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View Mel Arnold Profile
View Mel Arnold Profile
2020-02-07 14:14 [p.1113]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise, but unfortunately the previous member got cut short. I am sure he had more to say. He is such an eloquent speaker and it is always a pleasure, but always a challenge to follow someone like him.
It is rather fitting that this bill is up for debate this month. Some members may be aware, but I do not think most are, that February 1, 2020, was the 100th anniversary of the forming of the RCMP in Canada. It is an exemplary police force. I heard a member today say she had worked for the RCMP for a number of years before coming to this House. I know we have members on both sides who have served in police work, the RCMP and so on.
My brother-in-law entered the force back in the early 70s. He got transferred out to where we lived in North Okanagan—Shuswap. He met my sister and, even after the rough time our older brothers gave him, they decided to get married. He spent many years in the force and retired from the force from the audit department.
That audit department is internal in the force. They go in and review all the cases in the detachments. He travelled throughout Western Canada and spent many years doing that. A very honourable, but sometimes challenging role because he was reviewing his fellow officers' work.
I speak about the RCMP and the honourable role it has had. I am also fortunate we have a retired RCMP commissioner, the first female RCMP commissioner. She went through the first female recruiting class at Depot in Regina in 1974 and was posted to Salmon Arm in my community of North Okanagan—Shuswap. She served many years with the RCMP and eventually retired as commissioner, but chose the North Okanagan—Shuswap area as her retirement home.
Many people may not be aware, but she is now appointed as senator from B.C. to the upper chamber of the Senate. It is a great honour. We have gotten to know her, her husband and her friends over the past few years. She is a very honourable person and a great fit in our legislative system here in Canada.
There is so much honour in the roles of the people within the RCMP and CBSA. Unfortunately, we have the odd person who many not be as honourable and that is why we need these review processes. I would not want to see the entire CBSA be tainted and for the public think we have to review everyone in that department. That is certainly not the case.
I mentioned that February 1 was the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RCMP. In the town of Vernon, we had a couple of fellows form a small committee to do an RCMP Appreciation Day. I went home last weekend and took part in that at the Vernon Museum and Archives. It was a great representation there.
One of the greatest pieces was they also had two brand new RCMP recruits, who had arrived in the last 48 hours, take part in that ceremony as part of that recognition. Later that night, they were in their red serges and came out on the ice to help drop the puck at the Vernon Vipers hockey game. That honour and tradition was there. Senator Busson was there in her regalia and the members were there in their red serges, showing the honour that is there.
Many of us travel through airports. I do regularly back and forth in travel from B.C. and the North Okanagan—Shuswap. We have seen many instances where those CBSA workers in the airports are being challenged by unruly, impatient and sometimes impaired passengers.
I was passing through Calgary around Christmas and saw an incident take place. I have to congratulate the CBSA guards and security people who were on duty at that time. They handled the situation very professionally.
We also run the risk that guards and members will be set up because of all the tools and technology out there with cellphones. Some want to act unscrupulously so they can initiate an incident and only perhaps record part of it to attack a department or person.
That is where I think this review process will be very beneficial, as long as it is open and transparent. We have heard discussion today about an annual report to the minister. We want to make sure that the report is transparent, that it is not redacted by the minister and that Parliament gets to review it in full.
A review process needs to be open, transparent and fair. It also has to find a balance between national security and an individual's right to privacy and security. We have heard concerns about access to cellphones and personal data on cellphones. Many of us keep our personal information, like passwords and so on for our accounts, on our cellphones. For border guards to have access to that basically without restraint is very troubling for some. It should not be for those who live their lives in a respectful manner, but marginal people may have a lot more issues with that.
I also want to touch on an issue that I heard just this week about outdoor tourism. People from outside of the country come to Canada for guided fishing or hunting trips, and some are being challenged at the border because of offences from many years in their past, sometimes when they were teenagers. They come to Canada as seniors, and because of impaired driving charges earlier in their lives or minor criminal offences in the U.S., they are being barred from coming into Canada.
There has been some great debate on Bill C-3 and I look forward to seeing it move to committee.
We are all heading into a constituency week, so I want to wish everyone well. I will be heading back to my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap to the biggest winter carnival in western Canada: the Vernon Winter Carnival. It named its Queen Silver Star and her princess last night. There will be proclamations, parades and snow sculptures. Unfortunately, the hot air balloon fest will not be happening this year. There will also be parka parties and many other events in my riding over the next 10 days.
I am certainly looking forward to being back home, as I think many members are as well, as we move into a constituency week to go back to our ridings to talk to our constituents.
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