Thank you very much, Commissioner, Minister, and Mr. Wex for attending today.
Minister, I'm just going to quickly read back to you from your statement:
Over the last decade, there have been a number of stakeholders, committees, and inquiries that have called for changes to the RCMP's accountability framework.
Later in your statement you say, “We've listened to our provincial and territorial counterparts....”
I have an example of a review that was done in the RCMP. It's from my riding in the Yukon. It's called “Sharing Common Ground”. I recognize not everybody will be familiar with the document. For the benefit of the commissioner and all Canadians, one of the things they highlight early in their executive summary is that we have heard many accounts of policing excellence, including stories of RCMP members acting above and beyond their normal duties. The purpose of the review is to improve the quality of policing services for all citizens in the territory. Certainly, I know from my constituents in the Yukon that the RCMP play a valuable role, and will continue to do so well into our future. We thank you for that commitment and dedication to service in the Yukon.
On the point raised by the opposition, Mr. Minister, about a national body reviewing these things, you spoke directly to the point that this would be counterintuitive with respect to the recommendations and things you've heard. To support that point, I would like to read a couple of sections from that executive summary.
They say “...to ensure that community needs and values are reflected in territorial policing policies and practices” is a key theme of “Sharing Common Ground”.
They highlight that “Citizens want...an effective complaints process and they want to ensure that an independent investigation will be undertaken when the RCMP is involved in a death or serious...investigation”. They want “greater input into establishing...priorities for “M” Division”, which is what Yukon's division is called.
It says, “Citizens expressed significant support for a local and responsive complaint process, and had considerable interest in the issue of 'police investigating police'”. They want input into that.
This executive summary essentially highlights what you were talking about a little earlier: that a national body would run counter to what is written here in a territorial review on policing services in M Division. Have you seen that as a similar reflection of public opinion in other provinces and other reviews?