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STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
COMITÉ PERMANENT DE LA JUSTICE ET DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Thursday, November 1, 2001
The Chair (Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.)): I call to order the 40th meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Today we are considering Bill C-36, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities in order to combat terrorism.
We have before us this morning four groups or individuals as witnesses.
I have to explain to some of the groups the fact that it was our request that each group be represented by no more than two people. Since some are here with more than two people, it's important for me to explain myself a little bit to those who asked to have more than two and we said no. It's not a problem for us. We're trying very much to get through this with consistency. So to those who made that request and were denied, my apologies.
We have the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police; the Canadian Police Association; the National Association of Professional Police; and as an individual, Leo Knight. I will call upon the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police first. Perhaps you could do the introductions.
Before doing that, I think everyone is aware of the way we do business. Each group is limited to ten minutes, and then we'll go to interaction with the committee.
Mr. Michel Sarrazin (Chief, Montreal Urban Community Police Service; Vice-President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police): Mr. Chairman, members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, my name is Michel Sarrazin and I am the Chief of the Montreal Urban Community Police Service and Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
It is with great pleasure this morning that I introduce Commissioner Gwen Boniface of the Ontario Provincial Police, who is also the new president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Commissioner Boniface is the former president of the Law Amendments Committee and she has appeared as a witness before this committee on a regular basis.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police represents 950 chiefs, deputy chiefs and executive members of police services, and over 130 police services in Canada.
The Association is committed to progressively amending the laws dealing with offences and issues that affect the safety of the community. Thus, it is an honour and a pleasure to be here today to discuss Bill C-36, the Anti-terrorism Act.
Commissioner Gwen Boniface (President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police): Good morning.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports Bill C-36. What can I say about terrorism? I've seen firsthand the devastation of September 11. I have attended the funeral of a colleague from the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey police who died inside the World Trade Center, and I have visited ground zero and spoken to rescue workers and law enforcement personnel who continue to work at that scene.
It is the mission of police across Canada to keep our communities safe to ensure our Canadian way of life can be maintained and enjoyed. The members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police will meet that objective. To accomplish it we need your support, not only as members of the Parliament of Canada but as leaders in each of your communities. So while we are here today to speak to you about Bill C-36, we are also here to ask you to visit your local police service—be it a municipal police service, a detachment of the OPP or the Sûreté du Québec, or the RCMP—to meet the chief and have a coffee with some front-line officers. We are certain you will be impressed with the quality of men and women who deliver police services, and they would welcome your interest and support as they face new challenges of law enforcement.
Terrorism is about fear and intimidation. Leadership is about defeating it. Terrorist groups are intricate, complex, sophisticated, and clandestine. Their strategy is long term, with evil proportions. Our most important comment on Bill C-36 centres on the need for leadership, collaboration, coordination, and communication.
May I begin by complimenting Commissioner Zaccardelli of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Since the crisis began, he has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, using his office to share information and consult with his partners in policing at the provincial and regional levels. In order to defeat terrorism, law enforcement and intelligence agencies at all levels must work together to share information and maximize the skills, the talents, and the abilities of each agency. Defeating terrorism will not be a one-man show.
As a small but significant example, can I point out that yesterday members of the OPP, RCMP, and Ottawa police responsible for the security for the upcoming G-20 conference here in Ottawa travelled to Montreal to meet with members of the Montreal urban police to plan and coordinate for that future.
Mr. Michel Sarrazin: A new harmony exists in the policing field: inter-organizational communication at the administrative level has produced much broader co-operation on front-line operations. We must strengthen and formalize this shared communication and thus develop a partnership among the services and agencies who share the responsibility of ensuring the country's security.
This process, begun within the context of the fight against organized crime, has come a long way since the events of September 11. In the long term, the challenge of vanquishing terrorism will force Canada to develop a model that could broaden, formalize and institutionalize the objective we are defining today.
The implementation of that objective is simple. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police feels that Bill C-36 must be the event which triggers the creation of a central agency which will ensure the co-ordination and exchange of information among federal, provincial and local services involved in the area of intelligence and maintaining order.
In order to ensure its effectiveness, this agency would be accountable to the existing ad hoc cabinet committee on security or to the entity which would replace it subsequently. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police believes that that agency is an essential element in the successful fight against terrorism.
Commr Gwen Boniface: There are several other points we would like to submit that ought to be covered in the bill. In the interests of time, we will simply identify them today, but these are very important issues, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with officials from the committee or the Department of Justice. The first concerns lawful access.
Lawful access is the short form for a whole array of legislative and regulatory amendments needed to allow law enforcement and intelligence agencies legal and technical access to newer types of communication technology. Significant consultation and planning has already been conducted in this area and needs to be acted upon. Recent history evidences that terrorists are well-funded and -equipped with technical communications devices. Police need to be able to keep pace and lawfully access their communications.
As well, recent rulings of the CRTC have seriously restricted police access to certain information, such as the names of telcos delivering service to the customer—the information often referred to as the “reverse directory” information. These rulings present significant obstacles to investigations into organized crime and terrorist activities.
Secondly, there is identity theft. The ability of terrorists to move freely into and throughout Canada and the United States is facilitated by the use of false identification. The first step in the manufacture of such false identification is identity theft, a process whereby personal identification or credit cards are stolen or compromised. Innocent misuse of a credit card is the first step in the ultimate creation of a false identity, usually through the issuance of a false health card, driver's licence, or passport. Legislative steps are necessary.
Next is interprovincial police jurisdiction. With the exception of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, police jurisdiction in Canada is generally determined by provincial legislation. For police to operate out of province, special provincial designation must be granted through a time-consuming and often bureaucratic process. Even the RCMP suffers from this, as each year hundreds of officers are sworn as special constables for Canada Day in Ottawa so that they have powers under provincial statutes or municipal bylaws.
Quite frankly, this sort of jurisdictional impediment, while minor, is a huge hindrance to good police work and ought to be corrected. It speaks directly to the collaboration and cooperation we have referred to earlier. This proposal seems to meet with universal appeal but seems to be continually hung up. This is important, so we ask that it receive some priority and be included.
Finally, we submit that it's essential the federal government respond to the renewed calls for action that were made during the Bill C-31 debate on hate crimes—the two specific areas being creation of a provision concerning institutional vandalism, and second, introduction of a national hate crimes statistics act.
In conclusion, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports Bill C-36. We do not believe its provisions are excessive, nor do we believe the provisions will lead to abuse. We believe they are necessary, they are practical, and they strike an important and effective balance. We ask committee members to consider our suggestions, which we hope will add to law enforcement efforts to help us keep Canada safe.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)): Thank you.
Next is the Canadian Police Association, Mr. Obst, for ten minutes.
Constable Grant Obst (President, Canadian Police Association): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ladies and gentlemen of the committee and colleagues, my name is Grant Obst, and I'm the president of the Canadian Police Association. I'm also a member of the Saskatoon Police Service, a serving constable within Saskatoon. As the national voice for 30,000 front-line police personnel in Canada, the Canadian Police Association welcomes the opportunity to appear before the committee this morning concerning Bill C-36, the Anti-terrorism Act.
The incredible and tragic events of September 11, 2001, have heightened the awareness of Canadians and our international allies of the threat associated with terrorist activities and our vulnerability as free and democratic nations. Now more than ever Canadians are acutely concerned about the safety and security of our airlines, railways, transportation system, ports, seaways, canals, pipelines, nuclear facilities, public institutions, and economic centres. Canada's police officers understand this concern and share in the view that more can and must be done to preserve our way of life.
The terrorists' greatest ally is complacency. Terrorists exploit the very freedoms and protections afforded by our democratic society to carry out their cowardly and inhumane acts of terror. Canada must apply a balanced approach that preserves fundamental freedoms for law-abiding Canadians while ensuring that those who choose to live outside our laws cannot use those same laws to seek refuge from detection or prosecution or to undermine our democratic way of life.
Bill C-36 is a comprehensive bill that endeavours to balance the public security concerns of Canadians with fundamental issues of individual human rights and protections. We commend the Minister of Justice and her officials for the reasoned approach that is contained within Bill C-36, we are pleased to convey our support for this bill, and we call on Parliament to proceed with swift passage.
We have serious reservations, however, about the capability of Canada's police and law enforcement officials to meet the increased demands of anti-terrorism requirements and sustain important domestic policing and law enforcement responsibilities.
In successive resolutions adopted by our membership, most recently on September 1 this year, the Canadian Police Association has raised concerns about the level of protection at our nation's borders and the funding of national and federal policing responsibilities.
Bill C-36 is clearly confined to issues of commonly understood terrorism concerns and cannot be construed so as to apply to other crimes, such as organized crime or civil disobedience.
Clause 145 of the bill provides for a mandatory review by a committee of Parliament within three years of the act's coming into force. Some have suggested this bill should be subject to a sunset clause, which essentially means the bill would be rescinded unless extended by Parliament.
While the CPA supports the mandatory review contained in the bill, we strenuously oppose the suggestion of a sunset clause, for two reasons.
Firstly, terrorism is not a new phenomenon that, contrary to recent political rhetoric, will be eradicated for future generations. Terrorism is an evolving public security and safety concern that may eventually be controlled, deterred, or diminished, but will not be extinguished.
Secondly, these investigations are extremely complex, sensitive, and time-consuming endeavours that may take years to investigate, prosecute, and bring to conclusion. To suggest that the law should be repealed in three or even five years would deter the initiation of investigations in the latter stages of the period, cause delay tactics by defence counsel, and render the law essentially useless in any meaningful prosecutorial sense.
The act does not, as some critics have suggested, provide broad powers of arrest to the police that contravene individual rights or freedoms. The act confers very restricted authority upon police to intervene, where it is reasonably suspected that a terrorist act may be committed, for the purpose of prevention, and then present the arrested party to a provincial court judge.
Amendments to the Official Secrets Act and the Canada Evidence Act strengthen and modernize the law to deal with counter-terrorism issues that may affect domestic and international security. Agencies are often reluctant to share information with domestic or international counterparts because of disclosure concerns. Strengthening the protections afforded to highly sensitive security intelligence may assist Canada in resolving this concern, both between Canadian agencies and with our international counterparts.
There is a delicate balance to be maintained between national security interests and individual rights to privacy or institutional accountability and transparency. We believe the Attorney General requires the discretion to limit disclosure of information where there is a bona fide national security interest. The Attorney General of Canada is ultimately accountable to Parliament and to the citizens of Canada.
The CPA submits that amendments to Bill C-36 should address—and I echo my colleagues from the chiefs on this point—the creation of a new crime of identity theft.
Secondly, strengthen Canada's telecommunications laws to curtail the commercial availability of devices impervious to electronic surveillance and to require telecommunications companies to provide lawful access—at their cost—and authorize police interceptions over public telecom networks.
Thirdly, provide judicial discretion to exclude terrorists from parole eligibility and to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibility for persons convicted of multiple murder.
Fourthly, provide interprovincial designation capabilities for local and provincial law enforcement.
Mr. Mike Niebudek (Vice-President, Canadian Police Association): Good morning; my name is Mike Niebudek and I am the Vice-President of the Canadian Police Association and also the President of the Ontario RCMP Association.
The federal government must move swiftly to repair gaping holes in Canada's existing security and enforcement capabilities.
Recent staff reallocation decisions by the RCMP in response to terrorism concerns are a prime example. According to RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli, 2,000 RCMP officers have been drawn from other enforcement duties to respond to the terrorism crisis. These officers were taken from assignments previously considered to be priorities, such as fighting organized crime and providing front- line policing in their communities. Officers previously assigned to organized crime priorities have had to abandon those investigations for their current anti-terrorism assignments.
While the CPA has passed successive resolutions calling on the Government of Canada to provide adequate funding to the RCMP budget to maximize the effectiveness of federal and national policing responsibilities, these calls for assistance have gone unanswered. Failing any meaningful unenhancements to RCMP staff levels, we submit that public safety will be compromised in the long term.
The Government of Canada recently announced funding to “strengthen Canada's ability to prevent, detect and respond to existing and emerging national security threats.” Of the $250 million in new funding, only $9 million is being allocated to increased staffing in priority areas for the RCMP. This equates to roughly 72 full-time RCMP constables. Obviously this is not sufficient to address, in any meaningful way, the new and existing national policing demands placed on the RCMP.
Terrorism is a national, interprovincial and cross- jurisdictional concern, yet the federal government has resisted local and provincial government pleas for additional resources. The impact of post-September 11 concerns is felt hardest at the local level. We submit that greater leadership is required, both in enhanced funding and co-ordination of anti-terrorism enforcement initiatives.
Canada's borders are in the same state of disrepair. Immigration and Customs agencies lack the resources and technology to adequately inspect the large quantity of goods and people that enter and leave this country on a daily basis.
Given our close proximity to the United States, Canada is particularly vulnerable as a stepping-stone for international crime. International criminals recognize Canada as a point of access to the United States in the smuggling of illegal contraband, including people, drugs, child pornography and firearms, and indeed to carry out terrorist activities. More importantly, Canada has gained a reputation internationally as a safe haven for criminals and fertile ground for organized crime.
Greater priority, funding and support must be given to protecting our borders, preventing the illegal entry of contraband and criminals, and eliminating the climate of safe refuge that is currently afforded to convicted criminals.
The CPA advocates the creation of a national border protection service to provide strategic and co-ordinated protection and enforcement across Canada's borders and points of entry, separate from the Department of National Revenue. This new service should also provide support to existing RCMP efforts, as announced.
Mr. Grant Obst: In conclusion, overall there are some very positive improvements contained within this very ambitious piece of legislation, and we're pleased to convey our support. Canada requires a strategic multidisciplinary approach to national security that combines effective legislation and policies, sufficient human and technological resources and training, with a comprehensive integrated enforcement strategy.
Will Canada succeed in protecting our citizens from terrorist acts? The real test lies not in political statements or new laws but in whether or not sufficient political will finally exists to allocate the required priority, resources, training, and support to close the gaping holes in Canada's security and enforcement capabilities. Without the tools and resources to do the job effectively, Bill C-36 is meaningless.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before the committee. We look forward to your questions.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Thank you, Mr. Obst.
Now we have the National Association of Profession Police, Mr. Brian Adkins, please.
Detective Staff Sergeant Brian Adkins (President, National Association of Professional Police): Mr. Chair, members of the justice committee, it's my pleasure to be here on behalf of the National Association of Professional Police. My name is Brian Adkins and I'm president of the organization. I'm also a detective staff sergeant with the OPP.
The September 11 terrorist attack on America and the continuing aftermath has focused attention on a number of law enforcement and public security issues in Canada, with a sharp reminder of the potential consequences of inactivity.
Quite apart from domestic security, the continuing free movement of goods and people across the Canada-U.S. border is also at risk from an unmet terrorist threat.
Accordingly, we are encouraged by the federal government's action in introducing Bill C-36 as an initial response to this unprecedented challenge to our safety, freedom, and prosperity. This is a whole new attack on society and on democracy.
The National Association of Professional Police represents approximately 18,000 police personnel from the associations of the Halifax Regional Police, the RCMP Quebec, the Sûreté du Québec, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police and the Niagara Region Police. It is our members, as members of large police forces, who are called upon to enforce the Criminal Code and conduct major investigations, and it is our members who will be tasked with delivering the enhanced public safety intended by this bill, by enforcing its provisions.
As such, our view of Bill C-36 is not intended as a comprehensive or detailed legal analysis of the bill. Rather, we have chosen specific practical law enforcement focus for our analysis, so we might articulate how and whether we view the various changes as being helpful to the intended result. My presentation today will follow our handout we've given you. In addition, we'll offer some suggestions for improvement in selected areas and point out what appear to be omissions of significance that call for comment.
Whenever possible, modern law enforcement strives to enhance information sharing and multi-jurisdiction cooperation. In this regard, we are pleased to note the creation of prosecutable offences in Canada for certain terrorist offences—explosive or lethal devices and terrorist fundraising—committed outside of Canada where certain preconditions exist.
It is our hope that this approach will be pursued by the federal government with other jurisdictions, in relation to admitting evidence gathered by foreign authorities, including intercepted communications and video surveillance obtained in accordance with their laws; and the creation of a multi-jurisdiction database, in relation to terrorist entities and persons or groups linked to terrorists or terrorist entities.
On the specification of new offences, Bill C-36 creates a series of new specialized offences designed to more quickly capture terrorist crime and the wilful supportive activity it permits to occur. We applaud the government for taking this initiative, especially insofar as the ancillary but linked conduct is concerned. We have a number of improvements to suggest.
We recognize the serious offences you've created here that include financing terrorism, providing property or services to facilitate terrorist activity, dealing in terrorist-owned or controlled property, and many other offences that are very important to our front-line officers on the street each day.
Parliament may want to consider the breadth of some of the offences it has created, as it would appear to be the case that life imprisonment is possible for shoplifting, when done to facilitate unknown specific terrorist goals. Conversely, section 432.1 does not include the unauthorized possession of a lethal device, which we strongly urge Parliament to enact, as a follow-up to the Patriot Act of the United States of America.
Finally, recent events have demonstrated the threat of terrorists using the mail to spread the means of death. We believe the Criminal Code should be amended specifically to deal with such conduct and facilitate proof of it.
On extra-territorial applications, we are pleased to see once again that Parliament has chosen, in defined circumstances, to authorize the prosecution in Canada of persons resident in Canada for specific terrorist-related offences committed elsewhere. Hopefully, this will be expanded to permit the prosecution of persons committing crimes in Canada, the mutual admissibility of evidence from specified states, and expedited deportation upon conviction.
We also recognize that there are many procedural modifications that are very important, and we support them all. We would like to highlight: no adverse inference where no personal knowledge on forfeiture affidavit; amending wiretap provisions to add terrorism offence to exempted offences from regular unduly cumbersome provisions; amending publication sections to permit out-of-court evidence and publication ban to protect law enforcement officials; and expanding the DNA evidence.
I worked in the wiretap section with the OPP for five years, and I want to convey the urgency of the proposed legislation on behalf of our members. These investigations are very complex and dangerous and require the support this act gives them.
We also support the amendment to the Criminal Records Act that will add section 83.3, itself of questionable importance, that fingerprints can be taken and held. This is a small provision that could be a very important tool that will assist the determination of identities central to the fight against terrorism.
In relation to bail, Bill C-36 will, among other inconsequential changes, add the identified terrorism offences—absent proposed section 431.2—as a reverse onus. In our experience, there could be some improvements to this. We recommend that Parliament consider revising section 522, so a Superior Court justice can consider or grant bail for the newly created terrorism offences described above.
Under evidentiary matters, a frequent concern of specialized law enforcement is that the normal practice of disclosure inappropriately and unintentionally results in the techniques and strategies of investigation being revealed, as well as compromising sources of information. We are extremely pleased, therefore, to note that Bill C-36 includes provisions where such harmful practices can be prevented. They include continuation of a ministerial right of objection; the creation of a special Attorney General certificate to prohibit production; and the creation of a special Attorney General certificate to prevent disclosure of information.
Presumably the Privacy Act is designed to prevent non-prosecution-related disclosure of information that is being sought for improper purpose. Parliament may choose to find a way to review the propriety of such certificates to prevent the potential for inappropriate withholding of information.
I want to emphasize to the members of the committee that over the course of years and years of investigation, police officers have developed and used techniques some describe as surreptitious. Our power and ability to investigate have constantly been eroded by having to disclose these in court. Once they are disclosed, there's nothing to fall back on. There are many things that were out there that were done to protect the public that we've since lost the ability to do, because their nature has been disclosed.
On the terrorist entity list, this has the potential of being the most effective measure within the bill, inasmuch as it is certain. Creating such a list, however, is only the means to an end, and what results from such placement is critical. Regrettably, Bill C-36 is silent on this, which clearly compromises the effectiveness of such a procedure. Among the consequences of this should be inadmissibility and removal under the Immigration Act; mandatory reporting of assets; forfeiture of assets; mandatory issuance of disentitlement certificates; and prohibitions on certain groups.
In conclusion, we applaud the government for their commitment to this legislation. In my 28 years as a police officer, I've never experienced anything that has affected people from all walks of society as the events of September 11 did. People are afraid to do things. People are afraid to go places. They are worried about their families and they are worried about their ability to survive.
The National Association of Professional Police asks the Government of Canada to remain committed to their pursuit of terrorists for the long term—and I emphasize the long term. As former speakers have said, terrorists are well-financed. They have the ability to wait people out. They have the ability of time. I urge you to consider this when you're dealing with the different clauses.
The people of Canada must feel safe to work and live in Canada and the world. They must have confidence in their governments and the police to protect them, and they need this commitment now and in the future. We urge all of you to remember the words of Minister of Justice McLellan on October 15. I think they were very profound. She said:
The horrific events of September 11 remind us that we
must continue to work together with other nations to
confront terrorism and ensure the full force of
Canadian law is brought to bear against those who
support, plan and carry out acts of terror—we will
cut off their money, find them and punish them.
We think that was a great leadership statement. We urge you to pass this bill and remain strong, at a time when leadership is critical.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Thank you, Mr. Adkins.
Now appearing as an individual is Mr. Leo Knight, for 10 minutes, please.
Mr. Leo Knight (Individual Presentation): Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for inviting me to address you today.
I appear here as a former police officer. I'm currently a senior executive in private sector security. I'm also a frequent commentator on justice issues in the media.
I've been greatly disturbed by many of the signs I've seen emanating from government since September 11, not the least of which has been the business-as-usual messages being sent. While I would not presuppose to lecture this or any government on how they should conduct the people's business, I and a great many other Canadians are questioning government priorities.
I also question if this government completely understands how precariously balanced the nature of world peace is, and how close we are to a significant world conflict, more now than at any time since the darkest days of the Cold War—the thirteen days of the Cuban missile crisis.
I cite as an example the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration's response to a question in the House last week. The minister stated Canada had three times the resources protecting our border as the United States. This is false. In point of fact, our border is not protected at all. We have a department of trained tax collectors augmented by a minimum of unarmed, underpaid immigration officers. They are supported on a priority basis by the police responsible for the local jurisdiction.
I don't say this to undermine Canada Customs and Immigration. Quite the contrary. The majority of career officers have been clamouring for the tools and training to better do their jobs. It is the bureaucratic ideological roadblock I blame.
I also cite the example of the billion-dollar announcement made last week by the Minister of Industry to bring high-speed Internet to remote areas of the country. In contrast to the $200 million or so they announced they are committing to the fight against terrorism, one has to question their priorities.
We have a war with not just a small band of terrorists, but with a much larger group of people who would see our very way of life destroyed and the nation state of Israel cease to exist in its entirety. There is no amount of political correctness or bureaucratic double-speak that will change that.
It appears to me that our country is woefully unprepared to fight this war. Yes, the men and women in our armed forces, CSIS, the RCMP, and indeed our police forces across this nation are doing their best and will continue to do their best in the future, come what may. But their best, given the resources at hand, in the threat we face may not be good enough without the political will to provide them the resources in manpower, equipment, and legislation they require.
Bill C-36 has been crafted as a response to the well-planned and executed attacks on September 11. What is significant about this bill is that it does not address many of the realities of life today.
On December 13, 2000, the assistant director of Interpol appeared at a hearing, not unlike this one, before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime in Washington, D.C. The statement he made was on the threat posed by the convergence of organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism. The assistant director, Ralf Mutschke, drew specific attention to the Groupe islamique armé, the GIA. This is the group directly linked to Ahmed Ressam. Mutschke said:
Ahmed Ressam is known to have shared a Montreal
apartment with Said Atmani, a known
document forger for the GIA. It has been established
that before Ressam attempted to enter the U.S., he was
in the company of Abdelmajid Dahoumane
in Vancouver for a 3 to 4 week period.
An Interpol Red notice was issued regarding the latter.
The investigation has revealed links between
terrorists of Algerian origin and a criminal network
established in Montreal and specializing in the theft
of portable computers and mobile telephones.
The group in Montreal was in contact with individuals
involved in terrorist support activity in France and
with several Moudjahidin groups.
He went on to say:
The proceeds of these criminal activities were sent to
an international network with links to France, Belgium,
Italy, Turkey, Australia and Bosnia.
Mutschke also detailed a meeting in Albania between several Algerian terrorists, also believed to have been attended by Osama bin Laden.
He went on to say:
The GIA support networks are involved in extortion,
currency counterfeiting, fraud and money laundering.
He could well be speaking of organized crime, the Rizutto family in Montreal, or the Hell's Angels right here in Ottawa.
In his recommendations he said:
Another key element concerns the manner in which law
enforcement itself operates. All too often, drugs,
organized crime and terrorism are treated as separate
issues by police authorities. This prevents
authorities from receiving a valid, overall view of the
I won't deal with any more of the specifics of the assistant director's report, save to point out it was delivered 10 months before September 11 and should be required reading for all members of this committee and this Parliament.
The problem lies more in the lack of an integrated intelligence approach than in a lack of international cooperation. This, in my view, is crucial in all these discussions. Bill C-36 is crafted in such a manner as to exclude the fact that drugs, organized crime, and terrorism are as enjoined as husband and wife.
When the current commissioner of the RCMP took office, he said that organized crime is the greatest threat we as a nation face today. You can modify that statement now to add the word “terrorism” to it, to understand how serious this is.
This is where it gets tough. Much of the vocal opposition to Bill C-36 comes from the civil libertarian movement, the law society, and other groups assembled primarily on the political left. While I share their respect for human rights and the freedoms our forefathers earned with their blood, we must clearly understand what is at stake here, lest we say in our actions that that blood was shed in vain.
I have been listening to the debate on the refugee policies over the past few weeks, and it demonstrates the depth of the role political correctness is playing, superseding the requirements of a nation at war.
The reality is not difficult to understand. When someone coming to this country destroys their documents and flushes them down the airplane toilet, they are by that very act being deceptive. That deception is, under our laws, sufficient to deny entry. By not denying entry or detaining, we are encouraging further deception.
Immigration officers in Canada refer to the ease of gaining access to this country via the refugee policies as they are being applied as “lie and cry”. Do we not comprehend that the world's terrorists and organized criminals recognize this and exploit it? Frankly, this absolutely defies logic.
Equally, the wholesale release of such people is wrong without some system to know where they are, so in the event they fail to appear for a scheduled hearing date, they can be found.
The government responds to anyone asking about the missing 27,000 failed refugee claimants by saying, “They may have left the country. We don't track people leaving.” To that, I would simply ask, “Why not?” It is not good enough to shrug and say we don't do something. We need to find a way to do it so we will not be the world's patsy that we have become.
The Ahmed Ressam case highlights what the problems are with our refugee process. It has been cited as a good example of a bad example over and over again, yet the process remains. Ressam was hooked up with a support network that included, among others, document forgers. And this is crucial. The documents seized by the vast investigation since September 11 and described by authorities as a “terror manual” outline what a terrorist undercover agent in a country should do. In those instructions is the following:
All documents of the undercover brother such as
identity cards and passport should be falsified.
It goes on:
When the undercover is traveling with a certain
identity card or passport, he should know all pertinent
information, such as the name, profession and place of
residence. The brother who has special work
status (commander, communication link) should have more
than one identity card and passport. He should learn
the contents of each, the nature of the indicated
profession and the dialect of the residence area
listed in the document.
Recent arrests in this country and in the United States of individuals who have just left this country show the instructions in that document are being followed with a disturbing frequency that we know about. This is, or at least should be, easy to comprehend and has nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with operational requirements for a country at war. If a terrorist can show up in Canada without documentation and claim refugee status with a plausible enough story, i.e., lie and cry, he or she will be released. They then simply contact their support network, which will have forgers, and set up their identity or identities. They simply forget about the name they used to pass through and become another one on the list of 27,000 the government has no clue of their whereabouts. The only way to stop this is a change in policy and a change in attitude. We are at war.
On a final note, specific criticisms of Bill C-36 involve a so-called sunset clause and the minister's ability to keep certain information permanently secret in exceptional circumstances. I don't think either should be a barrier to the passing of the bill. In the United Kingdom, where they have had their Prevention of Terrorism Act for 20 years, they have a regular parliamentary review to decide whether to extend the provisions of the legislation. This seems to me to be more than adequate to address the concerns without a sunset clause, which would permanently cancel the legislative provisions the bill gives the authorities. If the review were to occur every year, then the changing circumstances could be looked at on the anniversary date of the bill and the decision could be made to extend the bill or kill it. This eliminates the finality of a sunset clause without relinquishing the ability of the authorities to utilize the provisions of the law on an ongoing, as-needed basis.
On the latter issue, it seems to me that the justice minister should have a requirement to inform Parliament of an instance where circumstances were extraordinary enough to utilize the legislative cloak. If this were statutory, then it would ensure it was used for the right reasons of national security rather than for political reasons, as the opposition believes it may be as it is currently written.
On that note, I'll conclude my prepared statement and remain available for questions of the members. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Knight.
Now for a seven-minute round, Mr. Toews.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'd like to deal with a specific legislative issue, while others, including my colleague, Mr. Sorenson, may deal with the apparent significant shortage of resources in the RCMP identified by the CPA, and specifically by Mr. Niebudek.
Certainly what Mr. Niebudek has advised this committee is in apparent sharp contrast to what the commissioner of the RCMP told this committee previously about the resources available to our federal police department. But I'll leave that issue for my colleague.
I want to thank each of you for your presentation. They were all very informative. The issue of terrorism—we've heard from experts and I hear the echo of the same comments here again—is that it is an ongoing issue and not a temporary phenomenon. Accordingly, unlike the War Measures Act, which was often seen as a response to a temporary emergency, in this legislation there needs to be an ongoing balance to ensure that security needs are addressed while restrictions on civil liberties are demonstrably justified.
The government has suggested that there be a review. Now, the problem with the review, as I see it, is that the legislation simply doesn't get reviewed. There are numerous examples of where the government has simply failed to review, and there essentially is no power to compel them to review. The most glaring example, and there are others, is the mental disorder provisions in the Criminal Code, which most of you would be familiar with. That I think was supposed to be reviewed over seven years ago; it hasn't been. So that's the kind of problem we're facing when we look at the statute.
Members of the opposition are understandably concerned that the government may have no intention or will to appropriately review. I think it's out of this frustration that the suggestions have been made for a sunset clause on at least some of the provisions perceived to be most restrictive of civil liberties. This essentially means that those provisions would lapse after a specific period of time. However, in my opinion, that raises another concern, a very serious concern. In a few years, when the legislation or the provisions lapse, the government could simply push the legislation under the table and conveniently forget about it—conveniently forget that the terrorists are still operating, are still using Canada as a staging point for raising money or planning international violence.
So my question then, given the poor experience with government reviewing legislation and your concerns with the sunset clause—some of which I share—is whether there is an effective alternative to these very problematic solutions. Perhaps the police chiefs and then the CPA, or whatever order....
Commr Gwen Boniface: Perhaps I can respond on behalf of the chiefs. We are supportive of a review, whether you could build that in, given the information you've provided us in terms of making it mandatory. It would be appropriate. Our concern—you touched on it—is that the purpose of a sunset clause in our view would not serve. Our concern would be as well that the debate would take place when we're in the middle of an investigation.
So we are strongly supportive of a review. How you make that mandatory, I leave to the committee to do. But that's our distinction between a review and the sunset clause on behalf of the chiefs.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: From the National Association of Professional Police side, we support the review but at a considerable time down the road. We don't endorse an in-depth sunset clause.
One of the difficulties we have here is that as the world changed on September 11, so must our investigative forays. It takes time to get those underway and we need to see some time to work with this. Anything that's too soon could compromise any types of investigations and could cause all that security you're looking for in the bills becoming literally inept.
Mr. Vic Toews: Would you have any concern about a periodic review every six months by an independent agency—perhaps a retired judge or a panel of parliamentarians—that would look at the legislation and the impact of the legislation? Again, I'm not discounting the issue of the review; I'm just wondering how we make it an effective review.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: I think your timeframe is the initial problem, suggesting we're going to do something in six months or a year. You may not have anything come back to say here's what we're doing, but for security reasons you may not be able to disclose it either. I think those things are well-intentioned. The issue is what's the frequency going to be and when are they going to start so you see some quantifiable results?
Mr. Vic Toews: I see. CPA?
Const Grant Obst: Mr. Toews, if we foresaw a sunset on terrorism, maybe we could support a sunset clause. But I don't foresee that. We obviously support the review.
I'm thinking about what you said about reviews not happening when they're built into a piece of legislation. I'm shooting from the hip here, but I'm thinking that if you have a piece of legislation that's somewhat controversial—and apparently there are some sections of this that are—and Parliament or society is afraid there may be abuses of whatever power is built into that legislation, and there are abuses, then I would expect this would prompt the review to happen.
If there are acts currently in place where reviews are built in and they're not happening, I suspect there haven't been any abuses. I'm not sure, but I think that might be the situation. It hasn't motivated anyone to conduct a review that was thought out previously.
Mr. Vic Toews: The issue, though, is that there is a legislative command to review, and it's not being done, whether there is a problem or not.
Perhaps just quickly, Mr. Knight—
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Madame Venne, seven minutes.
Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
According to my understanding, gentlemen, ladies, you are all entirely in agreement with this bill. You are even quite satisfied, and you would like these provisions to remain on our books forever.
I'm sure you know that we of the Bloc Québécois do not share your point of view. We feel that these are truly extraordinary powers that are being granted to you. With this idea in mind of extraordinary powers and of an exceptional act, I wonder whether it would not be appropriate to delay the coming into effect of this act or of these acts until the persons who will be entrusted with its application are adequately trained. This is in fact what was suggested yesterday by the President of the Quebec Bar, Mr. Gervais. That is my first question.
I will ask you the second one right away, which you may note in order to answer it later, because I would not like to be interrupted by my Alliance colleague.
My second question concerns proposed subclause 83.3(4) of the Criminal Code, which states:
...the peace officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the
detention of the person in custody is necessary in order to prevent
the commission of an indictable offence [...] may arrest the person
I would like to know how you interpret that article, since the expression “suspects on reasonable grounds” is completely contradictory, in my opinion. I would like to know how you are going to interpret that, and what instructions will be given to your officers in that regard. Thank you.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: In your first question, you referred to Bill C-36 as extraordinary, exceptional.
Ms. Pierrette Venne: No, not for me; for you.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Precisely. In that regard, I can tell you that what happened on September 11 was also extraordinary, off the charts. We are living in times where we must adapt to what is happening in society. Yes, Bill C-36 may have some muscle, but that muscle is necessary.
The problem that arises for us, is that although it is all well and good to have additional laws to protect our citizens—and we applaud that development—the more laws we have in this country, the more people we need to enforce them. That is where we have a serious problem in Canada. That is why our association has for about 10 years been in favour of having a greater number of policemen in our country, as well as lawyers and judges to allow us to meet the demand created by these new legislative tools.
With regard to clause 83.3—
Ms. Pierrette Venne: Forgive me, but you have not answered my question. I am asking you whether you would agree to wait until the people concerned have been well trained before the law is put into effect.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: I'm sorry, but the answer is no. We think that the bill is comprehensible. It is a bill that should be put into effect as quickly as possible to protect our citizens. That is what our presentation sets out, as you will have noted if you were here for the beginning of it.
Ms. Pierrette Venne: Yes, I was here.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Does that answer your first question, Madam?
Ms. Pierrette Venne: Yes, but I am disappointed because your people will not be trained and they will be attempting to enforce the law. I find that somewhat inconsistent, although I understand what you are saying to me.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Our people are trained to some extent insofar as enforcing the law is concerned. We have people who have been investigating serious offences for 20, 25, 30 and even 35 years.
Ms. Pierrette Venne: But terrorism is different.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Absolutely. You are right. You are entirely right, and that is the reason why when we talk about support, we are also talking about financial resources to provide tools for training and equipment.
The use of high technology in the area of crimes related to terrorism is an important issue. We are forced to adapt constantly, and it is the responsibility of police services and governments to ensure that the people who are paid to enforce the law are well trained.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Mr. Adkins, did you want to add something?
Mr. Mike Niebudek: I believe there was a second question, Mr. Chairman, as to the contradiction between “to suspect” and “reasonable grounds.” Yes, that does seem a bit ambiguous. The terms “suspect on reasonable grounds” are juxtaposed in the same sentence. We think that there might be some clarification to be made there. Either a peace officer suspects that someone is going to commit a terrorist act, or he believes there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that—
So yes, there might be some work to do there in order to clarify the situation.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Merci.
Mr. Adkins, you wanted to add something?
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Yes, sir.
In relation to your first question, our belief is that you cannot wait, you cannot delay this. We need to begin these investigations immediately—and they're already underway.
One of the important issues to recognize here is that the people who are going to be enforcing the new act if it comes in will be senior police officers who understand how this is done. They need the additional tools. Terrorism, as many speakers have said here today, is war. It can't be dealt with by conventional means. It can't be dealt with by conventional investigative rules.
Having come from this type of investigative field, I can say the issue is we cannot deal with people who have the ultimate in finances or the ability to be surreptitious with our conventional rules, so we need these additional powers. While you may not be able to agree with this at all, on some of these issues people will be cautious, and they will use them because they're required and it needs to be done as quickly as possible. So we cannot delay, in answer to your first question.
In answer to your second question, a police officer already has the ability to arrest a person about to commit an indictable offence. That already is in the Criminal Code. It's a seldom used arrest, but it is an arrest power that is there.
When I think about the power of arrest that will be contained in this, I think of a police officer stopping somebody.... For example, if you look back at the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, if somebody had been driving up and had a whole bunch of things in their car that looked like they'd be used for the ultimate terrorist act, they could have arrested that person. That's the type of thing we need. These are unusual powers, but they're for unusual crimes. That is our answer to that.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Mr. Sarrazin, a brief comment.
Mr. Michel Sarrazin: Concerning the training of police officers, it is obvious that the use of new tools, the advent of new laws requires training. But not all police officers are going to be called upon to use those laws tomorrow morning. That will be the work of very specialized units who work in the field of terrorism, joint units that include local police officers, people from the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, municipal police services, the OPP in Ontario. So, these are specialists who already are very much aware of the powers they have, who are very well informed about the content of the new law, and who are the ones who will be enforcing it.
In the longer term, police officers as a whole will surely have to be trained, but not all police officers will have to work with this law tomorrow morning. I think that it would not be appropriate to delay the passage of a bill such as this one, but we must ensure that the necessary training for our specialists is provided as quickly as possible.
As for clause 83.3, I also agree that it could stand to be clarified. Perhaps the context or the framework within which these new powers are to be used should really be defined. I think the purpose of granting these powers is to allow police officers to use them when they believe it is the only reasonable way to prevent a terrorist act from being carried out, or indeed to save human lives. I think that that is the proper perspective on this, and that the context in which these powers could be used should be defined.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Thank you, Madam Venne.
Mr. Blaikie, seven minutes.
Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'll make a comment or two and then ask a question.
We've heard this argument from other people, and we may be hearing it from the government soon, I'm not sure, but it seems to me, with respect to the debate about a sunset clause, the nature of a sunset clause is not to prejudge the situation either way. The problem with the sunset clause, according to the argument against it in your presentation, was that terrorism will be with us for a long time; therefore, the sunset clause was a bad idea. But a sunset clause doesn't presuppose that the sun will actually set on the law. All it does is create an opportunity for the law to be either reaffirmed, changed, or dropped.
I don't think anyone on either side of the sunset clause argument really knows what things are going to be like in three years. You don't know that terrorism is not going to be eradicated, although I agree that it's probably unlikely. People who are for the sunset clause don't know either what the situation will be in three years.
Certainly, when the War Measures Act was invoked in 1970, there might have been people in 1970 who thought that terrorism in Quebec would be with us for ages and that the world had changed in October 1970. However, by October 1973 the world had changed again, and there were no longer any threats like that.
All I'm saying is, let's not try to guess the future here. Let's talk about a mechanism that gives us an opportunity to respond to the future, whatever it may be, either by reaffirming the law and putting it back into practice or by changing it in some way.
The second thing, Mr. Chairman, is that I certainly concur with all the statements by the witnesses having to do with resources and the fact that if you don't have the resources to do these things, all the laws on the books are just so much.... They're not really reduced to rhetoric, but nevertheless, if you don't have the resources, they don't mean as much as they otherwise might.
Perhaps one of the problems or pressures you feel is that as resources decline, the people who are left want to have a greater share of what power there is. The fewer resources you have, the more those who remain feel they need the available power to do things. That might be one of the pressures you're feeling, because I certainly feel that in my own local community.
I'm just talking about ordinary kinds of security. There is a lot less security in most neighbourhoods in my riding than there used to be when I was a kid. The ratio of police officers to citizens is a lot lower. There are fewer police patrol cars and all those kinds of things. But that's another matter. I just brought those things up by way of continuing the discussion on the sunset clause.
I wonder whether you support or have any feelings about the recommendation made by the Attorney General in Manitoba the other day that there should be improvements. One of your presentations alluded to this, namely improvements to the Criminal Code with respect to how we deal with people who put out these false threats. I'm talking about sending letters in the mail with powder in them that turns out to be baking soda or whatever. This creates a kind of terror in itself, and I wonder whether you see any need for improvements to the Criminal Code to deal more harshly with people who engage in that kind of activity.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Chuck Cadman): Mr. Obst.
Const Grant Obst: I know, Mr. Chair, that normally the committee asks the questions and we're supposed to answer them, but I need a bit of clarification. With respect to the sunset clause, Mr. Blaikie, it seems to me that what I heard you describe is what I am probably referring to as the “review”. I thought the sunset clause repealed certain sections almost automatically. I think the review is where we take a look to see where things are going and reaffirm, change, look towards the future, or see what's behind us, etc.
The CPA—and I think I heard everybody here agree—fully supports the review. We don't support the sunset clause for the obvious reason, that it means the automatic repeal of certain sections of the law.
Mr. Bill Blaikie: My point is that it doesn't have to. It's an automatic repeal, but it's not as if this law will be repealed at a certain time. It's that this law will be repealed and can be immediately re-enacted. That's the nature of a sunset clause. It's not as if we're just going to do this for three years and forget about it. It's a question of having it for three years, and at the end of the three years the government will have to make a decision as to whether or not they want to immediately re-enact it or not.
That's the difference between sunsetting and permanent repeal. Even the Americans, who are presumably much more sensitive to this than we are, have put sunset clauses in their anti-terrorism legislation. It's not as if this is a sign of some Canadian weakness or lack of sensitivity to terrorism. The people who are the most sensitive to it have also put sunset clauses in their legislation.
I think you're being a little tough on the sunset provision. That's all I'm saying.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: We have the same concerns as Grant about the clause. We see the review aspect as being a positive thing, but let's not have the law say it will be repealed on such and such a day. I think we're saying similar things, Mr. Blaikie.
The other thing is in relation to the hoax offence. I know this has been raised by Ontario Attorney General David Young, and we think it's important that this should be in the bill. We think it's akin to false fire alarms and things like that, where you should have a specific offence to deter such things. Some people won't ever admit this, but penalties deter offenders. If it is viewed as being serious and if there is—
Mr. Bill Blaikie: It's more than just mischief.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: It is mischief plus the other thing that goes along with that. It's not just a false alarm; it entails an expenditure of resources. It's also like crying wolf. People get to where they say, oh yeah, that's just another false alarm; then when you do have something occur, they're not ready for it.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. MacKay, you have seven minutes.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and sincere thanks to all the panellists. We not only appreciate what you do in providing information to this committee, but we certainly appreciate what you do in your day-to-day lives as police officers and people who work in law enforcement. That's never been as clear as since the events of September 11.
I just want to expand a little further on this issue of the sunset clause because it seems to be the one that is drawing the greatest attention. I must admit, somewhat to my chagrin, that I agree very much with what Mr. Blaikie has said. A three- or five-year expiry provision would absolutely force the government to look ahead, which is something they don't do very well. In two and a half years, when the sunset clause is about to kick in, they will actually have to do something in advance to ensure that the relevant sections don't lapse.
It would force government to be accountable on this issue, whereas, as was indicated earlier, a review can be simply ignored.
Governments set rules for themselves all the time and simply ignore them. Similarly, with issues pertaining to the certificate, the Attorney General can surely.... Now, I have great faith in this particular minister to exercise proper discretion, but with regard to the issuance of a certificate, we won't necessarily hear anything from the government. According to the bill, we don't even have to hear that a certificate has been issued; there's simply a complete blanket exclusion on disclosure.
That, frankly, frightens me. I'm a former crown attorney; I know the obligations of disclosure, and I know how important what it provides is for both sides in terms of accountability and transparency in government.
I just wanted to put those comments before you, but I have a couple of specific questions.
Mr. Obst, you, Mr. Niebudek, and Mr. Adkins have all emphasized in your reports the problems your front-line officers will face under these new obligations. Time and time again we've done this with organized crime and we're doing it with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. We're saying, here are new responsibilities and here is fairly comprehensive new legislation, but we're not going to give you the person-power to enforce this.
So I have a couple of questions. Do you feel this legislation should have a fixed dollar amount to compensate for the training that will be required?
Certainly, there will be new equipment for surveillance purposes associated with this. The personnel element is what I find most troubling, the reassigning of 2,000 RCMP officers to new duties, including guarding the House of Commons and the Hill, patrolling the border, and policing national parks. That's asinine.
Just as a final question or direction, I would direct your attention to section 46 of the Criminal Code, which is the section dealing with public order and high treason. As I read that section the other evening, it struck me as incredibly useful at a time such as this.
Paragraph 46(1)(b) reads:
46.(1) Every one commits high
treason who, in Canada,
(b) levies war against Canada or does
any act preparatory thereto;
The act goes on to include, under section 47, the punishment of life imprisonment. It used to mention the death penalty. Short of murder, high treason was the most serious crime found in our Criminal Code. I would think that much of what is accomplished under Bill C-36, aside from the creation of new powers and some new offences, could be accomplished under the high treason provisions.
I am very concerned about the obligation that crown attorneys will now have to prove ideological, religious, or political motives behind any act of terrorism. The evidentiary burden to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt by a crown attorney with the assistance of police is going to be virtually impossible. That will nullify much of what is intended here if charges are laid under those new terrorist sections.
Const Grant Obst: Mr. MacKay, I appreciate your comments with respect to resources. I sometimes feel like a broken record because, as you know, for probably the last five or ten years the CPA has been in the forefront of demands for more human resources, for additional front-line personnel.
Now, I don't want to sound unappreciative when it comes to the changes to legislation that have occurred over the past number of years, because as you know the Canadian Police Association has participated in that as well and appreciates the support. But when you see things like the commissioner having to reallocate 2,000 members, you wonder who's going to do the duties those 2,000 members were doing previously. We had just managed to get a lot more attention diverted and directed towards the whole gamut of organized crime. We refer to it as a bit of a shell game, where we've had to reallocate, juggle, or whatever you want to call it.
We notice that the government committed an additional $250 million to the war on terrorism, but only $9 million of that, apparently, goes to additional human resources. Now, that translates to roughly 75 police officers if you take into account salaries and equipment—the average cost of a police member. The difference between 75 members and the 2,000 who had to be reallocated.... I can't tell you exactly how many additional people we'd need to do what's required here, but for me there seems to be a big hole between 75 and 2,000. I think there's a number in there that is much more than 75 but maybe not quite 2,000.
Mr. Peter MacKay: Can I ask you if you know where specifically those officers are being reassigned? You don't have any kind of a regional breakdown or information as to what type of duties they would have been doing previously, do you?
Const Grant Obst: I'm sorry, Mr. MacKay, I don't have an answer. I don't know exactly.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Mr. MacKay, at the outset I have to go on record as being here to represent the Canadian Police Association, not my police service. Your question would best be forwarded to the relevant police service, in this case the RCMP, obviously.
Your question about specific allocation of personnel would be best asked to the RCMP, but I can tell you that we know that members who were assigned to major investigations, organized crime, are presently fulfilling much needed duties to fight terrorism.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: In answer to Mr. MacKay's questions about whether we could use additional resources on the front, yes, we could, but I think it goes back to the people who are going to investigate these offences. These people are not front-line uniformed officers. They're highly trained specialized officers who need special equipment and special techniques. That's very costly. We definitely do need that.
One of the difficulties we face, when you look at the erosion of policing over the last 10 years, is that everybody wants to negotiate with us. If the commissioner of the OPP goes in and says, I need $100,000, or $1 million, or $2 million, everybody says, you don't really need $2 million, you only need $500,000.
I think this is an ideal situation for the government. You have the senior police leaders from across Canada and the associations represented here who are going to give you a credible number, but when we give you those numbers, what you have to say is, okay, we're prepared to do that, because I don't think anybody wants to be caught short in this. I don't think anybody wants to be seen six months from now to say, I wish we had put that into law, because had we done that we would have prevented this cataclysmic event that occurred in Ottawa or Montreal. It's very difficult. So, yes, we do need that. It's very important.
In response to your treason question, this bill is important. The law is important because it breaks it out. To try to use an offence like treason...it's very difficult just trying to prove that offence. This bill specifically deals with that.
You've heard comments about other offences, about false identity. We already have impersonation in the Criminal Code. Try to get somebody to take action on impersonation; you know that from your criminal days as a crown attorney. It's very important that we have these specified sections.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Myers, for seven minutes.
Mr. Lynn Myers (Waterloo—Wellington, Lib.): Thank you.
First of all, I want to thank all of you for appearing. I think you've made some very valuable contributions in terms of studying this important bill.
I agree with you, Ms. Boniface, in terms of Commissioner Zaccardelli. I think he has done a tremendous job, but that needs to be extended to all of you who are currently in policing, in terms of the good work you do, not only on a day-to-day basis but in light of what has happened on September 11. You need to be congratulated for that, because I think we in the political sphere often forget, and I don't think we should, that you represent a very thin line between anarchy and lawlessness in the kind of civilized society we enjoy. So I think that's important to note. All the way down to community-based policing and all the way up to national security, those are important functions, and you need to be commended for that.
Mr. Knight, I want to correct something you said. There was no $1-billion announcement. I don't know where you got that information, but it's wrong. I also want to say that if you thought we were patsies with 27,000 people unaccounted for, I shudder to think what you think of the Americans with one million people unaccounted for in their system.
I also shudder to think what you think of the Americans when 19 people did what they did, and came through their immigration system and ended up training in flights in Florida. I'm not going to get into that with you now, but if you think we're bad, I shudder to think what you must think of their system.
I have a question, though, to ask the police who are here who are currently working in policing. We've heard from witnesses over the course of these hearings that we could see abuse as a result of Bill C-36. In fact, some people have used the term “police state”, and I have to tell you up front that I don't like that. People have said things like the police will clamp down on students in protest or strikers in a strike action, or that somehow civil disobedience will be dealt with under these provisions.
The other day somebody actually made somewhat of a tenuous link between the War Measures Act and what's happening here. I think it's useful for this committee, and for the Minister of Justice by way of your testimony via this committee, to put on the record exactly the counter to that, and more to the point, the real facts to that, because I don't believe that's the intention of this legislation, and I know you don't as well. I think we need to hear from each and every one of you on that.
Commr Gwen Boniface: On behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, with respect to the definition of “terrorism”, I think it strikes it, in a sense, in a very straight-up way and then quite clearly speaks to excluding those things you just spoke about: strikes, lawful protests as such.
Following up on the comments that were made by my colleagues from the CPA and the National Association of Professional Police, these will be very specialized investigations, and very specialized individuals will be doing these investigations. This is not ad hoc across the board and across policing. In this type, like organized crime and other highly technical investigations, we have people who are clearly doing this job on a full-time basis and clearly understand it.
I think the second point that needs to be made is that we work very closely with crown attorneys in terms of the appropriate steps to take along the way and getting the appropriate advice we need in terms of police accountability and both making the legislation work effectively but also making sure the police conduct themselves appropriately.
As the chief or as officers involved, we will have great scrutiny around these ourselves within the context of police to ensure that we do it appropriately in the interest of making sure the bill works as effectively as possible and targets the activity we are interested in. I have heard the arguments around the definition and such, and quite frankly, I just don't understand that. I think it is as clear as it could be.
Const Grant Obst: Mr. Myers, I wholeheartedly agree with my colleague Ms. Boniface.
I read this, and I see that the only way a strike or a protest could be confused with this is if the strikers decided to utilize weapons of mass destruction and were going to harm lots of individuals and cause all kinds of damage, and so on, in which case they would become terrorists, not strikers any more. So to me, it is very clear. I don't understand the confusion, to be honest with you. I've read the newspaper articles and some of the testimony, and it's in black and white.
There are some things in here that people allude to as a path towards a police state, as you put it. I have to tell you, that really bothers me too. The police officers of this country hate it when those types of terms are used. Our whole success depends on the support of the community, on the support of the citizens of Canada. To compromise that by equating us to some sort of police state.... We would never support that. It would compromise our ability to carry out our duties to the nth degree. So we wouldn't be sitting here saying we wholeheartedly support a bill that we thought provided anyone a platform to accuse us of being a police state. There are all kinds of checks and balances in here.
In addition to the checks and balances that are in here, we are one of the most regulated and accountable industries in this country. We have national regulatory bodies, as well as provincial, local, and internal. People can sue us civilly; people can charge us criminally. People can use police acts to bring us in front of a tribunal with respect to an internal discipline charge.
The reality is that, generally, across this country, the police do an excellent job. Obviously I have a bit of a bias that way, but I challenge anyone to take us on. You'll read about the isolated incidents, but generally speaking, of the thousands of interactions we have with the public in this country on a daily basis, everything goes just fine. I don't see things all of a sudden changing with a valuable piece of legislation like this, and it drives me crazy when I hear people say things like police state.
Mr. Lynn Myers: The point is a very good one. I think we have to recognize that we are in a different time now and things have to be done accordingly, based on the kind of threat that has existed and will continue to exist in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Obst is saying it exactly dead-on. The professionalism of the police services across Canada is second to none, and we can't ever forget that.
I want to ask, in addition, the following quick question.
The Chair: You are over seven minutes now.
Mr. Lynn Myers: Okay, I'll come back.
The Chair: Thank you very much, though.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: I want to reply to that as well, and I want to thank you for bringing the question up, because when I read the words in there that say “dissent”, or “stoppage of work”, or “advocacy”, as a sworn police officer and as a police labour leader, I have some concerns about that as well. I read that because I hate to think anybody is going to be listening on my telephone, because it would place a number of my members and me in jeopardy, and that's very important to us.
I go back to the comments we made earlier, that we share your concerns, and there are a couple of issues that are very important for the committee to recognize. I've mentioned to you my experience in the wiretap business. When I was a member of the OPP special unit, you couldn't do any of that work until you had a year of training, and what you did was very closely monitored all the time. I think that's where you have to look at this bill, that this bill is going to affect specialized investigative officers. It's not going to affect the front-line officers as much. The experienced officer is going to lead it.
So it's in our best interest to maintain the integrity of the legislation and the integrity of safety for the people. The mature police officers are conscious of that all the time. As Mr. Obst said, it's a very important thing for us. We realize the tools in this and we don't want to have them jeopardized, because it may save people's lives.
When you think of 6,000 people dying at one instant, and not only 6,000 dying but that another airplane was on its way to do more damage, plus another airplane was going to be hijacked, those are the kinds of things we have to prevent.
I guess it all came down to, literally, the images at ground zero, plus the images of people in Toronto. A lady said to me one day that she was afraid to take her daughter and her friends to a restaurant—it was just a fast-food type of place—because of this thing occurring. Those are traumatic incidents for people in society, but we appreciate as well your concerns. We have those same concerns for ourselves and for the members of society.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Sorenson, for three minutes.
Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Yes, and we'll hurry on this, because three minutes pass fairly quickly.
I want to thank you as well for coming. We have heard a great difference of opinions and witnesses in regard to this bill. We've heard from people who are very concerned about different areas and people who think the bill is perfect. I think our responsibility is somewhere in the middle, to find the compromise or a bill that's going to work.
Many times in the past our party, the Canadian Alliance, has found itself aligning with the police, in other hearings, on Feeney and unwarranted searches, DNA, drinking and driving, blood tests, and all those. We've tried to align ourselves with the police force because we realize that you're the front line of defence. On organized crime, we realize that, as we've heard from witnesses, on one hand there's an unlimited amount of money with organized crime, and on the other hand a very limited amount with the police force. So we appreciate you coming.
I have nine RCMP detachments in my riding. I visit these small detachments, and the concerns I hear are about resourcing: personnel, cutbacks, large areas to cover and not the people to do it.
When Commissioner Zaccardelli comes, he has a different message from what we've heard today. The commissioner says our needs are all being answered, but then he would also say that some are being taken off the table and others are being put on the back burner.
I think it has already been alluded to, but I would ask again, what specific responsibilities of the police force have been taken off the burner because of what happened on September 11?
We know the great deal of time involved in organized crime and our battle against drugs, the ongoing investigations. Are these some of the ones that have come off the back burner?
Regarding the other question I would quickly ask, we've heard, and we've heard it other days, some concern that all of a sudden the police have an unrestricted amount of power, that we lose all our civil liberties, and they can do preventative arrest and almost have, as was mentioned here, a police state. I don't see that happening. I have more confidence in our police force than that. But what type of evaluation, or accountability, or review committee should there be in place to monitor the times that preventative arrests happen, so that some of the concerns would be addressed?
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Sorenson.
A voice: Let the chiefs have a shot.
The Chair: I think I heard something about the chiefs having a shot at that.
Ms. Boniface, please.
Mr. Kevin Sorenson: Especially about what has been taken off the burner or off the table.
Commr Gwen Boniface: Nowhere in policing are you not shifting constantly, trying to address various concerns we have.
As you know, in Ontario, they have made some announcements in recent days to direct more officers to these investigations. As well, they've been fortunate enough to receive some front-line officers. I think that will be the cause for the future.
But in policing, both for organized crime and as new issues develop, things become more complicated. If you look at the wiretap field, for instance, whereas ten years ago you might have needed a 20-page document to do authorizations for a warrant, today you'll need a 200-page document. So there are all kinds of pressures in policing front and centre, everywhere around the world.
What is important in addressing this issue, from the chief's perspective, is the unprecedented cooperation that's taken place since September 11 with each other, through national leadership that we've seen regionally, provincially, and across the border with our colleagues. And we will continue to do that, because that's exactly what policing does. We do the best we can do. Can we all do with more resources? Always, but we will do the job as best we can at the time and try to have the tools to work with.
This bill happens to give us some of those tools that will make it more beneficial in terms of getting the work done. I'm confident that with some of these tools we can make some significant moves to do that.
In relation to your question, and this is exactly what Commissioner Boniface has just said, we ship resources constantly, all the time. I think we need to take a look at this as a wake-up call. This is a wake-up call to say, all right, we've been coasting along and we've been doing our thing appropriately, that's very good, but now you have a new problem on the street.
The other thing you have to understand, as committee members, is that even if you give us the money we need at whatever level—the provincial, federal, or municipal level—all these investigations are not going to take place tomorrow, because it takes time to train people, it takes time to get people into position. So what you're looking at here is a long-term commitment.
We all thought there were never any problems, that this wasn't occurring in our country, or if it was, it was limited. Every day when you look at the print media and the radio media and the television media you see more and more interference, more and more penetration into our society.
This is what you need to know about this. On September 11, yes, we committed resources and our members went and did things because they do that every day. If there was another disaster, they'd do it, but that's not going to be done within two months or three months. Now we need to have a commitment, now we need to make sure we have a long-range plan in effect, and we need to be able to deal with those things.
These people work, they blend into the environment, they do all the different types of things to camouflage themselves. We have to have equally committed investigators, we have to have a long-range plan, we have to have a system where we can follow them through, and we have to have a commitment to that. And that requires not only human resources but it requires funding as well.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Mr. Niebudek.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: I have already addressed some of the issues under resourcing with Mr. MacKay's question, so if there are questions from the committee for a specific police service, perhaps an invitation before the committee would be appropriate to get the answers you are seeking.
As far as the questions of resources are concerned, yes, of course we are missing resources.
In 1996 the government cut 650 RCMP front-line police officers, sworn officer positions, in the Canadian airports. Why? Well, there was a savings of $200 million annually, so one would normally believe that this was part of the big reason. But 650 police officers, gone like that, was a huge number, especially in areas where we had huge concerns.
The Canadian Police Association and the mounted police associations in this country came out against that decision at that time in 1996.
Most of these positions have been replaced by private security.
Yes, we need more resources, and Madam Boniface and Mr. Adkins are right, those are specialized sections, but where we need those extra positions is to backfill at the bottom, at the street level, at the point of entry of our police officers, the patrols, so that we can get those experienced investigators bumped up to fulfil these duties.
The Chair: Monsieur Paradis.
Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, I would like to congratulate all of the speakers for their presentations.
I'd like to go back to a point raised at the beginning. When Mike Niebudek mentions the insufficiency of funds, he may be right. I'd like to mention my riding as an example, as there are nine border posts and two international lakes in it. Last weekend, I appeared before the American Congress committee that is examining the border situation, and one can see that there are gaps in our borders.
They asked us questions, for instance on our border patrols, that are just about non-existent on the Canadian side. The RCMP lacks automobiles, staff, etc. We were made to feel to some extent that Ressam had come from Montreal. They talked to us about refugees, even if the refugees who come to these border posts basically come from the United States. In any case, they discussed things like that with us.
As far as drugs are concerned, we can see that the Americans are also concerned about that. At one point, they raised the matter of Quebec Gold with us. So I think we are going to have to tighten things up, if only to... It isn't just a matter of the perception, which is false in some respects, but we are going to have to tighten things up in this regard.
I'd like to get back to the bill we have before us. The witnesses we heard on previous days for the most part pointed to two problems: a problem with the definition of “terrorist act” and a problem with the sunset clause.
You will understand that this bill also includes extraordinary powers, powers that are out of the ordinary, since we are no longer talking about reasonable grounds to believe, but reasonable grounds to suspect. You have to admit there is a difference between suspecting and reasonable grounds to believe.
We are talking about preventive arrests and wiretapping. As to the sunset clause, if we were to include it, what would your suggestion be? What provisions should the sunset clause apply to in order to interfere as little as possible with your anti-terrorism activities? That is my first question.
Secondly, everything changes. At this time, increasingly, not only for police forces but also as concerns wiretapping and the financial aspects, emphasis is being placed on what is called intelligence, information, data. Police forces are not the only ones involved in this. I'm thinking of the Montreal police service, the Toronto police service, the Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP, CSIS, the Canadian Security Establishment, customs, immigration, the financial information service of the Department of Finance. People have talked about National Defence and of wiretapping throughout the world. All of this is being discussed.
What concerns me is the co-ordination aspect. How will all of these groups and organizations be co-ordinated? You will tell me that police services do talk to each other, but since we are discovering a new world, the world of intelligence, should we not do more insofar as co-ordination is concerned, and how should this be done?
The Chair: Mr. Niebudek.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: Firstly, in reply to your comments about customs, we have already had this conversation in another setting, Mr. Paradis. Yes, it is inappropriate in a country like Canada to protect our borders with video cameras. I agree that our borders have to be tightened up. On both sides, this will have to be done, as you said: both for what is coming in from the United States and for what, or who, is leaving Canada.
As to your first question on the sunset clause, we don't see the need for it. There are provisions to review this act at a given point to see whether or not it is effective. I trust that it will be reviewed to see whether we should go any further at that point, according to the legislative tools we need to combat terrorism which, as you mentioned, has taken on extraordinary proportions.
Concerning the co-operation among police services, as I work in central Canada, here in Ottawa—and I think that the other people at this table who work in Ontario and Quebec would tell you the same thing—I can say that over the past five or six years we have made giant steps insofar as co-operation among police services is concerned. Obviously, as in any organization, there are irritants; that may involve certain specific individuals.
Currently, where intelligence is concerned...Intelligence is not a new world. As opposed to what you said, intelligence has existed for a very long time. Today, we base our criminal investigations on intelligence, on what we refer to as intelligence-based policing. Perhaps the directors would have some additional comments to make, but in the area of intelligence, we have a national organization based at the RCMP offices, with provincial entities. At headquarters, there are members representing all of the important police services in Canada.
We have made great strides in this regard and we must continue, because that is how we are going to succeed in our fight against criminal organizations. It is by communicating with each other, by working side by side and by sharing our information, our data banks, that we will succeed. I think that we are headed in that direction. There has been a 180-degree turn in my opinion in that regard.
Are you suggesting that a separate agency be created to centralize this information? I don't know if that is what you had in mind.
What we want is to put the bad guys in jail; that is our objective. We will manage it by co-operating with our colleagues from everywhere in the country, from all jurisdictions.
The Chair: Mr. Westwick, and then Madam Venne.
Mr. Vincent Westwick (Co-Chair, Law Amendments Committee, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police): Yesterday, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and our colleagues from the Canadian Police Association had the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment. It was the first time they'd asked us to speak on international matters.
Chairman Harb allowed us to make the point to the committee and also to the industry representatives who were there that security in international trade is good business. We didn't want to be seen to suggest that it's incompatible or inconsistent with a good trade policy. We certainly made the offer, as did our colleagues at the CPA, to work with the organizations, to work with the private sector to enhance security surrounding the trade and the the whole border issue.
The point that had been made by the International Association of Chiefs of Police was that there clearly was a perception about the Canadian border.
We in Canadian law enforcement and we as Canadians have to deal with that perception. We are certainly willing to step up to the table to work with industry in a way that we haven't worked with them before.
On your second point, in terms of collaboration, this is a point that Chief Sarrazin made in his opening remarks. There is, we would call it, a new harmony amongst police services that's translating to the working level. We would go a little further and suggest that in addition to Bill C-36 perhaps an opportunity exists for a mechanism to institutionalize, to formalize the cooperation that exists between police. And you suggest not just between police, but also between intelligence agencies and other law enforcement agencies. We would think there is an opportunity there and we would look to federal leadership for that purpose.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: I want to address Mr. Paradis's comments. As far as the sharing of the information is concerned, it's already happening. As the chief has alluded to, it is occurring. It may be a new working world, but it's already out there and it's a matter now of enhancing it. It's happened and priorities get directed different ways. It's not going to be something new, it's not something literally foreign to police agencies, to coordinate information and pass that information back and forth. We do that all the time. We're talking now about concentrating more resources on more areas and on a specific area as well, so that you have some continuity to that as it goes through.
In relation to the sunset clause, and there has been considerable discussion around this table about that, we all have to take a look at that. As you've heard from all of us, we're nervous about the sunset clause. We're more concerned about review. It's a better word for us.
I think Mr. Niebudek made a valid point on this. We may be coming back and saying what we have from you right now isn't working. There's an important issue for review on both sides of the table. Many members around here have said that. We may have to come back and say, that didn't work, we need this or we need that, or, this is how the problem has now grown and we need to be able to deal with it. So your concerns are valid and we share those concerns as well.
The Chair: Thank you. Madame Venne.
Ms. Pierrette Venne: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to talk about the financing of terrorism activities. As you know, on Monday of this week, the American secretary asked international financial action groups to draw up international criteria to counter the financing of terrorism.
I'd like to ask you whether you believe it is possible to arrive at a consensus on the means to take to curtail the financing of terrorist activities. According to you, what should those criteria be?
The Chair: Mr. Westwick.
Mr. Vincent Westwick: This is a difficult question to answer because grappling with the aspects of financing of terrorism is new to all of us. What has impressed us in the bill is that there are tools provided. I would simply repeat the point that Mr. Adkins made the last time, namely that we're not sure whether they will be adequate enough; we're not sure of their full application, but we like what we see so far.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: I think that's a very challenging question as well. I don't know whether you could get an answer to that question right now with the urgency of this bill. But I think it raises a valid point that should be considered down the road.
The other thing is we are unique in Canada, and it's very important that we take a look and ask what's going to be affected here. There may be things we may agree with internationally. There may be things we can't agree with. So I think whatever we do has to be tailored in Canada. The chiefs have many relationships back and forth with policing across the world, and of course you're familiar with Interpol. I think those are issues. But that's a question that has to be studied to get a successful answer.
The Chair: Mr. Obst.
Const Grant Obst: Just quickly, I think Madame Venne has hit on a good point. I can't address specifically your question with respect to financing of terrorism. But there are a number of additional tools laid out in this bill that many of us in law enforcement, even the more mature investigators, are going to be dealing with for the first time. We've been talking about a sunset clause and about a review and about timing for any one of those, and I'm thinking that what we should probably be talking about is some strategy where we stay in touch with each other—not constantly; I think heard the amount of time of six months talked about. That might not be a good idea and perhaps that should be examined a little closer, so that we can see how these new things are working. Mr. Niebudek indicated we may be back saying they're not working—we need this changed, we need that changed—and I don't think we should lose sight of that.
The Chair: Mr. Knight.
Mr. Leo Knight: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In response to the member's question, I referred in my presentation to a report from the assistant director of Interpol to a subcommittee on crime in Washington, D.C. I have a copy of that report. If the member would like, I can make it available to him.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
And now to Mr. Owen for three minutes.
Mr. Stephen Owen (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.): Thank you all for appearing before us today.
I'd like to make just one observation. First of all, we've talked a lot regularly in this committee about the extraordinary new powers of this bill. It's a complicated, large bill and it addresses very important issues before us.
But I think it's useful to remember that much of what is in this bill is simply an extension of what we already have. I am thinking of many of the tools that have been provided to deal with organized crime before, whether it's with respect to money laundering, proceeds of crime, or electronic surveillance, whether it's the penalties, whether it's participating, directing, or facilitating those criminal organizations. I suppose it's not unusual that these are simply applied now to terrorism, because terrorist organizations are the ultimate criminal organization.
But when we talk about these extraordinary powers we realize that most of them already exist. Even the investigative hearing exists now in the mutual legal assistance provisions we have with respect to cooperation with other countries.
I'd like to place two questions that relate to that statement. One is with respect to the cooperation among law enforcement agencies, particularly internationally, given what we know about the international quality of terrorist organizations. It speaks to the situation that is sometimes called subcontracting. This may be part of the concern with the extended powers to the CSE to intercept communications that begin or are directed to Canada when they have a foreign target.
In the past there has been concern that security forces in different countries do in each other's countries what they are not allowed to do in their own countries without judicial authorization and then swap the information.
First of all, I'd like to know if that happens. If it happens, is it necessary for it to happen in order to deal with the international nature of crime? If it is necessary for it to happen, do these new powers to the CSE allow security forces, intelligence forces, to do within a new prescribed law what they feel is necessary, but were not able to do within the law previously?
The second question goes to the convergence of terrorism and organized crime. It has been suggested certainly to me in previous inquiries I've been involved with that organized crime actually has a very strategic reason for financing terrorism, and that's because it diverts resources.
What we're seeing immediately now from complaints or concerns expressed by people in Montreal is their worry that the resources are going to be diverted from the initiative towards organized crime, which hits that area of Canadian society in a particularly violent way, to terrorism. It would seem to me, if that is the case and there is some redirection going on, it may at least prove the objective of the point that was made earlier, that organized crime is financing terrorism. I wonder if any of you might have any comments on those two questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
First, Mr. Westwick.
Mr. Vincent Westwick: On the first point about agencies doing work in other countries and then exchanging—that sort of thing—quite frankly, I'd never heard about that until I heard about it on TV the other night. It's not something that happens in the police world. It's not a regular practice at all. I can't speak for the intelligence community in that sense, but it certainly doesn't happen in the police community. In addition to the ethics of policing, I think there are also the charter applications in terms of the evidentiary value of the fruits of that kind of exercise. They would be very questionable. But I would say that's simply not the way police in Canada do business.
The Chair: Mr. Niebudek.
Mr. Mike Niebudek: I'll cover your two questions, but you did make a comment about the sunset clause before, and I'm amazed as to the amount of attention this sunset clause issue is getting.
First of all, if one were to tell me that they expect in two years to get rid of terrorism, I would ask them what colour the sky is in their world. It's not going to happen. We know that. That's a given.
So why are we knocking a sunset clause for this particular bill when we're not doing it for Bill C-24, for example, or any other bill that we've enacted to protect society because of new trends and new ways people are committing crimes. That's a comment on that issue.
As for the CSE, the Communications Security Establishment, I digress, like my colleague from the chiefs association. I can't answer that question. That's probably one question that would be left to the intelligence community, as was mentioned.
With regard to the organized crime funds diverted into terrorism, it is not something I am personally aware of. The only thing I've heard was one of the media a couple of days ago alluded to that. If members of organized crime divert funds into terrorism or other organizations, then they're dealt with as terrorists according to the....
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Adkins is next.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Yes, I think the first question is a difficult one to answer, and as I said, it's best left to other people who are in that business.
With regard to the second question, I think you make an important nexus, Mr. Owen, between organized crime and between terrorism, because many times terrorism has been financed by the activities of organized crime. It's just under a different area. When you start hearing about false identifications and all these other things, these are all part and parcel of the issue. I think it's important to recognize that.
It's important to recognize as well that the terrorist investigations are things that will be going on. Those other investigations will continue at the same time. Sometimes they will be the same people in relation to those organized crime activities—those credit card activities, those things that strike at the heart of the economy and that debilitate everyone.
Mr. Stephen Owen: We may not need parallel resources. The same resources can be targeted at both.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Well, I don't think that will be possible just because of the type of people you're looking at and the types of groups that are there. As a result of September 11, you have an issue that has to be dealt with, and there have to be resources committed to that. You're not going to be able to say we're going to get two abilities here to do something. You're going to have to say we're committed to that.
The Chair: Leo Knight.
Mr. Leo Knight: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Owen, in response to the second part of your question, as a former deputy attorney general of British Columbia, I know you worked extensively with the former Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit. You appreciate the difficulties and the intrinsic complexity of an organized crime investigation.
You can take it that because of the convergence with terrorism we're seeing—and certainly this has been demonstrated in a number of matters, such as fake identities and identity theft, etc.—the complexity of those types of investigations is increasing exponentially. I know you're aware of just how complex and how difficult they are. Well, they've just become a lot more difficult.
The Chair: Ms. Boniface.
Commr Gwen Boniface: I wanted to add something on the link that I think exists between organized crime and terrorism in terms of funding.
There's great opportunity for organized crime to take advantage when governments' economies have been destabilized. As we see in areas of the world where we have officers working in UN missions, organized crime greatly takes advantage of the instability of the country.
I would make the link from that front as well as in terms of organized crime and terrorism. On the second front, in the sense of their high levels of organization, the clandestine work and sophistication and money organized crime and terrorist groups have gives them very similar abilities to work amongst and inside groups and evade law enforcement, strictly because of how well funded they are.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. MacKay, three minutes.
Mr. Peter MacKay: We're very cognizant of the fact that you represent the people were trying to help, to help us in this very complex issue.
Having said this, even with the complexity and the comprehensive nature of this bill, obviously it's devoid of this other area of immigration. I expect we'll be coming back to this issue with another bill. But on the linkage here between organized crime and the terrorist activities, bin Laden is basically the mob boss of perhaps one of the biggest organized crime elements we've ever seen in terms of international scope. Terrorism and organized crime are children of the same terror motive.
In relation to how the police are reacting, attempts by police to penetrate organized crime outfits often means co-opting individuals with specific knowledge of the inner workings of how the crime families operate. Is there a need, or have we already begun, to recruit individuals with cultural understanding, specific language or ideological skills, that will allow law enforcement to try to penetrate terrorist cells, particularly here in Canada, because we know we have limited capacity abroad? Should police agencies be concentrating their efforts in this area? Is this part of the recruitment strategy we know goes part and parcel with new personnel?
I have a specific question for you, Mr. Obst, in reference to the sharing of information. Obviously, organized crime and terrorist cells generally are coordinating their efforts. Law enforcement communities are doing the same with our national defence agencies and with our allies.
Have you ever been made aware of any reluctance on the part of our allies or international law enforcement community to share information with Canada? If this were the case I would be surprised, given that we have already very, very strong access to information protections, cabinet confidentiality. If this is the case, it would justify these certificates, but I'm not aware of our allies ever having expressed that concern.
The Chair: Mr. Obst.
Const Grant Obst: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First, Mr. MacKay, I'm not aware of any specific initiatives with respect to recruiting individuals. Obviously, as Mr. Adkins has stated a couple of times, the people who would be involved in these types of investigations would be senior police officers who have lots of experience and expertise with respect to investigative techniques, etc.
I see the possibility of the police maybe going outside their organizations looking for specific expertise, which is done in a number of other areas as well, with respect to forensic accounting in commercial crime investigations. I see that possibility, but I haven't heard of any specific initiatives.
I don't have any specific knowledge about anybody not wanting to share information with us. Our concern in that respect is derived from this perception in a global sense—whether it be real or not—that Canada is a safe haven for criminals due to inadequate legislation or penalties for criminal activity. We certainly don't want there to be a concern in other international agencies that if they were to share information with us, we wouldn't have the legislative ability to protect it, that because of privacy laws or whatever might be the case, it would be divulged through some sort of application and it couldn't be protected. This would create a barrier.
That's where our concern is in this regard.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
I'll have to go to Mr. John McKay for three minutes.
Mr. John McKay (Scarborough, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to put forward the counter-argument that the Barreau du Québec put to us yesterday. This position was that this is an extraordinary circumstance and an extraordinary suspension of civil liberties, and a proper response by the government would be the creation of a discrete bill or section in the Criminal Code to be applied only to terrorism offences. The argument was that leakage would occur between terrorism offences, organized crime offences, and ordinary criminality offences.
I must admit, ladies and gentlemen, your testimony today has given me some discomfort on this issue. In fact this bill will be used in matters pertaining to organized crime and ordinary crime, if you will. Therefore, I wonder, when you have a situation of investigative hearings or of preventative arrest, or the various other sections applicable in this bill, how are you going to be able to distinguish between whether this event is a potential terrorist event or an organized crime event or ordinary criminality? As Professor Grey said, we are effectively making terrorism so broad as to be indistinguishable from ordinary crime.
I'd be interested in your comments on whether you think this bill should occupy a separate and discrete section of the Criminal Code, because I think there is going to be much leakage between one section and the other.
I put to you as further evidence that when we did the organized crime piece, no one came in here and said they needed investigative hearings or preventative arrest as a part of the attack on organized crime. I fear the practice will be for ordinary police officers on the ground to use these sections to investigate ordinary crime and organized crime.
The Chair: Mr. Westwick first, then Mr. Adkins.
Mr. Vincent Westwick: Thank you, Mr. McKay.
It's difficult to respond to the argument that says these are extraordinary powers. I personally do not think they're extraordinary powers, and I'm somewhat surprised by the rhetoric that has surrounded them.
If you take a look at the investigative hearing, the investigative hearing is new, it's different in Canada, but I don't believe it's extraordinary. In fact it will create for a police investigation a very significant tactical decision in the course of its application.
The investigative hearing will only ever be used in relation to someone at a low level of an organization. It would never be used, for example, in relation to a...at least as I see it. The reason for this is proposed subclause 83.28(10), which makes all of the evidence against that person inadmissible and—and the “and” is a very significant one—all of the derivative evidence inadmissible.
So if the investigators see this person as a target, then they have just lost that investigative and prosecutorial advantage completely. Its application is very limited but important, because it allows the investigation to obtain inside information, the kind of thing that was asked about before in reference to infiltration, which is often critical to an investigation. This allows the police to get at that. But to say it's a widespread power just doesn't accord with my reading of the clause.
Then addressing the preventative arrest, quite frankly, again I find this puzzling. The real section in there is proposed subclause 83.3(8) that deals with the hearing before a provincial court judge to put in place restrictive provisions, a recognizance. This is really an expansion—and I think a very innovative expansion—of the section 810.1 provisions in the Criminal Code that the government has put in place to deal with sex offenders, with high-risk offenders, and quite frankly it is being met with a great deal of success as a preventative tool.
The so-called preventative arrest provisions, or pre-emptive arrest, as I've heard it described, are to be used only in the most restrictive situations. The wording, structure, and style used in the clause is very much in accord with what the government did on the structuring of Feeney. I have some trouble with the bill being characterized as creating an extraordinary deprivation of liberty and human rights.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Obviously, Mr. McKay, we recognize the bar's position on this and how it tends to comment on different issues, and I'm sure you'll respect the fact that we disagree with them. But one of our concerns, one of the things you have to make sure the committee is in touch with here, is the feeling of the people on the street, not necessarily the feeling of the bar. The people on the street see this a little bit differently.
We share in the understanding expressed by the comments of our colleagues the chiefs when they say the powers here are not that extraordinary. The powers here are being refined to allow us to pursue the most dangerous type of criminal, a terrorist. We have to keep emphasizing that.
People are using rhetoric, ranting about it as they go, but as we keep saying to you, these are not going to be the powers and authorities used by every police officer on the street everyday. These are authorities that are needed. These are authorities to be used by mature investigators to follow and deal with people for whom we have to have this type of investigative process. If we were meeting the need with the other types of investigative things we have, we wouldn't have to ask for this; we wouldn't be suggesting it to you.
It's very important that they bring their concerns forward. It's also important for us as police officers to come forward to you and mention our concerns. You listened to us on the organized crime bill; now we're telling you there's an increased threat here and you should be conscious of it.
We don't share their concerns. We don't see these powers as all that enhanced; we see them as appropriate and necessary for public safety.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We have time for two more responses from Mr. Obst and Mr. Sarrazin, very quickly.
Const Brian Obst: Just very quickly, let me say that sometimes when we talk about new legislation and police powers, etc., we have to take a second to get our noses out of the books and take a look at reality.
Mr. McKay, I envision—and I equate this to organized crime investigations—that the senior police officers who are out there conducting those rather intricate, complex investigations don't work in isolation even as police officers. Those types of investigations are conducted with advice, sometimes daily or even more often, from crown prosecutors in that jurisdiction. There's a lot of discussion that goes into the application of any sort of step they make.
Mr. Westwick makes the point that we wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize the ability to have evidence admissible sometime down the road, and that's a very important point.
So all kinds of care would be taken in any investigation of this magnitude. I know you didn't mean anything by the term “ordinary police officer”. They're going to be experienced police investigators, and I would suggest that in almost all cases they will be accompanied by crown prosecutors.
The Chair: Mr. Sarrazin.
Mr. Michel Sarrazin: For some time now here, people have been linking organized crime and terrorism. I think that we have to be very careful and that there is a great difference between the two. Normally, organized crime engages in criminal activities for the purpose of making money or increasing its power, whereas terrorist groups use criminal activities for the purpose of gathering money for other activities, to destabilize governments, to further their ideologies or religions. Therein lies the difference, and I think that the powers to be granted by this new law aim to allow us to attack this type of individual.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Cadman, please.
Mr. Chuck Cadman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to touch on an area we haven't spoken about very much, and that's the area of the ports, specifically the container ports, one of which I have in my riding. I think the policing of the ports can be a large factor in this whole issue, as seen by the fellow we caught in Italy a couple of weeks ago who was living in a container.
We've heard people expressing regret over the disbandment of the ports police. Yet when I spoke with the Vancouver Port Corporation a few weeks ago, they seemed reasonably satisfied with the level of policing they were getting and their relationship with the municipalities. They said that when they had the ports police, at any given time in the Port of Vancouver four were on duty, which spread them pretty thinly. Now they have a lot better relationship. Their crime rate has gone down, in their opinion.
I'd be very interested to hear your comments on the policing of the ports and some of the problems it would present to you.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Cadman.
Mr. Leo Knight: Just a quick response to that, Mr. Cadman. The ports police in Vancouver had a force of some 40 officers at the time they were disbanded. They were replaced by a squad of 13 officers, who were run out of the same offices as the Vancouver police officers, who are also responsible for taking calls in that area. So you go from 40 to 13, and those 13 are also taking calls on a regular basis. That's the reality. It was replaced with a contract to a private security company that's worth about $250,000 a year, so it's quite insignificant.
The Chair: Mr. Sarrazin.
Mr. Michel Sarrazin: I'd like to say a few words on the situation of the Port of Montreal, which is also an important port. Of course, the Ports Canada police was abolished and a private security agency now patrols the port.
When criminal activities are reported, it is the MUC police service that must carry out the investigations and intervene. But there are very few problems or crimes that are reported to us. The problem is that police officers are not present at all times in the field to carry out patrols and make the necessary checks.
Of course, there are specialized units which deal with organized crime who do long-term, in-depth investigations on activities that could take place within the Port of Montreal.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Niebudek: Mr. Chairman—
The Chair: Sorry. Go ahead.
Mr. Niebudek: I'd like to address the port police issue. I think we could draw the same parallel with the airport police.
As Mr. Sarrazin rightly mentioned, I think it's a two-pronged approach here. You have the criminal activities that occur in any community, as far as having uniformed patrol personnel to answer those calls, which I like to call crimes after the fact, be it crimes against a person or thefts, things of that nature.
What we're concerned about is the detection of organized crime methods being used in ports, the amount of personnel working there, and the security level. We have had a lot of difficulty with people who handle cargo being approached by organized crime groups. Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax are three perfect examples of where we need to have eyes and ears to do the detection part of what's going on in these ports. It's not only about goods coming in, but also about people coming in, for example, in containers. Our position has been that the ports police should never have been cut. In fact, the ports police probably should have been enhanced back in the mid-nineties, when the cuts were made.
The Chair: Thank you.
We'll go to Mr. Adkins and then to Mr. DeVillers.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Mr. Cadman, we warned people about what was going to happen. We told them that was not the way to go, and we said, mark our words, the day will come when people will say, we should have listened to them. You say the crime rate has gone down. The question you have to ask yourself is, has the crime rate gone down or has the incidence of detecting crime gone down? That's the issue. That's the way people get into the country.
With regard to the situation in Italy, a sworn police officer patrolling the wharves comes across those things. Somebody else who is not as attuned to that doesn't get the information all the time and doesn't watch it. It goes on, but you never know about it. Mark our words, there'll be additional problems on that. You can be sure of that.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Paul DeVillers (Simcoe North, Lib.): Thank you.
I want to talk about the charter. We've had a lot of evidence at this committee indicating that there are clearly going to be charter challenges to this legislation. I think that's abundantly clear. Obviously, many of these measures are being perceived by some as extraordinary. Presumably, the courts are going to be asked to review it vis-à-vis section 1 of the charter. We're going to need to show that the threats that are being addressed by this legislation justify these measures. I'd like a response from the panel, as professionals, on what the threats are that we're aiming at here in Canada. I know we have September 11, but all those events took place in the U.S.
Related to that is the issue of the sunset clause. We had evidence yesterday that the inclusion of a sunset clause would charter-proof the legislation for us. That's something the courts would look at in approving it. I think it's in everyone's interest, particularly the policing community's, that this not be successfully challenged, that whatever form this legislation takes, it is charter-proof. So tie the possibility of sunsetting it as an aid to charter-proofing it. I'd appreciate your comments on that aspect.
The Chair: Ms. Boniface.
Commr Gwen Boniface: Thank you.
Let me deal with your first question in terms of the current state. I indicated in my opening comments that I was at ground zero and saw some of the effect on families in the United States.
As I look at what my schedule has entailed since September 11 and my colleagues across the country, whether they're front line or chiefs, I can't imagine saying this is not necessary or that as a world, let alone Canada, we're not in a state of challenge from a law enforcement perspective. If your question is whether this should be taken as seriously as this bill proposes, my answer is yes. This needs courage. It needs courage not only in Canada but also around the world from political leaders at this time.
In 2001 the United States quite clearly is being challenged. It's one of the world powers. In 1993 they had the bombing of the World Trade Center. Between 1993 and 2001 one thought that perhaps the United States was beyond that. But quite clearly they're not, and if they're not, the rest of the world is not.
Secondly, on the charter, I reviewed comments made by others before this committee. I look at things such as terrorist financing needs the AG's consent; forfeit procedures need the AG's consent; and on protecting sensitive information, you need to have a judge rule on whether or not that protection should exist. Regarding investigative tools, we're asking only for longer periods of wiretap, and to me it's quite clearly evident why you would need that, given the types of investigations. And the pre-emptive arrests and such all have things built around...a judge within 24 hours, those sorts of things.
I think we have all stated we prefer the review to the sunset clause. I think we have supported the bill wholeheartedly in terms of the courage that bill has to address the terrorism threat for Canada and the world, and I think our charter was designed to weigh these things, including the current climate around the world.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. David Griffin (Executive Officer, Canadian Police Association): To echo the comments of Commissioner Boniface, first of all, it was said earlier by a number of the panellists that we don't find these measures to be that extraordinary. In fact, many of the measures that have been alluded to are parallel to other investigative tools that are already there, or in some cases they're extensions of those tools.
We would also point to the fact that the director of the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, Mr. Philippe, indicated that literally every international organized crime group and every international terrorist group has people on the ground in this country conducting activities. So certainly I think there's evidence there. There are a number of very sensitive active investigations under way in this country. Obviously, those are the types of things that, if this committee feels they need more information, would have to be talked about in camera.
But we would concur with the conclusions made by the Minister of Justice in her testimony to this committee that this bill conforms with the charter and is impervious to challenge. Ultimately, job one is intervention and prevention, and if that means somebody who is going to be prevented from committing a terrorist attack may subsequently take that matter before the courts, then let them do it. But the job today is to get these laws enacted and to move forward.
I think any reasonable Canadian citizen is going to look at this and say that from time to time, whether it's when you're travelling abroad, travelling within Canada, or carrying out sensitive activities, there may be minor inconveniences we're all going to face, but those inconveniences are necessary in terms of the community interest and national security.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
I'm going to go to Mr. MacKay for three minutes, and then Mr. Maloney for three minutes, and then I think that's—
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Am I going to get an opportunity to comment on that, Mr. Scott?
The Chair: Yes, please.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: Taking a look at this and asking if it's charter-proof, I don't think anything is really charter-proof in this day and age because somebody's always going to bring an argument forth. Do we think it'll stand the charter test? Yes, we do.
I'm sure when the original privacy legislation came in for the wiretap, when they first brought in Bill C-178, a number of people probably sat in this very room and raised all kinds of concerns and said it was terrible and everything else. It went ahead, and it faced challenges, and we still have that law. We said a number of times today that what's occurring here is not a huge quantum leap of police powers; it's a fine-tuning of powers.
I've also mentioned to you that I've been a police officer for 28 years. I worked in this particular field. Everything you do has to be scrutinized by crown counsel or the judiciary. You do not do anything.
Preventive arrest is already in the Criminal Code. You can already preventively arrest a person about to commit an indictable offence. Now you're in a position where you can arrest that person if it falls under the confines of the act. I'm sure everyone of us sitting here would want somebody to arrest someone if they were going to blow up the Parliament buildings. If it happened in the middle of the night and somebody said, “That's the time for preventive arrest”, I think you'd want that action to take place, because lives would be in danger.
As Commissioner Boniface said, this is the time to be courageous. We cannot have people using Canada as a staging area for other countries because they can do things here they can't do anywhere else. These powers are well scrutinized, there's considerable judicial input and judicial oversight, and there are many safeguards built in there. We think it'll be quite successful if there is a challenge to the issue.
We also think it is the time for leadership, it is the time to be onside and make sure we get these powers, because if we don't, we can't investigate the groups of people who are causing the problems right now.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. MacKay, for three minutes.
Mr. Peter MacKay: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to go back again, very briefly, to the issue of ports, because we've concentrated heavily on airports, and more heavily on the border. In both instances, we have RCMP and specific law enforcement officers assigned to those tasks.
The ports are now not only a gaping hole but a potential gaping wound. I understand there are over two million containers coming into our ports annually. The traffic at those ports—those are large, recognized ports—is increasing. There have been a couple of reported incidents, but I think the more important issue is one Mr. Adkins referred to, and that is what isn't being detected there. I'm very encouraged to see the police community is recognizing that.
I come from a small maritime community. If you want to talk about a problem, focus on what's happened to the coast guard as well. They're going the way of the ports police. They've been cut back severely to the point where they have very limited capacity even to free whales from entangled nets. So if you can't free Willy, you're not going to get terrorists who are making a conscious effort to come into this country. And as Tony Soprano says, “If you're going to try to really do something, forget about it.” In a small community, you're not going to get people who are trying to come into a small, unmanned port. There's no security whatsoever in all the ports that have been divested in this country. So that is certainly an area that leaves us extremely vulnerable in the fight against terrorist activity.
I have a specific question on the legislation. There was a reference made to the use of the investigative hearings. My reading of this legislation is that if you invoke this investigative hearing and bring somebody into custody, either through preventive arrest or otherwise, and they come into that hearing and say “I did it, and I'm going to bring the smoking gun with me”—because you can ask them to bring physical evidence to those hearings—it would be completely inadmissible in a court room.
How long is it going to take for a terrorist to figure out that if they're a suspect and the police decide to bring them in to this type of hearing, they can spill their guts and that evidence is going to be completely inadmissible?
I also go back to the earlier comment about the burden of proof on the crown, and by virtue of that the police, to prove ideological, political, or religious motivation. That mens rea requirement is virtually unattainable. Why would you not avail yourself of the current Criminal Code sections of murder, mischief, or treason? Get the conviction, then present as an aggravating circumstance that it was done for a political, ideological, or terrorist reason. But why would you charge, if you're going to set the bar so high you'll never get a conviction?
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. MacKay.
Mr. David Griffin: I think you helped answer Mr. DeVillers' question in terms of charter-proof.
With regard to the investigative hearing, I think we've all acknowledged in our written and oral submissions today that there is a consequence to police if they don't exercise that tool very carefully. And I think that's a justifiable balance. I think it balances the individual rights of people who may be called as witnesses before those hearings, but at the same time the police are going to have to determine very carefully whether or not they want to use that tool. But it is a strong tool in certain circumstances to compel people to be forthcoming.
The Chair: Mr. Adkins.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: I think you need to do a reality check on some of these issues. I mean, if you're standing in the witness box and you're at one of these investigative hearings, what do you fear most? Do you fear the fact that you're going to be placed in custody somewhere, or do you fear the fact that if you really spill the beans, you're going to be killed anyway? I think that's the echoing thing you have to deal with on this bill. You're not dealing with a conventional criminal who thinks his job is to get out of jail as quickly as he can. You're dealing with people who want to cause death, they want to do all those things, so don't try to give us the tools to investigate these people who are conventional criminals.
I remember when many of our colleagues were killed in Florida. I'll never forget that situation, because I was a young police officer and I was involved in the specialized investigative area. A group of FBI agents were following a car around. The occupants were getting ready to do some armed robberies, and the agents got ready to stop the car. In typical police fashion they used a conventional stop, they went to stop the car, and all of a sudden a huge shootout ensued. Eight police officers were killed. Do you know why they were killed? They were killed because they'd never before dealt with people who attacked them. The traditional response when police take enforcement action is that people try to run away from us; they don't attack us.
We've emphasized that you're not giving us the powers to investigate traditional criminals; you're giving us the powers to investigate people who have a greater goal—to disrupt things; to instil fear in people. They have done it. I ask you to think about that when you're doing this. Mr. MacKay's questions are very important.
The Chair: Mr. Westwick.
Mr. Vincent Westwick: Very briefly, we weren't suggesting the investigative hearing didn't have any value. I went through that lengthy description of it to try to demonstrate that there were built-in restrictions in its application and that they were practical restrictions. It has tremendous potential as an investigative aid in the kinds of circumstances Mr. Adkins just described.
The Chair: Thank you. Mr. Maloney, you have three minutes for a last question.
Mr. John Maloney (Erie—Lincoln, Lib.): The Canadian Police Association, in their brief, have called for a comprehensive, integrated enforcement strategy. We have a national police force now, the RCMP, but as part of that initiative they've suggested we have an interprovincial capability involving our provincial and local police forces.
Have you approached the solicitors general of the provinces or attorneys general of the provinces for their position on this, and what are the roadblocks?
Mr. David Griffin: Our view in the Canadian Police Association is that it has to be in addition to the efforts already talked about in terms of policing, but also incorporating Canada Customs, Citizenship and Immigration, CSIS—all of the agencies that are responsible for various aspects of national security.
I think those agencies are working together, but a question was asked earlier today concerning the hesitancy of agencies to share information. I have spoken to investigators who are working within some of the departments—these are Canadian law enforcement agencies—that are reluctant to share information with other Canadian law enforcement agencies, or others such as Customs or Immigration, because they are concerned about how those agencies will interpret their privacy or secrecy obligations or duty to disclose that information.
So from our perspective it does require—and I think the chiefs have talked about it in their brief as well—some type of national body that is going to assist in pooling those resources together.
The Chair: Thank you.
Det S/Sgt Brian Adkins: We would disagree just a little bit with it. I guess our concern is it's important here to get everybody together. Approximately two weeks ago we put a press release out calling for a summit. There's been a lot of cooperation back and forth with law enforcement agencies.
I would just be concerned that we not try to reinvent the wheel. We've already got things in place. We've already got enough bureaucracy everywhere. What we need are the resources. We need to have the cooperation we've had. There are going to be some issues that have to be dealt with, and they have to be dealt with by the chiefs. They have to be sitting together and talking about it and saying “Who's it going to be?”
A concern we've also raised—and I remember Mr. McKay asking us the question about the position of the Quebec bar—is there's an interest in the government and in police agencies to make sure the agencies conducting these types of investigations have sufficient resources to do the job. That's very important, because it means you're going to keep the integrity of the law.
The Chair: Finally, Mr. Westwick.
Mr. Vincent Westwick: Yes. Our point was much less ambitious than that.
We're simply looking for a mechanism that allows police officers to move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction—from Quebec to Ontario, Alberta to Saskatchewan—for the purpose of conducting investigations. It's a bureaucratic matter that needs to be addressed. We would suggest there's a role for federal leadership. It's a small point, but a very important one in terms of these kinds of investigations.
The Chair: I want to thank all the witnesses for your appearance here today. I can think of a few days over the last little while when you might have been here and we might have had discussion with other witnesses. Your views would be juxtaposed, I think, a little bit against some of those. But I think committee members are accustomed to laying all of the arguments.... We appreciate very much your being here today. You are—
Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.): I have a point of order.
The Chair: You have a point of order, Mr. Lee. To the witnesses I say thank you again.
Mr. Derek Lee: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think Mr. McKay will now move a motion dealing with the national security subcommittee.
Mr. John McKay: Mr. Chairman, I propose that the Sub-committee on National Security be made up of the following members: Bill Blaikie; Marlene Jennings; Derek Lee, the Chairman; Lynn Myers; Peter MacKay; David Pratt; Kevin Sorenson; Vic Toews; Pierrette Venne; Bryon Wilfert; and that another member be appointed at some later date.
The Chair: I would ask that the interviews be done outside. I would like to say that the members heard the motion, but I think—
A voice: It's on the record.
The Chair: It's on the record, and members have all received this; we got notice yesterday. The motion is in order. We have a mover. Are we ready for the question?
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Congratulations.
The meeting is adjourned.