Colleagues, it's good to see you. Welcome back to the committee. Let's hope that 2021 is a big improvement over 2020.
Before I go through all the warnings about physical distancing, wearing a mask and all the rest of that stuff, I believe we are entirely virtual so I don't think we need to go into that.
To carry on the study that we commenced last year, we are welcoming to our 13th meeting two witnesses who are very familiar to this committee. I will call upon Commissioner Kelly or Ms. Oades to speak for seven minutes each, in whatever order they see fit. The Order Paper has Madam Kelly first and Ms. Oades second. They can introduce whoever is with them.
With that, Commissioner Kelly, you have seven minutes, please.
I'm joined today by Alain Tousignant, senior deputy commissioner.
I'd like to begin by extending, once again, my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and communities affected by this terrible tragedy. No one wants to see this type of tragedy occur. I'm deeply saddened that it happened.
Public safety is our priority. It must be at the core of everything that we do and it must guide every decision that we make. We take this responsibility very seriously when it comes to supervising approximately 9,400 federal offenders in communities across the country, including 2,000 offenders in Quebec.
As I told the committee last year—I don't want to undermine in any way the seriousness of this tragic incident— it's extremely rare that an offender on day parole commits a violence offence of this nature. However, when it does happen, getting to the bottom of what happened is our top priority, as is the case here.
I would like to thank the board of investigation for contributing their expertise, objectivity and hard work to this process, especially during this public health pandemic. We have closely examined all of the board's findings and accept their five recommendations. We have developed an action plan to implement them in their entirety.
As I committed at my last appearance on this issue, we have provided this committee and the public with the board of investigation report, along with a summary of the findings as well as a management action plan detailing our concrete actions.
I first want to say that the community supervision strategy in this case was completely inappropriate. I want to be clear. The Correctional Service of Canada doesn't condone offenders seeking sexual services. In my 37 years with the service, I can firmly attest to the fact that this isn't something that we, as an organization, endorse in how we manage offenders. I've made this clear throughout my organization.
Immediately following the tragic incident, I ordered a nation-wide review of all community supervision strategies to ensure that they're sound, appropriate and consistent with the policies and that they serve to protect public safety.
In terms of community supervision, Quebec has had a direct supervision model for over 40 years, through which, under contract, community partners play an important role in the successful rehabilitation of offenders. They provide accommodation and support to offenders, while a small number of them, including Maison Painchaud, also directly supervise approximately 155 offenders on conditional release in the community.
We are taking steps to move to a single community supervision model for federal offenders in Canada. By March 31, 2021, the Maison Painchaud community residential facility will no longer supervise federal offenders. Although offenders will continue to be housed at the facility, CSC will take over all aspects of supervision for federal offenders in the community.
We will also review our other community residential facility contracts in Quebec, with a goal of returning all direct supervision responsibilities for federal offenders to CSC. As with Maison Painchaud, these community residential facilities will continue to house offenders.
Building safer communities is a complex process, and CSC cannot and does not work in isolation. While direct supervision responsibilities for federal offenders in Quebec will be returned to CSC, as is the case in the rest of the country, our community partners will continue to provide the services and support to offenders and their families that are a vital part of an offender's safe reintegration.
Our other key actions include strengthening our information collection procedures and policies. The Correctional Service of Canada is revising its policy to clearly specify the types of documents required for offenders with a history of serious offences. We're also putting in place a formal monitoring mechanism to check at regular intervals whether the requested documents have been obtained and to ensure a follow-up, if required.
In addition, the service's community supervision policy is being reviewed. A template is being developed to guide the re-assessment of an offender's risk. The tool will list specific elements, including collateral contacts, that must be discussed during case conferences involving parole officers and their supervisors.
The service will also be implementing new training on intimate partner violence. This training will complement existing training on spousal assault risk assessment and will be required for all parole officers and their supervisors to help them assess and manage the offenders' risk.
I know this case has had a profound impact on our employees, especially those in Quebec. These situations are extremely rare, in large part because of the work our employees and our community partners do, day in, day out, to supervise offenders in the community. That being said, something went tragically wrong in this case, and we owe it to Canadians to follow due process and properly examine the circumstances specific to the employees directly involved in the supervision and oversight of this case. The disciplinary process will help determine if any additional accountability measures are required.
As commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, I am resolute in my commitment to working closely with our employees, community partners and unions to implement all of the recommendations as presented to us. I believe doing so will lead to important changes in how we supervise offenders and deliver on our mandate to keep our communities safe.
In closing, I would once again like to express my sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Lévesque.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee. I'm pleased to appear before you today. I'm joined by Sylvie Blanchet, our executive vice-chairperson.
I'd like to start by extending my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Lévesque. I recognize how devastating this incident has been for them. My heart goes out to every one of them. What happened in Quebec City on January 22, 2020, is an absolute tragedy, and something that should never happen. For those of us who have devoted our professional careers to the field of parole, this is an outcome that we never wanted to see.
However, when an incident like this does happen, we take it very seriously.
The purpose of conditional release as per the law is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by means of a decision on the timing and conditions of release that will best facilitate the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens.
The board is an independent decision-making body. We conduct approximately 16,000 reviews each year, which translates into about 23,000 decisions. In accordance with the law, board members may grant parole to an offender if, in their opinion, the offender will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society before the end of their sentence and—that's “and”, not “or”—the release of the offender will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating the offender's return to the community as a law-abiding citizen.
The law and Parole Board decisions are based on research that clearly shows that the gradual, managed and supervised release of offenders provides the best protection of society. The board's risk assessment framework is evidence-based and has been adopted in a number of other jurisdictions. In their decision-making, board members consider all relevant information from a wide range of sources from the police, victims, the courts, crown attorneys, mental health professionals, correctional authorities and private agencies. All of that information is used in assessing an offender's risk of reoffending and whether that risk can be safety managed in the community. Board members also refer to actuarial assessments and risk assessment tools in determining an offender's risk of reoffending. In all cases, the protection of the public is the paramount consideration.
Over the last three decades there has been continuous improvement in the public safety results that the board has achieved, reflecting the research that has continued to progress on risk assessment and the management of risk. In 1990 the success rate of offenders released by the board who had completed their sentence hovered around 70%. Today it's over 98%. Additionally, violent reoffending by offenders whom the board releases is extremely rare in that 99.9% of all offenders on day parole have not reoffended violently.
As much as we strive for excellence in our decision-making, unfortunately, predicting human behaviour is not, and likely never will be, an exact science. We recognize that when a serious incident occurs, we must seek answers and examine what happened so that we may identify necessary actions to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
That is why, on February 3 of last year, the Parole Board and the Correctional Service of Canada convened a national joint board of investigation. It was chaired by two community members independent of the CSC and the Parole Board of Canada, both of whom are distinguished criminologists. The purpose of this investigation was to analyze the various aspects of the offender's release and supervision in the community and to make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
As Commissioner Kelly has already outlined, the board of investigation made five recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada. The board of investigation had no recommendations for the Parole Board of Canada; however, I would like to speak to some of their findings.
They include the following: that the board members who made these decisions had the level of knowledge necessary to perform their tasks and met all of the board's training requirements; that our training plan for new board members is well structured and complete; that the board members correctly applied the law and clearly set out the reasons for the additional conditions they imposed in keeping with board policy; that the board members fully applied the risk assessment framework in accordance with policy in both the March and September decisions; that the board had at its disposal all the relevant and available information for sound decision-making; that board members were in compliance with the law and policy related to the decision-making; and that the September 2019 written decision did not fully reflect what occurred at the hearing, although this discrepancy was not identified as a factor in Ms. Levesque's death.
Importantly, the report acknowledges that the board members in this case explicitly prohibited the offender from visiting massage parlours for sexual purposes. While there are no recommendations for the board, as part of our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and quality decision-making, the board has initiated refresher training sessions on decision writing.
In closing, I want to once again extend my sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque. I would like to say to them, to members of this committee and to the Canadian public that we take these incidents very seriously and that we are committed to the highest quality decision-making.
Colleagues, I'm proposing that we just merge the two hours and not separate them as we would normally do, that we have at least three rounds, and that we reserve some time at the end to discuss, presumably in camera, where we go from here.
With that, in the first round of six minutes each, we have Monsieur Paul-Hus, Mr. Lightbound, Madam Michaud and Mr. Harris.
Monsieur Paul-Hus, welcome back to the committee.
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
Before our colleague proceeds, since he is the parliamentary secretary to the public safety minister, I just want to clarify whether or not he has had any role with the department or the agencies on this report. I know, rightly or wrongly, there have been questions raised about the independence of the report, given that it has been undertaken by the Parole Board and Correctional Service Canada themselves. I think real independence as well as the perception of independence is crucial to our work here on this committee. It is crucial to the victims' families, to Canadians at large and, of course, to everybody involved in this system in order to have confidence in the process.
I just wonder if there is any conflict of interest here, real or perceived, and whether he wants to take that into consideration before he proceeds with questions—or perhaps he could clarify.
I want to reassure my colleague that I had no direct or indirect involvement in the work of the board of investigation, which was co-chaired by two independent criminologists from both the Correctional Service and the Parole Board. However, I read the report, and I hope that all committee members did so as well.
As the chair clearly stated, my role as parliamentary secretary is known to everyone. However, I had no involvement in the development of the report. Moreover, the two external co-chairs were always free to speak out publicly if they had any concerns or questions over the course of their study and investigation.
First, I want to echo what the commissioner and the chairperson said. We must think of the victim's family and friends. This focus must guide our committee's proceedings today, beyond partisan considerations. I find it unfortunate that some politicians are trying to exploit a tragedy of this nature for political purposes. Our committee must shed light on what happened in January 2020 to Marylène Lévesque. The system clearly failed, and it mustn't happen again.
My questions are mainly for Commissioner Kelly.
The report refers to some confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of the clinical workers at Maison Painchaud and the parole officers.
Can you explain how there could have been confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of these two groups? As you said, this model has been used in Quebec for 40 years.
Clinical workers provided direct supervision. Why was there confusion regarding roles? The board of investigation recommended that the model no longer be used and that supervision activities be centralized within the Correctional Service. How will this practice prevent this type of confusion in the future?
Thank you for your question.
Clinical workers in community residential facilities generally perform the same duties and have the same responsibilities as parole officers. However, the Correctional Service retains the authority and responsibility to make final decisions. The community residential facility's clinical worker was involved, but a Correctional Service liaison officer and a parole officer also handled the case. These officers are still responsible for quality control. Clearly, there were shortcomings in this area.
While we wait to take further steps to address the situation, we've clarified the responsibilities and duties assigned to clinical workers and Correctional Service of Canada officers. Parole officer positions have been added in the area offices to ensure better quality control and increased oversight of community strategies. I've also instructed area directors to review a certain number of community strategies each month to ensure that the strategies are sound.
Of course, by March 31, 2021, Maison Painchaud will no longer be involved in supervision. We'll then review the contracts of the seven other community residential facilities to ensure that the Correctional Service is responsible for supervising offenders in the community. That way, there will be only one community supervision model across the country.
As I said, this community supervision model has been in place in Quebec for a long time. However, the tragic incident brought some things to light. A very small number of federal offenders, a total of 155, are being supervised by community residential facilities.
Thank you for your question.
I've worked as a probation officer and as a parole officer. Clearly, it's absolutely critical to corroborate what the offender says. There were some major shortcomings in this case.
Here's what we mean by collateral contacts. If an offender has a job, we must contact the employer. If the offender is going to visit their family, we must contact the family to corroborate the information. If the offender is in a program, we must follow-up with a psychologist. This is critical. In this case, there were certainly some shortcomings.
We'll develop a template, which will be added to our policy on community supervision, in order to list the specific elements that must be discussed, including the—
My thoughts also go out to Ms. Lévesque's family and loved ones.
We were anxiously awaiting this report. The report is extensive and it contains many elements. However, some questions remain unanswered.
I want to address the three-stage process. First, the Correctional Service of Canada assesses an offender's risk of reoffending. The parole officer then makes a recommendation to the Parole Board of Canada. The board member ultimately makes a decision on the release of the offender. The board member is really the one who could have suspended the day parole.
As you said, Ms. Kelly, we understand that there may have been shortcomings in the role played by the clinical workers at Maison Painchaud. We don't want to accuse anyone. We just want to make sure that this won't happen again. We want to know at what stage the error occurred.
Were mistakes made at all three stages? First, should the Correctional Service of Canada have assessed the risk of reoffending differently? As the report says, it was known that the risk was high. Second, should a different recommendation have been made? Third, who made the ultimate decision to allow the offender to visit massage parlours?
At what stages did an error occur? How can we ensure that this won't happen again?
Thank you, Commissioner Kelly.
I'm not sure about the rest of the question, but when it comes to the Parole Board, in this case the March decision was from an in-person hearing. There were two board members, the parole officer from the institution and the offender. For the September one, it was for day parole continued. There were two board members plus the parole officer from, I believe, Maison Painchaud and the offender.
They presented their case. They were very supportive. The offender was apparently doing very well. There were questions raised about the strategy relating to the massage parlours for sexual services. I'm not sure if any of you know this, but all three of us—Ms. Blanchet, Ms. Kelly and I—are former parole officers. We have never ever heard of anything like this ever happening before, certainly not within our careers. There was a pause in the hearing to discuss that. They came back. They wanted to know how this risk was going to be managed. He was told that under no circumstances was this to continue. The parole officer was not concerned and neither was the offender.
Unfortunately, what no one knew at the time was that not only had he been given three approvals to go to a massage parlour for sexual purposes but in fact he had gone many, many times. However, no one was to know that. Certainly the parole officer didn't know. CSC didn't know. The board didn't know. That was information that came out only at the time he was sentenced.
I can accept that. In fact, before Ms. Kelly spoke, for example, I was reading her words carefully.
She said, “I want to be clear with the committee that the community supervision strategy was completely inappropriate. CSC does not condone offenders seeking sexual services.” Then she said, “In my 37 years with CSC, I can firmly attest to the fact that this is not something that we, as an organization, endorse”. That's the policy, and clearly in this particular case that was not the practice.
When it was identified by the Parole Board members, again it was said that, no, this is not our policy, yet the Parole Board members, in writing their report, said something to the parolee and to the parole officer, but they didn't put it in the report. I don't know what's in the report because it's all blacked out of the internal inquiry. There were some special conditions, but they didn't mention that.
This seems to me to be a pretty special condition that it was not the policy of the Parole Board to do, yet the BOI said that it's not relevant to what happened afterwards. Wouldn't the actual caseworker be relying on the report in following up with this case?
Our colleague Shannon is having some connectivity issues.
I first of all want to say that my thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms. Levesque. We know that this horrible tragedy is yet another example and a sad reality of a soft-on-crime approach. We all know that this tragedy was preventable. Witnesses, your agencies, granted this offender day parole and even allowed him to be alone with women while released on that parole, despite his significant violent history against women and continued concerns from CSC.
You note that the report was to be transparent, accountable and responsible in your duty to Canadians in keeping people safe from offenders. To do this, you held a closed-door internal review of the case and placed the blame on an outside organization in Quebec and select front-line workers. It appears that senior management from both of your agencies, CSC and the Parole Board, and the , quite honestly, are somewhat absolved from any responsibility.
Ms. Oades, you tell Canadians that they can trust the decisions of the Parole Board despite a series of failures and poor decisions, in this case leading to the death of a young woman. Your agency contributes to a report that fails to hold itself, the Parole Board, accountable for this decision. We all know that Canadians distrust the Parole Board, and this report does nothing to restore that trust. When you don't take ownership of your decisions, it certainly doesn't help.
Ms. Oades, you know this, but just so that we're all clear, the Parole Board is exclusively responsible for the decisions of parole. Section 107 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act states that the board has “exclusive jurisdiction and absolute discretion” to grant parole to an offender, terminate or revoke the parole or statutory release of an offender, and cancel a decision to grant parole to an offender or cancel the suspension of that parole. Given that fact, can you explain how the Parole Board can be solely responsible for the release of offenders and the conditions of their release, yet not be responsible for your decisions, as in this case?
I want to thank the witnesses for their testimony today.
Before asking my questions, I would like to offer my condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms. Marylène Levesque.
Ms. Kelly, you said that it is extremely rare for such an event to occur, that is for an offender on day parole to commit a violent act like the one on January 22, 2020. However, even one case like that is one too many. I think everyone agrees on that.
I am very pleased that the decision to take steps to adopt a single community supervision model for federal offenders in Canada has been made, but, as a Quebecker, I am curious as to why the Quebec model in this regard differed from the model adopted in the rest of Canada up to that time.
Why did an event like that one have to happen before we decided to standardize this?
Why haven't all federal offenders been treated the same way?
Thank you for your question.
The Quebec model has been in place for an extremely long time. We are talking about more than 40 years. I'm in my 38th year at the Correctional Service of Canada, and since my arrival, direct supervision was done by some community residential centres in Quebec, that is, eight centres out of 48, and it worked. However, it is obvious that what happened revealed some things.
Maison Painchaud currently houses 14 offenders. There are approximately 150 others. This is a small number. As commissioner, I decided that a single model of community supervision for federal offenders was the best approach to standardizing practices and ensuring accountability. That is why we are taking the necessary steps. By March 31, 2021, Maison Painchaud will no longer supervise offenders. After that, we will engage our partners. Our goal is to make supervision the responsibility of the Correctional Service of Canada.
Thank you for your question. The answer could be long.
I will first talk about the immediate steps that have been taken. Staff members involved in this tragedy have been reassigned and a joint board of inquiry has been established to shed light on all the circumstances surrounding this case. As for the strategy, I repeat that it was inappropriate. That is why we conducted a nationwide review to ensure that all strategies were sound, appropriate and consistent with policy. This review did not reveal any similar cases elsewhere. I have also directed the regional deputy commissioners to speak to their teams to reinforce appropriate community strategies and reiterate the importance of quality control.
We have also clarified the responsibilities and tasks assigned to clinical staff in community residential centres and to Correctional Service of Canada liaison officers. This answers a question that was asked earlier. In addition, we have added parole officer management positions in the area offices, again to ensure better quality control of community strategies. In addition, we have directed area directors to audit a number of community strategies on a monthly basis. These changes were made immediately after the event.
Naturally, we also adopted an action plan for information gathering, third-party contacts, case conferencing, training, and changing the community monitoring model. These are all steps that we will take to improve community-based monitoring.
Thank you for your question.
With respect to information collection, first, following the offender's admission to federal custody in 2006, the committee noted that the service had requested and obtained documents from the judge and Crown attorney, police reports and criminal records, but that information regarding a previous serious offence was missing. We had the police report, but we should also have had the trial transcript.
With respect to the collection of information, we are revising the commissioner's directive to clearly define what constitutes a serious offence for the purpose of collecting information. We will clarify the types of documents that are required with respect to each offender's history that meet the definition, and we will put in place a formal tracking mechanism that will be integrated into our Offender Management System. This mechanism will provide reminders to our parole officers to ensure that we have all relevant documents on file. In fact, we are not waiting. I have already spoken to the regional deputy commissioners to ensure that they are putting interim measures in place.
In terms of supervision, this includes third party contacts and case conferences. This is going to be strengthened, and again, we are not waiting. I've asked all of the regional deputy commissioners to talk to their teams to immediately strengthen the case conferences between parole officers and their supervisors, where parole officers and supervisors have to discuss third-party contact and how offenders are progressing in the community and then decide whether or not to reassess the risk that offenders pose.
This was a horrible tragedy that occurred, and I'm glad, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Oades, that you are sharing with us the recommendations.
I've listened throughout this whole meeting while the Conservative members have called this an internal review—it was not an internal review; it was external—and while they've questioned the independence of the review. These were two independent investigators who wrote the report. All of their questions seemed to be directed at the Parole Board. Because they didn't get the recommendations they were hoping for, they're now questioning the report. I have a real problem with that, about transparency and about independence.
I'm just going to read from the report:
The [board of investigation] did not find any factors that are relevant to understanding the incident related to [the Parole Board of Canada] operations. The [board of investigation] found that the Board members who made the conditional release decisions [in] March...and September...met all of the [Parole Board of Canada] training requirements and had the level of knowledge required to perform their tasks. The [board of investigation] believes that the [Parole Board of Canada] training plan for new Board members was well structured and complete.
I just wanted to get that on the record.
Ms. Oades, I appreciate your patience in defending against allegations that were made and that were simply not true.
My question, which is on training, is actually for Ms. Kelly. One recommendation is that there be intimate partner domestic violence training. I'm wondering if you would consider adding to that training on coercive control. As you know, that's very different from intimate partner violence training. I think it would be very helpful if you would consider including that in the training the parole officers are receiving.
Thanks, Chair. I have just a couple of questions. Then I think I'll turn it over to one of my colleagues.
I want to start by following up on the end of the questioning from my colleague Pierre Paul-Hus.
There are concerns about independence from the Correctional Service of Canada in terms of the board members who were involved in constructing the report because of the evidence, of course, that one of the co-chairs did contract work—and we're assuming not volunteer and unpaid contract work—for the Correctional Service of Canada in 2013. That was for “professional services”, in contract number 2024594, to be specific. I'd certainly welcome any follow-up information with regard to this, but that would be why these questions about independence, and therefore public confidence in the results, are being asked.
What seems really obvious to me is that there is a lack of information getting from one side to another for people to be able to make the best possible decisions with the best possible information. If either one of our witnesses would be game to give us a solution in terms of whether there is any legal remedy.... I'm assuming it's the case that we all agree this was a high-risk offender and this situation was unacceptable and resulted in a woman's death. We all, I'm assuming, share the same objective, which is that we want to stop that from happening. It's probably the case that if everybody had had all the information available to them, they may have made a different decision. Are there any legal remedies that could be proposed or implemented to fix that gap? Or, if there are resource issues, what can be done to fix them?
Also, on the issue of public notification, I wonder if there was any public notification about this release or if there was any legislation or regulations relative to public notification that either were or weren't followed. If that's totally irrelevant, do the witnesses have any suggestions for what could be a federal law to mandate public notification in this sort of situation?
I don't mind starting with that. These are some good questions.
I think the last thing people want to see—and it happens very often in the world of criminal justice—is that we're going to change the law because of one person or one incident. It's not a good way to make policy, and it's not a good way to make law, but you certainly need to look at whether there are in fact underlying issues that then would make a case.
I can't think of anything at this point. I think that if this were happening a lot we'd have to give ourselves some serious thought about what we're doing and how we're doing it, but given our success rates and given the professionalism of parole officers, who for the most part do excellent supervision of offenders, I think this was just one of those really, really bad, sad, tragic cases where so much fell through the cracks on the supervision side.
We administer the law. We don't make the law. I can't think of anything that would have helped this case from a legal perspective, at least for the Parole Board. I'm not sure about the commissioner, but from my perspective, you need to think about these cases. You need to really look into them. I think they've done that, but I can't imagine coming up with some kind of law where I don't see anything systemic.
Indeed, Mr. Paul-Hus is no longer there. So I don't know what the Conservatives think. I would agree to close the discussion on the Marylène Levesque file and start discussing the report.
From another perspective, while the motion adopted today is very important, as is Mr. Lightbound's motion, the emergency motion that was tabled a few weeks ago by the Conservatives is very relevant and must be considered. It deals with vaccines and border measures. The motion I tabled on border management during a pandemic may be more appropriate than the emergency motion tabled by the Conservatives. I don't know.
Border measures are long in coming, so travellers continue to have few restrictions. This would be a good time to look at this matter, and then we could look at the issue of online hate. I look forward to studying that.
We could start by discussing the border management motion. I don't know what the Conservatives think about that.
I agree with my colleague about the concerns and the pressing issues around the motion in the House, but I would suggest that before we commit the mistake that it seems committees, bureaucracies and governments always commit by moving on before we actually finish off what is also important work, we should in fact turn our attention to concluding our report and our recommendations relative to the study on the RCMP. I think we probably should also have a conversation, as the chair and I have previously, about whether or not we want to include recommendations related to the Bastarache report, either under the umbrella of our main report or perhaps as a side effort.
Second, on behalf of the Conservatives and on behalf of Pierre Paul-Hus, who has gone on to finish his House duty, and as the co-initiator of the study of Levesque, I will say that there are indeed outstanding Conservative witnesses for the Levesque study. I don't have that list right in front of me, but I think the clerk does.
I would say this in terms of the order in which we should proceed: At the very least, we should finish with those remaining witnesses for Levesque, and then we should aim to complete our report and recommendations on the RCMP and, concurrent with or in addition to that, make a decision about whether or not we as a committee are going to address the Bastarache report, either in a separate report or in a section underneath that larger report on the RCMP.
Well, yes, of course it does, but at some stage we actually have to do the work we've actually been assigned. If the truth be known, I believe our colleague Joël already put a motion forward on online hate. The justice committee did a study on that. They had about 12 meetings, if I remember correctly, and had nearly 50 witnesses. That report was produced. The government never did respond to that report.
I mean, it's important that we deal with it, but we also have important issues that we have right in front of us that we have already made motions of, which are part of a work plan that we already developed in the late fall. I think we need to stick with what we're doing, or else, as Shannon and others have said, we're jumping around over issues that we've never, ever dealt with. Damien has a motion that was put forward. I think we need to work on that. We have outstanding issues with the RCMP. I know that the report isn't done and translated yet, but we have another one we can deal with there too. We have, what, 10 or 12 outstanding issues before this committee, and then we add a new one.
Damien's is an all-party motion that I think would be fantastic. I'd certainly invite him to speak to it. That's what we need to be focusing on.