Evidence of meeting #34 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was countries.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Stephen Foster  Director, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Gisèle Rivest  Officer in Charge, Operations of National Interest and International Corruption, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Christopher Dunford  Senior Research Fellow, Freedom from Hunger

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

And maybe even more so?

4:15 p.m.

Director, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Supt Stephen Foster

It could be happening in developed countries, and more so.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

Are any industries more prone to this problem than others?

4:15 p.m.

Director, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Supt Stephen Foster

There are some, as I'm sure you're aware and have seen in the news, related to extractive industries, construction, government procurement.... Almost any transaction in which a large dollar value is going to be moved between two parties, whether domestically or internationally, presents an opportunity for corruption, so the opportunity is there.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

To what extent is the RCMP involved in outreach to Canadian private sector companies that are active in developing countries, as it works in this area?

4:15 p.m.

Officer in Charge, Operations of National Interest and International Corruption, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

S/Sgt Gisèle Rivest

Getting back to what I was saying earlier, we do a presentation and we try to outreach all the time.

I think it was last summer that we hired a student to identify companies at risk and send a letter to all the companies to advise them of the law and ask them whether they were interested in having a presentation.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

How do Canada's efforts to combat bribery and corruption compare with those of other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom?

4:15 p.m.

Director, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Supt Stephen Foster

I'm somewhat familiar with what's done in the U.S. and which agency has responsibility there and the amount of work they're doing. I would say, given the size of the United States, that what we're doing is comparable.

The U.K. recently amended its legislation, and at the most recent OECD—their most recent update for their phase 3 review—they were asked to again amend their legislation, although it wasn't clear to me that it would have.... They did one amendment, and then they were amending soon thereafter. It didn't seem to me that this would have been entirely demonstrated as being needed at that point in time.

The U.K. and their current regime has been praised internationally for what they have. From our perspective, in Canada we have dedicated resources, unlike many of the other OECD or developed countries.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

Thank you.

That's all the time we have.

Madame Péclet, you have five minutes.

April 30th, 2012 / 4:15 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Good afternoon. My thanks to our witnesses for joining us today.

Under the current act, for a company to be found guilty, the crown has to establish a link between Canada and an offence committed in a country other than Canada. Sometimes, the legislation is very specific. Human trafficking, for example, or sex tourism when Canadians go to other countries. The offence is then considered to have been committed in Canada. So these things have to be specifically written into the act. At the moment, it is not mentioned in the CFPOA. In most cases, there has to be a link of that kind.

Can you tell us about the way in which the RCMP can establish such a link? Take, for example, the case of a mining company with activities in other countries that commits an offence, never mind whether it is SNC-Lavalin or anyone else. A link with Canada has to established in order for the company to be found guilty, correct?

4:20 p.m.

Officer in Charge, Operations of National Interest and International Corruption, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

S/Sgt Gisèle Rivest

I think we answered that question when we talked about the type of jurisdiction. There have to be more links than just the fact that a Canadian is involved. Maybe money changed hands where the offence was committed, whether in Canada or elsewhere. It depends on the case. It depends on a lot of things.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

It was mentioned earlier that you currently have 24 cases. Is it a problem for the RCMP and the crown to prosecute companies? Are there obstacles to having businesses found guilty?

4:20 p.m.

Officer in Charge, Operations of National Interest and International Corruption, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

S/Sgt Gisèle Rivest

I would not say obstacles. However, proving corruption is not easy. It takes a huge amount of time. That is probably why no more cases have gone to court. They take a lot of time to prove.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

The OECD report that my colleague referred to earlier recommends that Canada “clarify that police and prosecutors may not consider factors such as the national economic interest and relations with a foreign State when deciding whether to investigate or prosecute allegations of foreign bribery”.

So we have to clarify the act and indicate that political relations should have no influence on the court cases, and so on. Can you comment on that conclusion in the OECD report?

4:20 p.m.

Officer in Charge, Operations of National Interest and International Corruption, Commercial Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

S/Sgt Gisèle Rivest

Not really. But following on from what we have done with OECD and DFAIT, we have asked companies and NGOs what they think of the OECD suggestions. Improvements need to be made, certainly, and we are working on that at the moment.