country that backward.
So those were some of the political issues we
were facing. We were also facing a strong contingent within the youth wing
of the Liberal Party that was opposed to this that saw this as proliferation
rather than as a defensive measure. Did we at the time do a good job of
explaining that? Well, we tried, as best we could, and I think Bill would
support me in this. We desperately tried to explain the context, the
historical context and the strategic context, but to a large extent, it was
falling on deaf ears.
In retrospect, and I'm speaking for myself
here, I don't think we had the level of support from the Prime Minister at
the time, who was very sensitive to the fact that we were going into an
election any time in the spring of 2004.
There were a lot of political considerations.
There was, in my view, some careful political messaging that was attached to
that, but there were, as Bill has alluded to, quite a number of serious
political considerations at the time.
Mr. Graham: Thank you, sir. Well, I won't
dwell much more on what Mr. Pratt has pointed out. In the context of
Canada-U.S. relations, going back to my foreign minister's hat, there's no
question about it that these were tense times with the United States on
foreign policy issues. In some sense we were tugged in the direction of
wanting to be cooperative with the United States, because we had been
uncooperative on Iraq. In some respects, the public opinion was strongly
hostile to — as he has pointed out — a security policy in the United States,
which was seen as being unilateralist and rather heavy-handed.
In that emotional context, President Bush came
to Ottawa on an official visit, and in spite of the request of the Canadian
government at the time, raised the matter of ballistic missile defence
publicly, and as a minister responsible for carrying this file, I had to
tell him in Halifax that his intervention had been interesting but less than
productive in terms of where he was trying to advance the debate.
That was a little bit the Canada-U.S. or, if
you like, the domestic political situation in Canada.
There was in the academic community a very
strong opposition, and I think there probably still is, and you will hear
reputable voices in the academic community who are very concerned about the
weaponization of space. This is a very legitimate concern, in my view, and
something one had to deal with.
My personal view is it is misinformed. I don't
see this as a weaponization of space any more than a land-based ballistic
missile defence system itself is the weaponization of space just because
this missile goes into space and comes back down again when it goes up. This
is a missile that would go up from the land. If it were being talked about
as being based on a space-based platform, that, of course, would be a
totally different matter.
There are those who are opponents to the system
who believe this is a little bit of an escalator problem, where, if you do
this, then ultimately, it may become something which will end up as a
space-based system, and of course as Canadians, we would be fundamentally
opposed to such a system because our policies and our international presence
has strongly been opposed in any way to the weaponization of space.
This is a debate that has to be looked at, in
my view; and as I say, it is erroneous, but it is something that has to be
Thirdly, I would say the other emotional debate
that we had from many people, and I referred to it in my opening remarks,
was that they said, "Well, the Americans are going to shoot a missile coming
in across from Russia or wherever, and they're going to shoot it down over
Canada, and we don't want anything to do with such a system."
My argument was, "Well, if you are worried
about it being shot down in Canada maybe you want to be in the tent having
your finger on the trigger rather than outside having no control over what
they're going to do."
I remember being in Vancouver, and there was a
very violent debate going on about this, and somebody said, "Oh, Mr. Graham,
this is terrible. This is crazy. You are encouraging all this." I said,
"Madam, if North Korea fires a missile towards Seattle, we don't know if it
will hit Vancouver. The Americans will shoot it down. So let's be with them
on this problem, not against them."
It was an objection that people raised, but I
didn't regard it as one that I personally could subscribe to.
I would say that apart from the technological
one, the most difficult context or most difficult debate we had to deal with
was the objections of the Russian government who made strong opposition on
the grounds that this would interfere with the efficacy of the deterrents of
their own missile system and, as such, lead to a new arms race. That should
be and could be a serious concern when you are looking at this, because we
don't want to encourage a new arms race. There's no question about that.
When I was the chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Committee, Robert McNamara came and took the position that anything that
interfered with your opponent's ability to defend themselves or if you can
defend yourself perfectly from your opponent, at that point, you become
impervious to them and you can then attack with complete freedom. So this is
a legitimate concern if it's true.
But my understanding of the ballistic missile
defence system, such as it is today, and even based on what limited
experience we had with Iron Dome and subsequently, there is no suggestion
and never has been that it is a system that would be capable of meeting a
massive attack of the type the Russians or the Chinese would mount in the
event they were attacked by nuclear weapons from the West.
I would say senators would want to listen to
experts in this field who are far better qualified than I am to speak to it,
but I don't believe that that is a concern at this point. This, as I
understand it, would be limited to one or two missiles that could be dealt
with. It's technologically so complicated. Therefore, it is something that,
as the Europeans were persuaded when it was deployed in Europe, would be
directed towards Iran and not Russia.
However, you do have to face the fact that the
Russians are of the strong opinion that this is directed against them, not
towards a rogue state, and that, therefore, is a foreign policy discussion
that senators would want to bear in mind when considering this. Those were
basically the parameters of the debate that took place when we were there.
The Chair: Just to conclude, looking back
10 years ago compared to where we are today and the various arguments that
were put forward opposed to the participation in ballistic missile defence,
when you look back at those arguments and today the validity of those
arguments, are you telling us not to stand up, just from a historical point
of view? Is that correct?
Mr. Pratt: That's certainly my view, that
from the issue of ballistic missile defence destabilizing the international
security architecture, that's simply not the case. As Bill has mentioned, it
does not involve the weaponization of space. It's clearly a ground-based
The conclusion I have to come to is that those
arguments made in 2004 have not stood the test of time at all. As a matter
of fact, I think there's so much compelling evidence to the contrary, when
we look at what our NATO allies have done in terms of their support for
ballistic missile defence; we have 28 NATO nations saying that they endorse
the need to protect their populations against rogue missiles, and Canada has
been saying all the right things at NATO but not doing anything when it
comes to our own situation here in North America.
Senator Dallaire: Gentlemen, I'm quite
honoured to see you here. I remember you in your duties, particularly you,
Mr. Graham, when in 2002 I went knocking on your door to send 2,000 troops
to the Congo, if you remember. It was something Kofi Annan was screaming for
us to do, and we sent them to Afghanistan, but I always thought we could
send people to both places. That is something else.
Also, you are both architects of the renewal of
the forces. The 1990s budget cuts had ebbed, and when you were coming into
your own, the rebuilding of the forces was already well launched and many of
the programs that were ultimately approved came out during your tenure, the
approval of those operational requirements.
However, when we decided not to join the
ballistic missile defence, I agreed with that at the time, in 2005, only
because I felt the risk was low that the capabilities existed in Iran and
Korea at the time. Secondly, the system didn't work, so the risks of
becoming engaged in something and trying to prove that made it very
difficult politically. I felt we could buy time to see it mature and then
move in at an appropriate moment, which I believe we are well into now; that
is to say, the system is maturing but still needs significant work.
Where I still find deficiencies in the argument
is on the whole operational requirement of this capability. It seems to me
that the argument of continental defence is rapidly lost when we start
talking Canada-U.S. Then we get all emotional about our sovereignty and all
that stuff versus nobody is going to hit this country or the United States
without engaging the continent. One cannot happen without the other; it's
So what did you get from the operational side
that these rogue states existed, which means they are totally unpredictable
and will do anything to create what they want to achieve? God knows what
that might be. What were you getting as hard operational requirements to
defend the continent, which would be, in my opinion, consistent with NORAD
and not the requirement for NORTHCOM to even come online?
Mr. Pratt: I think the information that we
were getting at the time was information that was publicly available from
the standpoint of the threat of North Korea and Iran. I think at the time as
well, certainly the indications were that they had not developed to the
point where we were looking at a serious threat at that time.
But from my perspective, one of the fundamental
principles of Canada-U.S. defence cooperation has been not to wait until
you've got an imminent threat and then rush to the United States and say,
"Yes, we're ready to join now," but rather to work with them over time to
ensure that you understand every aspect of their thinking from a strategic
standpoint, running right down to the tactical in terms of how they address
the threats, how the system is going to be unveiled, the details of the test
results, all of that, and that's what I was looking for as minister back in
2004, to get some of those details as a prelude to joining the effort.
I think that the nature of the relationship
between Canada and the United States, as I indicated in my remarks, it's a
special relationship. The binational defence relationship we have with the
United States is very special. This has been mentioned by many historians.
Over time, Canada has benefited from being in the bosom of the French
empire, the British Empire and now the American empire. We have been
protected by our colonial masters in many respects, and that's probably not
a good term to use from the standpoint of the U.S. It's certainly not an
accurate term, but we have enjoyed significant protection, and as a result
of that, we haven't paid the price from the standpoint of defence budgets
So if there is an opportunity to express and
display goodwill in relation to that critical defence arrangement, I think
we should have been there in 2004. I think events have moved on without us
in some respects, and all we did from the standpoint of the Canada-U.S.
relationship was leave the Americans scratching their heads wondering what
the hell these Canadians are thinking. As an article I read some years ago
by Jim Fergusson mentioned, they asked us to dance, and then we walked out
partway through the dance. It's just not the thing that close and trusted
allies do. That's the view that I took at the time and it's a view that I
Mr. Graham: May I pick up on that, Mr.
Chairman? Just on the answer to the question, if I understand operational
requirement, general, you're using that in a technical way. When one
conflates NORAD with the decision making around BMD, there's no question but
that the role of NORAD and NORTHCOM, as I understand your concern, is
I frankly think it would be naive to assume
that the United States, if we have even agreed to join them in ballistic
missile defence, there is no suggestion that they would put a joint finger
on the trigger the way it would be if it were a NORAD operation. For
example, you will recall at 9/11 that it was a Canadian general in charge of
NORAD and in charge of the skies of America. That's one thing, and the
Americans don't mind that. But I think it would be another thing to actually
give the actual key to the nuclear trigger, if you like, to a Canadian
general and say they would operate it. I think this does require some
thought around these operational considerations.
However, I do strongly support what David said.
I believe if we had been in on the ground floor we would have been able to
work our way through all these issues and perhaps would have found a way in
which we could have been better participants.
I think the other thing is if we're not, where
does that leave us? I think that's the question we have to ask ourselves. If
we're not there, where does that leave us? It seems to me we're outside of
an extraordinarily complex and amazingly new form of a weapons system which
will affect our security but which we are foreign to decisions around its
development. I think that's a dangerous place to be. That's what I would
I understand your position, what you took
before, because there was some concern in the Department of Foreign Affairs
particularly, not so much in Defence but in Foreign Affairs, that while the
Americans were saying that they were not going to ask us for any cost
contributions to this, that there was an expression — at least from the
department there was a feeling that once you got inside the tent sooner or
later somebody would pass you the bill. You're at the table eating at the
restaurant, so you can't avoid paying. So I think there is an element of
cost as well.
The Chair: As we proceed here — time is
moving on — could I just ask if everybody could keep their preambles
relatively short so we can take full advantage of our witnesses? We want to
hear from you, so I'm cautioning all colleagues, and I'm going to limit
everyone else from here on in to one question. Senator Dallaire?
Senator Dallaire: I come back to the
argument of continental defence, which we do not hear enough. We still speak
national defence and not continental defence in the argument. With the bulk
of the Canadian population 200 miles of the American border, we don't know
if it's going to hit the border. If it hits Buffalo, it hits Toronto and on
and on. That part means we're locked in one way or another. If anybody takes
a shot at the United States, they're taking a shot at us — the same thing if
the damn thing doesn’t work well.
However, Canada has refused to put the rest of
our country in the NATO discussion of security. We do not see Canada wanting
to discuss our Arctic or the grand mass of our area of the continent with
NATO discussing the matters of sovereignty but most importantly defence as
Norway has. Is that not part of the problem of our trying to stay out of
NATO because NATO has supported BMD, and wouldn't we be logical in bringing
all that together and reinforcing our need by a NATO requirement versus
purely the continent?
Mr. Graham: I'm not a great Arctic expert
at this time, but I've been to several conferences on the Arctic recently. I
think that's a somewhat different argument, senator, about how far Canada as
an Arctic nation wants to go in engaging non-Arctic powers in the
administration. And whether it's in a security dimension or otherwise of the
Arctic, I would not want to marry those two concepts together myself.
Mr. Pratt: Just from the standpoint of the
operational requirement that Senator Dallaire mentioned earlier, I don't
think frankly that the operational requirement would derive necessarily from
our NATO commitments but rather from one of the three fundamental tenets of
our defence policy. If you go back to our defence policy, it has been
consistent with governments as far as defence policies have been written
back to post-Second World War, late 1940s, early 1950s: the defence of
Canada, the defence of North America in conjunction with the United States,
and contributions to international peace and security. On the second part,
defence of North America in conjunction with the United States, we tie into
missile defence in my view; and the third, which is contributions to
international peace and security, I think comes through the NATO connection.
However, if you had to rank them, I would say the second is the most
important, so I hope that that answers your question in some measure.
Senator Segal: Let me welcome two
distinguished former ministers and thank them for their service to the
country, both in government and after they left government. My question is a
simple one, and it relates to what your respective concepts would have been
for how we might have deployed our engagement with missile defence at the
time when you gave the matter consideration. Did you have a framework of
genuine advice relative to the risk North Korea, Iran and others might have
constituted to our national security? Did you reflect on whether we would be
engaging with an array of radar and other capacity to assist in the
diagnostics that are fundamental to the operation of the system? Were you
thinking at the time that any reconstruction of our fleet might involve
Aegis anti-missile capability which is being used by our allies? I'm just
interested to get a sense of the sorts of things when you wrote Secretary
Rumsfeld and when you, minister, dealt with your counterparts. You were
giving some thought as to what some of the options might have been for
Canadian involvement at the time. Knowing full well that as no decisions
were made and circumstances have changed we may be in a different context
today, I would be interested in any wisdom you could share with us about the
array of options that might have existed in your period of time.
Mr. Pratt: From my perspective, the
briefings that we were getting — and I'm sure you've heard this information
before so it's probably nothing new — were that the U.S. was looking at
radar sites in Fylingdales in the U.K., as well I think it was Fort Greely,
Alaska, and Thule, Greenland, that these were to be X-band radars to be
capable of identifying and assessing the threat. I think it's called
integrated tactical warning and attack assessment, something like that. From
what we were hearing from the Americans, there was at that time no
indication that we were going to have any interceptor sites or that they
would want Canadian territory for interceptor sites. Much of my time as
minister was occupied around the subject of Goose Bay and what might happen
with Goose Bay, so that was one of the things that, if I recollect, we had
discussed in terms of a possibility.
I can tell you from my own perspective, and
again relating to the defence of North America, if the Americans had decided
and if we were involved and collectively made a decision that interceptors
were necessary on Canadian territory, personally I wouldn't have had any
difficulty with that whatsoever because it's a contribution to the defence
of North America.
As far as the destroyers were concerned, well,
back then our destroyers were only about 30 years old, and they had already
gone through a refit, the Tribal class, the TRUMP program, so we weren't
thinking about basing any sort of anti-missile system on destroyers. Is that
something that should be considered? I'm not an expert on these subjects,
and I don't think we are contemplating anything of the size of Aegis Class
destroyers as part of the Canadian surface combatant program. But again, if
it made a solid contribution to North American defence and if we could
justify it from a strategic and tactical standpoint, I certainly would not
have any objection to it.
Mr. Graham: Just to follow up on Mr.
Pratt's point, I think your question, senator, is drilling down into a lot
of issues that at that particular moment in time were premature. It is like
we were looking at whether we would engage in the system and then we would
have to consider many of the things you did, but it was very clear at the
time, as Mr. Pratt has said, that we were not being asked to make any
financial contribution; we were not being asked to put a radar site, a
detection site; and we were not being asked to put an interceptor site.
I, like Mr. Pratt, was approached by groups who
wanted to put a radar site at Goose Bay because there were many people in
that area who felt this would be a way of preserving the life of that base
which was being threatened because it was no longer being used for NATO
flight training as it had in the past.
In terms of the maritime base, I can see where
that is going with the Americans, but Mr. Pratt has already made a point
about the capacity of our fleet to be able to deal with it. In the end, we
were grappling with exactly that. How would Canada have been involved? If we
had been in, we might have been able to find out, with our new binational
panels in NORAD itself, some way of working with the Americans, through
them, in finding how we could make a positive contribution that would be
good for the defence of North America as a whole. It was far more political
than technical, if I could say.
Senator Day: Let me thank our guests for
being here. I can recall each of you being here when this committee was
chaired by Senator Kenny and you were ministers of National Defence some
years ago. I don't recall discussing ballistic missile defence at that time,
but it's good to have you here.
I'll start with Mr. Pratt, first of all. Do you
have copies of the letters you were quoting from to Rumsfeld and from
Rumsfeld back to you?
Mr. Pratt: I do not have the originals. I
have copies of transcripts of the letters. I was advised, interestingly
enough, that in 2005, I think, the letter, which had been on the DND
website, was taken off for some strange reason. I'm sure you could probably
access those letters.
Senator Day: The Library of Parliament
would probably be able to help us, but if you have them it would make it
easier. We know that the references to these letters are there, but we
haven't been able to find them. That was January 15 of 2004?
Mr. Pratt: Yes.
Senator Day: Was Rumsfeld's letter, the
Secretary of Defense, dated the same date as your letter to him?
Mr. Pratt: No, it wasn't the same date. I
can't recall what the date was, but it wasn't the same date.
Senator Day: Because you haven't mentioned
Mr. Pratt: I think it's important to
mention, again by way of context, that there were significant discussions
with the American officials before those letters were sent, and questions
back and forth. So the Americans had a general idea of what was coming from
me at the time, and we had a pretty good idea of what was coming back from
Mr. Rumsfeld. In the category of no surprises that was the standard, and I'm
sure it still is the standard operating procedure when it comes to those
sorts of pieces of correspondence.
Senator Day: I wanted to point out to you
that there was another exchange of letters, which we do have copies of, and
it's dated August 5. You had changed, and it's now Mr. Graham who is the
minister, but Mr. Rumsfeld has also changed. According to this, it's Colin
Powell you were writing to, Secretary of State. Maybe the positions hadn't
changed, but you were writing to the Secretary of State in August of 2004.
The interesting point is that in each of these
exchanges of letters, they came from Canada to the U.S. and the U.S.
replied. The other interesting point, because I've run out of time but I did
want to bring this out, is this decision that came into effect August 5;
both letters are dated the same date, one from an ambassador to the U.S. and
then back from Colin Powell. The letter states that this decision is
independent of any discussion on possible cooperation on missile defence. It
was just talking about the warning aspect.
You were obviously making a reservation, even
at that time. Is there a reason why these letters were coming from Canada to
the U.S. in both instances as opposed to from the U.S. to Canada?
Mr. Graham: As I tried to say in my opening
comments, the focus at that time was very much in respect of the linkage
between ballistic missile defence and NORAD, and an absolute determination
by the Canadian government of the importance of NORAD and the need
absolutely to preserve it and the concern that NORTHCOM was gradually going
to take over all of NORAD's activities and that NORAD would be left as an
empty shell. While the NORTHCOM commander is, as I said, double-hatted,
everything would be on the NORTHCOM side and NORAD would be left with
virtually nothing to do, for technological as well as political reasons.
So we agreed at that time that it was clear
that, in terms of ballistic missile defence, it was appropriate that NORAD
be a vehicle to give an early warning, because that's exactly what NORAD
does. That's what it was doing in respect of planes coming from Russia or
any invasion from Russia. That's NORAD's function: It's to give early
warning. That's really what it's principally designed to do — examine the
skies and find out what's going on. This made perfect sense.
That wasn't saying we're going to get into the
ballistic missile process and be part of it, but that NORAD itself would be
the logical place to house the warning system. All of this got jumbled up,
if you like. That came just at this transition point when I moved over from
Foreign Affairs to Defence, which probably explains why the ambassador sent
the letter and why it came from Colin Powell.
Then, as I said, once that decision had been
made, to some respect the pressure was off on the NORAD file for a decision
in respect of the principal issue around BMD, because we had gotten a role
for NORAD and now NORAD is secure, if you like. That's at least the way I
saw it playing out.
The Chair: Senator Day, you're satisfied
Senator Day: I could pursue that further,
but we're out of time.
Senator Dagenais: I have two quick
questions. The first is this. If Canada does not participate in ballistic
missile defence, is there a possibility that Canada could become
marginalized with respect to NORAD decision-making?
Mr. Graham: In my opinion, yes. That was
the government’s primary concern. My own concern at the time was precisely
that: being marginalized in the NORAD decision-making process, on one hand,
and being marginalized in NORAD, on the other. So the risk was twofold.
Senator Dagenais: Are you of the same mind,
Mr. Pratt: Yes, absolutely. I think what
we're facing, being outside of the full missile defence program, is
inconsistencies, not only with our NATO policy but with our basic defence
policy. I think we have to correct that situation. Getting involved fully in
BMD, or ballistic missile defence, would do that. I think it continues to be
the missing link in terms of Canada's defence posture.
Senator Dagenais: In terms of mitigating
risks to Canadian population centres, how important do you think it is for
Canada to participate in U.S. decisions about how and when incoming
ballistic missiles will be intercepted, for instance?
Mr. Graham: That was precisely my point
when I argued that it was better to be involved in the decision-making than
to let the Americans make the decisions on their own. That was the very
objection to the system I had trouble with, because a lot of people would
say to me, "the Americans will use it, identify a missile going through
Canada, and intercept and explode it over Canada, with all the fallout on
our soil rather than theirs".
I would tell them that the way to keep that
from happening was not to stay out of the decision-making process. Instead,
we need to be at the table when the decision is being made.
So, in my view, Canada’s sovereignty and
security are better served when we are part of the system than when we let
the Americans call the shots, regardless of our approach.
Senator Dagenais: So you are not in favour
of the empty chair policy?
Mr. Graham: No.
Senator Dagenais: Did you have something to
add, Mr. Pratt?
Mr. Pratt: Mr. Chairman, I can only echo
the comments made by my colleague Mr. Graham on this. One of the critical
aspects of our desire at the time was to be fully conversant with the
operational procedures that would be followed with respect to an incoming
missile, and that involved the time it would take to notify national
officials, get approvals, et cetera, whatever that entailed. My
understanding is that the window of opportunity for making a decision is
very short, so an understanding of how that was going to work was pretty
As Bill has mentioned, for the life of me, I
can't understand why we would forfeit aspects of our national security by
not working with the Americans directly to implement this system, because
that's what we're doing, effectively. Yes, we would have some knowledge with
respect to the warning, but beyond that, what is there? There's really no
role for Canada at this point. I think that's something we have to correct.
The Chair: Colleagues, on that note, and
seeing that it is two o'clock, I would like to thank our witnesses for
First of all, I would like to thank you for
your service as Canadian parliamentarians, for the years you have put in on
behalf of the public, and most importantly — and Senator Dallaire referred
to it — your strong support for the military when you had those portfolios.
We appreciate your being here for the questions.
As part of the committee's mandate to examine
and report on Canada's national security and defence policies, practices,
circumstances and capabilities, we are today turning to the RCMP.
On November 8, 2012, the Senate authorized the
Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence to examine
harassment in the RCMP and report back on its findings no later than June
30, 2013. The committee published its findings on June 19, 2013, in a report
entitled Conduct Becoming: Why the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Must
Transform its Culture. In this report, the committee stated its
intention to continue monitoring the implementation of Bill C-42, the gender
and respect action plan, and recommendations sent out in the report and that
of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, CPC.
Today we're pleased to welcome back to the
committee the interim commissioner, Ian McPhail; and Richard Evans, Senior
Director, Operations, Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.
Mr. McPhail and Mr. Evans, we appreciate your
taking the time to be here with us today. I understand that you have an
opening statement, Mr. McPhail. Please begin. We have one hour for this
Ian McPhail, Interim Chair, Commission for
Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you
very much, Mr. Chairman and honourable senators. Richard Evans, who is our
senior director of operations, is with me today, and we're both most pleased
to be with you again.
When we last appeared before you in April 2013,
we discussed a number of your concerns relating to Bill C-42, the
authorities it would provide to the new Civilian Review and Complaints
Commission, CRCC, and how these would enhance the accountability of the
Bill C-42 received Royal Assent in June 2013,
and at that time I anticipated that a coming-into-force order and transition
to the new CRCC would take place early in 2014. It appears that I was a bit
optimistic on that front.
Timing aside, the CPC has continued its
preparations for the eventual change, getting the necessary resources and
processes in place for a smooth transition to the new CRCC and its expanded
mandate and authorities.
We have secured the $10-million funding
envelope which was attached to the new CRCC mandate. This almost doubles the
A-base funding the CPC received over the past few years, keeping in mind
that the government had provided the commission with year-to-year interim
funding which allowed us to meet our responsibilities.
Over the past year, we have worked closely with
the RCMP in the development of a memorandum of understanding which is
intended to foster a spirit of cooperation and the ability to resolve issues
at appropriate levels. Key points in the memorandum include defining
critical timelines for various phases of the complaint and review processes,
CPC access to RCMP information necessary for the commission to carry out its
mandate, guidelines for the consistent management of complaints, and a
notification protocol when serious incidents occur.
We have established a new unit which will
undertake specified reviews of RCMP activities as set out in Bill C-42. The
team has developed a process which will assist in strategically identifying
and investigating key issues before they result in critical situations, with
a view to providing analysis and recommendations which respond to public
expectations and the realities of front-line policing.
We have also continued our outreach with
provincial partners and stakeholders, outlining for them the changes the new
legislation will bring, for example, providing complaint reports to
provincial ministers, tailoring annual reports for each province,
undertaking specified activities and reviews at the request of the province
and undertaking joint investigations with provincial oversight bodies.
Finally, we have restructured our operational
and administrative services and created efficiencies which will allow for
investment in new mandate areas and enhancements to the complaint and review
processes. By way of example, we have modernized our complaint and case
management system and are working toward the implementation of a fully
integrated complaint intake solution that will meet the needs of the RCMP
and our provincial counterparts and provide a seamless, user-friendly
service to the public.
During this time, the commission has also
continued to deliver on its core mandate of addressing public complaints
about the RCMP on a wide range of member conduct issues. A topic this
committee has taken particular interest in has been the issue of workplace
harassment within the RCMP. As you know, I completed a public interest
investigation of this issue in 2013 and released a report which made 11
recommendations aimed at fostering a more respectful workplace. The RCMP
commissioner has since accepted these in principle, undertaken to review
them and committed to keeping the CPC apprised of new RCMP strategies and
procedures which address the issue of harassment as they are implemented.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me say that the
coming into force of Bill C-42 and the establishment of the new CRCC will
bring new tools and energy to oversight which will assist the commission in
addressing, in a more strategic and systemic fashion, the critical issues,
such as harassment in the workplace, that challenge the success of the RCMP.
I am confident that we have put in place the
structures, resources and processes necessary to launch the CRCC on a strong
footing and ensure that it can meet its mandate in the years to come.
I would be happy to respond to any questions
you may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr.
McPhail. We certainly appreciate your coming before the committee. It has
been almost one year. How time flies. Changes are being made.
One issue that has come up recently is the
question of a 2007 report done internally for the RCMP, namely, the
identification of over 300 instances of possible corruption of officers
within the force. Some of them were apparently serious allegations that were
made; twelve incidents involved organized crime, and there were some other
instances as well.
Is your office given a report like that once it
is concluded? Did your office receive it back in 2007-08?
Mr. McPhail: Our office did not receive
that report, and it has not been the practice to provide our office with
such reports. One of the reasons could be the shift in mandate. Whereas in
the past the focus of the commission was almost exclusively
complaint-driven, or reactive, under Bill C-42 the new mandate presupposes
that the new CRCC will conduct investigations into various specified
activities. I believe that that will change in the future.
I will ask Mr. Evans to comment on your
question as well, considering his background as a professional integrity
officer of the RCMP.
Richard Evans, Senior Director, Operations,
Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
I think the answer, as Mr. McPhail has said, is that in moving forward
we have already started the process to liaise more closely with the RCMP.
That specified activity authority under the new legislation is fairly broad;
it is not defined by the legislation. What we have undertaken to do with the
RCMP, and with great cooperation from the RCMP, is identify what areas in
the RCMP need to be examined. We meet regularly with them at a working
level, and I'm confident that that type of report would surface during those
types of discussions.
The Chair: I want to clarify before we go
around the table. Am I to take it that, with the new legislation, internal
reports of this kind would then automatically come to your office once they
have been completed so that you are made aware of it? It is disconcerting to
think that this report was completed in 2007, and yet the public is made
aware of it because somebody made an ATIP request, and access-to-information
request; otherwise, no one would even know that it existed.
Mr. McPhail: Even under the new
legislation, I don't believe the provision of a report such as that would be
automatically passed over. However, as Mr. Evans indicated, with the regular
meetings that we now have at various levels of the RCMP, it is difficult for
me to imagine that such a report would not now come to our attention.
Senator Dallaire: I should like to return
to a fundamental element of the ethos of the institution, which is still
characterized as very much paramilitary in its structure, in its philosophy
of discipline, in its chain of command and so on. Although it does have many
similar tasks as your run-of-the-mill police, it does have a number of other
tasks, and it is structured accordingly.
In reading what the government has stated from
our work, I'm getting a lot of "Ottawaese" terminology in regard to
professional development of the leadership cadres and the follow-up of that
through training and formal training, and so on. It says a lot that we are
taking steps, that we've been talking to people. We've upgraded one course,
which is just one small course, in fact, and we have got a leadership
continuum process of talking with other people, although it doesn't speak at
all about the concreteness of all this nor any milestone of that.
With the Somalia report, we had some very, very
specific milestones, with recommendations that either had to be met or we
were brought in front of the House of Commons at the time. None of this is
appealing to what we articulated as a fundamental flaw in the overall
process, which is the senior leadership and development of the senior
officer corps and how that transcends throughout.
Have you seen a shift so far in those people
who are being promoted into and then promoted within that leadership
structure getting some significant changes in their professional
development, in the ethos of the institution and how it is related to its
troops? Forgive me for the long question.
Mr. McPhail: Not at all. Thank you,
senator. First of all, I apologize because I'm not particularly articulate
in "Ottawaese", so I will —
Senator Dallaire: You are forgiven for
Mr. McPhail: I will do my best to answer
your question. First of all, one of the key things that we discovered, when
we released our report a year or so ago, was that it was the first ever
effort to try to look at the issue of harassment in an overall manner. We
made some recommendations, but it is up to the commissioner and the RCMP to
move ahead with the implementation. That's the commissioner's responsibility
— to manage the RCMP.
We did state in our report — and, pursuant to
Bill C-42, we will now have every legal authority to do so — that we would
revisit this whole issue, not immediately but in the not-too-distant future.
Where we stand now is that the new code of
conduct isn't fully operational. We have to give it a little time to see how
it works in practice, at which time it is important that we go back in,
because we now have somewhat of a base, to see if we can measure change.
That's not always going to be easy, but I think it can be done.
To answer the other part of your question on a
far-from-scientific basis, from what I understand from Commissioner Paulson,
he's very conscious of the need to try to change the culture within the
RCMP, and in terms of many of his appointments, he has moved in that
Mr. Evans may have some additional comment on
Mr. Evans: I would just echo Mr. McPhail's
comments. It would be a bit premature for us right now to make a judgment
about how the RCMP has responded to the recommendations we've made, given
that many of the processes are tied up in Bill C-42. A number of different
policies are coming into force with C-42, so, as Mr. McPhail says, once they
have had a chance to develop those regulations and put them in place, then
the bill gives us the authority to come in down the road and do a review.
Senator Dallaire: First of all, I still am
totally uncomfortable with the term the Commissioner of the RCMP "managing"
the RCMP. He's in command of the RCMP, and that's in legislation, words like
that. So I still see that as a sign that that shift has not happened.
However, when Somalia happened and
post-Somalia, National Defence was put on six-month milestones for
implementation of significant reforms, and people were being held
accountable significantly for not meeting them. I was intimately involved in
Do you see that process going on there, or do
you perceive that the commissioner is working towards that?
Mr. McPhail: I do see that process going
on, and I come to that conclusion both from direct discussions that I have
had with the commissioner and, just as importantly, from the discussions
that Mr. Evans and other members of our team have had with their colleagues
over at the RCMP.
Senator Segal: I wanted first to thank our
guests for the work they're doing for Canada in a complex and difficult area
and, second, to raise the prospect of consequences.
In commercial law, civil law, criminal law and
administrative law, when obligations are not met, when rules, regulations
and/or best practices are violated, when people's rights or freedom or
standards of corruption are in some way dealt with inappropriately, there
This is an amplification of Senator Dallaire's
questioning. I have a sense here — and I say this as someone who has nothing
but the highest respect for the good faith of the force; men and women who
serve in it do great work for Canada in difficult circumstances — that we
seem to have a process moving forward where there's always something
contingent upon another piece of legislation, implementation of another
framework, which means that, for example, we're not actually having a
discussion within the context of due process around consequences.
If I were a junior member of your staff and saw
a newspaper report that said there are 300 incidents of potential corruption
in the RCMP, found by the RCMP themselves and disclosed in response to an
ATIP request, even though you have terms of reference for your organization
that do not directly implicate you in that — and I respect that — I would
ask you this question: What are we doing about it? Are we engaging to see if
anybody has been disciplined, suspended pending some further investigation?
Has anybody been charged? What are we doing to ensure that the laws that
apply in this country and that the RCMP dutifully enforces actually apply to
the people who work within the RCMP in the same circumstance?
Mr. McPhail: Senator, you are absolutely
right; there do need to be consequences. At the risk of falling into your
example of someone waiting for the new legislation, the gestation period
here has been very lengthy, as we all know.
I think it is very likely that in the very near
future, the new legislation will be implemented. At that time, but not until
that time, our commission will have the ability to investigate. As an
example of a specified activities review, how the RCMP dealt with these
issues is a specified activity that would cry out for examination.
Senator Segal: You were good enough, in
your opening statement, to talk about the 11 recommendations that issued
from your report on harassment and your engagement with the Commissioner of
the RCMP and the work that they are doing. Do you believe you have, in your
dynamic with the commissioner, metrics around performance on these
I understand that you have this commitment,
that they have been accepted, that they're working dutifully et cetera, but
do you have any metrics about when some of the recommendations would be
deemed to have been implemented in a fashion that would make you feel
comfortable that they are moving in good faith with some significant sense
of efficiency in addressing your recommendations?
Mr. McPhail: Proof of the pudding is in the
eating. In that respect, when we go back in and measure changes and progress
that have taken place, we will establish the metrics when we prepare the
terms of reference for that review.
The Chair: Colleagues, could I follow up on
Senator Segal for the record here?
I go back to that report of 2007 and the issues
that it has raised. If your organization isn't the one that addresses
questions of a report of that kind to find out if all those issues were
dealt with, who does?
Mr. McPhail: That's an excellent point,
senator, and the fact is that our organization will be the organization that
deals with issues such as that. In the past, it has not been.
The Chair: I want to follow up because we
will have Commissioner Paulson here next week. At this stage, then, is it
strictly the commissioner who deals with that report and not your
organization because of your legislative framework? Is that what I'm led to
Mr. McPhail: That's correct.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you for being here.
I remain skeptical about whether Bill C-42 really is going to achieve what
the commissioner says it will, which is to give him the power to get rid of
the bad apples, I believe he said. The question it begs is who does the
organization see as the bad apples in the case of harassment, the harassed
or the harassers? There's nothing in that bill that particularly
distinguishes; in fact it gives a great deal of power to get rid of the
harassed, and it appears that that's what is happening.
Many with PTSD, because of sexual harassment
and bullying and unbelievable cases of it that have been documented by the
RCMP's tribunal processes, are now receiving their notices to be released,
often from boards of inquiry or boards of review that they're not even
allowed to attend. Now we see the development of regulations that will
actually allow people to be released before the grievance process is
What comfort can you give us, if any, that
these new powers will in fact lead to getting rid of the people who are
causing the problems — the harassers — and not the people who are injured
because of the harassment?
Mr. McPhail: I'm going to ask Mr. Evans if
he will respond to your question, senator.
Mr. Evans: It's important to draw the
distinction between conduct issues in the RCMP and the mandate of our
commission. The conduct and the tribunal process, the dismissal of RCMP
members, under Bill C-42 and in the RCMP Act, remains the purview of the
Commissioner of the RCMP as the responsible employer. That's where the
dismissal takes place.
The new Civilian Review and Complaints
Commission will have a broader mandate to review processes and actives
within the RCMP. I'll give you an example. We made a recommendation in the
harassment report saying the RCMP should do a better job of keeping records.
It was difficult for us to follow all of the cases because sometimes they
were recorded and sometimes they weren't. That's the first recommendation.
Our mandate includes those types of procedural issues, so it's a more
remedial, broad-based policy mandate. We give advice to the RCMP, the
commissioner agrees and they will try to implement that. Dealing with the
individual harassment complaints remains the purview of the RCMP.
Senator Mitchell: Many of your
recommendations, which are really excellent recommendations, would
peripherally or directly address this program that the commissioner keeps
mentioning — the workplace respect program. In fact, for example, an
external mechanism for review of harassment decisions should be implemented.
That's pretty straightforward. You could do that in two weeks, it would seem
Clearly, it would be within your purview and
within your interests given these recommendations that that workplace
respect program be working.
Can you give us any comfort that they're making
progress? When we had them here a year ago, we found out there was no
national standard, no national direction, and each area was going to develop
its own. It sounded to me like something they really weren't that committed
to, if I can be so aggressive, and I really feel it's still warranted to be
aggressive about this because it's such a serious problem.
Do you feel that the respect for workplace
program is being implemented, that it's having effect, that it has a
baseline study from which it can judge progress? Have you had any plans to
do a study of its progress within your new mandate?
Mr. McPhail: First, my information at the
moment is more anecdotal, but it's my belief that the RCMP is working to
implement this strategy. In terms of the baseline, I think the baseline is
found in our previous report. As I've indicated, absolutely, we do plan, and
under the new legislation, when the new CRCC is created, that will be one of
our earliest specified activities reviews.
Senator White: Thanks to both of you for
being here today. I have two quick questions.
We've had a number of hearings, as you probably
know, in relation to CBSA and the shift we've seen in CBSA from 2004 to a
decade later to more of a policing agency. We've had a number of people
speak here about the lack of independent oversight for CBSA, and we've heard
a lot of people talk about how often they work hand in glove with the RCMP.
Do you see your future structure under this new
mandate as one that can take on the role of oversight for CBSA — with
resource levels outside of the question but more about whether or not you
think that's something your agency could do?
Mr. McPhail: First, senator, whether there
should be that type of oversight or not is really more a subject for
parliamentarians, so I'm not going to comment on that.
If your decision was that yes, there should be
oversight, I think the CPC model would be an excellent fit because the whole
role of CBSA has changed dramatically in the past 10 or 15 years. I don't
wish to cast any aspersions, but I think we all recognize that its primary
duty not that long ago was collecting tolls and revenues, and now it's quite
clearly involved in a law enforcement function.
Senator White: So the answer is yes?
Mr. McPhail: Yes.
Senator White: In relation to your response
to one of the earlier questions about a number of corruption cases, under
the new mandate and possibly under this one, could you not hold an
investigative inquiry into such allegations? Overall is corruption an issue
in the RCMP? You would have that authority, if not specifically
investigating those complaints?
Mr. McPhail: That's correct. As a matter of
fact, one of the strengths of the CPC, and soon to be the CRCC model, is
that when we do our inquiries we review documentation, we conduct
interviews, we probably learn more about the matters that we're
investigating, I would argue, than almost any type of public inquiry. I
think that's why the reviews we've put out in the last few years have solved
problems: Once people have had an opportunity to review those it tends to
become fairly clear that there wasn't much more to be learned.
Senator White: Some of my friends'
questions surrounded whether you could do something, and not getting the
right responses from the commissioner or from the RCMP in relation to what
has taken place on those 312 cases, I believe it was, would allow you to
take a step forward. In that case, we would look at our own investigative
inquiry conducted at CPC, or its future name.
Mr. McPhail: Yes, it clearly falls within
the specified activities review category contained in Bill C-42.
Senator White: Thank you very much for
clearing that up.
Senator Dagenais: I would like to thank the
witnesses for being here today.
You may not know this, but I was the president
of the police union for the Sûreté du Québec for seven years, and in
cooperation with the employer, we established a harassment policy. Through
that policy, we were able to prevent problems and resolve a number of cases.
The union did more than just deal with labour agreements and pension plans;
it also played an active role in how the force was organized.
How satisfied were you with the government’s
response to the concerns raised in the investigation your commission
conducted, as far as the public trust was concerned, into workplace
harassment? Was the response satisfactory? Which issues identified in your
investigation report would you say have not been resolved?
Mr. McPhail: In terms of the government's
response, in Bill C-42, regardless of areas that could be tightened up, the
government has given the RCMP the tools to do this job. It has given our
commission the authority to investigate how effectively the RCMP has done
the job. It's still a work-in-progress, quite clearly. It's one of those
issues that probably will never be solved totally in a satisfactory manner.
Nonetheless, at this time, the RCMP is in the middle of attempting to put
the new systems in place. It will be our commission's responsibility to
review this and to determine how satisfactorily their efforts have worked.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you. Mr. Evans, did
you care to comment?
Mr. Evans: No, I would echo what Mr.
McPhail said. It is a bit premature for us; but those are not insignificant
elements in the proposed legislation. One example I would put out there is
that going forward doing reviews, we determine what's relevant. There's a
greatly enhanced document production process in the bill such that getting
access to documents within the RCMP will no longer be a problem. Combined
with a broader mandate, I think it’s important and backs up what Mr. McPhail
is saying about why we're confident about our ability to do these probes:
the increased investigative authority.
Senator Day: Gentlemen, the first question
I want to ask is about your comment that you have secured A-base funding of
$10 million. A-base implies that you expect to see that amount each year to
run your activities. That's double what you had before. Is it double because
of increased activities and more employees? Why would you need it doubled?
Mr. McPhail: It's double the previous
A-base funding. In addition, the government provided some $3 million in
supplementary or interim funding; so it's actually an increase of about $2
million, rounding off the numbers, of course. That combined with internal
efficiencies we’ve made and will continue to make will give us sufficient
funding to meet the new mandate.
Senator Day: Does this funding come
directly to the commission or does it come through another vote?
Mr. McPhail: It comes directly to the
Senator Day: I just wanted to check on
Looking at the latter part of your
presentation, I need to ask you what this means: "We're working towards the
implementation of a fully integrated complaint intake solution."
Mr. McPhail: Let me translate that from
Ottawaese, as Senator Dallaire mentioned. Here is the situation as it
presently stands: The RCMP can take complaints directly. They use one format
for their complaint intake process. We use a somewhat different one. Every
province has its own review and complaints body. Each province has its own
form. To me, that made no sense; and so we're trying to have a no-wrong-door
approach. If anyone in the public has a concern or an incident with a police
service, they don't have to get to the right body. They can phone any body
and the complaint would be directed appropriately internally. We want to get
away from this idea of, "Oh, you've got the wrong phone number or email
address; here are the people you should be contacting." Essentially, it's a
no-wrong-door approach with one stop for the public.
Senator Day: May I come back for a second
The Chair: Are you following up on this
Senator Day: No, I think I understand that
now, but I just had one other short question.
The Chair: If you can do a short preamble,
you can go now.
Senator Day: We had a recommendation that
transfers not be used to avoid dealing with a situation. Minister Blaney has
come back and said that the RCMP does not do that. I'd like your comment on
Mr. McPhail: That goes to Mr. Evans.
Mr. Evans: That's not something we've
looked at or that's been on our radar as something we would need to look at
at this time. How the chair becomes informed of what's in the public
interest under the new legislation to look at, the potential is that if
there were complaints, the chair makes a determination that it's in the
public interest to do a review of that. With this broader mandate, we
potentially could review something like that.
Senator Day: I hope you'll tuck that at the
back of your mind. You may not get too many complaints if somebody gets
promoted and sent off to the Okanagan Valley. They may not want to complain.
The Chair: May I follow up on this? We
spent a lot of time and resources with many witnesses with respect to coming
up with a parliamentary report basically on harassment. It's a public
report. I assume that your organization receives a copy of that report and
that you go through that report. Would you not be asking the RCMP just what
they're doing in respect of those recommendations and following up on it? Or
do I have to assume that we have to put a complaint in so that you can
follow up on our report?
Mr. McPhail: No, no, you don't have to put
a complaint in for us to follow up on that. No one does. That's something
we've said we would do and will do.
The Chair: I want to hone in on this. We
put a lot of time and effort into the report and I think it's a good report
overall. When you receive that report, I see you as our public
representative. Do you follow up with the commissioner and his
administration to follow up in a three-month, four-month, six-month period
of time, to find out exactly where they're going with that report or, if
they're not prepared to implement that report or aspects of it, why not?
Mr. McPhail: Perhaps I should have been
more specific earlier on, senator. I meet on a regular basis with
Commissioner Paulson. We've had meetings of senior members of the commission
and Commissioner Paulson, and with some of his people. There are regular
meetings at many levels.
Yes, we do discuss and follow up on progress.
As Mr. Evans said earlier, it's still a work-in-progress, which is why we're
not yet in a position to tell you exactly the effect of it. It's not yet
been fully implemented.
The Chair: So I take it this time next year
you'll be able to report fully to us in respect to the full effect of the —
Mr. McPhail: Yes, we will.
The Chair: Having that on the record, I'll
move on to Senator McIntyre.
Mr. McPhail: Assuming I'm still no longer
the interim chair.
Senator McIntyre: Thank you, gentlemen, for
your fine presentation. As you know, the RCMP has recently released a number
of proposed regulatory amendments for consultation. I'm referring to the
RCMP Regulations, 2014 Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, published in
the Canada Gazette in April this year.
Was the CPC engaged in this consultation
process, and how has the CPC been engaged in the process?
Mr. McPhail: I believe you're talking about
the code of conduct.
Senator McIntyre: Yes.
Mr. McPhail: The CPC has not been engaged
in that effort. They have been now put out for public comment, both for
members of the public and members of the RCMP.
Again, it's an issue that the new CRCC can
review upon its implementation.
Senator Mitchell: Your work and at least
one of the focuses of your report was very much about organizational
psychology and culture in an organization like the RCMP, specifically the
RCMP. I think you demonstrated that you've given that a depth of thought.
One of your recommendations is that — there is a relationship between
workplace conflict and harassment. There is a complex relationship, and
clearly you've thought that through.
In keeping with that observation and that line
of thinking, I'm wondering to what extent you would connect a workplace
environment that permits bullying and harassment with that kind of
environment that would enable corruption to reach the serious levels that
the 322 incident reports would indicate. I think there's a link in the
nature of the culture.
Mr. McPhail: It's not something I've really
thought about at length. At the very great risk of —
Senator Mitchell: I'm just asking you,
given the depth of your experience.
Mr. McPhail: Being hypothetical on this,
yes, I would think if someone feels the rules don't apply to them in one
area, they may well believe that's the case in others.
Senator Mitchell: The study that concluded
the 322 instances of corruption, spanning from 1995 to 2005, was done in
2007, but it's getting to be 10 years since that last period of time. Are
you aware of any other studies or of monitoring that the RCMP itself is
doing, and other studies they might have that would indicate what has
happened in the last 10 years?
Mr. McPhail: I'm not aware of such studies.
The Chair: If I could, colleagues, I would
like to go a little bit further on the code of conduct. Senator McIntyre
referred to it being published in the Canada Gazette and further
information going out for public consultation. If you will recall, we did a
number of recommendations about the code of conduct and how important it was
to have a code of conduct that not only was clearly defined but that laid
out consequences if an officer violated the code of conduct.
What steps are you taking to ensure that your
office, in working with the commissioner, makes sure that that is done so
that the public is aware there is a code of conduct and there will be a
consequence going forward? Do you have any comments on that?
Mr. McPhail: Again, it gets back to what
our mandate is and what it isn't. In terms of consequences for individual
breaches of the code of conduct, we're not a review body for specific
individual instances of discipline within the RCMP. What we can do, and what
I expect we likely will do, is review how the code of conduct is
administered and what the range of penalties or range of consequences is for
different actions, and review its fairness both to the RCMP members and to
the members of the public.
Senator Dallaire: I've been listening and
reading about your duties and so on. It's a very succinct response we got
from government reference of ombudsman. It nearly borders on being flippant,
saying essentially that we've got enough oversight; we don't need another
one. We could easily have said that at DND, because not only did we end up
with an ombudsman, but we had six civilian oversight committees reporting
directly to the minister during that period of major reform at the end of
Do you feel that the presence of an ombudsman
would be overkill in an institution that seems to maybe not be within this
current decade in terms of its ways of going through things?
Mr. McPhail: That's a difficult question to
answer. What is the appropriate degree of oversight? At the risk of not
answering your question, but I'll do my best —
Senator Dallaire: Bordering on Ottawaese.
Mr. McPhail: No, it will not be that.
I will give you two broader examples. Both Mr.
Evans and I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of an
organization called NACOLE — the National Association for Civilian Oversight
of Law Enforcement — which is the American equivalent to a Canadian body, so
all of the oversight bodies are represented there. To my surprise, they're
all municipal. Not only is there not an effective form of national oversight
of policing matters — although I suppose you do have the inspector general —
there isn't even state-wide oversight.
Senator Dallaire: We have state police all
over the place.
Mr. McPhail: Exactly, but all of the
oversight bodies are municipal, without exception.
Senator Dallaire: We're going to let you
off the hook with that.
Mr. McPhail: At our recent CACOLE —
Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement — meeting, I
introduced the concept of a panel, which we put on, about the burden of
oversight. One of the challenges we have is being fair both to the
individual members and to the members of the public. In many cases of
serious injury or death, you'll have an investigation by the SIU-type of
body, a coroner's inquest, and an internal review. If there's no criminal
charge, you will have a review by a body such as ours.
There is a multiplicity of processes, and what
I think we have been trying to do in Canada is to come to a happy medium. It
is not always easy, between the American system, which I don't think
provides for enough oversight, and the Canadian system where we try to have
consistent oversight where there's a tendency to compound the number of
I don't have an answer for this. As a matter of
fact, as I explained at our conference, I wanted to get the issue out for
discussion so that people can start examining the different processes and
see if we can make further improvements.
The Chair: Colleagues, it is three o'clock.
I would like to thank our witnesses for taking time out of their busy
schedules to come before us and take our questions. We appreciate what you
do. We believe it is important at least on an annual basis to have you come
before a body such as ours and have this public conversation, because it is
important not just for us but for the public, most importantly.
Mr. McPhail: We appreciate it, too, Mr.
The Chair: Time is not necessarily our
friend here and our next panel is large, so we will begin. I'd like to
welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence as we continue our review of issues pertaining to the RCMP. We are
pleased to welcome members of the force representing the staff perspectives.
First we have with us Staff Sergeant Abe Townsend, National Executive, and
Superintendent Doug Anthony, National Executive of the RCMP Staff Relations
Representative Program. I would also like to welcome Rae Banwarie,
President, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada; Gaëtan
Delisle, President, Association des membres de la police montée du Québec;
and John White, President, Mounted Police Association of Ontario.
Gentlemen, I understand each organization has
an opening statement. I would invite Mr. Townsend to start. Remember, we
have one hour for this panel.
Mr. Townsend, please proceed.
Staff Sergeant Abe Townsend, National
Executive, RCMP Staff Relations Representative Program: We are proud to
appear on behalf of the membership of the RCMP, 19,000 regular members and
3,800 civilian members, both categories hired and accountable under the RCMP
Act, who serve across Canada and internationally. Their service in policing
and public safety is an honour to all Canadians.
We are the RCMP Staff Relations Representative,
SRR, Program. The program is a non-union labour relations program for all
members of the RCMP. The program is authorized by law and is the officially
recognized program of representation on all issues that affect the welfare
and/or dignity of RCMP members.
During my service, I have served in four
different provinces and two territories and have been an elected
representative since 2004. Doug has served in two provinces and has been
elected to represent since 2012. The program is comprised of 42
representatives all democratically elected from and by the membership in all
territories and provinces. We will provide opening remarks and focus on four
general areas: the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability
Act, the informal conflict management program, harassment, and the
Respectful Workplace Program.
I'm pleased to report to the committee that
during the development of regulations, commissioner's standing orders,
policies and training, which will operationalize the Enhancing RCMP
Accountability Act, the SRR program has been engaged in meaningful
consultation through the SRR internal affairs committee, the SRR staffing
committee specific to the category of employee issue, the broader SRR caucus
and an SRR resource whose sole function is to ensure lines of communication
are open and active. While this has provided opportunities to advocate on
behalf of our membership, there remain some specific areas of concern to us,
and we will use the entirety of the regulatory approval process to advocate
on behalf of the membership of the RCMP.
In advance of the implementation of the
Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act, most RCMP divisions have implemented
informal conflict management programs, ICMP. These will be supported by the
rollout of a nationally based informal conflict management program. It has
been reported to us by representatives in divisions where ICMP has been
implemented that the results are favourable. As we participate in the
development of a national program, as required by legislation, we look
forward to a standardized and sustainable program for all of our membership.
In relation to harassment, since the
publication of your committee's report in June of last year, publication of
the CPC’s Public Interest Investigation Report into Issues of Workplace
Harassment within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the implementation
of the RCMP Gender and Respect Action Plan and the implementation of the
Respectful Workplace Program, reported complaints of harassment have been on
the decline. Likely not for a single reason, but rather for a combination of
reasons, we are moving in a better direction. This direction, I hope, will
be supported and sustained with the approval of the commissioner's standing
orders on investigation and resolution of harassment.
The final area of remark is the Respectful
Workplace Program, which is an informal consequence of the Gender and
Respect Action Plan. This program, while encouraged from the centre, is very
much defined and implemented in the divisions to enhance our workplaces and
the relationships therein.
In closing, I will point out no improvement is
possible without the engagement of our membership and the sustained support
of the organization. Our members are and will continue to be engaged in
Success is dependent on funding, resources,
ongoing training and strong timely communications. We will advocate for
these. Thank you, and we welcome any questions the committee may have.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Townsend.
Gaëtan Delisle, President, Association des
membres de la police montée du Québec: Thank you, Mr. Chair, for
inviting us to address the committee regarding our understanding of the
issues we were asked to comment on: whether any changes have been made since
Bill C-42’s publication, what changes have actually been made, and are they
doing the organization any good?
Unfortunately, I can tell you that we, on our
end, do not share Mr. Townsend’s view. In fact, I know one of the divisional
representatives on the disciplinary committee quite well, and I can tell you
that the divisional representatives called in regarding the regulations made
under the RCMP Act were never made aware of them before they were published
last month. It is all well and good to talk about certain things, but when
you do not have the regulations, well... You will notice that nothing has
changed in the new regulations made under the RCMP Act with respect to
oversight and the way harassment complaints are currently dealt with.
I would like to point out recommendation 15 in
a Senate committee report on the RCMP; it calls on the government to
establish an RCMP ombudsman. If you check the regulations, you will notice
that the role of the external review committee for public complaints will be
minimized as far as all types of harassment-related grievances go, including
those related to travel claims. That means situations where members are not
treated properly when they are asked to travel for work, for example, to
provide security at the Olympics — in which case a thousand members are
required to work in other locations. Grievances of that nature must be
submitted under Treasury Board’s travel policy. So, under the new
regulations, the external review committee will not be allowed to
investigate those kinds of grievances. What is more, the commissioner will
decide what you will be entitled to, and the commissioner is the one making
the decision. I want to be perfectly clear as far as the situation not
changing goes. It will get worse.
What is defined as harassment? I am not sure
whether you recall when this issue came out in Parliament: the infamous
scandal involving the RCMP pension and insurance fund. A major investigation
was conducted. Mr. White will surely recall back when then chief
superintendent Fraser Macaulay publicly announced how the RCMP had managed
to take millions of dollars out the funds.
With the new regulations made under the RCMP
Act, the commissioner will now have the authority to immediately dismiss any
member of the RCMP, except for the deputy commissioner. So if you apply that
authority to Mr. Macaulay’s situation, he would have been dismissed
And, if I am not mistaken, I believe you were
involved in a complaint that was made against Mr. Macaulay. When you were
assistant commissioner, you filed a complaint about his conduct. In cases
where a superior files a complaint against a whistleblower, you can only
imagine the implications it has in terms of conduct.
From our perspective, it is clear that
harassment complaints are not taken seriously, nor does anyone want them to
be. I will give you a blatant example. Eight years ago, one of my best
partners, an outstanding RCMP investigator, was told one morning when he got
to work, "Go home. Collect your things and go home. Do not ever come back
here". It took eight years to ask the RCMP that I file a harassment
grievance. Eight years — they just received the grievance last week — to say
the grievance met the requirement of standing.
Just imagine that the harassment complaint
resolution process is starting after eight years. What do you think has been
happening during all that time? The member in question was cast aside, and
what do you think people in similar situations end up thinking about the
RCMP? The same thing happens in all cases involving harassment.
Ironically, in this particular situation, the
harasser was promoted to the position of chief superintendent, and then
promoted again to the rank of deputy commissioner. That same individual will
now be reviewing the member’s grievance. I simply wanted to tell you that
nothing has changed.
I am available to answer any questions you may
have. I will now yield the floor to my colleagues.
John White, President, Mounted Police
Association of Ontario: Mr. Chair, senators, thank you for the
opportunity to address your committee and for your efforts to help improve
the effectiveness of Canada's national police service.
The issue of harassment in all its forms should
be of significant concern to all Canadians, especially when it is occurring
within public institutions. You should know there are many individuals,
privileged to serve this country as part of the RCMP, who want to do their
part to address the problem. Clearly, workplace harassment can never be
eradicated completely. Therefore, it is critical to establish effective
preventive measures while also responding quickly and decisively when
When people work collaboratively, a potential
synergy forms which, if properly harnessed, enables organizations to respond
to almost any challenge. Workplace harassment, if tolerated, robs groups of
its strength, valuable skills and abilities to achieve the mission. Left
unchecked, like a disease, it will erode confidence and destroy
Harassment victims are impacted by a critical
failure of leadership — abuse of authority. Victims are adversely affected,
with some rendered incapable of functioning normally, both at work and at
home. There are costs associated to harassment — impacts on physical and
psychological health. Respect for others is critical to improving the
culture of the force. This could start with allowing members the
associational rights they are presently being denied but enjoyed by all
other police services. Sadly, our failure to properly eliminate harassing
behaviour produces a culture of self-preservation where many choose to
ignore the problem. Faced with intimidation, self-interest prevails. As we
avoid getting involved, improper behaviour becomes the norm. Tolerating and
ignoring the problem has skewed accurate measurement of harassment in the
RCMP. Improper behaviour, perceived as normal, is also being reinforced in
There is a critical workload problem in the
RCMP. Harassment is symptomatic of human resource shortages and related
issues. Unless HR matters are prioritized over other issues, our other
problems will not be addressed in a timely way. When improper behaviour goes
unreported, it's very easy to ignore the issue. It also becomes easier to
attack those who make formal complaints.
You have been shown the dire consequences for
victims. Many seek costly redress through external litigation. Members find
it hard to have faith and trust when they observe negative media publicity.
In an us-versus-them environment, how will decision makers in the future be
properly trained to be comfortable and capable in dispensing discipline for
which there is potentially little accountability?
We must be vigilant also against subjective
conclusions about harassment. Labelling victims is extremely dangerous and
unfair. They cannot be dismissed as troubled, malcontent and professionally
unsatisfied. This enabling behaviour discredits all victims and shifts focus
away from the real issue. Harassers and enablers try to justify their
actions as protecting the organization.
We must empower members to speak out against
harassment by demonstrating that they will not suffer retribution for doing
so. Cultural change will happen only if we truly cease to tolerate
harassment and we show that it will not be tolerated elsewhere. A moral
compass must assist us in combatting harassing behaviour. Proper ethics and
values demonstrated by leaders who truly understand the dangers of failing
to lead must be communicated and embraced by everyone, from the top to the
bottom. Thank you.
Rae Banwarie, President, Mounted Police
Professional Association of Canada: I would like to thank the chair and
this committee for the invitation to be here and the opportunity to address
you all. In my capacity as the national president of MPPAC, I'm here to
speak to this committee and provide each of you the unfettered,
uncompromising truth about what is being reported to us, what is happening
on the front lines with our national membership. I will share with you what
the members have shared with me about their recent experiences in the force
on the important issues of harassment since Bill C-42 was passed.
Although C-42 became law last year, we have not
begun to feel a real impact of the legislation as we have awaited the
development of the regulations and the commissioner's standing orders.
Nevertheless, members are aware of the pending changes and are
understandably nervous. The committee has been made aware of the fundamental
flaws in C-42. It entrenches the power imbalance and places unprecedented
discretion in the hands of the commissioner and senior managers to
discipline and dismiss members. The new processes continue to lack
independent third-party adjudication; the commissioner has the final say.
Members may be compelled to make statements and produce documents without
sufficient protections. Members can be discharged with ease with minimal
procedural protections. Members are understandably fearful about how these
powers will be deployed.
Members are also disappointed to see that the
new code of conduct continues to include the "no criticism" clause found in
the previous code of conduct. This provision, which prevents members from
criticizing the operations or the administration of the force, unless
authorized by law, effectively muzzles dissent, placing the onus on the
member to guess when his or her freedom of expression might be paramount.
Justice Iacobucci flagged a concern with this provision in the 1999 Supreme
Court Delisle decision, and yet it remains today.
Where have we come in the last year? Members
have been told that the problem of harassment will be addressed. Members
have been told that the problem will be taken seriously, but what have the
members actually seen and experienced? Our members have seen their
commissioner come before this committee and identify three members by name,
members who had spoken out against the force with complaints of harassment.
Our members have seen the commissioner ridicule and demean their colleagues,
engaging in a very public campaign of bullying. The message? Speaking out
against harassment will not be tolerated.
Our members have seen their commissioner
belittle those suffering with PTSD by using a derogatory hand gesture, which
was captured at a meeting, an audio meeting at Alberta, and he apologized
for that after the recording was circulated and a backlash occurred.
Our members have seen harassment problems
continue to arise and be inadequately addressed. An example would be the
case of a certain staff sergeant who had to fight for the support of the
organization in order to get back to work after surgery following a physical
altercation during arrest. Her name is in the transcripts.
This staff sergeant took her complaint to the
chain of command, to senior management, who failed in their obligations to
her. She felt personally dismissed and she was told that the organization
would not engage in dialogue with her if she wanted to have her association
representative present as part of this process. That information is
contained in Exhibit A, the five pages of emails where she was in
communication with Commissioner Paulson.
Our members have seen the RCMP management at
the highest levels make a choice favouring the RCMP's reputation over the
health and welfare of members. This committee may already be aware that Dr.
Webster, a police psychologist in British Columbia who provided
psychological counselling to many members, was removed from the RCMP's
approved list of doctors in August of 2012. I have provided the committee
with ATIP information showing that this decision was approved and sanctioned
by the commissioner and was largely based upon Dr. Webster’s speaking out
about his concerns with the RCMP workplace.
Indeed, his decision to delist Dr. Webster was
accompanied by a complaint to the College of Psychologists of British
Columbia, which included press clippings. The college determined the RCMP's
complaint was unfounded and dismissed it. To support its complaint to the
college, the RCMP supplied members' private medical files to the college
without their knowledge or consent. A Privacy Act investigation is nearing
completion and a decision is imminent.
Commissioner Paulson approved the delisting of
Dr. Webster. He subsequently appeared before a parliamentary committee and
is on record stating that RCMP members are able to seek treatment from the
health care provider of their choice. So the question before this committee
is whether Commissioner Paulson stands by his actions regarding Dr. Webster
or his testimony before the committee, as they are diametrically opposed.
Exhibit B-1 contains the emails which show his knowledge and sanction of the
process. Exhibit B-2 is the college's decision, which I have supplied.
Finally, our members have seen some of their
colleagues take their own lives. I am personally familiar with the stories
of two members in British Columbia, but there are others in Canada. These
are suicides. These suicides are currently under investigation in British
Columbia, and a special coroner has been appointed and a report is pending.
In one of the of the cases, the member I has
helping was waiting almost two years to have a harassment settlement
implemented, to receive a written apology for the harassment and the payment
of legal fees from the RCMP. These issues weighed heavily on his mind. I
know, because I was attempting to help him in wrapping the matters up. I
spoke to him the day before he committed suicide. His death is a potent and
heartbreaking reminder to me of these workplace issues and how they can
impact our members.
There's still much work to be done in the RCMP
on both harassment and human resource issues more generally, as documented
in Dr. Duxbury's report on the RCMP, Exhibit C. I have provided a copy of
the executive summary.
The new processes ushered in by Bill C-42 are
not the panacea that they are made out to be but will make members more
vulnerable to management than ever before. After years of broken promises,
the members are being told again to have faith in the leadership of the
force. That is not what the members need. They need true accountability and
strong and fair leadership that they can put their faith, trust and futures
in. MPPAC has made significant, positive differences in every single
member's case that I or my executives have been personally involved in.
That's what our membership deserves: an independent, professional police
association recognized by management and engaged to partner in the workplace
and bargain on issues to protect members' interests.
I thank the committee for the opportunity to
speak on these very important issues. I would leave you with this one final
observation: The pay, pension and benefits enjoyed by RCMP members are
directly tied to those negotiated by municipal and provincial police through
collective bargaining. These collective agreements contain provisions for
the handling of grievances and disputes, which must be resolved within a
specified time frame. Why is it, then, that the men and women of the RCMP
are denied these same processes that directly affect their pay, benefits and
pensions, yet we are entrusted with the responsibility to uphold the rule of
law and the protection of all in this country?
The last 50 years of policing have shown that
police associations contribute to the quality and professionalism of
policing while serving to support their members. It is true that under such
a system the commissioner would no longer be able to act unilaterally and
without reference to the wishes of the membership, but is it really wrong to
ask our commissioner to lead rather than just command? I consider that to be
the cornerstone of an effective, modern police force. I would be pleased to
offer any further assistance to this committee, should it be required.
The Chair: Thank you very much for your
I would like to ask a specific question to Mr.
Townsend, and then give the floor to Senator Dallaire.
Has your organization considered our
recommendation for the establishment of an ombudsman, and have you taken a
position on that?
Mr. Townsend: We have, and our
consideration for that goes back to the Brown report. Our position has
remained consistent that external oversight, in relation to a place for our
members to go, is a positive thing. With an ombudsman or ombudsperson, it
would depend on the legislation and the framework that would exist so that
person would have a true ability to affect the decision making. If it's just
to create another structure that would not deliver for Canadians and for the
membership, why would we create another structure? Like anything, the devil
would be in the details, such as what authority the ombudsman or
ombudsperson would have.
Senator Dallaire: Just statistical
Mr. Delisle, how many members do you have in
Mr. Delisle: Members who are working for
Senator Dallaire: Yes?
Mr. Delisle: About 1,000 members.
Senator Dallaire: Mr. White, how many do
you have in Ontario?
Mr. White: Approximately 1,200 employees,
total. Not all regular members.
Senator Dallaire: I wish you would stop
using that term, "employees."
Mr. White: Members. Senator, they're not
all regular members. About 1,150 are civilian employees, public servants and
Senator Dallaire: I'm looking at the code
of conduct exercise that's going on, and I'm always going back to the
military because you guys have been using the paramilitary, and on and on.
We have Queen's Regulations and Orders that are interpreted by lawyers who
do courts martial, and until just a couple of decades ago we even had the
ability to give capital punishment. We have that, and then we have
administrative directives and so on that are signed under the authority of
the Chief of the Defence Staff to implement the rules and regulations.
In this process here, I'm not too sure where
the standing operating procedures of the commissioner are, or his
interpretation of the code of conduct. What do you expect coming out of that
from the code of conduct, which to me should be a very deliberate and clear
reference point for the administration and discipline of the force?
Mr. Delisle: You're talking solely about
Senator Dallaire: I'm saying administration
and discipline because harassment is a discipline problem, it's an attitude
problem, an atmosphere problem and a leadership problem. The instruments you
have, I'm not sure how they're being implemented.
Mr. Delisle: I gave the clerk a copy, in
both official languages, of a decision that was —
Senator Dallaire: I have not read it, as we
received it five minutes ago.
Mr. Delisle: I understand. This is a ruling
handed down in a workplace harassment case. The applicant was Alain
Lebrasseur, whom Mr. White knows very well.
I will read you an excerpt that shows how the
RCMP can react. This is such a comprehensive and broad issue that the
commissioner must interpret what is good or not.
The following is stated in paragraph 4: "The
Applicant had always been a successful and well-respected officer. Even
after his wife became the victim of the RCMP’s harassment, his performance
for 2002 was reviewed positively. However, the RCMP apparently wanted him to
persuade his wife to abandon her legal proceedings against it. As he
refused, he was, in turn, harassed and abused by some of his superiors."
The Honorable Judge Tremblay-Lamer provided
this information, but she also continues further on. The judge’s decision is
laid out in paragraph 28. In this case, however, the truthfulness of the
applicant’s testimony is indisputable. In fact, the uncontested evidence
establishes that the applicant was harassed by his superiors for two years,
so that he would convince his wife to withdraw the charges. The last straw
was the fact that they told him they would continue to abuse him in other
ways, with no end in sight.
Do you understand the extent of the RCMP’s
senior management, under the commissioner’s command? That is almost
impossible to describe.
The Chair: Could I ask for a qualifier with
the witnesses: If we can shorten down the replies, because there are only 30
minutes left and there are lots of questions to be asked.
Senator Dallaire: That is pretty relevant.
Mr. White, I am finding it difficult that a
chain of command could actually do what he has just described. Is this
something that is within the ethos, within the culture of people who are in
command positions, to be able to use such methods in order to impose their
will, or is this exceptional?
Mr. White: I don't believe, senator, that
it is exceptional.
Senator Dallaire: Exceptional in the
pejorative sense, of course.
Mr. White: In the pejorative sense. But by
the same token, I think it is important to make the point that not everybody
in a command leadership position in the RCMP falls into that category. It
very much depends on the situation.
To go back to your question — and I think it
has been said before the committee — the run-of-the-mill stuff, the everyday
items, the mundane administrative things where a meal claim is denied or
whatever, will probably roll out the way they have in the past. Bill C-42
was intended to expedite situations where the public purse was being
egregiously abused by individuals who were not coming to work for different
reasons and the organization had to do something, felt it had to do
something to rectify that situation.
The statistics are that those individuals are
perhaps 150 individuals out of 20,000. That's the reality. It is not like we
have a huge problem with people who decide they're not coming to work
tomorrow and just go home.
The concern amongst members is that in this
middle ground, where we have tried to solve one problem, have we created an
environment where there will be more problems? Individual actions can be
delayed; they can be deferred. Things could be done where resolution is
stalled; it is basically dragged out. What happens then? That's the concern
of members. There's real fear.
Bill C-42 places an extreme amount of power in
a localized area, and there's very little in terms of appeal; there's very
little in terms of an ombudsman-type position to help members be protected
from abuse. I don't want to go on too long. It is the middle ground that
we're worried about.
Senator White: Thanks to all of you for
being here. It's great to see people who represent similar interests and
still want to find different ways of dealing with it.
My question is for Staff Sergeant Townsend.
We've heard a number of comments about harassment. You have been in the
Div-Rep program for a while. I think you've been at NAC now for a few years
as well. How do you feel about the last 12 months and the path forward when
it comes to dealing with harassment in the workplace, in particular in
relation to those you represent?
Mr. Townsend: In the past 12 months,
there's been a greater sense of awareness among the membership. When I say
"the membership," I mean from the most junior to the most senior. That may,
in fact, be one of the big things that are actually driving the reported
incidents of harassment down.
That being said, through various means, we have
all put folks' attention on it. Through the Respectful Workplace Program,
through the broad-based consultation on the development of a code of
conduct, all of these items focus attention. It becomes everybody's problem,
not somebody else's problem.
My concern is that we will improve and then we
will go on to the next item and pay little attention to this, thinking that
we have it cured when, in fact, as I mentioned in my opening comments, these
are things that have to be sustained through policy, through CSOs, through
funding, and through continuous dialogue, so that awareness is maintained in
It is inappropriate — regardless of what level
you are — to act in a harassing way, whether it is the highest level of the
organization acting that way, or whether it is at the peer-to-peer level
acting that way. It becomes an unacceptable behaviour to isolate somebody,
to use derogatory language towards them, to mitigate their potential for
Are we moving in the right direction? Based on
the statistics, which are only a year old since your report, based on what
the SRRs in the field have reported to me, yes, we're moving in the right
direction. Are we there yet? Hopefully we will always move in the right
direction and not backwards.
Senator White: A follow-up to that. I'm a
believer that what gets measured gets done. If we look at that, that we're
moving in the right direction, do you feel that we have enough measurement
going forward over the next three, five, seven, ten years of the RCMP? It's
been around for over a hundred, and it will hopefully be around for another,
plus. Do we have enough put in place now to make sure we don't hear the
public complaints and outrage, and that, okay, we're good now, and 27,000,
28,000 people continue on the path, or do you think we need to do more? What
recommendations can you give us?
Mr. Townsend: We're encouraged by the
recommendations that have been adopted, recommendations made by this
committee, that there be a centralized accounting so that it isn't 12
different people's problems, that in fact there is one place to find and
measure the record, similar to the ministerial reporting that was ordered
five or six years ago on conduct, which actually gave the minister — and, by
extension, those who were informed — a keener sense of awareness of what is
really going on. It is not being hidden in a division, one of 12 or 13
different divisions. I agree. It has to be measured. It has to have
continuous attention and sustained effort so that we don't backslide.
Senator White: As you know, my policing
background also includes seven years in municipal policing, where I had a
police service board that I was accountable to or at least answerable to; in
other words, they could fire me if they wished — and maybe wished many
This is to anyone: Do you see a positive
opportunity for the RCMP to have a similar quasi-independent oversight board
of management that talks about strategic direction and about issues such as
harassment, ensuring that those policies are put in place, separating
politics, which often comes into play when it comes to the RCMP, with a
responsibility and accountability to the minister?
Mr. Townsend: Similar to our position in
the Brown task force, a board of management provided that it was framed in
such a way that it would advocate for the advancement of the organization
and not a special interest or a partisan-type board, yes.
Senator White: If I could have a response
from one of the witnesses from the Mounted Police Professional Association
of Canada, please.
Mr. Delisle: If I understand your question
correctly, you would move to amend Bill C-42?
Senator White: No. I'm asking whether or
not a board of management, a police board, would work better.
Mr. Delisle: We asked you to amend Bill
C-42 a year ago. That didn't go anywhere.
Senator White: I understand. I will ask
somebody else the same question if they want to reply.
Mr. White: I believe the membership of the
RCMP, the rank-and-file members, just want to know that the process is fair,
transparent and timely and that they will see this, that it will be
demonstrated to them. They talk amongst themselves; they observe things.
They know when things are occurring properly, and they know when they're
occurring improperly. I firmly believe that an independent ombudsman or a
board of management, as long as it is not seen as a mechanism to help the
organization get to the next issue or put out that fire, will be very
welcome and is required. To the proponents of C-42, I respect you.
However, I think more is required than just
legislation. We're dealing with human beings. A piece of legislation needs
to be given character and life amongst the people who deliver policing
services to this country. If that's done — regardless of how it rolls out or
what it looks like — if people feel they have an advocate and things are
fair, we will have achieved success and you will change culture in Canada's
national police service.
Senator Mitchell: My question is to Staff
Sergeant Townsend. Your concern with the ombudsman was that you wouldn't
want one that didn't deliver. However, with years of harassment, with cases
where a subordinate woman is fired for a relationship with her supervisor,
the male, and he's not fired, with cases where somebody has exposed himself
and is moved to B.C. and loses 10 day’s pay — this is decades of harassment.
It has happened on your watch, on the SRR's watch. Is it a case of your
structure just not being able to function properly, given that there is this
inherent, one could argue, conflict of interest — you are in the management
structure — and it hasn't been able to deliver your concern with an
ombudsman? Isn't it time for the kind of organization that Mr. Banwarie
represents, MPPAC, which has a model that is used in every major police
force across the country and, in fact, is referred to in decisions about pay
by the RCMP itself? Isn't it time for us to maybe look at a different kind
of organization given that yours hasn't delivered?
Mr. Townsend: Thank you for the opportunity
to reply. I'm sure you have read it; I have read it — that is, the CPC
report on harassment that looked not just at our organization but at other
policing organizations in Canada, namely those that have the type of
representational structure that you refer to as being better. Statistically,
they're no different than us. That doesn't make us correct, and that's why
we're moving to correct it.
I don't think you can draw a line to say
depending on the type of representational activity will depend on whether or
not it will be a harassment-free organization. We all strive to be a
Regarding your comment that I'm in the
management structure, in fact, I'm not. I'm accountable to the constitution
of the SRR Program and the SRR caucus, who are elected by the members. The
commissioner can't impeach me; the SRR caucus can impeach me. I'm
accountable to the membership, not management of the RCMP.
Will I continue and will we continue to
represent within the best of our ability given the structure? Yes, indeed we
will. You know as well as I do that question is before the Supreme Court of
Canada, and we look forward to their reply. We will advocate for our
national police force as being a distinct part of the Public Service of
Canada. We serve the public as their national police force, distinct and
apart from the broader public service — unique, is the way I frame it.
Senator Mitchell: I share the skepticism of
Bill C-42, that is, the idea that the commissioner says it will allow him to
get rid of the bad apples. It begs the question: Who does he, or whoever is
firing, think the bad apples are — the harassers or the harassed? And
there's more and more. I would see an organization that was demanding an
ombudsman, demanding a public oversight board and demanding a union as being
really serious about getting this problem fixed. I don't see that.
In fact, Staff Sergeant Townsend, with all due
respect, on both questions, on the ombudsman and the public oversight board,
you have kind of tempered it — well, contingent upon whether it delivers or
not. I don't get a really strong commitment from this organization, and I
don't mean to single you out —
The Chair: Would you get to your question?
Senator Mitchell: My question is this: Is
there evidence now that, in fact, C-42 has actually emboldened the
organization and they're starting to fire the injured, and is there any
indication that they're actually firing the harassers?
Mr. Townsend: You want me to reply?
Mr. Banwarie: Thank you for the question,
senator. I can speak to some of the cases I know from members who have been
injured and who have been off work for a long time. In these cases, the
injury happened as a result of harassment and bullying in the organization.
They know what is coming down in terms of the type of power that the
commissioner and his delegates will have, and they're leaving. They do not
want to be victimized again by being dismissed and fired once those
regulations come into play.
A lot of people now are going to leave the
organization. Once they're done, then it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter
what the situation was with them, or what their injuries were, or whether it
is an occupational stress injury or whatever it may be; they're out of the
force now. That's how I believe it will roll out. For something as
significant as that piece of legislation, the membership are not even being
told how it is going to play out and the matrices of how the processes are
going to be done.
I would think that for anything as substantial
as this you would know in every part of the process how it is going to
impact you, not after it has been done, created and finished, and then "Oh,
here you go. This is how it's going to play out." That's not fair to the
membership at all. How can you expect trust from an organization that
continues to operate in that fashion? You just don't.
Senator Segal: I have one issue with this.
I am hearing two different stories, and two completely different
organizations are being described here. Some people are telling us about a
major national police organization that is currently reforming itself.
Apparently, changes are being made and improvements are seen, in terms of
processes for the protection of rights. On the other hand, some people are
talking about an organization whose treatment of its members borders on the
For a guy who has no police experience — and
this senator has none other than to fundamentally respect the men and women
in uniform who are trying to do a difficult job — it is fundamentally
troubling. I would like you to help us understand why, for people who have a
broad experience with the force, engaging on behalf of members of the force,
trying to have two totally different perspectives on what is now going on —
and I expect and assume that all of you are testifying in the best of faith
and are giving us your best possible perspective on what is going on — the
gap is so large in what's being said to us this afternoon.
Mr. Delisle: Honourable senator, I do not
know whether you have taken the time to read the new regulations covered in
the RCMP Act. You will find that all the member protection measures have
been removed from the regulations. That has been set aside. So the intent is
already there. The individual who will enforce those regulations will
already have unconditional power in terms of everything.
Moreover, there is an internal system in place.
Ask Mr. Townsend — I have nothing against him personally, and we have known
each other for a long time, as I was a divisional representative for 33
years — whether he thinks that he is not part of the management. His office
is in Ottawa, and his move to Toronto was paid for. Ask him whether he
requested the move from the management, or whether he had the right to do
I am saying this to show you how people in the
system are treated. He is certainly not part of the management. Since he is
a divisional representative, he does not report to the commissioner, but to
his divisional representative. However, you know perfectly well that, if you
want to keep the benefits, you indirectly have to provide a service to the
My conclusion — and people are also coming to
the same one — is that the divisional representatives are stuck in the
system, whether we like it or not. The commander is responsible for the
divisional representative. Only the commander, and no one else, can approve
their expenditure allocations. Someone has to sign off on that. So you can
see from this example that the system is internal in that regard.
The Chair: Mr. Townsend, you indicated that
you might want to respond.
Mr. Townsend: Yes, I would like to respond
specifically to one comment of my long-time friend. No taxpayer money was
spent to move me to Toronto, none whatsoever, to give that piece of clarity.
In relation to the independence of our program,
I can tell you that, from my experience and from that of many of my
colleagues, as a representative, I was never told what I could or could not
publish to the membership I represent. I was never examined in relation to
the specificity of the expenses as I travelled about to represent the
members, nor was I asked by any of the commanding officers I worked for
what, in fact, I was dealing with on behalf of the members.
They respected the confidentialities that were
stipulated in the RCMP Act. His experience may have been different, but I
can speak for mine.
So, when we look at why we see two different
things, if we go back to the honourable senator's question, I can tell you
that, in "O" Division, for instance, in Ontario, over the last year, 600 of
the members and employees in "O" Division have received some level of
informal conflict management awareness. That's 600 of 1,200 employees. Do I
see it as all negative? Not necessarily. We're moving.
I will let my colleague, Superintendent
Anthony, close off.
Superintendent Doug Anthony, National
Executive, RCMP Staff Relations Representative Program: I have been a
member for 33 years, and the last 14 have been at headquarters. You get a
real perspective of what's happening in the force and how it is going.
Although these gentleman can certainly give you individual examples, on the
whole, where we're going I approve of. Are we there yet? No, we're not.
If we look at the statistics, between May 1,
2013, and 2014, we have dropped 134 harassment complaints. The year before,
it was 240. It is going down. The amount of harassment complaints that are
being investigated is going way up.
We have the respectful workplace initiative
that came out as of January 31 of this year. Between then and March 31,
19,073 members of the force, or 61.85 per cent, have taken that training. I
have seen the informal conflict management professionals work because, as a
staff relations representative, I had 3,400 employees. I dealt with
harassment every day, and having brought in those informal conflict
management professionals has been wonderful. People have been able to talk
things out rather than having them festering into harassment.
I see where we're going. Is it perfect?
Absolutely not. I agree with Gaëtan Delisle a little bit. We don't have the
safeguards, perhaps, in all of the areas, but are we going in the right
direction? I think we are. I know that management is taking this seriously.
I know that the membership is taking this seriously. The training that
people are getting certainly solidifies that, so, to answer from my
perspective, from the broader point of view, we're going in the right
Senator Segal: I don't have any other
questions. I don't know whether other members of the panel wish to speak.
That's up to you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Colleagues, we will go on to the
next questioner if we could because we're running out of time here.
Senator McIntyre: Gentlemen, thank you all
for your presentations. My question is addressed to the group, so anyone
from the group can answer this question. It has to do with health issues.
Recently concerns were expressed in the media about new regulations being
introduced under the Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act.
According to some, the act would enable the
RCMP to more readily dismiss members with health issues. I assume by "health
issues" they mean not only physical ailments but also mental health issues.
I'm referring specifically to an article published in the Edmonton
Journal last April called "Ailing Mounties fear new rules that make
medical dismissals easier."
Could any one of you speak to those issues?
Mr. Townsend: I would like to speak to
health modernization as it relates to Bill C-42. As a program, we are on
record in this house as well as Parliament to object to the absence of the
state provision for administrative discharge. We will continue to articulate
that through the regulatory process.
When I say "administrative discharge," that
would be discharging you for unsuitability based on a health condition. We
object to that vehemently. Our members will not have a process of appeal
while they still remain members of the force.
In the new world order, they will have the
process of appeal, but they will appeal it as an outsider. In our
organization, once you are an outsider, you can fight long and hard. Even if
you win, you don't really win.
So that piece of C-42 we object to. We always
have. In relation to our health care program, the organization still
maintains a duty to accommodate. We have gone through the policy development
on this so that decisions are not made in the absence of clear thinking and
a sober second thought. For any decision in relation to advancing an
administrative discharge, which would include health, the application has to
be cleared through a central policy centre so that you don't have the
one-offs out in Alberta or out in Newfoundland making uninformed decisions:
"Okay, this is what I see in my small piece of the world."
So we have that piece of assurance, but,
overall, we find the absence of a state provision on these administrative
decisions so that they can exercise the appeal process hugely troubling, as
we have commented in the past and as we will continue to reference.
Senator McIntyre: So this is simply fear
mongering on the part of the media.
Mr. Townsend: I don't see it as fear
mongering if you completely understand the state provision. We take young
Canadians and move them from one end of the country to the other. Their
support systems may be left in another province. With an appeal process
where you are still a member, at least you exercise all of your rights as a
Health is probably the less objectionable one
when you look at the other administrative discharge processes. At least,
arguably, if you are discharged for health-related reasons, you will have
some type of disability insurance. As it relates to that state provision,
there are other bona fide occupational requirements that you have to meet
where you can be administratively discharged that don't equate to having a
disability insurance to sustain your family.
So that piece gets really complicated. As an
organization, we still have the duty to accommodate. Unlike the military, we
don’t have universality of service. Those pieces didn't just up and
disappear because of C-42. That administrative process still is there.
Mr. Delisle: I heard my former colleagues
say that they worked very hard and were always involved in the drafting of
I would like to draw your attention to section
17 of the regulations. Had they worked so hard, section 17 would state that
the members have the right to file a grievance before the External Review
Committee, so that this body would review their case. However, that is not
In the past, when members were terminated for
medical reasons, they could submit a grievance and be heard by the External
Review Committee. I feel that any hard work they did do was not at all for
the members’ benefit.
The Chair: Colleagues, it is 4:30. So, on
behalf of the committee, I would like to thank the witnesses for coming
before us and taking our questions.
(The committee continued in camera.)