Evidence of meeting #14 for Public Safety and National Security in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was agencies.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jim Judd  Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • William Sweeney  Senior Deputy Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Myles Kirvan  Associate Deputy Minister, Deputy Minister's Office, Department of Public Safety
  • Marc-Arthur Hyppolite  Senior Deputy Commissioner, Correctional Service Canada
  • Stephen Rigby  President, Canada Border Services Agency

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Garry Breitkreuz

You have less than a minute.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Thank you.

Just quickly, on Mr. Norlock's comments about training in prisons with people who are incarcerated, and then the comment about weaving in the time served where we'll have more people.... Frankly, I think it presents a bit of an opportunity, if you're creative about this, to help individuals who find themselves in that circumstance. Of course, my background is in construction, so I'm thinking that people who can hammer and get the construction trades under their belt will definitely have work available to them.

It's more of a comment than a question. I think Mr. Norlock hit on a huge success there, and to the extent that we can expand that, I think we're absolutely going down the right track.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Garry Breitkreuz

Thank you. There's no question there.

Mr. Kania, please, for a brief round. The minister has to leave in four minutes.

April 2nd, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

Good morning.

Minister, you signed a letter dated March 9, 2009, to Mr. Alex Neve. You're familiar with that letter?

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I sign an awful lot of letters, so you'll have to refresh my memory.

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

This is the one with respect to O'Connor and Iacobucci. Now, a few weeks back, one of the Conservative members of Parliament, Mr. Richards, referred, in speaking with Paul Kennedy, who you're familiar with as well, to the civilian oversight of the RCMP as “bureaucrats and paper pushers”. I'd like to know if this government actually supports civilian oversight of the RCMP and security agencies.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I very much support that. The issue that has sometimes arisen is whether some of these bodies stay within their mandate. Oversight bodies are there to ensure that agencies stay within their statutory mandate. Those oversight bodies, however, have to stay within their mandates as well. The role that the RCMP complaints commission plays in responding to complaints is an important one.

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

Why has the government taken no steps to comply with the O'Connor report in respect of setting up a civilian oversight agency? You indicated in this letter of yours that the Government of Canada was moving forward with this. What have you done, and do you have any documentation that you could provide to this committee? I'm asking for it to show that you've actually done something on that recommendation.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Actually, considerable work has been done on that front. We're dealing with oversight for the RCMP and the broader question of inter-agency oversight, which is the more serious element that O'Connor and other commissions have pointed to. We're waiting for the report from Justice Major's commission on Air India, which deals with our worst failure in that area and led to the worst terrorist incident in Canadian history, to finalize those conclusions.

If you're looking for some evidence on paper of the work that's been done, I direct you to the report of the RCMP implementation committee, which was released this week. It sets out in some detail the good work that has been done and the progress that has been made.

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

I'm looking for evidence that the government has taken steps to comply with the recommendation of Justice O'Connor for an overarching review agency. Based on everything that I've seen and your letter, nothing's happened on that. Correct?

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

No, that's not true at all. As I just said, a lot of work has been done. I said this earlier to one of your colleagues.There's a great pressure on politicians to go out and show that something's being done just so they can say so. We want to make sure we get it right, and we think it's incumbent upon us to wait for the work of Justice Major in the Air India inquiry before we decide we have all the answers. Frankly, I could probably introduce legislation on this within a matter of days if I wanted to, but I think it's best that we first make sure we have it right.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Garry Breitkreuz

I'm sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt. It's 10:30 and we're going to suspend for one minute to give the minister an opportunity to go to his next appointment. Then we will reconvene, and you'll have one minute, Mr. Kania.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Thank you.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Garry Breitkreuz

Sorry, Minister, did you have a concluding comment?

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I just wanted to thank the committee for the exchange this morning and encourage you to continue your good work. I appreciate all that you're doing.