Evidence of meeting #20 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was rcmp.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

I guess I would say, with respect, that I trust your judgment on that more than I do the minister's judgment on that. I think any minister would have a tendency to push the boundaries to get more information about what others in the political system are doing.

4:15 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

I'll say this, sir, if I can, because that's an important point. I've been in Ottawa for six years now, and my experience has been that people are very mindful of staying away from the operations of the RCMP. I don't have a lot of problems with that. I think people want to engage the RCMP for a number of different reasons, but operationally, that's a line we don't cross.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

You mentioned the Brown task force. What's the current status of that? Is there any existing report on progress on the non-legislative recommendations, or is a report planned?

4:15 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

There was quite a comprehensive report that Commissioner Elliott put out some time ago, and he tried to distribute it as widely as possible. We've achieved just about everything we agreed to achieve. I know there are some other legislative requirements. But short of the role and the mandate of headquarters, which has expanded, I've just reinitiated or relaunched a wide-ranging review of that. We didn't deliver on a document on the mandate of headquarters, which is a little contentious, but that's coming. With the exception of the university degrees for new admittance, everything else is pretty good.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

One of the concerns raised by the task force was fair compensation for hours worked and the problem of understaffing and backfilling.

Can you tell us how much progress has been made on that?

4:15 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

Our staffing levels are at our funding levels. With policing in particular you're always going to face.... And we have a number of sources of funds, too. With every division we have agreements of new contracts with the provinces and so on. To the extent that we have empty positions, we should staff those, but I'm fairly satisfied that they're staffed. The problem is our ability to prioritize our work and to say no to some things. I think you come into a police force wanting to solve everybody's problems, but if we're not properly led and supervised, we'll let these people run themselves into the ground. One of my strategies is to help people say no.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Frankly, that's a concern. As a former municipal police board member, we always had concerns that our members would work themselves into the ground because of their dedication and their commitment.

4:15 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

That's a very real danger.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

I'm very pleased to see that it's one of your priorities, because I know it's one of the most difficult things for those members.

January 31st, 2012 / 4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.

I'm going to take the chair's prerogative. I did look to the government side to see if there was another question. I would like to ask you a couple of questions.

First of all, to assure Mr. Garrison, I think it was in the late nineties—and maybe there are some reporters here who would be able to tell the time better than I can—that the Hughes report came out. One of the very strong recommendations in the Hughes report was the depoliticization of police forces. I can assure you that our government very much pushed for that then, and we still very much believe in that now. I know that the current minister, who was the lead critic at the time, stood very strong on that point, during the Hughes report and shortly after that. The Hughes report was in the late nineties and I think he came into power in 2000.

My question to you, Mr. Commissioner, is about a couple of things we took as a committee before the appointment of a commissioner.... One was the development of leadership from within. How do we develop leadership from within the ranks of the RCMP, not just to some day reach the position that you have been appointed to, but to make certain that good governance and leadership from within the RCMP are enhanced by certain resources or by programs to enhance leadership? That would be my first question.

Secondly, we've seen very strong recruitment in our armed forces over the last little while. Are there any new plans for selling recruitment to the RCMP, so that the youngest and the brightest men and women who are coming out of our high schools, colleges, and universities would want a career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?

4:20 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for that.

Let me talk about the leadership development programs. You may have heard about the force's efforts to revamp our whole approach to developing and training leaders and providing support for our leaders. We have three levels: the supervisory development program, the managerial development program, and the executive development program. Just this morning in fact I got the final briefing on the third leg of that, which is the officer development program. I'm very reassured by what I'm seeing there. I've received tremendous feedback from some of our corporals and front-line supervisors who have gone on the supervisory program. Our middle managers have similarly given me positive feedback. It's all real-life-based leadership examples. It's not theoretical. I think we've come a long way there. We'll not see the fruit of that for perhaps another year or two.

On the executive development plan, this morning I talked about a desire to professionalize the officer corps of the RCMP. Earlier I talked about the need to have NCOs step up and run the place effectively under the supervision of our warrant groups and so on. But we also need effective managers who are professional officers. That's why we have all the pips, crowns, and bling on the shoulders. But we need to preserve that in the traditions of this organization. We are taking steps to start to give officers...and to start to expect from officers that they understand the context in which they are being asked to lead. I'm very excited by that. I think it's in good stead.

On the recruitment issue, I take your point. We don't have any problem getting applicants. We have a lot of applicants. One of our challenges is to get to a steady state of recruiting so that we're not up and down in terms of intake of people at Regina. Of course, that turns a lot on how the provinces and territories and the economies of the various regions of our country develop. The point is to elevate our intake in terms of the class of people we're taking. We have a very rigorous screening process. Often, as I root through some of these more unattractive discipline situations, we always end up back at our recruiting opportunities. We're polygraphing our recruits. We're looking for life experiences. We're looking for education. I think there's an opportunity there to try to improve that as well.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you very much.

We go back to the New Democratic Party one more time.

We go to Madam Morin.

You still have five minutes.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Thank you.

First of all, I would like to thank you for coming here to meet with our committee. It is helpful to speak with you.

Given the incredible state of harassment complaints, would it be pertinent to entrust oversight of the regulations regarding the harassment cases to a third party in order to show more transparency to the public?

4:20 p.m.

Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Commr Robert Paulson

Yes. Our policies regarding harassment and our regulations are very clear. Managers and others have received training in these matters. This is well known. It may be a bit complicated, as was said earlier, but our policies and regulations comply with those of the government.

I think I'm open to any sorts of improvements in our policies, in our oversight of that. I'm very anxious to understand and take the advice of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP—which is doing a systemic review, as you know—so yes.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

In your opinion, what would be the best measures to adopt soon to improve civilian oversight in order to restore the trust of the public in the RCMP? This trust is not necessarily lost, but we know that it is weakened somewhat.