Skip to main content
Start of content

SECU Committee Meeting

Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



Thursday, March 21, 2013

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    Good morning, everyone. This is meeting number 77 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is Thursday, March 21, 2013.
    We are televised today, so I would remind all committee members and all those in the audience to please adjust their cellphones so that we don't have ringing cellphones in the middle of questions or presentations.
     Today we are considering the main estimates of 2013-14.
     In our first hour we have with us the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety and National Security. The minister is accompanied by his departmental officials, who will be our witnesses for this hour and also for the second hour today.
    From the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, we have François Guimont, Deputy Minister. Welcome back.
    From the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, we have Commissioner Bob Paulson. Welcome.
     From Correctional Services Canada, we have Commissioner Don Head.
    From the Canada Border Services Agency, we have Malcolm Brown, executive vice-president. Welcome.
     From the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, we have Michel Coulombe, deputy director of operations.
    And from the National Parole Board, we have Harvey Cenaiko, chair.
    Our committee wants to thank the minister for making arrangements to appear before us during the estimates period. We also thank the departmental officials for making themselves available to accompany the minister today. Our committee very much appreciates that the minister and his officials all respond to our committee's invitations to appear from time to time—and indeed many times—and assist in our deliberations. Canadians are pleased and proud of all of you for the fine record of public service.
    I invite the Minister of Public Safety to make an opening statement, and then we'll move into the first round of questioning.
    Minister, welcome. The floor is yours.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Indeed, it is my pleasure to be here to again share an hour or so with all of the members of the committee. I want to thank my officials, both from the department and from the various agencies that I'm responsible for, for being here as well.
    I'm pleased today to speak to both the 2013-14 main estimates and the 2012-13 supplementary estimates (C).
    Mr. Chair, responsible governments must ensure that they use taxpayers' dollars in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner, and that's exactly what we have done over the past seven years. Since 2006, our government has acted consistently to help create jobs and spur economic growth. We have made responsible decisions that have strengthened our economy, while ensuring that we are keeping Canadians and Canadian interests safe. We believe that committee members will find this evidenced within the pages of the supplementary estimates (C) and the main estimates.
    As the committee's motion specifically mentions supplementary estimates (C), I will turn first to these, which sought minor adjustments to spending authorities within three of the portfolio agencies: the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
    The total net increase in authorities for 2012-13 for these three portfolio organizations equals $4.2 million, or 0.04%.
    Mr. Chair, this represents a small increase in the total funding approvals for the Public Safety portfolio for 2012-13. For example, the Canada Border Services Agency has sought an increase in its voted authorities of $10.3 million to support initiatives within the beyond the border action plan. There is, however, no net change in the CBSA's appropriations, as those funds have been offset by a transfer of authorities that had been previously allocated by the Treasury Board.
    The supplementary estimates (C) also indicate a net total increase for the RCMP of $3.7 million, which is the result of transfers of funds to the RCMP from Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Department of National Defence.
    Finally, we saw a net increase in authorities for CSIS in the amount of $550,000, or 0.1%, of its authorities to date.This amount stems from a transfer from DND to CSIS for the acquisition of technology related to the Canadian safety and security program.
    Mr. Chair, let me now turn to the 2013-14 main estimates, which represent a fiscally responsible way forward in our efforts to keep our streets and communities safe while strengthening our economy and supporting families.
    For the overall Public Safety portfolio, the 2013-14 main estimates represent an initial funding approval of $8.049 billion, which is an overall decrease of $322.1 million, or 4%, over the previous fiscal year. This funding will be invested into priority areas that are helping us fulfill our commitment to keep Canadians and their communities safe.
    Among the overall portfolio funding increases are the following.
    The amount of $329 million to the RCMP related to the renewal of the 20-year police services agreements with the provinces, territories, and municipalities.
    I want to specifically thank the RCMP for its work on that file and for departmental officials who did an excellent job in working together with the provinces and the territories. These are very, very complex negotiations, but we're very pleased with the work that was done, and the cooperation we received from the provinces and the territories. I think they recognize that the RCMP is the best value for taxpayers' money, and agreed, indeed, without any concerns about that principle, that the RCMP are the best service for their money. That's a real tribute to the RCMP.


    Also, $38.2 million goes to Public Safety Canada to provide funding for permanent flood mitigation measures for provinces and territories hit hard by the 2011 floods, and $24.1 million goes to the CBSA to improve the integrity of front-line operations at the border.
    Mr. Chair, these increases are offset by a number of decreases, including among others a $65-million decrease to CBSA funding for the arming and eManifest initiatives, which are sunsetting in 2013-14 as part of a loan repayment schedule, and a $31-million decrease to the RCMP related to a transfer of funds to Public Works for the new RCMP headquarters building in Surrey, B.C.
    Committee members will also see adjustments to the Correctional Service of Canada's spending authorities, with a net decrease of $428.4 million from the previous year due mainly to the return of funds related to projected inmate population growth, which did not materialize despite the wild predictions of the opposition parties.
    You'll remember, Mr. Chair, that it was the NDP that said that, as a result of Bill C-10 and other bills, there would be an increase of $19 billion in infrastructure alone. That was clearly false. It was fearmongering of the worst kind. In fact, as you know, we returned to the fiscal framework almost $1.5 billion because of the prisons that we didn't have to build. This decrease is due to that and as well to the savings measures outlined in budget 2012.
    The main estimates also include a $370.7-million decrease in the total Public Safety portfolio spending authorities, related to deficit reduction action plan savings measures announced in budget 2012.
    Mr. Chair, before we turn to questions from the committee, I will touch on some of those numbers as they relate to our work to keep Canadians and their communities safe.
    Looking at just Public Safety departmental funding, we are requesting increases that include $2.9 million to continue our work to make our cyber-network secure and resilient, as outlined in Canada's cybersecurity strategy, and $2.5 million to implement national security and emergency management initiatives under the beyond the border action plan.
    These two initiatives remain top priorities for our government, and we continue to seek evidence of good progress in both areas. In fact, just last week I signed a memorandum of understanding with my U.S. counterpart, Janet Napolitano, that paves the way for a United States Customs and Border Protection truck cargo pre-inspection pilot project on Canadian soil.
    As you know, there has been some concern about what sequestration will mean for the movement of Canadian goods into the United States. We are very concerned about that but recognize that it's primarily an American budgetary issue, which they are going to have to resolve. But this kind of pre-inspection initiative, which will help clear trucks before they get to the border and then get them through, will help us in our just-in-time deliveries.
    I was told—and maybe you don't know this, Mr. Chair—that in some cases, one automobile goes back and forth across the border 40 times during its production. You can see that if you increase the delay in crossing borders from 20 minutes to 40 minutes or an hour, production is significantly impacted, with of course significant impacts upon the jobs of those in the auto sector, for one example.
    The pilot project that we're working on aims to enhance our security while accelerating the legitimate flow of goods, people, and services at the Canada-U.S. border.
    As I mentioned earlier, Public Safety Canada seeks an increase in its departmental spending authorities of $38.2 million to provide financial support to provinces and territories for 2011 flood mitigation. These funds are part of our government's commitment to provide a one-time, 50-50, cost-shared investment in permanent flood mitigation measures taken by provinces and territories, specifically related to 2011 flooding. Strong, resilient, and prepared communities are critical to our nation's security and economic strength, and these investments in mitigation will help to ensure that communities are able to recover rapidly after a disaster.


    In addition to being prepared for and recovering from natural disasters, resilient communities are also able to identify and resist violent, extremist ideologies and have the capacity to react to events in ways that prevent further harm. As such, committee members will see a request for an increase to Public Safety Canada departmental spending authorities for $1.8 million related to funds for the Kanishka project. Launched in 2011, this five-year, $10-million initiative aims to create a network of scholars who can undertake critical research into how Canadians can prevent terrorism and counter violent extremism. Again, this is an issue and concern that I've discussed with the Homeland Security secretary and something that we share a common interest in.
    Finally, the main estimates include a decrease in Public Safety departmental spending authorities of $7.9 million, which reflects the sunsetting of the funds for the ex gratia payments to the families and the victims of Air India flight 182. I am pleased that our government has been able to fulfill this commitment to these families.
    Mr. Chair, in summary, our government remains committed to using Canadian taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and most effective manner, and we will do so while moving forward with our plan for safe streets and communities while focusing on strengthening legislation, tackling crime, supporting victims' rights, and ensuring fair and efficient justice.
    To this point, on March 4 I was pleased to announce that our government will maintain stable funding for policing agreements with first nation and Inuit communities under the First Nations Policing Program. For the next five years I will be seeking these incremental authorities through the supplementary estimates.
    Thank you. I'll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
    Thank you very much, Minister, for that in-depth report.
    We will now move to our first round of questioning.
    We'll go to Ms. Bergen, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Minister, for being here, and thank you to your officials as well, each of you, for being here, and to all of you for the good work that you do.
    Minister, I want to talk specifically about flooding. You and I both represent ridings in Manitoba that deal with flooding. In 2011 the city of Portage la Prairie, the diversion, and many of the communities around Portage la Prairie were affected very severely by flooding, some of it natural and some of it because the province of Manitoba had to make some very difficult decisions because water was flowing in from Saskatchewan and flows in from our neighbours to the south. My riding in Portage—Lisgar experienced some very devastating flooding, some because the province had to deal with water that could probably flood a greater population in Winnipeg.
    The province of Manitoba is known to deal very well with flooding. You yourself representing Provencher understand this clearly. The whole area of the town of Morris and the municipality of Morris had severe flooding as well. The interesting thing is that, after the new boundary changes, it looks like Morris will also be in the riding of Portage—Lisgar. So Portage—Lisgar will be a riding that has historically had to deal with a lot of flooding.
    My concern, Minister, is that there has been a lot of snow in Manitoba. Two weeks ago some of my riding got almost 60 centimetres of snow. Just this last weekend we had another 30 centimetres. Almost every weekend there's water. Now, thankfully, a lot of that water will be absorbed but, depending on where water is coming from, whether from Saskatchewan or parts south of us, we know that there could be a lot of water coming once again.
    Two fronts I want to ask you about. As it relates to the main estimates, you mentioned almost $40 million of extra funding specifically for flooding. I was very disappointed when that was not supported by the opposition. I definitely think that natural disasters and certainly flooding are not a political issue. It's our job as the federal government to support projects that mitigate the effects of flooding, and so it was disappointing not to have that support from the opposition. But I'm very grateful that your ministry, that Public Safety sees the importance of dealing with flooding in a responsible way.
    I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about mitigation efforts and why you, the government, and our Prime Minister felt... He was there for 2011, he saw the flooding in Portage la Prairie and he saw the devastation of the farms that were destroyed. Would you talk about the importance of mitigation and working together with a province like Manitoba, which has done an excellent job over the last 25 years to deal with flooding?


    Thank you.
    The issue of mitigation is a very important one. It's something that we looked at after the 1997 flood in Manitoba. I was in the provincial government at that time. We worked together with the federal government at that time to bring forward a mitigation program. As a result of that mitigation program—which was essentially 50-50 funding—we were able to protect communities by way of ring dike and enhance the protection for roads and other infrastructure.
    As a result, since 1997, I might be mistaken, but I don't believe that there's been one home flooded since 1997 along that Red River valley. Other damage has taken place but we've been able to protect residences.
    So instead of the federal government through DFAA paying 90-cent dollars every year when the flooding occurs, we are able to ring dike those homes, those communities south of Winnipeg. There may have been a couple of homes south of Winnipeg. But that was for other reasons that they were flooded.
    Some of the areas north of Winnipeg do need to be addressed in the same way and of course some of the areas in the western part of the province, including your riding.
    So mitigation in the long-term benefits the taxpayer, not just the people who have been flooded, but it benefits the taxpayer that we don't have to react after a flood but that we can take proactive action to prevent the damage of flooding in these widespread areas. We've seen quite a bit of snow in Saskatchewan. I don't know what it is in North Dakota. I know a couple of weeks ago the flood forecast was fairly benign, but with some of the added snow...I think Miami, Manitoba received the highest amount of snow in Manitoba in your riding, as opposed to Miami, Florida.
    But this snow will melt, will become water and we hope that the efforts of the emergency measures people will prevent damage. But in the long term, mitigation is what is going to protect these communities in a much more substantive and ongoing way.
    I definitely appreciate that kind of foresight and I agree with you. I think it's a much more responsible use of taxpayers' dollars that will save money in the long run.
    Another area of importance to me personally in the riding of Portage—Lisgar is the border. We have a number of border crossings in my riding and certainly for all of us, clearly the CBSA plays a very important role, especially with our neighbours to the south.
    I'm wondering.... You did mention a couple of things. First of all, there's an increase for front-line border security. I know that we've had a bit of fearmongering unfortunately from some of the unions regarding some of the cuts that were made under the deficit reduction action plan, but that was not made to front-line officers. I think that's something that needs to be very clear and on the record.
    I'm not sure how much time we have left, Mr. Chair.


    Fifteen seconds.
    Okay, I'll just give you time.... Thank you very much.
    Very quickly, the decrease in front-line officers was about 26%, again as a result of our beyond the border initiative. We're working very closely with the Americans to see how we can become more cost effective at the border, securing our borders, and yet allowing for a more rapid transfer of goods and services.
    There are a number of pilot projects that we're involved in that we're quite pleased about. I mentioned the pre-inspection and others that I think will help minimize the impact of the sequestration issue in the United States. But that still is a significant issue, the sequestration.
    Thank you very much, Minister.
    We'll move to Mr. Garrison please for seven minutes.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to the minister and officials for being here. Whenever the minister and I deal with each other, I feel the obligation to talk about some things he'd like to talk about first before he does so.
    I do want to say that nothing we have to say today implies any criticism of our front-line staff in the public safety areas, who we believe do their best to keep Canada safe, in all those agencies. The second thing is: know that we do not believe dollars are always the fix, but we are talking about the budget today, so we will be talking about dollars. The third is the kind of reductionism that Ms. Bergen just engaged in by saying that because we voted against the budget, there should be no federal government. We obviously will differ on priorities and may end up voting against the budget. It doesn't mean we oppose absolutely everything that's in the budget or absolutely every dollar devoted to public safety. I just wanted to get those off the table.
    Yesterday, we had the tabling of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's expenditure analysis of criminal justice in Canada. What that analysis, I think, shows is that the government is pursuing policies that are driving up costs in public safety, both for the federal government and also for the provinces. Yet we have estimates before us today that show significant costs coming in Public Safety. I'm looking at that contradiction and asking the minister which policies that are driving up those costs—like additional mandatory minimum sentences and those kinds of things—is the government prepared to give up? Or which of the major challenges in public safety are we not going to tackle?
    At some point, this just doesn't add up. The costs are increasing. The number of people in prison, whether it's the projections or not, is still at an all-time high. Yet we're going to have reduction in the funding for those things. It's hard for me to see how you square the circle there by pursuing those same policies that drive costs up. When we look at overall Public Safety in the estimates and the supplementaries, we're going to be down about 30% from last year.
    As I've indicated in some of my opening comments, the reason why a very large part of it was down is because the department had anticipated there would be much a greater increase in the number of prisoners, and we simply did not experience that rush. When I became the public safety minister, I reviewed any spending in that respect. I simply said that we did not need new prisons. What we did, in fact, was build new units in existing prisons, and we were able to shut down two prisons, one of which the unions have been asking to shut down for an awfully long time in Kingston. Kingston should have been shut down perhaps 50 or 60 years ago. We were able to do that.
    The estimates by my own department were that by this time, there would be over 18,000 prisoners in our prisons, as opposed to the 14,000 who were there in 2010. In fact, we're just a little over 15,000, so we have about a quarter of what our own department estimated. With all due respect to your party, this was thousands and thousands fewer than was predicted by the NDP. The NDP made the comment that we're going to have to have $19 billion in new infrastructure. In fact, the total new infrastructure was about $600 million, and we were able to shut down Kingston and Leclerc. I can't remember what the net saving was by shutting down Kingston, but it's quite significant.
    The doom and gloom that was being preached by individuals who had absolutely no understanding of what's going on in the criminal justice system simply didn't materialize. We believe that what our tough on crime policies are doing is simply telling those individuals, who usually got out earlier or weren't even sent to prison because they were on home arrest, that they don't get a holiday anymore. You serve your time. These individuals are in for longer periods of time because judges have sent them there, and that's where they belong. We will continue to work with those individuals when they come to prison, in terms of giving them training and other things that I think they require, but my first priority is to make the streets safe. That is done by keeping these individuals off the streets by incapacitating them in their ability to commit further crimes and victimize ordinary citizens.


    Of course we do have a different philosophy about how you actually keep the community safe in the long term.
    I have a very specific question. Does this budget require reductions in operating expenditures for the RCMP, for Correctional Services, or for CSIS? Does it require operating budget expenditures in this next year?
    I can turn to each of the agencies, because you've asked me about four agencies. My understanding is it does not.
    Why don't we start with the RCMP?
    I can say that in these main estimates there is a net increase for the appropriations to the RCMP, attributable to the new contract policing model. We have about an 8% increase going into this year.
    In your actual operations day to day, then, you won't see any reduction in expenditures in this fiscal year.
    It's a pretty big, broad brush on our operations. Whatever we've done in the last year or two to make our operations more efficient has been behind operations. The idea is that we're not impacting operations.
    Perhaps some of the other departments, Corrections and...?
    Commissioner Head.
    From a Correctional Service perspective, the reductions in our area are broken down. Of the $428-million reduction this year, $203 million is the moneys, as the minister has pointed out, that are just a return...moneys that were not in our budget for expenditure, based on populations that did not materialize, and so have no direct impact at all. Another $170 million is in relation to our deficit reduction action plan, which addresses the effectiveness and efficiency issues that we set out last year.
    We have no plans to reduce a direct line of service delivery as it relates to correctional programs, for example. We will be closing the three institutions: Kingston Penitentiary, which includes the Regional Treatment Centre in its existing form, and the Leclerc institution. Those operations will stop, but the rest of our front-line delivery will continue.
    We'll have to get the other two in maybe a little later, because we're out of time.
    We'll move to Mr. Leef, please.
    Mr. Leef, you have seven minutes as well.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to all our witnesses.
    Minister, Mr. Garrison probably stole a bit of my thunder. I was going to ask about the corrections issue.
    Of course, two years goes by rather quickly. I remember well that in the general election in 2011 the NDP were making much ado about a prison agenda that we were trying to drive. You certainly cleared the record quite well.
    But you talked about $428.4 million in net decrease due to a lower projection of inmate populations. Those, of course, were the projections that your own department made. Mr. Garrison points out that there are higher numbers of inmates in the correctional system now than in the past, but I think it would be safe to say that they are relative to the increase of the Canadian population generally. Can you quickly touch on this?
    Then I'll ask a totally different vein of questions. You touched on $1.5 billion saved in prisons that weren't required. Can you expand a bit on that aspect?


    That was essentially the money that we returned to the fiscal framework. It had been set aside for the construction of prisons because of the estimates of both my department and the opposition that there would be very substantial increases required.
    I took a different view; I said we will not see increases like that, because we're not dealing with new people; we're dealing with the same old guys, who usually go out on vacation, commit a few more crimes, and get sent back to jail. It's the same old people. When you see an increase of 1,000, it's not as though we're getting many new people; it's the same old guys doing a little more time.
    Basically, we just built the 2,700 units, which will all be coming on stream in this year and in 2014. At this point, we simply have....I was speaking to the commissioner just yesterday. I think he was saying that there are 300 or 400 empty beds at any one time in the overall system. This doesn't mean that there aren't pressures in particular areas because of gang issues and the intake issue, which is something that I think the commissioner is still working on. But in terms of overall beds compared with numbers of individuals, we still have some room and we still have more units coming.
    I want to mention one thing. I want to thank you, first of all, Mr. Leef, for your service to the RCMP and to the correctional service. I know you come at this area from both of those. As I recall, Mr. Leef, you were a member, were you not, of Troop 4 in March 1998, when the Liberals in fact shut down the training facility? Yours was the last troop, and they actually shut down training. I was the provincial attorney general at that time in Manitoba. One half of all of the RCMP were eligible for retirement in five years, and the Liberals shut down Depot.
    Can you tell us a little bit about that experience, Mr. Leef?
    Mr. Minister, we brought you here today so that you could answer the questions.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Chair: Continue, Mr. Leef.
    Oh, all right. I just thought it was a fascinating story that Mr. Leef could share with everyone.
    Maybe we'll be able to do that after.
    I could have ended up being a member of the Edmonton Police Service, because they were offering us jobs in light of those closures, but fortunately I did get my turn with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, so that was great.
    Minister, you talked about funding for first nations policing in the announcement last week. What exactly does this funding represent? Maybe you can let us know how that's going to enhance the law enforcement capabilities within the first nations communities in our country.
    I want to thank cabinet for approving that funding for the first time, if ever, or in a long time, because we're getting stable five-year funding. That is so important. What was happening for so many years was you get one-year funding, and then the various first nations police organizations would always be worried that at the end of that one year, they were going to have to put out the layoff notices, because they have to give these notices 60 days or so in advance.
    What we were able to do is give five-year stable funding, which has incremental amounts. You have your base funding of approximately $105 million for the entire program, and then approximately, I think, the top-up is about $14 million or $15 million, and then it's a 1.5% increase in every year. So that is consistent with what other police forces, the RCMP, for example, are receiving. I think generally speaking there has been a very positive reaction to primarily that long-term, five-year funding. There are issues that we need to continue to work out with the first nations policing program, but I'm very pleased that we were able to stabilize the program in this way.


    One minute.
    The opposition has continued to say—and we've heard it here a number of times in committee—that we're slashing front-line policing services, and there are all kinds of cuts, but I've noticed in the main estimates that they're actually $204 million higher than last year for the RCMP. That doesn't seem like a cut, so can you maybe elaborate on that increase for us?
    As the RCMP commissioner has indicated, our focus has been preserving front-line services and finding efficiencies in the administration. That's really what the goal of our deficit reduction exercise has been. I think the agencies that I'm responsible for have done an excellent job in preserving those front-line services, and then finding the efficiencies on the administrative side.
    Thank you very much, Minister.
    Thank you, Mr. Leef.
    We'll move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for seven minutes.
    Before I get to my main questions, I guess some of those efficiencies are achieved through double-bunking, I would think?
    We certainly do double-bunk, there's no question about that.
    It's on the rise, is it not?
    I would think that we have somewhere between 15% and 20% double occupancy, which is a standard practice in many western civilizations, and which a recent report indicated doesn't contribute to violence.
    It still has been increasing, so my point is that some of the efficiencies that have been gained have been gained through double-bunking, which seems a pretty clear fact.
    Is there something wrong with that?
    I think you will find that it probably doesn't mesh with international standards or protocols that the government has signed.
    But I want to go to my main interest, which is cybersecurity. The Auditor General, if I recall correctly, Minister, mentioned that your government doesn't really have a handle on how much we're spending on cybersecurity. There are all kinds of envelopes all over the place. In the fall he said, “Look, we just don't know”. Have you been able to improve your accounting? Have you been able to compile some figures so that Canadians know, compared to other countries, for example, how much we're spending on cybersecurity, whether it be in your department or the RCMP or in some other department in the government? Do we have a number right now on how much we're spending annually on cybersecurity?
    Well, I can answer to some extent. Of course, we've had a significant investment increase, about $245 million, and we have entered into various agreements internationally.
    But my deputy has some more specific information that he can provide on this.
    I'm just looking for one round number. I don't want to belabour the point.
    I don't think you're going to get one round number—
    Why not?
    —from me for the entire government.
    But why not? I mean, you share this information. You sit in cabinet, you share information with your colleagues. Why can't we get a round number from the minister?
    That's why you have estimates for every department. You can bring every department here and ask that.
    But you're in charge of cybersecurity, and you can't tell me how much the government is spending every year on cybersecurity. That's not accountability, Minister.
    Well, you haven't heard the answer yet.
    You just told me you can't provide it.
    Mr. Guimont.
    I did not really come here totally prepared to answer the OAG report. I've gone through it with my folks, and we have developed an action plan. Actually, I'm put on notice that I will have to go before PACP to explain where we stand on that report.
    There is a number in the OAG report, and going by memory, it is around $700-and-some million; that was over a period of time.
    But it was not cyber-specific. The OAG was looking for more specificity as to what was invested where. We took it upon ourselves to look into this, but there is a challenge, in the sense that these investments have been made in a number of departments. As the minister says, it's the collective that has the answer to this, rather than one single department.
    I understand. But it would be good to have a collective number for the government, since the government is an institution in and of itself.
    Are we spending enough on cybersecurity? Countries such as the United States are spending, proportionately speaking, much more than we are. There was an article today in the paper talking about a digital arms race to deal with the new threat of cybersecurity. Compared, for example, with the U.K., we're spending proportionally much less. We are spending proportionally much less than the United States. It leaves us all to wonder whether we're really putting sufficient focus on this issue.
    The Auditor General said, for example, that the Cyber Incident Response Centre was not operating at full capacity. You must have known that, as the minister; you must have visited the centre, and they must have told you how many hours they were operating. I don't know why it took the Auditor General's report to alert you to the fact that the centre was keeping bankers' hours.
    But the broad question is, how do we know that we're spending enough on cybersecurity? We haven't had a public discussion about this, and the committee hasn't looked at the issue. How do we know that we're taking the issue seriously enough, when this is becoming the key international security issue, it seems?


    Mr. Deputy Minister.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    The first point I would make is that we look at cybersecurity in the department, and it's one of our top priorities. I want to be clear about that. That's the first statement.
    The second point is that we have a strategy in place. The strategy was unveiled a year ago, plus or minus, and $155 million was put into the strategy. It has three pillars. The reason I'm putting emphasis on three pillars is that there's an understanding in the strategy that this is not only the federal government's responsibility; there is a continuum of actions to be taken in society, and there is a continuum, therefore, of accountabilities on cybersecurity.
    We take our coordinating role very seriously, and we have, for instance, carried out better coordination, better action at the federal government level. Investments have been made in CSEC for better monitoring activities. We also have actions tied to specific departments, which they have to deliver.
    The second pillar has to do with critical infrastructure in other sectors of society. We have 10 cross-sector tables, which we convene regularly, to see where and what people are doing on cybersecurity. We can't necessarily be in everybody's backyard telling them what to do. Banks, for instance, and other institutions have also to assume their responsibility vis-à-vis cybersecurity.
    The third pillar is citizens. Such a simple thing as changing your password is something the government cannot dictate—people should see to that for themselves—or being careful about how they interact on the Internet and things of that nature.
    So our strategy has three pillars.
    More specifically on the U.S. side, we have also an MOU with the United States to deal with cybersecurity issues. We have an action plan, which asks for more cooperation and exchange of information.
    I was there last week with the minister. I sat down with the person responsible for cybersecurity in the administration, and we undertook to meet every six months to take stock of where we are and to have cooperation between the two countries.
    Taking a step back, we're taking cybersecurity seriously. It's a comprehensive approach, and it's not going to be instantaneous. It's a bit more diffuse as an issue than other programs might be, and outcomes have to be worked at more systematically.
     Thank you very much, Minister.
    We'll now move back to the second round. These are five-minute rounds.
    It begins with the opposition.


    Ms. Doré Lefebvre, you have five minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    My thanks to the minister and to the witnesses for joining us today.
    Mr. Minister, I would just like to quickly go back to what my colleague Mr. Scarpaleggia has said. At the beginning of your speech, you mentioned a report that said that double-bunking was not a cause of violence. I was wondering what report you were talking about. I have not seen the report. Could you tell us where we could get this information from?


    I'll defer to the correctional officer. He did a report in the prairies on double-bunking. He can talk about that extensively.
    We looked at the issue of double-bunking from different perspectives. We did a literature review a couple of years ago to look at jurisdictions that have been engaged in double-bunking and what some of the factors are that need to be taken into consideration to minimize any negative impact on staff, offenders, and on the community as a whole.
    That literature review has guided us in terms of some of the initiatives that we've put in place, including increasing the correctional program opportunities to keep offenders busy. If offenders are not busy and double-bunked, you've got a potential problem. If you have offenders double-bunked and engaged in programs, education, and work skills development activities, there's less chance of problems developing.
    As well—



    What is the title of the report?


    We have an internal report on that.


    Okay. So we can have access to it.
    Yes, no problem.
    If I may, my next questions will be on inmates, the cuts being made and the increase in the prison population.
    I know that the people around the table talked about this a little bit. You mentioned the Leclerc Institute. Since that facility is in my riding, I see the direct impact of the measures. My riding has three federal prisons, in addition to the Federal Training Centre, which is currently a minimum-security prison. Three wings have been added to turn it into a minimum- and medium-security megaprison. We have seen the impact; the Leclerc facility has been removed to add the wings to the FTC, in order to make room for a larger prison population.
    You have probably heard about the spectacular escape that took place in a provincial prison in Saint-Jérôme. I think it was last week. That escape gave us an opportunity to hear from a lot of stakeholders.
    A voice: [Inaudible]
    Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Yes, it is a provincial prison.


    Yes, provincial jurisdiction.


    Exactly. As a result, we had the opportunity to hear at length about the impact of Bill C-10. There are a lot of complaints across the province. Currently, the people who are awaiting trial are in provincial prisons, which are over capacity.
    Currently in Quebec, we are seeing that our provincial prison system is overcrowded, as a result of the changes made to the Criminal Code. That worries me. After their trial, all those people are going to end up in our federal institutions. When that time comes, in a few years, we might not have the financial support or the correctional officers we need, or the necessary resources for rehabilitation.
    Could you comment on that? I am honestly very concerned about that. We are already seeing an increase in the prison population in federal institutions. The people who are currently in provincial institutions, awaiting trial, will end up in the federal system after their trial, and we will not have the necessary support. What will happen then?


    I don't know where to begin. There are so many false statements there.
    First of all, my understanding is that the remand populations in the provinces have not increased. In fact, we've seen a decrease as a result of getting rid of the two-for-one credits. People have been moving through the remand centres more quickly. I'd like to see this on a Canada-wide basis that remand numbers are going up. They're high and they have always been high. Certain steps need to be taken.
    That has got nothing to do with Bill C-10. In fact, Bill C-10, we believe, will assist in bringing that remand population down. In fact, we've seen that trend.
    For example, we were asked by the Ontario government to build 1,500 more cells for them because they said that would be the impact of Bill C-10. At the same time that they were asking us to build new 1,500 cells for them, they were shutting down 1,500 cells. Essentially, what they're doing is getting us to build new infrastructure for them. That's not the way we do business.
    I'd like to see some of those numbers. I haven't seen the numbers that indicate that remands are increasing in the manner that you've indicated.
    Thank you very much, Minister.
    We'll now move to Mr. Hawn, please, for five minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Minister and officials, for being here.
    I'd like to go back to cybersecurity for a second. One of the hats I wear is as Canadian co-chair for the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defence, which has been around since 1940, and one of the areas we look at extensively is cybersecurity.
    Mr. Guimont, one of the keys of that, and you alluded to it, is the cooperation we undertake amongst the allies—primarily the U.S., but also the Brits and so on. Is it fair to say that it's not necessarily just a question of looking at what we spend on cybersecurity, but at the efforts in cybersecurity across the alliances?
    Also, turning back perhaps to the minister, was there any cyber-strategy before our government took power?


    Let's put it this way—I'm not casting any blame here—cybersecurity came up on the radar very quickly. It was always a very low priority and it suddenly mushroomed in a very short period of time as countries got together and started working on it.
    Generally speaking, the priority of cybersecurity in the last three or four years has increased exponentially, given the threat it poses. What this means is that we can't simply pour money into cybersecurity by ourselves. The only way to really address cybersecurity is on an international basis. That's why not only are we reaching out to private companies, to the provinces, and to the agreement that we signed domestically, but then with the Americans in particular; we are also looking at expanding those agreements to the rest of our Five Eyes community, because we share many of the same concerns and some of the goals.
    Before I turn this question over to the deputy, I would say—mention was made earlier of the Auditor General's looking at this issue of cybersecurity—that I think the Auditor General made some very good, helpful observations, but one thing the Auditor General said is that the government has made progress in securing its systems against cyber-threats, improving communications, and building partnerships with owners and operators of critical infrastructure.
    That's our focus, that's what we're trying to do, and we're going to do it not only on a domestic basis but internationally as well.
     I want to briefly address the point made concerning the response centre, CCIRC. I think there's always interest there. The minister rightfully pointed out that investments were made. More recently we have bumped up the resources for that centre. They are now operating at 15/7—15 hours, 7 days a week. That was a recommendation by the OAG. The OAG asked for 24 hours, we made 15/7, and we are always available 24 hours a day. There's always a response to be had, should a call come in; it's just that we don't necessarily have staff present physically.
    The last point I would make is that since October, when these investments were made, we've had no call that fell beyond the 15 hours, 7 days; there were zero calls outside that window. It doesn't mean it will never happen—don't get me wrong—but right now we seem to be at the right point in terms of balancing resources and response.
    I have two points, one just to confirm that the system is available 24/7 to respond to anything that happens. The other fact, and the minister mentioned it, is that it's not just government, but corporations—the civilian industry out there—must play a critical role in the whole issue of cybersecurity. Government can't do it by itself.
    Is that fair to say?
    Absolutely. This is not something we can do on our own, given the private investments in cybersecurity.
    One point I noted when I was in England speaking to the police there about some of the cooperation going on now between financial institutions, for example, is that there has always been a reluctance for financial institutions to cooperate fully. But I think everyone is coming on board in understanding that the simple fact that one institution has been the victim doesn't mean that the hackers haven't utilized a trail through other financial institutions.
    The importance of integrating our response to any of these attacks is very great. The Internet or cyberspace really doesn't make a distinction; whether you're privately owned or publicly owned, if there's a path, it will find a way.


    Thank you very much, Minister.
    Thank you, Mr. Hawn.
    We will now move to Mr. Rafferty.
    Mr. Rafferty, you have five minutes.
    Thank you very much, Chair.
    Thank you all for being here. Thank you, Minister, and, well, Ms. Bergen, too, for the very interesting science lesson on flooding in southern Manitoba; I really appreciated it.
    You know we are neighbours, you and I, and by the way, I'm always very excited to drive into your riding and see that big picture of you on that billboard as I come in from Minnesota. I'm not being sarcastic, Minister, I'm trying to butter you up so I get a positive response to my nice questions here.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    So far you're doing really well, John.
    I can tell you where you can get one of those pictures for yourself, too. You could put my picture in your riding if you want.
    I only have five minutes, Minister.
    That shouldn't come off his time.
    This is a first nations policing question, Minister Toews. While the funding has come across—which is great, and there has been lots of pressure, I know, from first nations police services and from the opposition and probably within the government ranks to do something about this. It's nice to see the five-year funding with, I think, a small increase...1.5% over each year or something. There's something planned, anyway.
    But there are some police services that are in much poorer shape than others. We have two first nations police services in northwestern Ontario. There is Treaty Three, whose policing is done mainly on the road system and communities that are on the road system, so they have support, particularly from the OPP. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which we have talked about before, is in real trouble. We have 39 communities, mostly fly-in: they don't have enough money to get officers out. Some officers are in there one, two, three weeks past their rotation cycle. Many of the communities have no policing at all. They have virtually no communication. Cell service is spotty at best in these communities.
    I have two questions. The first question is, will you meet with Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service leadership in the near future? The second question is, will you be open to special funding for those first nations police services that are in difficulty? What happens is if the funding continues, if the status quo is maintained, these police services just simply try to build on failure.
    Those are very good points, Mr. Rafferty. I note your interest in this particular file. You've spoken to me a number of times on this file. I appreciate your interest in it.
    Yes, as I've said, we have this five-year funding. We secured not only the base but the top-up that was put in place, which grew every year, and also this 1.5%, which will—
    Minister, I know my time is limited, so will you meet with the leadership?
    Okay, I'll get to the point.
    I have been meeting with first nations communities, including the national leadership as well as local leadership from Quebec, from Ontario. I've met with Manitoba. My officials would probably be in a better position to actually get stuff done, but if you feel there is any specific reason why I should speak with them directly, I'm certainly willing to entertain that request.
    Thank you very much.
    The second part of the question was will you entertain, over the next five years, some increase in funding for those first nations police services that are in real trouble?
    That's the discussion that we need to have about how do we improve the first nations policing program. The five years actually gives us the ability to talk about it. Under the old system, where you're just one year, you really didn't have a chance to step back and say all right, where are we strong and where do improvements need to be made.
    Will you entertain extra funding over the next five years?
    That's something of course for the finance minister, but I am prepared to listen to all reasonable requests to improve policing.
    Okay. Let me ask you one last question.
    I have about a minute or two?
    You have one minute.
    Last year the committee visited Kingston Penitentiary and there was one facility there, a mental health facility. Not only did it deal with issues directly related to perhaps suicidal inmates and that sort of thing, but there were a number of Alzheimer's inmates there also. We were told at the time that there are no plans to continue that facility elsewhere or to deal in that sort of atmosphere with inmates who have mental health problems. Can I ask you what will happen to those inmates who need the mental health services that Kingston Penitentiary used to provide?


    As I understand it, the same services that are being provided in Kingston will be provided at other institutions. But you've raised another important problem—and I'm not avoiding; all I'm saying is that we see those same services continuing.
    Really, if people have Alzheimer's, should they be in a federal penitentiary?
    That's certainly another question.
    It's a good question. Right now there are very few options, and that's the nature of the discussion I'm having with the provinces. There are individuals who are in prison who should not be in prison, because of their mental state. That is something I've talked about for the last number of years.
    These are changes that need to be made. It doesn't help for Commissioner Head to get more and more money for mental health if that isn't the most effective way of dealing with specific kinds of individuals. As some of the population gets older, I think this is a very good question: is it in the public interest to have Alzheimer's patients in a federal penitentiary, whether it's medium or maximum security? If they need to be in an institution, shouldn't it be one with a health focus rather than a penal focus?
    Mr. Rafferty, you're already getting close to a seven-minute round.
    I know that the minister's time is limited. We're going to go to Mr. Norlock, I believe.
    Or where are we going?
    Do you want to suspend for a moment or two and allow the minister to go? I don't know his timeline.
    Your one hour is up, Minister.
    Some hon. members: More, more!
    The Chair: We'll suspend for about 30 seconds and allow an opportunity for the minister to take his leave.
    Thank you, Minister, for appearing before us today for the estimates. We very much appreciate it.
    We will suspend and will come back with the officials for the last hour.
    Thank you.



    We will call this meeting back to order. The minister has just appeared, and we are going to continue this meeting with the study of the estimates. We have the department heads before us.
    We are going to continue where we left off. We are on five-minute rounds.
    Mr. Norlock, we were just coming up to your turn. I tried to give you an opportunity to speak to the minister, but you have the departmental heads here.
    Mr. Chair, that's almost as good, and sometimes...well, in deference to the minister I'll say almost as good. You're always thinking of my best interests. I appreciate that.
    I will raise a couple of items, if I may, Mr. Chair. Through you, I thank the witnesses for appearing today.
    The first item has to do with something Madame Doré Lefebvre brought up, relating to remands.
    I can recall that quite a few years ago, when I was the court officer just up the creek from here in Pembroke, one of the ways the judge was able to reduce the number of people who breached his court orders.... If I remember correctly, 20% to 30% of the cases before him were for people on remand, on recognizance, or on probation. Of course, the only power courts have is over people who obey the court order. What he did was get tough on people who committed offences pursuant to their court orders.
    I'll tell you what happened: the number of people on remand and the number of people who breached those things went way down. Sometimes it's not just about the government doing something; it's about the partners we work with, including judges and prosecutors.
    The other thing that was brought up by the opposition and Mr. Rafferty—and because he's from northern Ontario, I know that first nations issues are important to him, as they are to all of us—because they are very important....
    I belonged to an OPP unit that turned over the policing of the James Bay and Hudson Bay coast—that was the North East patrol unit—to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. And what did they say to the Ontario government and I suspect to the federal government? They said they could do as good a job, if not better, with the existing resources. So we turned over the aircraft and a co-pilot, etc.
    Something must have changed in the 15 years. I don't think the funding has changed, but I know there continues to be a need. I think it's important to say that in these transitions from traditional policing towards first nations policing, sometimes organizations need to look within themselves to see whether they're doing things the right way.
    Commissioner Paulson, we are looking, as you know, because you have come before us, at the economics of policing. I think I may have mentioned this, but some municipalities in Ontario have policing budgets that are 50% of the municipal budget. Is this the same experience in provinces other than those policed by a provincial police force? Is that experience occurring in the rest of Canada, to your knowledge?


    I can't say specifically 50%, but I know that some of the smaller communities that we service are struggling with the costs of policing.
    Of course, we see governments looking at all their agencies with a view to reducing costs. That's not new, I don't think, in your experience as a police officer. I had 30 years with the OPP and can recall many times when the province had to look at their provincial police force and say that it would have to make do with a little less for a while, until the government got out of that tough period.
    I can recall various ways in which the OPP planned to do those things. I would be very surprised—and I'll turn the question over to you—if, when you're meeting with your senior staff and are looking ahead.... Well, you don't know for sure what the government's going to do, but you have a fair idea.
    Let's say there are some reductions in certain places. Do you not have a planning committee that comes to you and says, if this happens, here's where we'll find those efficiencies, etc.?
    I think Canadians need to know that there are plans here.
    Of course, we police at the three levels, and we do this.
    For example, at the national level there is the deficit reduction action plan. We've done that; we have initiatives and we're re-calibrating. We do it provincially: each of my COs is doing it on a provincial basis. And municipally, with our partners in those municipalities we're doing the same thing.
    I call it sometimes “doing less with less”, but doing things more efficiently and with more productivity attached.
    Thank you very much, Commissioner.
    We will now move to Mr. Rousseau.


    My first question is for Malcolm Brown.
    There is an investment of $24.1 million in the next budget to improve the integrity of programs for front-line operations. First, what does the “integrity of programs” mean? Does the government intend to set up automated border crossings that will be controlled remotely, as we have heard recently?


    Thank you for your question, Mr. Rousseau.
    My answer has two parts.


    First off, I'd say that the $24.1 million, which was described accurately by you as program integrity, was really designed to focus on three or four areas.
     One was a peak period strategy, which was to provide additional funding, particularly at the land border, when we know that traffic is very high. Canadians were experiencing undue wait times. To manage wait times, $5.5 million has been invested to help address and provide an appropriate level of both security and public service.
     Other elements were to support the government's decision to end the situation where we had officers working alone. We call it the doubling-up initiative.
     Those are a couple of the elements of the kinds of things we're doing.
    In terms of your second question around remote control, we're working in part with the United States as part of the beyond the border action plan always on how we can use technology to facilitate, expand, and improve service. There are commitments under the beyond the border action plan to look at a couple of pilots in which we would use technology to allow ports to operate for expanded hours and that kind of thing.
    The sense of “remotely” implies no human contact, strictly distance only. It would have to be a combined approach. We do know that the U.S. has used remote capacity at ports of entry with very low traffic and that's certainly part of the scope of issues that we'll be looking at.
    Would than mean fewer front-line officers?
    No, I don't think it would. It might mean front-line officers working in different places. It might mean front-line officers doing a different kind of work. But there isn't necessarily a direct correlation between greater use of technology and a reduction of front-line officers.
    I say that because in small communities near border crossings those front-line officers are very important to their communities, economically speaking, so that's why we're worried when we see those programs.
    Second, where would those nine new NEXUS lines be in operation?
    I actually don't have the list with me. Through the chair, I can provide that list to the committee.
    We've put them, I believe, in some of our high-traffic areas as well as a mixture of smaller ports of entry. I'm afraid I don't have the exact list with me, but I can obtain it easily enough and provide it through the chair.
    You have half a minute.


    Thank you.
    Mr. Paulson, the new budget is investing very few new amounts in the external review commission, for complaints and so on. The amount being earmarked for external complaint review commissions is 0.3% of the overall budget. In light of the events in recent years, could you tell me why this budget does not commit more money to those commissions?
    Thank you for your question. However, it is not up to me to make decisions about the external commission.


    I think we want to have an arm's-length committee, so funding decisions about either the External Review Committee or the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP aren't within my control.
    Thank you.
    I've just been handed the list. I can read off the nine sites very quickly.
    Please go ahead.
    The nine sites are in British Columbia—Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Douglas, and Pacific highways. In Ontario, they are Fort Erie, Queenston, Sarnia, and Windsor, and in Quebec, it's Lacolle.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Brown.
    We'll now move to Mr. Payne, please, for five minutes.


    Thank you, Chair, and thank you to the officials for coming today. This is always an important time to review the supplementary estimates. I noticed that the minister and a number of folks have talked about the cybersecurity.
     Mr. Guimont, was our government the first government to institute a cybersecurity strategy?
    I must admit I'm fairly new to the position. I should have an answer to this and I don't. I would have to check, Mr. Chairman, to see if there was a strategy. I'm not aware of one. I would remember by reading the OAG report. So I think that the strategy we now have is a first, but I would want to confirm that with my staff to be definitive about it.
    Will you get that answer for us?
    For sure, I'll get that to the chair.
    Thank you, I appreciate that.
    The minister talked about a number of things at Canada Border Services; certainly the increase in front-line…percentage of 26%.
    Mr. Brown, you talked about a number of Canada-U.S activities. Is there still a strategy to share facilities or those kinds of operations?
    Under the beyond the border action plan with the U.S., one of the areas where we still are negotiating with the United States is a set of pre-clearance negotiations. It is envisaged that we would potentially undertake operations in the U.S. and vice versa. They already do in the pre-clearance facilities in airports for example, which I think we're all familiar with. So yes, that is still envisaged.
    The first step was an overall agreement on pre-clearance, which is still the subject of negotiations with the U.S.
    You talked about the pilot projects and, in particular, remote traffic. Are there any particular numbers of people coming across the border that you would use some of this new technology for? I know you did indicate lower levels. Where are you going with this? Are there a number of border crossings currently being looked at or potentially being used for this kind of service?
    The action plan commits both countries to four pilots, two on each side of the border. The government is still considering where those might be. The mix is lower volumes. You're not going to see this kind of thing done at a high-volume port.
    I think the kinds of areas you'd be looking at are where the objective is to test different approaches, to look at models that get the risking right, to make sure we're not creating an environment where the border is less safe. We want to make sure we're doing it in a place where the volumes of traffic would sustain it, where it's not an inconvenience to the travelling public or to the commercial operations, and where it's actually facilitating and improving service.
    I'm being careful not to tell you exactly what the criteria are because I think the government hasn't yet confirmed exactly how they want to proceed. But it would be in areas where there's interest in improving service. We're constantly balancing service levels in places where you have very little traffic. I think the government is cognizant of the impact of .... There have been, in the past, some closures of ports on both sides of the border and they're never easy. So I think there's a real attraction on the part of the government and the minister to explore ways in which we can use technology to help improve service.
    And you did, I believe, mention that it would also potentially increase the hours of operation on some of these?
     That's certainly in the.... One of the advantages of technology is that it doesn't have to sleep. We can run things 24 hours. Certainly within the range of issues that we're going to assess these projects is....
    You know, it's probably not helping us if we reduce service and do it remotely—


    Thank you very much.
    That's your five minutes, Mr. Payne.
    Mr. Payne didn't get to the Wild Horse crossing down there in his riding. He usually does have an opportunity to put a plug in for longer hours there. I know he wanted to do that, but the time wasn't available for it.
    I would also put that plug in, by the way, because my wife spent two and a half hours at Coutts yesterday, waiting to come back up. But that's just an aside.
     Mr. Gill, it's your turn.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I also want to thank our witnesses for being here with us today.
    I represent a riding just outside of Toronto, in Brampton. It's called Brampton—Springdale. We have a very large transportation hub and also some very large manufacturing facilities, including the Chrysler plant and others. Our city depends a lot on how effectively the border crossing is working.
    My question is obviously for you, Mr. Brown. I know that the minister mentioned there's been a 26% increase to front-line personnel and so forth. In terms of the border crossing, especially commercial trade, trucking and so on, what sort of impact has that had on mainly the trucking industry, and what are some of the improvements that have been made over the years?
    Especially soon after the 9/11 incident, I know there were significant delays at the border crossing at the time. I wasn't elected then. I was working in the manufacturing sector, and we experienced some of those delays first-hand. It had a huge impact on our businesses and in businesses in general, obviously. As we know, the U.S. is our largest trading partner.
    I'm wondering if you can shed some light on some of those areas.
    The short answer—since I went on too long in a previous answer—is that our volumes are increasing. You were asking specifically in the context of the impact of the deficit reduction action plan. Volumes are increasing and we're actually seeing wait times either staying the same or improving slightly.
    I think the agency would argue that's a direct result of the fact that we made every effort to protect front-line service delivery. That is true for both the travellers, the individuals in personal vehicles crossing the border, and the commercial side. There are, from time to time, issues in particularly busy ports of entry, but we do everything we can to manage them quickly.
    Part of that has been, I think, as a result of a series of things: the peak period strategy that I talked about before, and also infrastructure investments that the government has made in Prescott, Queenston, and a variety of ports of entry over the last couple of years, where there have been significant improvements.
    As well, frankly, provincial governments have facilitated the road networks into ports of entry. You're not getting the lineups going southbound, and it's easier to get to the U.S. port of entry, that kind of thing.
    So there's been a significant range of activity to ensure that traffic is flowing as smoothly as possible.
    I think there have been other initiatives as well that have been well received—for example, where there are FAST cards for truck drivers, and also where companies are now able to submit a lot of the paperwork before the truck arrives at the border and can receive initial clearance, or, if there are any problems, CB officers can evaluate the shipment or the truck that's approaching the border well in advance.
    Have some of these initiatives—obviously, I assume—helped?


    I'll speak to one example, eManifest, which is essentially moving from a paper-based process. It's a multi-year project. We're seeking funds in the mains this year for eManifest. As an example, instead of the paperwork taking place at the border, it's done electronically. It's done in advance. Essentially clearance decisions and the screening are done by officers in a back-office environment, not at the border. As a truck arrives, that's pulled up in front of the officer, and all the risking has been done. If it's a high risk or there's a question, that truck is pulled aside. Certainly our stakeholders, big shippers, both manufacturers and retailers, in the regular meetings we have with them are very complimentary about this kind of shift to moving the work away from the border and focusing at the border on the high-risk issues.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Gill and Mr. Brown.
    We'll move back to Mr. Garrison, please, for five minutes.
    Thank you very much.
    I want to start with what I hope maybe is a quick question to the deputy minister on the question of pardons.
    I know I've had discussions with members of Parliament in all parties about significant delays in the pardon process. These are people who've served their sentences, done their waiting time, are fully eligible for a pardon, and now they're waiting one to two years. It often prevents them from getting jobs, and it has severe impacts on families. Is there money in this budget to address these severe delays in getting pardons to those who are trying to reintegrate themselves?
    Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    Mr. Cenaiko, of the Parole Board, may be able to answer that as well.
    Mr. Garrison, there are approximately 21,500 pardon applications currently in our backlog. Of course, you're all aware that the legislative changes over the last few years have increased the fee from $50 to $150, and the user fee to $631, under the User Fees Act, which is the true cost of administering a pardon for an applicant.
    The board has hired and trained temporary staff, in determinate positions, to deal with this backlog. The applications have now been screened up to the eligibility stage, and we are proceeding to the inquiry stage for backlogged applications, processing them in the month in which they were accepted so one is not getting preferential treatment over another.
    We are currently processing applications that were accepted in March 2011 for summary offences, and as well indictable offences going back into 2010. My goal is to ensure that the backlog is completed within the next two years, by 2014-15. We're looking at about 1,000 decisions per month on each one of those—an investigative background on it, as well as the screening as per the new legislation, and the review of those pardons as per the new legislation and regulations in relation to each of those applications.
    Thank you.
    Thank you for that answer, but I think it's quite shocking that we have such a large backlog and we're not going to be able to clear it for such a long time. These people will be waiting a very long time for the pardons for which they're eligible, and for that reintegration. So we remain concerned about that timeframe.
    With limited time, I want to move to Mr. Head. I asked the minister yesterday about Ashley Smith, and I'm going to ask you again because the minister talked about the inquest. What we've been emphasizing is that the correctional investigator made recommendations in June 2008 on how to deal with prisoners with mental health issues and the changes that were needed. You issued directive 843 in July 2011. What we've been asking is this. Has there been a report on the full implementation of that directive? The correctional investigator, as recently as November 2012, said he had seen no report of the implementation and that he had doubts that those recommendations had been fully implemented.
    We do not have a specific report per se that we've issued, but we monitor all the changes in policy from different perspectives. We have what we call management control frameworks that require institutions and their community parole offices to report on their implementation, in a self-reporting of the implementation of those policy issues.
     We also have an update that we do in regard to the actions we committed to, in relation not only to his report but to some of our own internal reports. We have an update that shows there is progress being made in all the areas.
     The investment we've received over the last five years has helped us to implement many of the initiatives, including the initial screening of all offenders coming into the federal system, our computerized offender mental health information screening system, and the implementation of the interdisciplinary management teams in the institutions to deal with mental health cases. The money also has allowed us to seek outside assistance on some of the more complex cases, to bring in professionals not only to look at the way we're currently managing certain cases, the more complex cases, but to make additional suggestions as to areas that we could be exploring. We have—


    Your answer is that there's progress, but it has not been fully implemented yet, a year and a half later.
    Well, we have progress in all fronts. In terms of the commissioner's directive itself, the policy you're talking about, yes, we have full implementation of the policy.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
    We'll move to Ms. Bergen, please, for five minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    There's a couple of things I want to touch on really quickly, because of the work we have done on cybersecurity. I can reassure Monsieur Guimont and say that indeed there was no cybersecurity plan prior to our government's implementing it. When Mr. Scarpaleggia drills anybody on how much money is being spent on cybersecurity, we do know that under the Liberals zero dollars were going towards cybersecurity, because they didn't have a plan.
    I also want to direct something to Commissioner Paulson. Mr. Rousseau was asking about funding going towards the independent complaints commission. Under Bill C-42, which I know you strongly support, and no thanks to the NDP, but thanks to the Liberals, who did support it, we were able to pass that.... Bill C-42 is actually at the Senate right now. There's $5 million alone that will go towards this complaints commission, this body, as well as an additional $10 million to implement Bill C-42. Is that correct? Is it something that will be helpful?
    That's my understanding: that there is funding for the new complaints commission. I think it will be helpful.
    Mr. Guimont, would you clarify?
    Yes, thank you.
    For the commissioner, as he explained, there is an arm's-length relationship with the new complaints commission. That's why he's answering this way.
     The answer is yes: there are going to be new resources. The full amount will be about $10.4 million. That implies an increment of about $2 million over the current base, so there will be a bump up in view of the further responsibilities that will be tied to the commission. I just want to confirm that.
    Thank you for confirming...and I feel a bit awkward here, but my staff did also give me a note saying that the cyber-strategy was a first for Canada. I just want to also be on the record as confirming that. Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Again, just to clarify, that funding you referred to is under Bill C-42, which the NDP voted against.
    This is for the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission of the RCMP.
    Thank you. I think that's important, because they like to say, “Well, we voted against something, but we didn't actually vote against what was in that,” and they did.
     Thank you very much, both of you, for that clarification.
    Mr. Coulombe, I'd like to go to you. One of the areas the minister spoke about when he was here an hour ago was the Kanishka project as it relates to academics looking into the issue of terrorism, of radicalization. I know that it's something that we look at in Canada, and at how we can address it, but clearly it has international implications.
     I'm wondering if you can tell us how dangerous and what a threat terrorism is to us as a country, and radicalization as well, and how something like the Kanishka project, which again is a first under our Conservative government.... It came after recommendations from the Air India inquiry and the tragedy surrounding that. Can you talk a bit about what you're seeing internationally in terms of the threat of terrorism and how radicalization relates to that?


    For this service, terrorism is still the number one priority in terms of threats to the security of Canada. Within that threat, radicalization, or what is known as homegrown terrorism, is the number one priority. As we've seen with the Toronto 18, it is something concrete that does exist here in Canada.
    It's important to understand that radicalization is not an issue a security intelligence service or law enforcement can deal with themselves. First of all, we have to understand the phenomenon and what's driving young people to become radicalized. So a project like this is crucial. In our public report, we mentioned that our analysis branch did a study on radicalization. We're working with our international partners, trying to better understand what factors are driving young people to adopt a radical ideology and the willingness to use violence to promote that ideology.
    In terms of the broader terrorism threat, the al-Qaeda ideology is still the number one threat facing not only Canada but also a number of our partners. The fact that al-Qaeda—and I'll qualify, the al-Qaeda core in Afghanistan, Pakistan—has been weakened, and that Osama bin Laden was killed, doesn't mean that the ideology is dead. On the contrary. What we're seeing more now are groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or who are adopting their ideology and representing more of a threat. We can certainly think of what's happening in Mali now with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; what's happening in Syria with the emergence of groups like al-Nusra, who are directly linked to al-Qaeda; what happened in Libya, and the list goes on and on. So that is what the challenge is for the future: those groups adopting the al-Qaeda ideology and promoting that violent jihad ideology.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move back to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please.
    I would reiterate that there was no cyber-strategy before this government because, as the minister said, the issue cropped up rather quickly. The government's been in power so long that we were using UNIVACs at the time, but anyway....
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Mr. Head, how much will we be spending on mental health programs in your system in 2013–14 versus the fiscal year ending and the fiscal year before? What's the trend? Are we spending more? What are the increases like? Are we spending less or the same?
    To use as a reference point, going back to 2006–07, when we started to see some investments coming, we were spending $67 million on mental health—
    What year, sorry?
    It was the 2006–07 fiscal year. This fiscal year coming up, we will be spending $90 million on mental health.
    What is it with respect to the current fiscal year?
    It was around $86 million.
    Around $86 million, so it's really a very slight increase, I guess.
    Yes. Mind you, the increase is proportionate to the increase in the offender population, which is less.
    Is it directly proportionate?
    Yes. We're able to do the things set out in our community mental health initiative and our institutional mental health initiative, and no more than that. The funding allows us to address some of the issues I mentioned in relation to the previous question.
    But we also learned in our study on drugs in prisons, which you kindly appeared before the committee for on numerous times, that there's a growing proportion of inmates in the system with mental health or addiction issues, so I would just suggest to you that it may not be enough to keep things in direct proportion, but I'll leave that point.
    I read something very interesting in the media a couple of weeks ago about the United States. There's a problem emerging in the United States' penitentiary system that actually reflects demographic trends in society, namely that there are now more and more older inmates who are obviously dealing with some of the challenges that come with age, whether you're inside or outside, including a higher incidence of Alzheimer's and so on. In the United States, they seem to be implementing programs, and I'm sure you've heard of this, where the younger inmates would help with the care of the older ones. As part of their rehabilitation process, those who are behaving well would learn to care for the older inmates and both would benefit as a result. No doubt, the younger inmates would be gaining skills they could use on the outside. Has CSC been looking at that, or might you go somewhere with that kind of idea?


     That is a very good comment and question.
    This is something we have been looking at. There is no question that the aging offender population is an issue in Canada, as it is in many other countries. About 23% of our incarcerated population is serving a life sentence, which means they're going to be with us for 15, 20, 25 years. Depending on their age of admission...they're going to grow older while they're with us.
    We have looked at the program that you're looking at in the U.S. We have done some of that on a case-by-case basis across the country, a peer support program, and it has been quite useful in certain cases. One of the challenges we have, as you can imagine, is just matching up the right offender with another offender. Charging an offender with another offender's care is a very sensitive issue. But when we have had the right matches, it's been very positive.
    Oh, you've done it already.
    Yes, we've done it in some of the institutions across the country, especially with those individuals who are in the early stages of dementia.
    You have 30 more seconds.
    Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Then I'll leave it at that, Chair.
    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Scarpaleggia.
    We'll move back to Mr. Leef, please, for five minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Mr. Cenaiko, we haven't talked to you much yet today. Perhaps we can talk about what efficiencies the National Parole Board has found.
    I notice in the main estimates for 2013-14 you're down a couple of million dollars from 2011-12. Maybe you could just touch on where those savings are occurring and what efficiencies you might have found. As well, maybe you'd be able to touch on the user fee cost for the National Parole Board and how that might be beneficial to Canadian taxpayers.
    Thank you very much. That's a very good question.
    In the deficit reduction action plan, we've developed 14 projects or strategies in relation to providing our 10% reduction, of which 9.8%, I believe, was accepted by Treasury Board. This year it will represent the 5.5% reduction of about $2.8 million.
    We've found a number of efficiencies in relation to how we do some of the work we're doing. We have a pilot project in the prairie region right now in relation to electronic files versus using hard-copy paper files, which obviously for offenders could mean volumes and volumes of documents. We are doing a pilot project with that right now. It is providing some major efficiencies for our board members.
    However, the main area in which we've found additional funding is in video conference appearances versus travelling, especially in some areas, the prairies probably the most. Federal institutions are located all over, geographically, and obviously when you have to send board members and staff to attend the hearings in those areas, of course there are travel costs—hotel, per diem, food. So there are to be some major savings in video conferencing over the next two years; however, we've already increased.... The goal was to be at 20% by the end of this year, and we've already exceeded that. Some of the regions were beyond the 20% and into the 30%, and in fact even beyond the 30%.
    We're really seeing a major increase in those, and there are no issues with the offenders. There are no issues in relation to having the parole officers at the other end of the video screen, either. It's been very productive and very efficient and effective for decisions and/or hearings at institutions.
    The other main area where we're seeing major efficiencies is in relation to reducing quorum from two board members to one. That legislation came in last June and took effect December 1. It did reduce our quorum from two board members to one board member for all those offenders on post-release.
    Let's say an offender was released from an institution, committed a criminal offence, and was sent back into the institution. Now, versus having a hearing, we have an office review done, and instead of having two board members review it, it's done by one board member. Just that alone will provide us with savings in the neighbourhood of $1.6 million per year.
    These are some of the major costs we're going to be saving.
    As well, the $631 in relation to record suspension—which is the new name for a pardon—was based on the User Fees Act. Through consultations that we did with the public, with NGOs, with other organizations, and obviously through the User Fees Act, the $631 amount was determined to be the administrative cost, the full administrative cost, for a pardon. Applicants pay that themselves, and thus taxpayers are not paying for a criminal offender's record suspension.


    Thank you very much, Mr. Leef and Mr. Cenaiko.
    We'll now move to a 10-minute round. You get two rounds back to back.
    Madam Doré Lefebvre, go ahead.


    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I would just like to quickly go back to something. Mr. Head, you talked about the report earlier. Could you tell me if it is possible to send a copy of the report to the clerk's office so that the members of the committee can take a look at it?


    The report on...?




    The internal report—


    Yes, that's correct.
    Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
    My questions will probably be for Mr. Guimont. Please point me to another witness if I am not speaking to the right person.
    There was a temporary fund of $400 million over five years for the recruitment of police officers. The province of Quebec has used it. We were entitled to $92.5 million, if I am not mistaken. We have used it to set up joint forces to fight street gangs. Right from the first year, the results were tremendous, in terms of arrests, searches and the decline in the number of murders. The numbers accurately reflect the quality of those joint forces. They have done a good job thanks to the working capital of $400 million for the recruitment of police officers.
    The government announced that this fund would expire and that it would not be renewed; it was a temporary fund. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a fund of $30 million was announced for the fight against street gangs. So there is currently a shortfall for the province of Quebec and probably for the other provinces in terms of the fight against street gangs.
    Does the proposed fund have an amount set aside for the fight against street gangs?
    Thank you for your question.
    I would like to quickly confirm something. I remember being asked this question when I previously appeared before the committee. As you know, the intent was to have a fund to recruit approximately 2,500 police officers across Canada. The initiative was really a huge success. I was taken aback by the numbers: 4,000 police officers were hired.
    You are right, the fund enabled the provinces to decide where they wanted to invest on a per capita basis. The priorities on the ground vary across Canada, which makes sense.
    As you said, the fund is not going to be renewed; it did what it was supposed to do. At the present time, we are not overlooking the need to continue to work together. Right now, we are continuing to work in a federal-provincial cooperation. Honestly, the Summit on the Economics of Policing that we held is along the same lines. We are trying to find ways to be able to work together better to keep costs under control and to have results that continue to be satisfactory on the ground, more than satisfactory, actually, in relation to the priorities of the various provinces.
    As for your question on street gangs, I only have on thing to say. I am not sure if my colleague Commissioner Paulson can also help me on this. We have the national drug strategy, which falls under the Safe Streets and Communities Act that received royal assent in March 2012. Funds have been earmarked for that. However, I am not sure if that is specifically related to your question.


    I am pretty much sure that it is related.
    In that case, Mr. Paulson will answer.


    What I would say is that I'm aware of Montreal in particular and my good colleague Marc Parent and his work against the street gangs. It is a real challenge in some of our bigger communities.
     I think it falls to every police leader in major cities or, in my case, in some major cities but on a provincial basis, to have their strategies going forward to fight organized crime. We have a number of national strategies that are tackling organized crime, prioritizing the threat, and coordinating focused enforcement efforts on these gangs and these organized crime groups so that when these individuals.... We've worked with Montreal. We've worked with Quebec. We've worked with Ontario. We have some very productive national investigations going on that are implementing these strategies.
    But speaking to the funding issue that my colleague has already addressed, those are individual decisions, province by province.


    So, in terms of looking for funding for the fight against street gangs, we will really need to look at the issue province by province.
    Do I still have a bit of time left?


    You have four and a half minutes.


    Oh, I had 10 minutes in total?


    Yes. It will be ten minutes. You can manage it how you want.


    I will share my time with Mr. Rafferty, if that's okay.


    Mr. Rafferty, you have four minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, everyone, for staying for an extra hour.
    Commissioner Paulson, it's always nice to see you but I don't have a question for you. Sorry.
    Mr. Head, I'm sure you've had a pretty close look at the correctional investigator report. In particular, one in four men in federal prisons is aboriginal and one in three women in federal prisons is aboriginal. It's certainly disproportionate to the population in Canada.
    One of the recommendations in the report is better rehabilitation programs and better integrated programming with respect to first nations culture and so on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that funding has either not increased or has been cut for that particular thing. Or are there plans to shift some moneys around in the future to make sure those particular recommendations dealing with that are dealt with properly?
    I'll just give you, again, some reference points in terms of increases in the budget as it relates to our response to aboriginal offenders: first nations, Métis, and Inuit offenders. In 2006-07 our budget specifically for aboriginal-based initiatives was $43 million. Going into this new fiscal year, 2013-14, our budget will be $62 million. So there has been an increase, and that increase has allowed us to expand programming specifically for aboriginal offenders.
    So we will see those programs expanding over the next year to deal with that particular recommendation.


    Good. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Brown, in my riding, which is along the United States' northern border, we see a lot of American boats on the river. We see a fair amount of personnel and very beefed-up border security on the American side in particular, drones patrolling the border and so on.
    My question to you is this. Is Canada spending any money—I know you are probably cooperating with American authorities on these sorts of initiatives—to help with these programs the Americans are embarking upon?
    I'm going to defer to my colleague in the RCMP. Between ports of entry, the question of patrolling the border is the responsibility of the RCMP.
    So in fact, I do have a question for you, Commissioner Paulson.
    I'd be happy to answer it.
    I understood the question to be are there increases—
    Is the Canadian government spending any money on these American initiatives, to help the Americans with these initiatives?
    No. We're not spending money to help the Americans with their initiatives. We're spending money to help Canadians work with the Americans on similar initiatives, in terms of technology and patrols and integrated efforts in patrolling and inland investigations. So, we are.
    Thank you very much.
    I'll go back to you, Mr. Head, quickly. We may have a minute or so. What are your personal thoughts on the correctional investigator report?
    The correctional investigator always brings forward some issues for us to review. We don't necessarily always agree with the specific direction or recommendations that his office proposes. We do have the same common goal, which is to ensure we're delivering the most effective correctional services in the country.
    Were there any particular recommendations that really stuck out in your mind as being ones that need to be dealt with very quickly by your organization?
    The underlying theme in the report is for us to continue to address the needs of aboriginal offenders in a way that the law intended. That is, to provide for those who chose—not all aboriginal offenders choose—to follow an aboriginal-specific path, for us to provide the opportunities within the budget that's available to us.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Rafferty.
    For the last question, we will go back to the government side.
    Ms. Bergen, go ahead please.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    I want to go back to Mr. Coulombe. I wanted to ask him another question—and we didn't quite have time—about international terrorism. I was fortunate to have attended a seminar in Washington a couple of weeks ago dealing specifically with international threats—certainly cybersecurity—and how it all relates.
     I'm wondering if you could talk a bit about the issue of terrorists raising money. When I was at this conference, Canada really is leading the way in terms of the legislation we passed, listing groups as terrorist organizations, and then crippling them from trying to raise money or, as I've heard, laundering money. It's not just raising money; it's the laundering that they are very, very good at.
    If you could talk a bit about it, I think this committee would be interested to hear that.
    Money, like we say in French,


    is the sinews of war.


    Obviously, it is a crucial issue, and it is one that we're working on in partnership, be it with the RCMP or FINTRAC, for example, or international partners within the service. Because of the importance of this, we have a unit that looks at terrorism financing.
    You're right. I think Canada has taken a lead on this. We're contributing. But at the same time, we have to realize that it is an issue. There's money flowing from Canada to support some of those organizations. It is at the top of what we can do as a service, again, in partnership, to try to stop that support coming from Canada.
    In terms of terrorism, the one thing I would maybe like to add is that every time we talk about the terrorist threat, the first thing that comes to mind—and I did it in my previous response—is to talk about al-Qaeda and the al-Qaeda ideology. People have to realize that this is not the only terrorist threat we're facing. There are other organizations, like Hezbollah, for example, that are real and that also constitute a threat to the safety of Canadians.
     I know that was talked about as well...and, again, the listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, is an important part of fighting it.
    Thank you very much for that.
    In relation, not as much to radicalization, but to youth gang violence, one of the things our government has done is to make the funding to combat youth gang violence permanent. It was actually created under our government.
    Mr. Guimont, could you talk a bit about that funding? One of the things I think is so good is that it goes to a lot of projects across the country. It's not just one big program; it actually funds a number...I mean, in the hundreds. Can you talk about how many projects are funded under our youth gang prevention funding?


    It will have to be very quick, Mr. Guimont. We are coming to the close of the meeting.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I'll be brief with the reasons.
    First, I'll confirm that in the mains this youth gang funding is maintained. I just want to make that point, which echoes what you're saying.
    With respect to projects, these are good projects. They are within the safer communities initiative or are known as our national crime prevention strategy. I don't have the number of projects, but I will file full disclosure with the committee on that.
    Thank you very much.
    I want to thank all department heads for being here today, for your presentations and for answering the questions.
    In the course of answering some of these questions, as time goes on you may consider that you should have answered them a little differently. We've had a request already for at least one of the reports, and now there is another presentation that you may want to send to our committee. I can tell you that when you send these reports we will circulate them and they will be part of the record. We would very much appreciate receiving those reports.
    Again, thank you, for being here. Our time is up and we are going to adjourn.
    Next Tuesday, we will come back. We will be going clause-by-clause on legislation and we will also have committee business.
    The meeting is adjourned.
Publication Explorer
Publication Explorer