We have quorum. With that, I'll bring the meeting to order.
We've now completed our sound checks and our weather report from one end of the country to the other. I think we should publicize that on CBC, so that we all know what the weather is across the country.
Colleagues, we are now an hour and 20 minutes behind where we were supposed to be. I propose that we complete at least the first hour and then I'll seek guidance from colleagues as to how to complete the second hour.
With that, I'm going to call on Minister Blair, who is clearly one of the most popular ministers before this committee. I'm hard pressed to know why he is quite so popular, but I'm putting it down to his charm and his good looks.
With that, I'm going to ask Minister Blair to truncate his remarks as much as possible so that we can try to get back on our timeline.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'll accept your remarks with respect to charm, but I'm afraid, with respect to looks, it's contrary to the evidence before us.
I'd like to thank the committee for the invitation today, and I'm pleased to present the 2021 supplementary estimates (C) and the 2021-22 main estimates for the public safety portfolio.
I'm very ably joined today by a number of my colleagues. Respectfully, in the interest of time, I will not introduce them, but I'd like to take the opportunity to acknowledge that, during these incredibly difficult and challenging times over the past year, they've all stepped up to the plate. They've been working diligently to keep our borders, communities and correctional institutions safe as well as to protect our national security.
Today, Mr. Chair, I believe these estimates reflect that work.
I'll go through the supplementary estimates (C) for 2021 in order to present these items chronologically. The approval of these estimates will result in funding approvals of $11.1 billion for the public safety portfolio, and that represents an increase of 3.3% over total authorities provided to date. I will briefly share some of the highlights here as they relate to how we manage our critical services during the pandemic.
The first is $135.8 million for the Correctional Service of Canada for critical operating requirements related to COVID-19.
The second is $35 million for Public Safety Canada, to support the urgent relief efforts of the Canadian Red Cross during the pandemic. Mr. Chair, as you know, the many volunteers and staff of the Canadian Red Cross have been there to support Canadians from the outset of this pandemic, including at long-term care homes right across the country.
I would ask this committee to join me in thanking them for all their service and for providing help where it was needed most. I’ll also note that this funding is in addition to the $35 million of vote 5 funding to Public Safety from Health Canada to support rapid response capacity testing being deployed to fill gaps in surge and targeted activities, including remote and isolated communities.
Included in these supplementary estimates is funding to enhance the integrity of our borders and asylum system while also modernizing the agency’s security screening system. This funding will ensure that security screening results are made available at the earliest opportunity under a reformed system.
I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight that CBSA employees have done a remarkable job in keeping our borders safe in response to COVID-19. I'd like to take the opportunity as well to thank them for their continued hard work in keeping Canadians safe.
We're also working through these supplementary estimates to increase funding to end violence against indigenous women and girls and to provide essential mental health services.
For the RCMP, we are investing significant funds through both the supplementary and main estimates to support improvements to the federal policing investigative capacity by bolstering its capability with additional policing professionals, investigators and scientists. This will be used to deal with federal policing initiatives, which include responding to money laundering, cybercrime such as child sexual exploitation, and national security such as responding to terrorism and foreign-influenced hostile activities.
Mr. Chair, if I may, I'll turn to the 2021-22 main estimates. The public safety portfolio, as a whole, is requesting a total of approximately $10 billion for this fiscal year. As I’ve previously noted, the portfolio funding has remained stable over the last few years. I will endeavour to break down the numbers by organization.
Public Safety Canada is seeking a total of $1.1 billion in the main estimates. This represents an increase of $329.9 million, or 45.5%, over the previous year. The bulk of this increase is due to the grants and contributions regarding the disaster financial assistance arrangements program, or DFAA. It’s an increase in funding based upon forecasts from provinces and territories for expected disbursements under the DFAA for this fiscal year. This represents a critical part of my portfolio as minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
In these main estimates, increases also include $15 million for incremental funding to take action against gun and gang violence. As this committee knows, I introduced Bill in the House not very long ago, a bill designed to protect Canadians from firearm violence and to fulfill our promise of strengthening gun control.
Mr. Chair, I know that this committee will have the chance to review that legislation at some future date, and I look forward to discussing it with them at that time.
I want to focus on a number of ongoing issues and our responses to them, starting with Correctional Service of Canada, which is seeking $2.8 billion this fiscal year, which represents an increase of $239.8 million or 9.4% over the previous year. This net increase is primarily due to a net increase in operating funding, which includes an increase for transforming federal corrections as a result of the passage of the former Bill , which introduced the new structured intervention unit model.
That bill represents a major change in the way our correctional institutions operate, and recent reports have been clear that more work must be done. Funding is just one part of the solution. With the creation of data teams, efforts to replicate best practices nationally and enhanced support from independent, external decision-makers, I am confident we will deliver on this transformational promise.
I want to again acknowledge the troubling findings that were made in the Bastarache report, which I know this committee has examined and reviewed with concern. We are seeking funds to establish the independent centre for harassment resolution. This will be responsible for implementing the full resolution process, including conflict management, investigations and decision-making.
Mr. Chair, we know more work needs to be done. I'd like to conclude by noting the importance of our oversight agencies. You will see in the main estimates that we are seeking to increase funding for the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the CRCC and the ERC, the latter by close to 100%.
With that, Mr. Chair, I thank you and the members of the committee for your patience as I delivered my opening remarks. I'm happy to answer questions that members may have about these estimates and the collective work of our portfolio.
Thank you again, Minister, for being here. It's nice to see you again.
Minister, I'm curious if there's a reason your chief of staff, Zita Astravas, is refusing to respond to an officer of Parliament, that being the clerk of the defence committee, who has made numerous attempts—four, the last I'm aware of—to request testimony about the handling of the General Vance sexual harassment allegations in 2018.
Will you commit today, sir, to ensuring that she appears ASAP?
Sure. She's part of the team, Mr. Chair, and therefore is part of the estimates. Yes, it is relevant.
I'd like to have the minister uphold the parliamentary rules and democracy in his office. If he can't answer that or refuses to commit, then I guess we have our answer. Thank you, Chair.
Minister, you and I have had a number of conversations about getting some help for Shelly MacInnis-Wynn, the widow of RCMP officer David Wynn who was slain back in 2015. You have promised every time, sir, to get someone from your department to reach out to her and to help her. Over the last year and a half that you and I have had these off-and-on conversations, that has yet to occur.
I'm wondering why we have to keep having this conversation about doing the right thing and having her—and many others like her, sir—access the benefits they're entitled to.
Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Minister, for being here.
I echo what John said earlier. I feel like you're part of this committee because I see you here so often. It's good to see you. Thanks again for being here.
Minister, we know this pandemic has shone a light on the vulnerabilities that exist in our communities, especially visible minorities, whether they are Black Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Muslim Canadians or Asian Canadian populations. We know that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian racism has been on the rise and has only escalated, even though we know it existed before that. StatsCan reported last summer that visible minorities experienced an increase in harassment or attacks based on their race, ethnicity or skin colour, which had tripled compared with the rest of the population since the COVID-19 pandemic started, with the largest increase among Chinese and Korean Canadian populations.
All that, Minister, coupled with the recent events in the U.S., is very real and very concerning. Can you perhaps talk a bit about the work that you're undertaking to fight violence fuelled by hate, racism and discrimination in all its forms?
Thank you so much, Ms. Khera.
This is actually a very important question, not just for the public safety portfolio but for all Canadians. What we have seen is a very disturbing and concerning rise in racism, intolerance and hatred, not just in our society but right around the world.
Many of these issues have been aggravated by the pandemic but they don't begin there, so our response has to be very comprehensive. I can tell you that in response to the growing concern across Canada with the very significant and serious increase in incidents of hatred directed towards Asian Canadians—and by the way, I spoke to the chief of police in Vancouver in response to these events last week—I reached out to police leadership right across the country, in every part of the country. I engaged them in a conversation about our collective response to these acts of hatred. The chief in Vancouver tells me they've seen a 770% increase in hate crimes directed towards Asian Canadians. This is completely unacceptable.
I also reached out and spoke today to the executive of the CACP and raised the issue, once again, of our collective response. We spoke, for example, about the tools and resources they need to deal with online hate. I advised them that our government is working on bringing forward legislation for the removal of online harms, including online hate, for the preservation of that evidence and for ensuring that the police and law enforcement have access to the evidence and the tools they need to deal more effectively.
We talked about how certain other measures, including the red flag laws that are introduced in Bill , can be used to deal more effectively with those who are online advocating violence against women and religious or ethnic minorities in this country. They should not have access to firearms. They represent an unacceptable risk. We talked about those tools as well.
I can tell you that, in all of my agencies, this is our most important discussion. We acknowledge that ideologically motivated violent extremism, which includes all of the hatred, biases and intolerances that concern all Canadians—or should concern all Canadians—is at the forefront of this because it represents the greatest threat to the domestic security of all Canadians.
Ms. Khera, there is no place for racism or intolerance anywhere in our society. Certainly, I want to assure you that all of our agencies and departments understand that they have a responsibility to take action. We're looking at all the tools and resources they need to ensure we are able to do that.
Good afternoon. Thank you for being here today.
In recent weeks, we have seen a rise in violence against women. In Quebec alone, seven femicides were committed.
Minister, on March 19, you said you wanted to combat domestic violence and violence against women. One way you're planning to do that is covered in Bill , which you introduced on February 16. The idea is to combat firearms smuggling and trafficking by creating “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws. You also talked about initiatives to tackle gun and gang violence to the tune of $46 million.
Have you already undertaken that spending? Is it covered in the bill? If so, that means nothing will be done until the bill is passed.
Do the existing estimates contain funding to combat violence against women?
Let me assure you that there has been significant spending against violence. I agree with you that violence against any vulnerable population is unacceptable, but violence against women is deeply concerning and what we have seen during the pandemic is an unacceptable increase in gender-based violence, violence directed at women in domestic situations and in society generally.
That's why we have introduced the first-ever federal strategy to address gender-based violence in 2017 and why I am working with the minister for a national action plan to end gender-based violence. We've made a number of very significant investments over the past year. For example, over 1,500 frontline organizations to deliver essential services to survivors of gender-based violence have received significant benefits, with over six million people benefiting each year from the important work of these organizations.
We are also making other significant investments. When the cases of GBV were increasing at the onset of the pandemic, we took some swift action. We provided over $100 million in emergency COVID funding to more than 1,000 organizations providing services directly to the victims of gender-based violence. There are investments in policing, in security.
We are bringing forward other legislation relevant to this, but we recognize in these circumstances that organizations that do the work in communities on the ground need our support and we've been working very hard to make sure that they receive that support, which is reflected in the budgets that I bring before you today.
The number of violent offences involving firearms has gone up by 21% in recent years, going from 2,861 to 3,503 offences, an increase of 642.
Bill aims to enhance the capacity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, and the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, to combat the illegal importation of firearms. That's great, but according to CBSA's departmental plan for 2021-22, spending is supposed to decrease every year until 2023-24.
How do you explain that? How do you expect the agency to do more with less?
Yes, I understand. Just to be clear, there is a reduction in their expenditures. It's because they have concluded an infrastructure program that was funded over a number of years. That infrastructure program has now been concluded, so we no longer need to continue to fund the implementation of that. That accounts for the reduction.
We have made other significant investments in CBSA. They have had to do extraordinary things during the pandemic, because in addition to their responsibilities for border security and border integrity to determine the eligibility of people to enter, for example, or to detect and stop contraband material, they've had to continue with all of their responsibilities. They enforce over 90 laws. Just last week the RCMP and CBSA were involved in the seizure of 249 handguns, for example, that were being smuggled into Canada from New York state into the province of Quebec.
That was excellent work done by our officials. I offer that example just to provide you with assurance that our agencies remain very much focused on preventing contraband material, particularly in their responsibility to interdict the supply of guns.
I also want to take the opportunity to advise you of my conversations with the United States. I've reached out to the new Secretary of Homeland Security. We are establishing a new bilateral cross-border task force to deal with gun smuggling on both sides of the border. We know that the United States is the source of many of our guns and close collaboration between Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the United States and our officials in the sharing of information is going to be key to our success in keeping those guns out of Canada.
Thank you. It is a terribly important question, and we have seen an unacceptable increase this year. The numbers were already tragic and unacceptable, and they have gotten worse in this year of the pandemic.
I agree with you, sir. Actually, I spent a fair portion of my life, prior to coming to Ottawa, dealing with transnational organized drug crime, and I'm well aware.
This is not just an issue, by the way, for CBSA, but there are a number of very significant steps taken with CBSA to increase their capacity, not just in people but also in the use of new technologies and new authorities.
For example, one way in which we saw fentanyl was being too frequently imported illegally into this country was through the mail system. We brought forward additional, new measures and controls over that method of importation so that the CBSA can deal with it effectively. In addition [Technical difficulty—Editor] and those are transnational in nature.
That is the responsibility of the RCMP, and it's why I hope you see reflected in the estimates that we've provided a significant additional investment in the federal policing role of the RCMP. It's that federal policing capacity, which deals with organized crime, drug smuggling and money laundering, that is so important in dealing with this.
Finally, if I may conclude, I've also had conversations today with the executive of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, who expressed very similar concerns but also want to see the government move forward on responding to their plea that this be dealt with more as a public health crisis.
The interdiction of the supply of fentanyl and precursor chemicals, illicit opioids, into this country remains a very significant focus for this government and our agencies, but we're also introducing harm reduction measures so that we can keep people safe. I think the combination of those two things is really important.
The interdiction of the chemicals used in their production and for dangerous drugs like fentanyl and other drugs is often part of it. It's a transnational organized crime activity. We know, and I've said this publicly previously, that many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of these drugs, and many of these drugs, come from other places in the world, primarily Southeast Asia. I have very close relationships with UNODC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which is very much overseeing investigations in all parts of the world.
The RCMP is known internationally as leaders in those investigations. We participate with our Five Eyes partners and with other international organizations to interdict the supply. It remains a significant challenge, not just for Canada but around the world. That's why it's also important, notwithstanding our best efforts at supply interdiction, that we also work to reduce the demand for these drugs. For those who are using these drugs problematically, we also have to ensure that we implement strong harm reduction measures based on public health to keep people alive.
As you say, there are many tools, but I want to assure you that's why we're investing significantly in enhancing the federal policing capacity.
Mr. Van Popta, I'm not sure whether you're aware of this, but in 2013 an enormous amount of funding and resources and staffing were removed from the RCMP, and this had a very deleterious effect on their federal policing capacity. We've been working tirelessly over the past five years to rebuild that capacity, because Canadians depend on the RCMP in their federal policing role to deal with that very problem of the transnational organized crime responsible for importing drugs.
Thank you, Minister Blair, for being here, and to all the officials who are here to help answer our questions today.
A couple of issues that are of concern to me have already briefly been touched on, but I would like a little more detail with regard to them. Many of the members of the Saint-Laurent community, which I'm a part of and which I represent, are quite concerned about gun violence. It's been on the rise. In my province of Quebec, gender-based violence as well has been on the rise. In the last seven weeks, I believe, seven women have been murdered at the hands of their partners.
Specifically with regard to gender-based violence, I know you spoke about working with the minister to ensure that women get the protection they need. A lot of women are turned away from shelters because there are not enough spaces, and I know that's not necessarily your domain. However, I'd like to know what kind of work you guys are doing together in order to help make women safer.
Thank you very much. It is a critically important question.
The Minister for Women and Gender Equality, , and I are responsible for bringing forward the national strategy. We've been working on a number of different elements, and there are very significant components of this. However, you're absolutely right. I think it's important to acknowledge the organizations that provide shelter and support to women fleeing domestic violence, giving them and their families a safe place to go.
We've actually, just in this pandemic year, expended over $100 million to support those organizations and to create that safe space for women who are fleeing domestic violence. We also are looking at a number of different legislative responses with respect to online harms, which can include gender-based violence and hatred. We're also, as I mentioned earlier, bringing forward firearms legislation. Let me just speak about that for the moment, if I may.
Every five days, a woman is killed in this country in a domestic violence incident. Over 500 times a year, they are victimized with firearms. We know that the presence of a firearm in a home that is experiencing gender-based and domestic violence.... That's a dangerous situation made deadly by the presence of a firearm, so we're bringing forward new tools. I've been meeting with organizations across the country. Many of them are very concerned about how they could implement those new measures. They see them as valuable and important, but they're going to need support. That's another commitment that we've made: that we'll provide them with the financial and other supports that they're going to need to make this effective to keep people safe.
The one thing I can say, if I may.... You know, I've had a conversation just in your area. I recently had a conversation with both Deputy Chief Carbonneau and Chief Caron of the SPVM to talk about what they're doing with respect to gun violence in their community, including gender-based violence, and the supports that they need. We talked about some of the money that we've made available through the Province of Quebec for municipal police services in doing their work.
We also talked about our commitment to bring forward $250 million over the next five years to invest in communities, to invest in those circumstances that give rise to gun violence in all of our communities right across the country, and that investment will be in those community organizations that do extraordinary work. I'll be looking for assistance and guidance from members of Parliament from all parties, right across this country, to make sure that we make those investments with the best effect of keeping people safe.
It's in a number of places.
First of all, there are three ways in which criminals gain access to guns. They're smuggled across the border, stolen from legal gun owners or gun stores, or criminally diverted—where people buy them legally and sell them illegally. Bill addresses all three of those ways in which guns get into the hands of criminals.
Specifically at the border, we're increasing the maximum penalty, which I think will demonstrate to the courts Canadians' concern and denouncement of gun smuggling and will hold those individuals and organizations—this is an organized crime activity primarily—to account.
We're also making sure that the police and our border officers have access to the data and information that they need in order to be effective in detecting that activity of gun smuggling. We're adding additional resources, as well, to the police, the RCMP and municipal police services, and to our border services officers.
Finally, I will tell you from many years of experience that, without working collaboratively and co-operatively with U.S. authorities, we can't be completely successful because the U.S. is the source of so many guns. That's why we've reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to establish a new international border crime forum and a bilateral task force to deal with gun smuggling from both sides.
Minister, I'd like to hear your comments on the situation related to fraud.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as of February 28, 2021, there were 11,266 reports of fraud and 7,646 victims of fraud. The amount of money lost to fraud was more than $34.6 million.
Police officials indicate that police have their hands full dealing with just fraud complaints, especially related to the Canada emergency response benefit.
Has any Public Safety Canada funding been earmarked to tackle fraud, go after fraudsters and help members of the public who have been defrauded, for example, by providing compensation or covering the bill for them?
Does Public Safety Canada have a plan to tackle fraud, or does that responsibility fall to the Canada Revenue Agency or another department?
Let me speak about fraud. Fraud can take many forms, and what we're also seeing is online fraud and cybercrime. Generally we've seen a significant increase and, particularly during the pandemic, I think people have been made more vulnerable. There are a number of very concerning circumstances where seniors and vulnerable people have been targeted with respect to fraudulent activity.
From a criminal investigation standpoint, it is the responsibility of the police of jurisdiction. For example, in the city of Montreal that would be the SPVM. In other jurisdictions, it might be the SQ. In addition to that, the RCMP at C Division in Quebec.... I'll speak specifically to Quebec, but the police of jurisdiction issue is relevant in every case. If it's a tier-one organized crime activity related to fraud, that is the responsibility of the federal police in C Division in the RCMP. All three orders of government and all three orders of police services have a responsibility there.
We are also looking at ways in which we can deal with many of the online harms. The RCMP have been very active in a number of significant investigations, because the source of these frauds is not domestic in many cases. It's actually taking place in other countries and then people are being victimized in Canada. That's where the RCMP plays a very important role in their federal policing role and responsibilities to work transnationally with police of other jurisdictions in other countries in order to address criminal activity that is victimizing Canadians. That is primarily within the public safety portfolio—our responsibility.
There are many implicated agencies in dealing with online harms and threats and criminal activity within the online space, including the finance department through FINTRAC, for example. We're all engaged in this.
Commissioner Lucki, my first question is for you, and I don't think you'll be surprised that I'm going to ask you about the report on Colten Boushie's death. You and I have talked about this in the past.
I was pleased to see the report come out. It certainly confirmed what I heard from the family when I spoke to Debbie Baptiste and Jade. The report from the CRCC said that the family experienced racism and discrimination. I really appreciate that you have said you were going to be implementing, I think, 16 of the 17 recommendations.
My question is this, Commissioner. The same day the report was made public, the RCMP union put out a press release, which said that the CRCC report advances a perspective that disrespects our [Technical difficulty—Editor].
Thank you for that question, Ms. Damoff.
I listened to Ms. Baptiste and heard what she had to say. I have such a lot of empathy for her family and what she endured. She deserved to be treated with sensitivity and respect and compassion. As the commissioner of the RCMP, it's my job and part of my mandate to ensure that the culture is transformed and that we strengthen our relationships with indigenous people—and in fact with all Canadians, increasing trust.
We've brought in Vision150 with many activities that I've spoken to you about before. One of the more recent things that we have done is bring in an entire equity, diversity and inclusion strategy, for the first time ever in the RCMP. The objective is to change the culture and transform the RCMP. It's key to addressing the racism and the discrimination. Activities include modernizing the recruitment and the training, and we've talked about the cultural awareness and humility training.
Even while this report was being prepared, we were busy working on the recommendations, and in Saskatchewan in April, all of the employees in Saskatchewan will have completed that course. I have set a very aggressive goal for the entire RCMP to complete that course before the end of summer, and already approximately 16,000 of the 30,000 employees have completed it.
There have been, then, many steps.
My first question is for the CBSA representatives. Last October, the Supreme Court of Canada decided, in a case called Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), that the RCMP had discriminated against women members of the RCMP who had a job-sharing situation after serving maternity leave. They were not given access to buy back pension for that lost time, although the policy within the RCMP and the legislation provided that for other forms of lack of full-time service. It was considered discriminatory and contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
There's a similar circumstance in the Canada Border Services with women taking advantage of job sharing, and when approached to have this applied to the Canada Border Services pension, a woman was told that this didn't apply because that case was about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.
Does the department expect that these women who are affected by this ought to spend whatever time and money it takes to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to get a ruling there, or are you prepared to apply this to the women in the Canada Border Services Agency or retired women, in this case, who are seeking the same application of this law?
I've written the minister on this some weeks ago, and I'm wondering whether you're aware of this issue and whether you plan to reconsider this policy in light of the Supreme Court of Canada decision.
This wouldn't be a Treasury Board decision. This is a Supreme Court of Canada decision, sir, and it applies on the basis of the Charter of Rights and the very similar circumstances.
I wonder why it is that you wouldn't have considered applying that policy and would give a perfunctory answer like that.
I will pass on to something else. I wish to go to Commissioner Lucki. I want to ask further questions on the Boushie report that we had this week. Of course, we all know it was disturbing. I appreciate, Commissioner, that you and the RCMP have acknowledged that both systemic racism and actual racism occurred.
I want to ask about a further matter that was disclosed publicly, I think, for the first time this week, although [Technical difficulty—Editor] about this for some time. On the night that Colten Boushie was killed, there were RCMP communications in the course of attending at the Boushie family home and Mrs. Baptiste, and those communications were destroyed.
We don't know what was on those communications, but the implication, obviously, is that there may have been matters on this communication that would be of importance to the investigation being done by the CRCC or any other investigation. It sounds that it could easily be something very close to obstruction.
Have the individuals involved in this destruction been identified and dealt with through disciplinary matters, Commissioner Lucki?
I want to echo what my fellow member Ms. Damoff said about the culture in the RCMP, so my questions are for Ms. Lucki.
The committee has heard from a number of witnesses, including Justice Bastarache, about the deep-rooted cultural issues within the RCMP, whether it be systemic racism, harassment or sexism.
Ms. Lucki, I'm encouraged to see that you are willing to undertake the necessary institutional reforms. You accept 16 of the recommendations set out by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP in its report, further to the RCMP's investigation into the death of Colten Boushie.
When you were answering my fellow member's question, I was also encouraged to hear you talk about the Vision150 plan and the equity, diversity and inclusion strategy you intend to implement.
Strategies are nice, but you really have to be able to measure their impact and success.
What tools will you be using to measure the RCMP's progress or lack of progress?
Thank you for your question.
We have a number of ways to measure our progress.
First, as a note, all of our initiatives are on the outside website, the RCMP Vision150 tracker, and we have milestones for each and every one of those initiatives. You can see how far we are going along with them.
Holistically, the markers are going to be a more inclusive, more open and less discriminatory organization that is more transparent and accountable in the bigger sense. We are collaborating a lot with our management advisory board with regard to the actual measures.
One specific thing includes an audit committee doing a specific audit on Vision150. There is a management action plan with specific measurements of completion. Hopefully, we will have everything measured with our success. I guess the biggest measure of success will be that the next commissioner won't have to answer this question at committee.
I'm going to follow up on some of the questions with Commissioner Lucki regarding oversight.
There's been a concern that the public is not aware of much of what's going on and that there's a need for greater transparency. We know that the CRCC is underfunded, according to the complaints commissioner. You have indicated some effort is being made by you to look after the backlog, which is commendable, but there's another issue in terms of transparency.
Last November the Information Commissioner said that the RCMP was neglectful and that 92% of ATIP requests went beyond the statutory due date, and called it a “critical” level.
What's being done to resolve that? That's a pretty important statutory obligation as well. People have the right to information. It's part of the Information Commissioner's job to ensure that happens. What are you doing about that? Is there a need for further resources for that, or is this something that you're not taking seriously?
Thank you for that question. That's a great question.
I have to say that we haven't done Canadians justice in our ATIP program whatsoever. We have an extreme backlog, and we are working with Treasury Board, through a ministerial directive, to come up.... We are presenting a strategy to the minister in the next month and a half.
We have received funding to hire additional resources, and we have changed a bit of our triage process. I've been in a conversation with the Privacy Commissioner twice now. Actually, she's complimented us on our progress week over week, since we put our mind to the matter.
It's a perfect example, Mr. Harris, that the things you measure get done. We have to get better at that, and we will. I am completely committed to better transparency for Canadians.
May I then move that all of the votes for the Department of Public Safety, National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, Correctional Service of Canada, Office of Correctional Investigator, Parole Board, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP External Review Committee and Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence be moved on division?
CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$1,752,432,513
Vote 5—Capital expenditures........$106,457,799
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$572,188,443
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CIVILIAN REVIEW AND COMPLAINTS COMMISSION FOR THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$9,345,025
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF CANADA
Vote 1—Operating expenditures, grants and contributions..........$2,359,350,375
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$187,796,912
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$181,272,861
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$858,170,860
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE REVIEW AGENCY SECRETARIAT
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$28,490,287
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
OFFICE OF THE CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR OF CANADA
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$4,879,527
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$49,323,723
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$2,642,741,385
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$251,946,081
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........$194,973,483
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE EXTERNAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$5,800,710
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
SECRETARIAT OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$3,409,991
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall I report the main estimates to the House?
An hon. member: Yes.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you.
It's always a good day if you survive a non-confidence and an impeachment vote.
Thank you, Glen, for that.