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



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     I think I saw Commissioner Lucki on the call, and Minister Blair is here.
    With that I call to order the 32nd meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    The meeting is pursuant to the motion adopted December 7. It is resuming the study of the final report of the implementation of the Merlo Davidson settlement agreement. Mr. Justice Bastarache appeared before the committee and I don't think there was any one of our members who was not shocked by what he had to say. Therefore, I'm grateful that the minister and the commissioner are able to appear.
    We will be going for two hours. We've arranged for that, but we've also arranged for a 15-minute in camera session after the appearance of the commissioner and the minister to discuss what we've heard.
    With that, I propose to ask the minister for his seven-minute presentation, followed by, I'm assuming, Commissioner Lucki, and then we'll get right into questions. The minister will leave after one hour and we will continue on. I see really no benefit in interrupting the flow of questions, so we'll just keep on moving through the questions round after round.
    With that, Minister Blair, welcome once again to the committee.
    Thanks also to the committee members for the opportunity to come before you today and to speak on these very important matters.
    If I may, Mr. Chair, I would like to begin my remarks by expressing my sincere and deepest sympathies following the revelation of the 215 children's remains found in an unmarked grave at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. These children were taken from their parents, forced to attend a residential school and never returned to their families. The tragic legacy of residential schools and the Government of Canada's role could not be more profoundly illustrated than through the discovery of the children's graves.
    In addition, I want to acknowledge the clear and unavoidable RCMP role in that tragedy. I also acknowledge the role of the government in which we all serve. Over the past two years—and even today—I have spent considerable time discussing with Commissioner Lucki the RCMP's work towards reconciliation. The commissioner has assured me that the RCMP will offer its full support as we seek to learn more about the events in Kamloops. It will provide assistance as required in communities right across Canada.
    As Canada mourns with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc first nation and all indigenous people, I think it's very clear that we must continue to strive to improve upon the services provided to indigenous people and communities across Canada. Thank you for allowing me to speak to that issue.
     I am here today in response to the committee's study on issues surrounding Justice Bastarache’s report on gender- and sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination in the RCMP.
    The Bastarache report highlights far too many cases of workplace harassment and sexual misconduct that have deeply affected women and the LGBTQ2S+ members within the RCMP. Notwithstanding the many that were reported, we know it is likely that many went unreported.
    Let me also state unequivocally that all Canadians deserve to feel safe from harassment and violence. That is why our government has explicitly mandated the commissioner of the RCMP to protect all employees of our organization, civilian and sworn, from this type of harassment and violence. After all, the women and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community who experienced this harassment had to consider how it would affect their careers, their chances of promotion and even their personal safety if they reported it.
    I spoke with the commissioner as soon as the report was released. I emphasized that these unacceptable patterns of behaviour must end and a comprehensive plan must be implemented to address the report’s findings and recommendations.
    I have also reached out and spoken at some length with Justice Bastarache to inform him of my commitment to support the commissioner in bringing about the necessary changes as well as in overseeing the reform of the RCMP, which will be guided by his recommendations.
    Today I am very encouraged to report that implementation of many of the recommendations in the final report is well under way. I know that Commissioner Lucki will speak in greater detail on that progress and on forward priorities to address crucial issues of equality. However, if I may, I would like to highlight a few key points.
    First of all, a new independent centre for harassment resolution will begin operating later this month to help ensure impartiality and consistency in decision-making and disciplinary action. Prior to 2019, cases of sexual harassment tended to be handled entirely internally within the RCMP. This approach did not enable survivors to feel heard or believed, nor did it give rise to the belief that offenders would be held accountable.
    With the establishment of the ICHR, through external investigators, we seek to increase trust, address concerns of retribution and bias, and ensure that appropriate discipline is taken—up to and including termination of offenders. It will also work to address gaps, including consistency of decision-making and timeliness of investigations. It will also address the lack, in many cases, of well-trained investigators, follow-up, early intervention tools and informal conflict management.
    The ICHR will align with the new Canada Labour Code workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations under Bill C-65. Unfortunately, measures alone cannot be applied after the fact. We also need to invest heavily in preventing harassment from happening in the first place.
    To that end, a GBA+ review is being performed on the training curriculum. This is in addition to a review of the paramilitary aspects of training at Depot. This is in an effort to affect a cultural change in attitude towards workplace harassment and violence within the organization, beginning at the very start of a member’s career.
    To prevent retaliation or recurrence, managers and supervisors are being provided with the necessary tools and resources to perform workplace restoration activities. To promote greater accountability, these will be tracked in the conflict resolution plan as part of the overall case resolution process.


     The RCMP must effectively identify, correct and eliminate misconduct in their ranks. As the commissioner will shortly explain, the RCMP will launch an external review of their conduct and disciplinary processes. The commissioner and I have not been satisfied to this point with the pace of change that is expected in a modern law enforcement body. Canadians expect that the worst behaviour in the RCMP will result in serious disciplinary action on a consistent basis. As minister, that is my expectation as well.
    I'm also happy to report that the RCMP has launched a comprehensive equity, diversity and inclusion strategy to address systemic barriers for diverse groups. This will work to establish transparent and accountable practices; stronger education, awareness and training regimes; and the foundations for culture change within the RCMP. I also know that Commissioner Lucki will describe how the RCMP is modernizing the recruitment and onboarding processes, including introducing new tools to assess character and detect bias.
    We have a duty, all of us, to do the necessary work to prevent harassment and discrimination from ever occurring again. Women and members of the LGBTQ2S community must feel safe in coming forward to report all forms of harassment. They must know that they will be heard, believed and supported. These difficult calls must be met with a transparent investigation, with tangible consequences for those responsible, while actively supporting survivors who have the courage to speak out.
    We know that we have to work hard to change the culture that persists not only in the RCMP but throughout all policing and paramilitary organizations. The commissioner shares my conviction that the culture must evolve and it must change. I will support her throughout to address root causes and modernize the training as we work to prevent the unacceptable incidents of behaviour outlined in the Bastarache report from ever occurring again.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I look forward to an opportunity to answer the questions of committee members.
    Thank you, Minister Blair.
    Commissioner Lucki, do you have a statement that you wish to start with?
    Okay. Thank you.


    Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee.


    Thank you for the invitation to speak on the important issues raised in the final report of the independent assessor.
    I would like to acknowledge that I'm speaking to you on unceded Algonquin territory.
    Later today, I will have with me Gail Johnston, our chief human resource officer; Kevin Stringer, our chief administrative officer; and Nadine Huggins, our executive director for HR policies, strategies and programs. We are all excited to speak to you today about the progress we're making at the RCMP.
    The independent assessor's report was hard to read for many, including me, but I am so grateful to Justice Bastarache and his team, and to the women who came forward despite the pain it caused. As a woman with 34 years of experience in the RCMP, I come to this role with a lot of first-hand experience.


    I have seen a lot of change, and I know that a lot is left to do. I am privileged to get to be part of moving us forward.


    As Justice Bastarache said—
    Excuse me for a second, Commissioner.
    We're getting some sort of background noise. I'm not quite sure what the background noise is.
    Perhaps you could continue. We'll see whether the background noise continues. Thank you.
    I'm sorry to interrupt.


    No problem.
    As Justice Bastarache said in his report—
    I think we're getting it again.
     It's the interpretation.
    Can I get the clerk to intervene here?
    We are looking into it right now, Mr. Chair.
    We'll give it one more go. If not, we'll suspend for a minute or two until we get it organized.
    I apologize once again. Please continue.
     As I said, Justice Bastarache said in his report, “This is a long-term endeavour that requires vision, leadership and determination over a decade or more.” This means taking strong action now to set the foundation to support long-term change, and that's exactly what we're doing.
    I was given a mandate to modernize the organization and its culture, so preventing harassment and bad behaviour of all kinds means establishing the foundation to attract and retain the right people, because we have a healthy workplace that is barrier-free. We need to support our employees to deal with workplace issues at the earliest point, and create a culture where people are not afraid to speak up.
    This will not be accomplished by checking a box on the latest report. We need to challenge our norms. We need to be creative and open. We need to listen to the people most affected, build relationships of trust and stay focused on the long term.
    Since I took the chair, we have set a more holistic path forward. My goal is to ensure that, no matter who sits in this chair, change will continue because we've set up the right foundation. We have focused on four areas: accountable governance; inclusive leadership; equity, diversity and inclusion; and trusted resolutions mechanisms. By staying the course, we have already moved the yardsticks on many of the themes identified in this report.
     I won't get into a long laundry list, but I do want to focus on what I sincerely believe to be the most significant areas of change.
    First, we have improved the diversity at the top. It has both symbolic and real impacts. Not only can diverse people see themselves in our most senior leaders but our decision-making is much better. My senior executive team is more diverse and more balanced, whether it be gender, civilian or other forms of diversity.
    More than 50% of our commanding officers are female, as an example. It has improved the discussions we have and changed how we approach issues in the RCMP. We're also working with our external management advisory board, which brings even more expertise and diversity.
    Second, we have worked hard to develop a new model to deal with harassment complaints. I am glad to say that the independent centre for harassment resolution will be launched by June 30, 2021. It's in line with the recommendations. It's outside the chain of command, and it uses external investigators to ensure it is trusted and unbiased.
    We believe this will improve trust and give people the confidence to speak out. The centre is also focused on prevention, providing informal conflict management tools to deal with things at the lowest level and to analyze what works to prevent such behaviour.
    We have more to do. We will soon launch an external review of our conduct process and disciplinary measures to make sure our sanctions are effective and in line with modern expectations.
    Third, we have new tools to detect and eliminate systemic discrimination. Gender-based analysis plus is an approach we rolled out across our organization, starting with our senior decision-making. It gives us the lens we need to identify barriers faced by women and diverse groups, and to see things in a different way.
    The GBA+ has led to many specific but meaningful changes: Our uniforms are more inclusive. Our promotion process is more equitable. Our awards and recognition policies now recognize leave without pay for parental leave when counting years of service, and we've removed barriers in our recruitment process for our northern applicants.
    These are just a few examples, but together they really do amount to a lot.
    We also recently launched the first-ever RCMP equity, diversity and inclusion strategy to guide and measure improvements across the RCMP.
    Fourth, we have made a commitment to a modern recruitment process, and we are taking the time to get it right. It starts, obviously, with figuring out who we're trying to attract in 2021. Times have changed, and so have expectations.
    The role of a police officer is complex, and we know it requires a wide range of skills. We've worked with external experts to define the attributes and characteristics needed for modern policing. We're identifying new tools to assess the characteristics we're looking for, including screening for things like racist and sexist beliefs, which was brought up by this committee in a previous session.



    We have made changes to our recruitment strategies to make sure our recruiters reflect the diversity we seek. We continue to review each part of our recruitment process to make it modern and barrier-free.


    Lastly, we made a commitment to building leaders. Leadership and the tone at the top is one of my biggest priorities. Having a more diverse set of leaders around me has been so important. We have started to implement a leader character approach to our leadership development and training.
     In the past, we've done a good job at measuring and developing operational skills, but now we need to do the same to help us assess and develop overall character and good judgment. We think the “leader character” model will be a game-changer in ensuring we have the right people doing the right job. It's an approach that we want to integrate from the start with applicants and continue to build throughout our employees' careers.


    My vision is an RCMP that attracts great people into a workplace that welcomes and includes them and embraces diversity. This is the key to delivering excellence in our organization.


    I've given you just a few examples of where we've implemented real changes. I feel and I see the changes every day. I also acknowledge that there are still key issues to address in our organization and in our society as a whole to achieve equity. The independent assessor touched on a few, such as better support for parents, which is important to women's participation in the workforce and in any sector.
     Our vast geography, however, creates even bigger challenges, and it can be hard to find the supports and the resources we need to fully support our employees. We need to have creative solutions, which are not always about more resources but about finding new ways of doing things. For example, we look at different service delivery models that will benefit both communities and our employees, like the fly-in models we use in some northern jurisdictions.
    I don't have the full set of solutions here today, but I do know that we won't achieve equity unless we work together and address these larger issues. I am so committed to continue to advance change and modernization, as is my entire senior executive team. I'm committed to listening to the people most affected and continuing to expand that circle.
    I am committed to partnering with others to explore what we can do to address these issues, so I do truly welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions. Your expertise and influence will allow my team to find solutions. I look forward to your discussion today.


    Thank you.


    Thank you, Commissioner Lucki.
    With that, we go to our first round of six minutes each, with Mr. Motz, Madam Khera, Madam Larouche and Mr. Harris, in that order.
    Mr. Motz, you have six minutes, please.
    Thank you, Commissioner and Minister, for being here today.
    My first question is for the minister.
    Minister, you and I share a similar history, in that the leadership of both of the municipal police services that you and I served in answered to and had a governing body—a police services board or a police commission—attached to it. In November, when this report came out, you said that good policing starts with good governance, and I couldn't agree with you more.
    Where are you at in that process of implementing good governance within the RCMP?
    Thank you very much, Mr. Motz.
    I stand by that comment. I agree that both of us, in our experiences in municipal policing, have experienced, of course, a different governance model. I will tell you that there are ongoing discussions, first of all with respect to indigenous policing. I'm sure you're aware that we are undertaking a process of co-production of the new legislative framework for indigenous policing. At the heart of that discussion and that new legislative framework will be a new governance model for policing in first nations.
     There are also ongoing discussions with the contracting of policing jurisdictions in our provinces and territories. A number of those areas are already looking at their own police services act, and there are ongoing discussions among us with respect to new approaches to governance within the RCMP.
    One of the things we've heard very clearly that I think speaks to some of the things we've spoken about earlier today is the need for an independent and external review of complaints, but also the new harassment resolution process that we announced. We—
    Minister, thank you. That leads me to my next question.
    More specifically, in the report, Justice Bastarache stated that necessary reform within the RCMP will not take place “without external pressure”. You have said that you've already started an external review of the RCMP and that you would have more to say “in the coming weeks”. That was seven months ago, back in November.
    Specifically, is there anything you have done in the meantime to start this external review? What exactly does that look like?


    Yes, the very first area we began looking at in direct response to the Bastarache report was the establishment of an external review process for complaints of harassment resolution. We've been working very closely with the RCMP in the development of the ICHR. That's a $32-million investment, and $8 million ongoing, in the establishment of new external processes and an independent determination of these measures. It was, I think, the most critical area that needed to be addressed.
     We also had to come into compliance with Bill C-65 and the Canada Labour Code. We have placed a priority upon that, but there's ongoing work, as the commissioner outlined.
     Minister, I have a couple more questions that I want to cover off. I thank you for that answer.
    I wonder if you're able to table some of the documents and consultations you've had and the progress you've made from your ministry and the RCMP with regard to that external review. That would be great.
    The other question I have is in relation to many of the allegations within the Bastarache report, which indicate very clearly that there was significant criminality that occurred by members of the RCMP against other members of the RCMP.
    Have you ensured that criminal investigations have been initiated or have you encouraged that those investigations be initiated against members of the RCMP who've committed these offences as highlighted by the Bastarache report?
    Let's leave it there. I'll let you answer that one first.
    This was an issue that I raised directly with Justice Bastarache because of those very serious allegations, which he did not particularize in his report by naming individuals, out of respect for the victims. As you can imagine, those criminal investigations require that we respect the wishes of the victims in those cases.
    Let me also acknowledge to you that I've had a number of discussions with Justice Bastarache as well about the inadequate response in the disciplinary processes to deal with what are clearly egregious behaviours unacceptable within the RCMP. I think it does highlight the need for a more effective and responsive disciplinary process, up to and including criminal investigations and charges where appropriate.
    It's also critically important in these matters to respect the wishes of the victims as these matters are resolved, but certainly those behaviours are totally unacceptable and require a very strong response, up to and including dismissal and criminal prosecution.
    Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.
    Justice Bastarache discovered and reported that many of the worst offenders within the RCMP in terms of the misconduct were promoted individuals. He also went on to list that there are 15 serial offenders, as he described them, who are senior officers.
    I guess it begs the question: How many of them still remain active within the RCMP, and what direction have you given to ensure that those predators are removed from their posts?
    I don't believe anyone who engages in these behaviours has the right to wear the uniform of the RCMP, and they need to be dealt with more effectively. The disciplinary process is, of course, the responsibility of the commissioner, but we've had a number of discussions about bringing greater rigour to that disciplinary process. Perhaps given more time, she could give you an explanation of the work she's doing in that regard.
    Thank you, Minister.
    Thank you, Mr. Motz.
    Mr. Motz asked for documents, and I didn't hear an undertaking to table documents.
    I'm sorry, Chair, if I was remiss in that. I was cognizant of my limited time. I would ask that those documents be tabled to the committee.
    Thank you.
    With that, Mr. Fisher, you have six minutes, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Commissioner, for being here.
    Bill, thank you very much for being here and providing this level of testimony to our committee.
    I'm pretty sure I heard you say in your remarks that efforts were under way to address the paramilitary efforts within the RCMP.
    I'm new to this committee and I'm finding that the other members of this committee certainly have an awful lot more background on this report. However, to me, the idea of tearing somebody down to rebuild them in the way that you want them is kind of archaic, and I can't imagine it not leading to major issues down the road. When my colleagues were studying this report, they heard from many witnesses and experts about the need to address this.
    I wonder if you could speak to the committee today about this paramilitary structure that you and the RCMP will be addressing.


     Thank you very much, Darren.
    It's a really important issue, and not just for the RCMP but for all police organizations right across the country. I think the RCMP recognizes that in a modern police service they have to address the entire merit criteria they apply in hiring people.
     I believe that the RCMP recruits outstanding people to their organization. However, it's important that we look at the recruitment, training and deployment of the members to ensure that the culture is more welcoming to diverse people and to women in the organization. I think that's critically important, and that is the work the RCMP is undergoing.
    We talked about the diversity and inclusion strategy they are implementing. One of the things I wanted to highlight for the committee is that we actually recruited the commissioner because of what we believed to be her outstanding ability to bring about change in the organization. However, let me acknowledge, because I've done this in another police service, that it's a very difficult challenge.
    We've given the commissioner a very explicit mandate, and she's been working tirelessly. It really begins with leadership—as she's already indicated—and she's made significant changes within the leadership of the RCMP. I think it sends a very strong signal about the importance of diversity and inclusion, a diversity of perspectives, in policing.
     It is going to result in and necessitate—as Justice Bastarache indicated—a significant reform of police culture, which he referred to as a “toxic culture”. That reform is well under way under the leadership of the commissioner, and I believe it's our government's responsibility—and all Canadians' responsibility—to support the RCMP as they go about those important changes in addressing the culture that Justice Bastarache expressed very understandable concerns about.
     The commissioner has been working tirelessly with her entire team. Change is steady but slow, and we want to continue to work hard on it and continue to accelerate that work.
    Thank you very much, Bill. That segues perfectly with my next question for the commissioner.
    The report—as you said, Bill—does make it very clear that the culture within the RCMP is described as “toxic” and that external forces are needed to address this serious problem. I know this means an awful lot to the people back home in my riding in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, and people all across Canada care very much about this issue.
    To the commissioner, what concrete action are you taking to address this? Mr. Motz might have touched on this earlier with a question to the minister, but is the RCMP consulting with any external bodies to address this concern, Commissioner?
    As the minister alluded to, I was given a strict mandate to modernize the RCMP and to transform its culture. Therefore, we've been engaging with numerous external and independent bodies and individuals to address issues around workplace culture.
    Of note, first of all, we have the RCMP management advisory board, which was established by the government in 2019. They are there to provide an external advisory function to me on the management and administration of the RCMP. It was given a specific responsibility to provide guidance and advice on workplace culture, and that's the very issue that Justice Bastarache outlines in his report.
    Since its establishment, the board has challenged the RCMP's thinking and provided thoughtful advice and guidance on a number of areas. Most importantly, it's been instrumental in the development of the independent centre for harassment resolution, and they had a specific task force just for that.
    There are several initiatives I've launched in the past three years that have brought culture and management modernization. We've been engaging groups, individuals and experts, including the Association of Black Law Enforcers. I have a commissioner's diversity advisory committee. I have a national indigenous advisory committee. I have a lived experience indigenous committee. I have the Government of Canada joint employment equity committee, the Serving with Pride group, the Federal Black Employee Caucus and the Women's Executive Network.
    With that, there has been a lot of consultation, and the EDI strategy provides that clear structure for the concrete actions under way to address racism and discrimination, and to promote that inclusion in the RCMP workforce and how the organization will provide service to communities.
    We're trying to hit as many people who are impacted by the decisions we make as possible, so that our decisions are better decisions and more in tune with those people.


    Commissioner, you talked about modern recruitment processes. I'm interested, in just a short period of time, if you can outline maybe a couple of new ways of detecting bias.
    We brought in a screening process whereby we can, in fact, screen for discrimination and racist behaviours. It's exciting. Before, we'd look at some of the skills and experience, but now we're looking at character and we're looking at the implicit bias test in that—so stay tuned.
     Thank you, Mr. Fisher.


    Ms. Larouche, welcome once more to our committee. The floor is yours for six minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    My thanks to the Minister for joining us. My thanks also to the Commissioner, Ms. Lucki, for her very interesting opening remarks. This is a matter on which, sadly, we see that a lot of work remains to be done before we can talk about inclusion and diversity, and can eliminate the toxic masculinity and the sexualized culture.
    As a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I am sometimes discussing these problems in relation to the Armed Forces. But we are realizing that the culture is also to be found within the RCMP, as the Bastarache Report unfortunately proves.
    Mr. Minister, in your opening remarks, you said that, despite all the efforts and the work that has been done, you regret that the RCMP is not the modern body you want. Could you tell us more about what, in your opinion, would make the RCMP more modern?


    Thank you very much, Madam Larouche, and I think it's a very important question.
    The RCMP is iconic in Canada and well respected around the world, but we have seen incidents. The Bastarache report, I think, revealed to us very clearly that there are elements of the work environment within the RCMP that are not as supportive and welcoming as they need to be for women and diverse people in the organization. I think the commissioner has been engaged in some very positive work in this regard, but I wanted to acknowledge that there's a great deal of work that still needs to be done.
    We see it as well in our relationship, and it's something we are very much seized with. Recent events, I think, have brought it home for all of us. The relationship between the RCMP and diverse people, particularly indigenous people in this country, is troubled by a long and difficult history between the RCMP and indigenous people in Canada, and notwithstanding that there's a great deal of progress that has been made, there remains a great deal of work to do.
     I think it's important to the principles of reconciliation, but also, there's nothing more important in the relationship between the police and the public they are sworn to serve and protect than trust. Earning the trust of the people you serve is work that needs to be done every single day, and it could be lost in a single unfortunate incident or an individual's inappropriate conduct.
    I know that the commissioner remains very strongly focused on being worthy of Canadians' trust, and we recognize that, in a large paramilitary organization, there needs to be continuous progress towards reform. That includes bringing in a greater diversity of perspective within the RCMP, people with different lived experience, women, indigenous people and people from racialized communities. That diversity of perspective will help the organization progress. The RCMP and the commissioner recognize that, and they have lots of work to do through recruitment and training on how we treat the people within the organization.
    As I've already mentioned to Mr. Motz, I also think that police services must be transparently accountable to the people they serve, and that's why we're working on improving the governance structure for policing in the RCMP right across the country.


    Mr. Minister, you were very right to begin your remarks by offering your condolences to Indigenous peoples for the tragedy in Kamloops, by which I mean the discovery of the remains of 215 children. I took part in the debate last evening, and my thoughts are with the mothers and families of the deceased. I also offer them my condolences.
    Since we are speaking of Indigenous peoples, you talked a lot about diversity and about the importance of regaining trust in the RCMP as a major organization. You made a brief comment about one of the main recommendations, the establishment of an independent body. You mentioned $32 million and said that the work is ongoing. I would like an update on the status of that important recommendation.



    Thank you very much, Madam Larouche. This is also a very important question.
    The ICHR, which was what was recommended, is being introduced on June 30. That's when it will actually launch. The RCMP have been working very hard doing a number of things. The ICHR is going to focus on prevention, including awareness and education campaigns. It's going to provide access to training for supervisors. It is intended to increase trust and address concerns among the members of the RCMP with a new model, which will be independent and outside of the chain of command. It's going to use external investigators.
    We're developing a roster of expert investigators from outside the RCMP who will conduct the investigations, reach conclusions and provide recommendations to restore the workplace. I believe that the external nature of this and using people outside of the chain of command will be able to provide assurance to survivors of harassment within the workplace that their complaints will be taken very seriously, that they will be believed and supported, and that there will be no repercussions or retribution for bringing harassment complaints forward.
    I think it's a very important innovation, but it also requires a significant investment in the prevention of and not just the response to harassment when it occurs in the workplace.


    All right, as I understand it, it's on its way.
    I would also like to hear from Ms Lucki, who talked about operational skills.
    Ms. Lucki, could you quickly tell us what you mean by “the right people doing the right job”?


    Unfortunately, we're going to have to hold that question because Madam Larouche is out of time.
    Mr. Harris, you have six minutes, please.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Thank you, Mr. Minister, for joining us. I know your colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour called you Bill. I'm happy to do that in private and socially, but since you're here in your official capacity as minister of the crown, I will call you minister. We are looking to you as the person responsible to speak on behalf of the government and respond to the serious circumstances we're dealing with.
    In response to your question from my colleague from the Bloc, you said that Mr. Justice Bastarache found that the RCMP were not as supportive as they needed to be towards women. I would perhaps call that the understatement of the year, but the year is very young.
    The committee's response to Mr. Bastarache was quite different from that. In fact, he said about the RCMP that the workplace included systemic patterns of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and race, including toxic workplace cultures characterized by misogyny, homophobia, racism and interpersonal violence including sexual violence. He said that women and LGBTQ2S people were prevented from receiving promotions, training and work assignments on an equal basis with other applicants. They had retribution exacted for attempts to bring forward complaints.
    That is not exactly the kind of characterization you gave it.
    He went further, and I want you to address this particular point. He said that he was not confident that change could take place inside the institution itself—and I think the committee members were struck by the force of that comment that he had no confidence—and that there was no way forward without some form of sustained, independent and external pressure.
    I want to suggest to you that this shouldn't be coming from members of Parliament and parliamentary committees. This ought to come from a structure of governance, which you mentioned in relation to the contract policing for the RCMP. What about the RCMP itself? What about an independent oversight board such as those that civilian police forces across the country are governed by?
    Would you be supportive of that as a way of ensuring that there was sustained, ongoing and independent external pressure to seek the changes that are necessary?


    Mr. Harris, before Minister Blair responds, could you raise your microphone? The interpreters are having considerable difficulty hearing you.
    Minister Blair.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Harris.
    First of all, let me be very clear. I did not intend in any way to minimize what I believe to be the egregious and totally unacceptable behaviour that women and LGBTQ members of the RCMP were subjected to, as highlighted in the Bastarache report. Those behaviours are completely unacceptable. If I failed to describe them and denounce them as clearly as they needed to be, let me please correct that now because they are completely unacceptable.
    I also discussed with Justice Bastarache the need for external oversight and governance of the RCMP. I think it's a very important element of public trust that there be sound governance. We're certainly working towards that now with the new legislative framework for indigenous policing, which will enable us to address the issues of governance for that aspect of service delivery of the RCMP.
    There are a number of other aspects I would highlight for you. For example, we have and are continuing to work with the complaints review commission established by our government with respect to the RCMP. I think significant enhancements need to be done. I will be bringing forward legislation to bring forward those enhancements of the complaints review process.
    If I may interrupt.... Yes, we would like to see that. We didn't see it in the last iteration of the legislation that was brought before prorogation.
    Let me ask you this. You have also made reference to the ICHR, which you describe as an independent centre for harassment resolution. That sounded to me, with the prevention education and training goals, more like the kind of thing that I was involved in, which was a dispute resolution mediation kind of thing, as opposed to, in fact, making sure that people who are guilty of serious sexual harassment, including instances of rape, for example.... The former Justice Bastarache identified 131 cases that he was aware of that qualified as that.
    What has been done to ensure that people who have actually committed serious criminal offences in the course of their interactions with other members of the RCMP are actually brought to justice? What has been done to follow up on that identified problem—as opposed to a dispute resolution—and in fact, to root out and make sure that those people who are responsible are actually held accountable?
     Mr. Harris, anyone who engages in those behaviours should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and should be in jail, and in my opinion has no right to be a police officer. The Government of Canada does not conduct criminal investigations, but I believe that where there is evidence—and again, one has to respect the wishes of the survivors of these actions in how we proceed—I am absolutely supportive of holding individuals who engage in those clearly criminal behaviours to the full account of the law. They should be brought to justice.
    Thank you, Mr. Harris.
    Again, the government doesn't conduct criminal investigations, but I'm very supportive of dealing with those individuals appropriately.
    That moves us to our second round. We'll commence our second five-minute round with Madam Stubbs, Madam Damoff, Madam Larouche, Mr. Harris, Mr. Van Popta and a Liberal to be named later.
    Go ahead, Madam Stubbs, for five minutes, please.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    Just following up on my question [Technical difficulty—Editor].
    You're on mute, Shannon.
    I'm sorry. I have serious rural Internet connection issues today. Thank you, Chair.
    I'll follow up on a point that Mr. Motz made and that Mr. Harris was ending on.
    Minister, can I get some clarity here? Rather than repeating our shared outrage about these issues, can you offer some specifics about the consequences? Are you saying that of the 3,000 complaints, of the 131 legitimate cases and of the 15 serial perpetrators and repeat offenders, not one single criminal charge has been laid and you aren't doing anything about it?


    Mrs. Stubbs, I'm not a police officer anymore. The responsibility for conducting criminal investigations and disciplinary investigations resides with the commissioner, so that question is perhaps better directed towards her.
    Let's start with you, though, as the minister accountable to Canadians. What are you going to do about it?
    I've been working very closely with the RCMP in bringing about reform in the complaints resolution process with respect to complaints resolution. We are working with the RCMP to support the changes that we've asked and directed the commissioner to make in her mandate, and are providing her with the support and resources that she requires to do that.
    You can understand that this seems a bit curious. Canadians would be looking to you for leadership, especially given that, with your government, the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers have shown a certain propensity for having no problem getting involved in the decisions of public prosecutions. However, we'll let your answer stand as it is.
    You've mentioned the independent review body being launched on June 30. First of all, I note that when Justice Bastarache was at the committee, which was one month after his report had been made public—it was seven months ago—he hadn't yet spoken to you. I'm glad to hear, as you said in your opening remarks, that somehow you've managed to make that happen in the last seven months. I also note that he said he had spoken to Commissioner Lucki already. He said:
She recognized that there had been a lack of leadership, and she told me of her willingness to address all of these issues and of how she was trying to set up a stronger support for herself in the central administration and even in the supervision.... In that sense, there was a better understanding, I think, within the RCMP of what has to be done.
    Just for clarity, that's what Justice Bastarache said about the RCMP response to the report when you had not yet spoken to him.
    Can you confirm what you will do, then, to ensure that there is a review, that action is taken and that there are consequences, by either the new body that is being set up or some body, for the 3,000 complaints, 131 legitimate cases and 15 repeat offenders?
    First of all, the government did provide $32 million in funding to establish the ICHR. I've also consulted with the labour ministry with respect to compliance so that we align with the Canada Labour Code's workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations. That is one of my responsibilities. With that budget, Ms. Stubbs—and you may recall voting against it—we did provide them with the resources necessary to do that.
    We're continuing the work, and I've had a number of discussions with the commissioner about how to ensure that the ICHR is truly a fully external body. There is some—
    Okay. I'll ask the commissioner—
     —additional work to be done, but we are moving forward on it.
     Thanks, Minister. I'll ask the commissioner about that later. I have another question for you.
    I just want to quote from Justice Bastarache's report, on page 48:
Of note are the assaults that took place at the hands of two RCMP doctors. Vulnerable women, applying to the RCMP, their dream career, were subjected to “prostate” rectal exams; their breasts were felt in a lingering and unprofessional manner; they were subjected to unnecessary and gratuitous vaginal “exams”. Nurses were not present. The Assessors were told that some members were aware of the conduct of these doctors and warned applicants about the doctors but that nothing was done to discipline them or to protect the vulnerable young women who were forced to endure these medical examinations.
    When I asked Justice Bastarache about that at committee, he said that these doctors were not part of the scope of the report and he was “told by government people that they're going to set up another process like mine for the victims of the two doctors.”
    Can you tell me what initiative you have taken to set up and update us on the status of that new process you've created per Justice Bastarache's recommendations to deal with the women who were violated by the doctors?
    Yes, and I'm pleased to be able to advise you that we've recently agreed with the RCMP to certify a class action related to women and men who were sexually assaulted during their medical examinations and were not covered under the Merlo Davidson settlement. The matter is taken very seriously. We are looking at all next steps, but we are certifying that class action, as was done with the Merlo Davidson settlement. These matters, as Justice Bastarache indicated, were not covered in that, so we are addressing them through the secondary process.
    Thank you.
    Specifically what would be the timeline on that?
    We certified the class action, and as you are aware, those things do take some time. However, as well, the RCMP has been informed of this issue with respect to Justice Bastarache's report.
    I'm sure the commissioner can inform you about what steps they are taking to ensure that there is no continuation of this totally unacceptable situation, and for those who are victims of that behaviour in the past, we certified a class action in order to deal that appropriately.


    Thank you.
    Mr. Chair, I'm assuming I'm done.
    Madam Stubbs, you did very well on the time.
    Thanks, Chair.
    Madam Damoff.
    Chair, before we go to my questions, I have a point of order.
    I don't know if my Conservative colleague knew that she was doing it when she was, but I suspect there are a number of women watching these proceedings right now. By reading those comments from the Bastarache report, and I know they're public record and we all agree that they're shocking, but it can also be very triggering for women who have survived sexual assault. I just would ask all members to be very careful as to what they're reading out loud or to be mindful in the way they ask questions that we probably have women watching these proceedings who experienced that and might find it triggering.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Yes. Thank you, member.
    Actually, I'll just respond. I thank my colleague for her point. Indeed, it is in a public report. It is important that we talk about specifics and name things when they happen. Also, I would suggest to my colleague that she shouldn't assume that every one of her colleagues on the committee right now in this meeting doesn't know intimately exactly what that's like.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    Okay. We can settle that point of caution. I don't necessarily regard it as a point of order.
    With that, I have a conflict here. Is Madam Damoff or Madam Lambropoulos next?
    Chair, I'm next.
    Okay. You have five minutes, please.
    Thanks, Chair.
    Commissioner Lucki, you shared a quote with me by Kwame Christian:
The best things in life are on the other side of a difficult conversation. If we can have the conversation in a better way, we can make meaningful change in the world around us.
    I don't know that we could be having a more difficult conversation than the one we are having following the Bastarache report.
    I applaud the work you've done and the changes in the senior ranks and the independent centre for harassment resolution. I guess my concern is with the rank and file. I just read an article from the CBC that the RCMP has lost 100 indigenous officers over the last three years and there are questions of racism.
    I read Janet Merlo's book, and much of the harassment she received when she reported I would call “microaggressions”. How can you ensure that the rank and file of the RCMP are moving along with you? The changes you've made are important, but when we read about these things and we hear about these things, you need to ensure that the rank and file is moving with you.
    I just wonder if you could talk about that a bit.
     First and foremost, within the rank and file, part of our initiative involves training, so we have brought in the cultural awareness and humility course. We've brought in trauma-informed approaches to victims, as well as anti-racism training. What is interesting with the anti-racism training is that the only reason we haven't rolled it out is that it's being done by Canadians who have been impacted by racism, so we want to make sure that this is very powerful training. That's part of it: training.
    Then, of course, we've rolled out our equity, diversity and inclusion strategy. That is part of my mandate and the objective to change the culture and transform the RCMP. There have been a lot of activities under that umbrella.
    We have to make sure, though, that when things happen in the RCMP and people aren't acting in accordance with our core values, they will, in fact, be held accountable. The interesting thing about core values is that we're actually reviewing those core values, and we're reviewing our core mission statement. They are actually building that from the bottom up instead of from the top down, so that there are actually these massive consultation sessions with various employees from all of the rank and file so that they will be part of this.
    It's interesting. I didn't think that we would actually make change, but when I see some of the emails I get.... For example, I see that they're talking about “Vision 150 and Beyond”, and they are quoting some of the things we are doing.
    I spoke to Linda Davidson. As she's reached out to me, I've reached out to her on several instances. One of the recent ones was with regard to the independent centre for harassment resolution, and I was so happy to hear her comments. We let her review the policy from start to finish and all the parts that are included in that, and she was very pleased with the progress. She felt that it was giving justice to things that weren't there for the RCMP, so that tells me that we're doing something right.
    I see it in the tones of the emails. I see it in behaviours, but the statistics, once we start looking at it.... We're not looking at it as far as the statistics right now. We're building those foundations, though, like I said in my opening remarks. When I come and go.... There is nothing worse than doing something and, as soon as I leave, it's gone. No, it's all about the foundation and building that strong so that the next person can continue.


    I'm going to stop you there because I also have a quick question for the minister.
    I'm pretty sure that Glen Motz would agree with this, but why is it important, Minister, for parliamentarians and ministers of the Crown to not be involved in criminal investigations?
    Actually, it's a founding principle of the RCMP and of government. As a police officer myself for 39 years.... No politician, no government, should interfere with determining who should be investigated or what the outcomes of those investigations are.
    It is a rather interesting question to put to me, as I spent 39 years of my life conducting criminal investigations, but it's absolutely not my responsibility, and I'm very respectful. I have ministerial responsibility for and oversight of the RCMP, but I do not direct the commissioner or the RCMP in their operations and, in particular, I do not direct criminal investigations or the outcome of those investigations. That is entirely the independent responsibility of the RCMP. It's a fundamental principle of Canadian law.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Madam Damoff.
    I want to be respectful of everybody's time. The minister is scheduled to leave in a few minutes.
    I think the way we will do this is that Madam Larouche will do two and a half minutes, and Mr. Harris will do two and a half minutes. Then the minister can excuse himself, and we'll continue on with the commissioner.


    Ms. Larouche, the floor is yours for two and a half minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Minister, I would like to go back to a comment you made in your opening statement.
    First, we know that there have been calls for changes in the RCMP on a number of occasions for more than 30 years. We know that the culture and the sexual harassment are among the problems.
    You mentioned that changes are happening but that they are happening slowly. How can we make them happen more quickly? What do we need to speed up the implementation of the recommendations in the Bastarache Report? Is more money needed? Is it a matter of political will or of leadership?
    What do we need to speed up these important processes for changing the culture within the RCMP?


     Madam Larouche, I think one of the most important elements of your question is about leadership, and it's one of the reasons we selected Commissioner Lucki as the first woman commissioner of the RCMP. Commissioner Lucki, I believe, has been doing some excellent work in bringing a significant change at the top for her organization, and it is far more reflective....
    I would also point out, for example, some of the things that Justice Bastarache identified with respect to, for example, maternity and parental leave within the RCMP. Those are things that, quite frankly, the traditional, iconic organization that is the RCMP has been perhaps not as quick and adaptable to as they need to be. Ensuring meaningful work for women who are expecting children, providing sufficient human resource funding and backfilling positions are a number of very significant things that the RCMP can do to create a more welcoming environment.
    The commissioner is very much seized with modifications through the equity, diversity and inclusion strategy to bring about changes in their recruitment, changes in their training and significant changes in the work environment, all of which I believe will be necessary to and supportive of the diversity the RCMP seeks.
    You have a few seconds.
    I think we'll probably go to Mr. Harris for a final two and a half minutes.


    Since I only have 20 seconds left, I'll keep my question for later. I wanted to ask Commissioner Lucki again, but I don't have enough time for it.
    Mr. Minister, thank you very much for being with us today.


    Well, you'll get another round.
    Mr. Harris, you have two and a half minutes.


    Thank you, Chair.
    Minister, you referred to the RCMP as an “iconic” force. Indeed, it is. It's over 150 years old. It was a colonial force, in fact, a tool of colonialism in Canada, and it's also a paramilitary force with the training that goes with that.
    Do you think it's time for that to be changed, that we not have what's been described to our committee as a process that strips down the individual and builds them back up again in the mould of the RCMP? Isn't that something that should be tossed away with the colonial attitude that was present at the time of the incorporation of the force, and we should turn to a police service model? Would the minister agree with that?
    Mr. Harris, I very much agree with that. One of the founding principles of policing is that the police are the public, and the public are the police. The police truly do have to reflect the values and the diversity of the people they are sworn to serve and protect. I think that type of reform, that type of evolution, has been an important thing for all policing right across the country, and it's particularly important for such an iconic, tradition-bound organization as the RCMP.
    There is very much, I think, for Canadians to be proud of, but the RCMP has to continue to evolve and to become more reflective, and frankly, more open. I believe that engaging more fulsomely with the people they're sworn to serve and protect—
    Minister, if you agree with that, what do you think needs to happen to get rid of that paramilitary mindset and bring about changes from the very start of recruitment to the RCMP? What needs to happen? What will you do?
    I would invite you to discuss with the commissioner in the next round some of the reforms she's bringing about at Depot, where much of the emphasis at one point in time was placed upon marching and compliance with that paramilitary structure and those traditions. It's evolving quite significantly to become far more inclusive, far more diverse and far more open to working within communities.
    I've watched policing evolve significantly, Mr. Harris, over the past 40 years. There's still progress that needs to be made, but I believe that the commissioner is very much engaged with her senior management team in bringing about those changes in recruitment, in training and in the way services are being delivered. A big part of that is working with the people who are policed by the RCMP, including in indigenous communities, to ensure that the police services delivered in their communities are respectful of the way in which they wish to be policed and really develop that relationship that I spoke of that is so important between the police and the public.
    Thank you, Mr. Harris.
    At this point, we'll excuse Minister Blair and go on to Mr. Van Popta for five minutes, please.
    Thank you, Minister Blair.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, committee members.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Commissioner Lucki, it's good to see you. Thank you for being here. This is a very important discussion that we're having today.
    The minister was asked on a couple of occasions about possible criminal prosecutions, and he pointed out that elected politicians don't do prosecutions. Of course, I agree with that, but Commissioner Lucki, what is your opinion on that? Would this be an appropriate situation for appointing a special prosecutor?
    If the witnesses Mr. Justice Bastarache and the other investigators heard from are to be believed, there was criminal activity, and I think, for the sake of public confidence in our national police force, that needs to be taken seriously. What do you say about that? Is this an appropriate case for a special prosecutor?
     The first thing I will say is that there is no tolerance in my organization for that behaviour, period—full stop.
    In terms of the conditions under which Justice Bastarache went through the process, there was full confidentiality. Unfortunately, and I talked about this when it came out, I have no idea who the offenders are unless the survivors of that activity come forward. It's unfortunate, but if that behaviour shows itself now, absolutely we deal with that. We lay charges in those instances. The thing is that we can't deconflict with what Justice Bastarache said and figure out who those offenders are, because it was all done in confidentiality.
    One message that I really do want to give loud and clear is this: I need the women to speak out. We're listening. We are creating a process that will.... We're taking this seriously. That's what the ICHR is about. They can come forward, but if it's criminal, absolutely it's paramount that they come forward. It will be investigated.


    Thank you for that.
    I find it a little hard to believe that you don't have reasonable and probable grounds for having an investigation. Mr. Justice Bastarache said in his report that it was an open secret, not just in the last six months or couple of years but going back many years, that there was sexual harassment going on. This never would have stood in the private sector. Something would have happened.
    What do you say about that?
    We don't know what we don't know, unfortunately. If these complaints are not brought forward...and they don't have to be brought forward by the person who is the victim of those complaints. They can be brought forward in any form. We will do a fulsome investigation if it's an internal process. If it's criminal, we will seek outside resources to do a criminal investigation. We will bring that to the court.
    When you talk about special prosecutors, we don't need special prosecutors. It's the court. It's a Criminal Code offence. It will be brought to Canadian courts and charges will be laid. People will be held to account if the evidence is there.
    I have a question about the report itself. When I read it, I was shocked, as I'm sure many Canadians were, at how pervasive sexual discrimination and abuse is in the RCMP. As Mr. Justice Bastarache said, it's not new. It's been going on for many years.
    Commissioner Lucki, I have a great deal of respect for you and your career. Having been in the RCMP or police services for so many years, were you shocked by what that report said?
    Oh, my goodness, absolutely I was shocked.
    Everybody has a journey. I've had a journey. It was so difficult to see what some people had to go through and how long it took for their concerns to be heard.
    I talked to Linda Davidson before the report came out. When she told me, “You know, I love the RCMP, but nobody would listen,” that tore my heart. I vowed that this would never happen again, ever—not on my watch, anyway.
    That's exactly why I brought in—
    Thank you. I think we were all shocked.
    Are you confident that the initiatives you're now starting will be effective in restoring the public's confidence—and pride, I might add—in the RCMP? I was brought up to be very proud of my RCMP. This report was not only shocking. It was also very disappointing.
    Unfortunately, we will have to save the answer to that good question for the next round.
    With that, Ms. Lambropoulos, you have five minutes, please.
    Thank you, Commissioner Lucki, for being with us today. It must not be easy to reconfront something that was already shocking to everybody. I can't imagine how it must have felt for you, someone who is heading the organization and who is the commissioner of the RCMP.
    I'm a little newer with regard to this. I did read the Bastarache report. I was able to ask him questions when he came to committee. I have a question with regard to how complaints work.
    The way I understand it, the RCMP investigates the complaint itself. To whom does the complaint go? Who receives the complaint once someone comes forward?
     Thank you for that question.
    If you're speaking specifically to the harassment complaints, the ICHR has been set up as a separate entity. Any other complaints outside the harassment process go through our code of conduct process. Of course, criminal complaints go a whole different route.
    With harassment specifically, what we've done with the ICHR is to bring it out of the chain of command. We've brought in external investigators. The external investigators aren't part of the RCMP. They've been procured through government processes. They will do the complete investigation. They will come to a conclusion. Once the conclusion is made, it will be brought back to a conduct authority outside of the chain of command if there is, in fact, discipline to be dealt with. If there is no discipline to be dealt with.... Obviously we try to deal with things at the lowest level through a referral to an informal conflict management program if we can, but if not, it goes through that whole investigation.
     It's important that this process is accessible, timely and supports that accountability. The biggest part of it, as well, is the restoration of the workplace. In the initial instances, we may in fact move people out of their workplace. We may have to move individuals who have allegations of this behaviour against them out of the workplace to restore it the workplace and make sure it is safe.
    That's the process in general terms. I could pass it over to Mr. Stringer, our chief administrative officer, who was instrumental in creating this process with our management advisory board, if you need more information.


    Thank you.
    Before we go on to Mr. Stringer, I have a second question. Afterwards, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Stringer can chime in as well.
    First of all, it seems that not many people came forward, as you said yourself, until it was completely confidential and someone on the outside was doing the investigation. A lot of the women made reference to the fact that they didn't feel they could come forward because they would be punished. They felt that the people doing the harassing were actually getting rewarded and it was some sort of clique, an old boys' club type of thing.
    What—concretely—is being done to counter this? I mean, you spoke a lot about the culture and the things that you're doing at the top to change things so that once you're gone, the next person who takes your seat can continue the change. Obviously, we want the change to continue.
    What—concretely—is being done to make people feel comfortable, feel like they can come forward and feel like they aren't going to be punished for coming forward? How can you entice and encourage women to come forward if they are afraid that their career is in jeopardy or that no one is going to be on their side?
    That is a great question. Thank you for that.
    First of all, the RCMP prohibits acts of reprisal or retaliation. Employees who engage in retaliation against a complainant, a respondent, a witness, an investigator or even a decision-maker will be subject to disciplinary or conduct measures up to and including dismissal. We take it really seriously.
    The new ICHR process has clear and accessible information on the policies. We expect the reports of reprisals to be resolved according to the Canada Labour Code regulations. We also have to look at education, prevention and awareness, and we have to promote employee trust, of course. That's important. We have to make sure that this process is fair, people are taken seriously and they need not fear any reprisals.
    Thank you, Madam Lambropoulos.
    With that we complete the second round. We're starting the third round.
    Mr. Kurek, you have five minutes, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the commissioner and the witnesses for coming to the committee today.
    Commissioner, I found my colleague Mr. Van Popta's question very poignant. In one notable part of the report, I read about the grievous culture of sexual assault within the Musical Ride. In my childhood, I remember going and being excited about the horses and seeing a significant amount of Canadian pride represented there. That's a massive challenge.
    I'd like to give you the opportunity to conclude or to answer Mr. Van Popta's question. Are the measures that have been taken thus far—that you've described in part and that the minister has described other aspects of—enough to restore accountability, give justice to the victims and ensure that Canadians can have pride in the RCMP?


     Thank you for that.
    There is no one measure that's going to be a panacea. When I was describing at one committee about training, it's not just about training. Of course it's not going to change our culture, nor is one event, but it's a series of events and it's building that foundation.
    First of all, it's getting the right people in the door, making sure they have the right character, testing for bias and anti-racist behaviour, and then bringing them into our organization, training them, teaching them the core values, training them on the consequences of not adhering to the core values and firming those up through a cadet field-coaching program. Then it's an entire suite of leadership training and leadership development not only of supervisors but also for them to be able to hold others to account. It's the policies and procedures, changing those, and then using the external expertise. There's this whole suite of foundational pieces.
    Thank you very much, Commissioner. I appreciate that.
    Because we have very limited time within the committee, would it be possible for you to table with the committee some of those documents and some of the recruitment mechanisms that you've referenced? Certainly I'd be very curious to see what that looks like, and I'm sure others on the committee would as well, some of the other measures that you're talking about so that members of the committee could see that.
    Frankly, I found it quite astounding that the minister talked quite a bit about the future, and I understand that's certainly the way that policy is effected, but to your knowledge, have there been any terminations resulting from sexual misconduct in the RCMP from the actions outlined in the Bastarache report?
    I can't tie that specifically to the Bastarache report, because I don't know who those people are. I know that one of the—
    If I could broaden that, then, in the last seven months or so, have there been any investigations initiated or charges laid against members of the RCMP for sexual misconduct?
    Yes, there have.
    For some of our statistics, if I go to 2019, for example, when I talk about sexual misconduct files, there were 50 files initiated, and out of those 50, 16 were established. Out of those, we had some voluntary discharges where people resigned or quit the RCMP, and in those cases, we had 11 that were dealt with in serious disciplinary measures, which can go from demotion to greater financial penalties, permanent transfer or dismissal.
    I do say, though, for many people, when it gets to that part of the hearing, there are people who resign.
    Have there been RCMP officers or members found guilty, yes or no?
    I have one final question here, as I have a few seconds.
    How many of Justice Bastarache's recommendations have been fully implemented thus far?
    I will get you that number.
    Some of them we've grouped into themes. I'm just looking at the numbers here.
    All of the recommendations have been worked on and implemented in spirit. I say that because one example is day cares in detachments, which is not possible, but we need to look at measures to provide day care for parents in the RCMP and women who have children. We need to be able to provide that day care. It won't be within a detachment, for example, but we are pursuing all recommendations.
    Thank you, Commissioner.
    Rather than our letting you struggle with trying to be more precise, could you undertake to the committee to give us as precise a response as possible to Mr. Kurek's question?
    With that, we'll turn to Madam Khera for five minutes, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Commissioner Lucki, for being here.
    I know how difficult it is for everyone to be talking about this very troubling report. As I've said before, it is one of the most troubling and shocking reports that I've certainly ever read.
    My colleague Mr. Kurek actually ended his questioning with the one that I wanted to get at first: Out of the 52 recommendations made by the Bastarache report, how many have been adopted?
    Can you also speak to the specific changes you've started to address in terms of this misogynistic, racist and homophobic toxic culture within the RCMP?


     In regard to your first question, we are looking at and implementing all recommendations, some of them not specifically as written by Justice Bastarache but in other ways, in a more holistic approach, like I said, for example, with the day care. There's a full commitment to all recommendations.
    Thank you for that.
    Commissioner, I also wanted to just talk briefly about the existing sanctions regime. I was informed that the conduct measures guide was last updated in 2014. Clearly, much has changed during that time. Can you perhaps expand on how this review could be reflective of the developments that have occurred since then?
    That's a great question. We are doing a full review of the conduct measures regime. We are looking at the sanctions. Like you said, they were done in 2014, and we are hiring an external expert in that field to go through and to make sure that it's to today's modernization standards and that it's in line.
    I could pass that over to Mr. Stringer. That's his area that he's working on.
     Thank you for that. I'm happy to add to that.
    As the commissioner said, when we saw the recommendations from Justice Bastarache, there were a number of them that spoke to strengthening the sanctions regime. There were a few very specific areas. We did take a look at our conduct measures guidance, and that's where we outline, if this happens, this is the discipline. We realized, as was pointed out in the question, that this was last updated in 2014. Even the language didn't speak to some of the issues that we're facing today.
    The view is setting up the ICHR but at the same time taking a look at the conduct and the sanctions regime and making sure that we're looking at what other police organizations are doing, plus other organizations. We're measuring what we have against what was in the report from Justice Bastarache and, as the commissioner said, making sure that it meets with the expectations of the public, the commissioner and employees in 2021 and going forward.
    Thank you for that.
    Commissioner Lucki, the Bastarache report also found that there were structural inequalities that prevented women and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community from receiving promotion, training and work assignments on an equal basis with other applicants. I'm sure that you would agree that one way to address that is having that diversity at the leadership level.
    Since the release of the report, have there been any changes made to have that diversity and to have promotions of standing of women and LGBTQ2S+ individuals within the RCMP?
    Absolutely. At the senior level, for example, you see on the screen our chief human resource officer, Gail Johnson, and our associate human resource officer, who helped create the EDI strategy, Nadine Huggins. We have a member of our LGBTQ community who is our chief strategic and external relations officer.
    In the RCMP, we have 15 commanding officers. I used to say that we had almost 50% female, but now I can say that we have 60%. There are more females than there are males.
    When you used to see the senior executive table, it used to be, like I said, white male police officers. Now you'll see diversity. Also, in the category of employees, they're not all police officers. We've brought in a female chief financial officer. We have brought in Kevin Stringer, who is a senior expert civilian. Gail Johnson and Nadine Huggins are not police officers either. We're getting not just diversity in the traditional sense but diversity of ideas and thoughts.
    I would really like to pass it to Nadine, because she is so good at—


    Unfortunately, you've left her no time to be passed to.
    I got too excited.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Madam Khera.


    Ms. Larouche, the floor is yours for two and a half minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Perhaps I can have Ms. Huggins speak.
    Ms. Lucki, you have talked about the efforts you have made to develop parity and equity. You talked about it as one of the measures you have put in place to combat what has been happening for 30 years in the Army in terms of discrimination, sexual harassment and problems with regard to the various LGBTQ2S+ communities. What would you have wanted Ms. Huggins to tell us about that?
    Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today.
    I will just be talking about our strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion.


     I'll say that the commissioner has spoken a lot about foundation. The EDI strategy that we've developed actually is one of the core bricks in our foundation. Like many institutions across the public service and across Canada, we've been on a path and now the RCMP has set a place and it's building a new foundation for our organization.
    The EDI strategy is established along four pillars. One is around providing the appropriate leadership and governance. Second is to be clear, accountable and transparent in the tactics that we're putting in place. Third, we are enhancing the education and awareness of our organization from the ground up. All of these, taken together, will contribute to the culture change that the commissioner has been talking about.


    That will change the culture of the RCMP. We have taken the time to really reflect on it, to hold discussions with independent experts, employees and external committees, in order to develop a document and adopt an approach to equity, diversity and inclusion that will truly change our organization.
    Thank you.


    You have 10 seconds.


    Ms. Lucki, you talked about the right people doing the right job.
    How will that help to change the culture within the RCMP?


    Answer very briefly, please.


    I feel that—
    Ms. Lucki, in your opening remarks, you talked about the importance of having the right people doing the right job. I was giving you the opportunity to use the rest of my time.
    Why is that important in changing the culture within the RCMP?


    Unfortunately, Madam Larouche is out of time. Hopefully, you will have another opportunity to answer that.
    Mr. Harris, you have two and a half minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Commissioner Lucki, I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak to you.
    I have to say, I am a little shocked that you were shocked at Justice Bastarache's report.
    I've had a look at your bio and you and I are both graduates of the University of Alberta, which is wonderful. I see you have 35 years of experience in the RCMP. You've been decorated with the Order of Military Merit and various other decorations in a considerably great career in the RCMP.
    Janet Merlo's book was written in 2013, and there were other women speaking out at that time about difficulties in the RCMP.
    I'm just wondering, when Justice Bastarache says there was a toxic culture of misogyny, homophobia and racism, including sexual violence, and talked about retribution as part of this culture against people coming out with complaints, how could you be shocked? Did you miss that along the way? It's an honest question. I am just curious about that.
    It's a fair question.
    I was shocked, I think, by the scale of it. I was shocked by the fact that so many women were too scared to come forward, and it took this to come forward. I was shocked by the fact that nobody listened.
    When I talked to Linda Davidson, it was a game-changer for me. If you talked to her, you wouldn't even know that she was one of the survivors. She just said, “You know what, Commissioner? Nobody was listening.” I was shocked by that because I said, “How can that happen?” How could people not listen to things like that? That's disgusting and we need to change that. How can we make it safe for those people to come forward?
    It really put fuel in my fire, that report.
     We've been working on a lot of things. Most of the recommendations in those reports, we've already been working on because the recommendations were not a shock.
    What was a shock was some of the stories and the fact that we don't have a mechanism where people feel safe to come forward. That's why you have my full commitment to that and to making our RCMP the most inclusive and the most diverse we can be, and to making it a place that's welcoming and that allows people to flourish in our organization so that not only will they come to our organization, but they will stay and they will flourish and they will not leave because they're dissatisfied, or they will not leave hurt and broken and sad, and treated like that. That can't happen.


     Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Harris.
    Madam Stubbs, you have five minutes, please.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    Thanks for being here, Commissioner Lucki.
    I still want to know what will be done about the people, the cases identified in Justice Bastarache's work. Here's the question I'm wondering about: Can you foresee or would you commit to figuring out a way that this independent body that's going to be...? I guess you can't relay whether it's going to be independent, but for whoever is giving input into how this independent body is going to work, can there be some consideration that it be given the power to retroactively deal with the findings in Bastarache's report?
    Tangential to that, if you can't comment on that part, do you think there is insufficient information or insufficient evidence in Bastarache's report to launch an internal investigation within the RCMP, particularly with regard to these 15 repeat offenders? I think it's literally the business of the police on a daily basis to identify repeat offenders.
    I'm very glad to hear about the work going forward, and I look forward to ongoing reporting about that, but I'm still concerned about doing justice for those people.
    Yes, I agree with you. I am absolutely concerned as well.
    I notice that one person spoke about the investigations in Bastarache. There was no investigation. These were testimonies. Some were hand-written and submitted, and when they got to a higher level, there were interviews, but they weren't your classic interview that we would do for evidence. They were determining the level of harm that the person experienced. It wasn't evidentiary, and besides that, all of those interviews and any paper documents have been destroyed.
    That was part of the agreement. It was completely confidential, so we don't know who came forward. They were all numbered and it was under lock and key, so to be able to follow up on that is impossible. That's why internally we've asked people to come forward. Some of my internal broadcasts have been put on Facebook for some of the females to see, with the help of Linda Davidson. There has been talk also since the last time I spoke about Bastarache.
    The only thing I can do is to call on people to come forward. If anything criminal has happened to you, please come forward to your police of jurisdiction. You don't even have to come to the RCMP. If you need help or you need support, you should come to us and we will give you that help. We will give you that support.
    I have had people come forward with events, but they haven't been part of the Merlo Davidson settlement, just separate ones, and they now have the courage to come forward because they are seeing action. They're seeing a process that will be able to deal with them. It's something that we're taking seriously, absolutely.
    I wish I could say.... We did do a scrub-down when we heard that. When Justice Bastarache testified and said that there were repeat offenders, we did a scrub-down of our entire process for anybody who had been in the system, but of course if Bastarache is referring to people who have behaved badly and haven't been reported, investigated or put through any process, then we don't have it. We've only done the scrub-down of the ones who were in the system.


    Okay. Thank you, Commissioner. I wish you and the RCMP well. I believe that you're sincere about making this change. I hope you receive the political support, the resources and the will you need to get that done in this institution. I certainly have family members and friends who are both administrative support and RCMP officers within the institution. I think it's important for all Canadians.
    Chair, at this time, I'm just going to move a motion because I know that all of us here on this committee share our shock and our outrage, but I know that—
    Can we hold that motion until we've finished with Madam Damoff? Then I'll open up the floor to you to move that motion.
    Yes. Here's what I'm wondering: Could I move it now, and then we can proceed with additional questions on behalf of all the members and come back to it, or would we come back to me right after, before I move—
     Just to maintain some level of order, my thought would be that we finish with Ms. Damoff, you move your motion and then presumably some debate would follow from that.
    I just take note that we are eating into the time that we have available with the commissioner.
    Chair, if I can do that before we move into any in camera meeting at the end of it, that's perfectly fine with me.
    Madam Damoff, you have five minutes, please.
    Thanks, Chair.
    Commissioner, we haven't talked a lot about Depot. One of the things that was also in the Bastarache report was that the toxic culture actually started at Depot. As a result, the folks that join the RCMP get trained in this toxic culture right from day one.
    I have a couple of questions. What are you doing to change the culture at Depot? Will the independent centre for harassment resolution be available to recruits who are doing the training at Depot?
    I'm glad you asked that question because Depot is a regular member's first experience of the RCMP. It's where our culture does in fact start. When recruits learn at Depot, how they learn it will impact them as a police officer. We need to get that right, absolutely.
    We started off with a new chief learning officer who has been appointed to strengthen the national standard, the coordination and the oversight for the RCMP learning, including the Depot modernization. That chief learning officer has been mandated to work with experts and conduct what we call a full level-three evaluation of the cadet training program. That's to ensure that the curriculum is reflecting the needs in the field. It will also include that GBA+ lens that we like to use to ensure the content is inclusive, doesn't intentionally reinforce stereotypes and reflects modern reality.
    We do have plans as well. We're very lucky that we have the First Nations University of Canada right there in Regina. We're partnering with them to review all of the indigenous content and the cultural awareness curriculum.
    When we do anything with gender-based violence, missing and murdered women or anything indigenous, we always bring outside experts in to present the material, so that people get a better sense of how the people are impacted by what police do each and every day.
    We're also working to assess that paramilitary aspect that we spoke about. We're ensuring that we can look at some of the paramilitary parts. If parts promote pride or team building, we'll look at those and keep those. If they are not promoting things that are conducive to our core values, we will not keep them in our curriculum.
    To answer your question about the ICHR, yes, in fact the cadets will be able to report complaints.
    I'd like to throw it over to Gail Johnson because she's actually the person in charge of our training academy. She's done a lot of work on that.


     Thank you, Commissioner, Mr. Chair and committee members.
    With respect to Depot, we have a lot of work under way. We are examining the culture of Depot from a number of aspects.
    The commissioner has mentioned the paramilitary nature of the organization. We did have an assessment done by our evaluation group to look at the paramilitary nature of Depot to see if it had an impact on the culture of the organization and the work that we need to do to make sure we have a modern and inclusive training academy.
    It's under review right now because we've received the preliminary findings. We're continuing to look at the report, but in the meantime we're looking at the total number of hours that are spent on the paramilitary aspects of activities at Depot. We want to make sure that we have an optimal balance between that and the other cadet training elements. We're also developing an approach so that we clearly communicate the purpose and the desired outcomes of all paramilitary activities to ensure cadets understand how the skills—
    I have another quick question for the commissioner. I'm going to stop you there because my time's almost up.
    I want to follow up on something that Mrs. Stubbs asked.
    Commissioner, will the independent centre be able to investigate on behalf of these women from the past? Would they be able to file complaints through there?
     Yes. The independent centre will deal with the harassment complaints—
    That's only current complaints, though.
    Commissioner, let's say someone has left the RCMP. Would they be able to go there? Could you think about that? I think there's still a fear of coming forward. If someone was an RCMP officer, is there some way for these women to have a place to come forward? I think that's what Shannon was getting at.
     In terms of what you're doing, moving forward is great, but for the women and LGBTQ2S who are survivors of sexual violence and assault, is there a way for them to have a process? Perhaps you can think about that.
    If it is criminal, there is no prescribed time, and it doesn't have to come back into the organization. If it's sexual assault or any type of behaviour like that, that would go to the police of jurisdiction and there is no timeline on that.
    Thank you.
    Sometimes people need support to come forward.
    Thank you, Madam Damoff.
    Before I turn it over to Mrs. Stubbs for her motion, the chair has a reflective concern based on Justice Bastarache's report.
     We've paid out $125 million. I don't know whether that's out of the RCMP's budget or whether it's out of Public Safety's budget, but one way or another, it's the taxpayers of Canada who paid out $125 million on 3,000-plus claims. The commissioner of the RCMP has no idea to whom the money was paid and has no idea whether the perpetrators, at a level of criminality or less than criminality, are still in the midst of the force. All documents have been destroyed, and there's no real possibility of any clinical justice, in the Criminal Code sense of the word, coming out of this situation, absent the initiative of those who are the victims.
    Do you see that as a very poor state of affairs?
    I see that as the cards dealt when we deal with civil litigation, which isn't remedial or isn't forward-leaning that way. It is simply a reimbursement for harm that has been caused.
    For me, the silver lining to this is the report, getting at least some of the ideas. The recommendations weren't surprising, but they reinforced what we needed to do. There were some things that came forward that we weren't specifically focused on but that we are now focused on.
    It really gave the survivors a voice, and that was why it was so confidential. It was interesting. I gave Justice Bastarache the opportunity. I asked him, through the lawyers, of course, if he was going to do a draft report that we could respond to, so that we could give him some context on some of the issues, and he absolutely forbade that.
    I couldn't understand why, because all the different kinds of reviews that we get through audit committees always do that. I understand now. If he had refuted some of the voices because of some of the information I gave him, that wouldn't have given them their voice. That was what this activity or this lawsuit was about, giving those members a voice.
     It came out loud and clear again when I talked to Linda Davidson about how she finally had a voice. She was finally able to tell her story in hope that it would result in changes in the organization, and that's where I come in.


    I don't take issue with the process for giving these claimants a voice. What I take issue with is that there seems to be little or no consequences, except for the taxpayers of Canada, who have to put up $125 million. All we have at this point are initiatives to go forward, which everyone on this committee would applaud, but the consequences for the perpetrators seem to be exceedingly modest.
    I'll leave it there. Having listened to an hour and a half worth of testimony, I had to express myself.
     Chair, if I may, I want to thank you for expressing that. I think that's the frustration of many Canadians who have read this report and understand where we're at.
    Yes, the victims need a voice and I agree with that, but we still have the potential and the possibility that there are continued victims currently in the RCMP, because those perpetrators remain in the RCMP, and in some cases, as the report has indicated, their actions are serial in nature. As Mr. Harris and others have mentioned, and you as well, Commissioner, there has to be a way—there has to be a way—besides your internal memos to your members, that we can get rid of this scar and that those who are responsible can be held responsible in some way.
    We won't get all of them, and I appreciate that the evidence threshold is totally different in this context as opposed to the report that he put together, but I would encourage you to do everything moving forward, as the chair has indicated, so that those responsible for these actions are held accountable and that any further ones who come under the new process face the full extent of the law and face those measures.
    Thank you for your time, Chair.
    Thank you.
    With that, I'm assuming, Madam Stubbs, that we can release the commissioner in order for you to move your motion.
    Thank you for coming before the committee. I can only imagine that this has been difficult for you, but it's been exceedingly difficult for many others as well.
    Thank you for coming.
    Thank you for the opportunity to show that we are committed to making that change. We're not going let you down.
    Thank you.
    With that, we'll release the commissioner and her colleagues and move to Madam Stubbs, taking into account that we also have set aside 15 minutes in camera for some conversation.
    Shannon, go ahead.
    I'll speak at my usual rapid-fire pace that causes such grief for the poor interpreters.
    To end on that note, thanks, Chair, Pam and Glen for the questions and the summary that you made there at the end. That's exactly what I was trying to get at. I'm totally mind-boggled by this. I have no doubt that each and every one of us, regardless of our party affiliation, wants to see actual action on this and actual consequences. I think all of us are still deeply concerned about what will happen in terms of justice for the victims and consequences for the perpetrators.
    Anyway, I'll get—


    Shannon, I know you're speaking very rapidly and you can probably cover in two minutes what the rest of the us would cover in 20, but we do have a hard stop at 6:30 p.m. That's entirely my fault.
    Okay, I'll move this motion.
    Here's my motion, which I'm thinking and hoping we'll all support and get done so that we can get some action and a report back to Parliament and to Canadians on these issues.
    I move:
That the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, in response to Merlo-Davidson settlement report (the Bastarache Report) titled “Broken Dreams Broken Lives” by retired Justice Michel Bastarache, considers the response of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to be insufficient given the seriousness of criminal activities and sexual misconduct in the RCMP, and since this inaction is detrimental to the integrity of our national law enforcement service, the communities they serve and the integrity of our criminal justice system, the committee:
1. adopt and submit the Bastarache Report and its recommendations as a report to the House;
2. report to the House its recommendation that the Government withhold all performance pay and bonuses for executives and managers at both the RCMP and Public Safety Canada until the executives and managers implement the Bastarache report recommendations that fall within their authority;
3. calls upon the Commissioner of the RCMP to provide a detailed report to the committee before June 23, 2021, on all ongoing actions and planning to implement the recommendations of the Bastarache Report, including timelines for implementation and ongoing work to meet the recommendations, and further calls for this report be updated and provided to the committee by the last Friday of each month until the committee is satisfied that the RCMP has met its obligations;
4. encourages the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness not to interfere or tamper with the reports referred to in subsection 3, but be provided a copy at the appropriate time by the Commissioner; and,
5. direct the Chair to call a meeting of the committee on the Bastarache Report if any updates requested in subsection 3 are not provided on time.
    The motion is in order, even though there's no 48 hours' notice, because it arises out of the business of the committee.
    We are down to three minutes. That hardly gives any opportunity to discuss the report, but first of all, I'm not quite sure if I saw Pam's hand up first and then Andréanne's—
    I was second.
    You were second, so Andréanne is first.
    Madam Larouche, go ahead.


     Would it be possible to have that motion in writing so that we can take it all in?


     I'm assuming that is possible. It was moved verbally, so I'm assuming you do have a French copy, Shannon.
    The answer is yes.
    Pam, go ahead.
    Thanks, Chair.
    We were all deeply upset by the Bastarache report, but also, the end of the meeting saw co-operation in the ways that all parties want to move forward on this.
    Having Shannon read it and not having had a chance to digest it, I would move, given it's 6:29, Chair, that we adjourn and then the motion can be distributed to all of us.
    That's probably a motion that is in order and non-debatable, and I think we don't have that much choice, since our resources end at 6:30.
    Is there any wish to vote on this or will we just accept it as is?
    Okay, I think we put this off to a further debate.
    I don't think we can do much more if we have a hard stop. I believe that Shannon, in her exuberance, used up whatever time there was and has taken us a little bit by surprise with the detail, so I guess we'll have to think about it.


    Okay, we have a meeting on Monday. I'll try to figure out where to put it on the agenda, because it does affect other things that we have in play.
    With that, unfortunately, we have to adjourn, unless my clerk says something to the contrary.
    Seeing nothing, the meeting is adjourned.
Publication Explorer
Publication Explorer