Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of this committee.
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for inviting me here to speak today.
I want to start by saying the RCMP takes all reported allegations of criminal activity and incidents very seriously and we are committed to continuing to provide services that are focused on the safety of our communities.
Such allegations could include the forced or coerced sterilization of women.
Following a consultation of the RCMP's contract divisions through their respective commanding officers, to date, we have no allegations on file for forced sterilization that were found to be reported to the RCMP directly. I've also taken the steps to reach out to the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police for assistance in raising the awareness among all the other police agencies. A bulletin was disseminated by the CACP to its member agencies and a report is expected in the near future. There are quite a few of them so they're still waiting for results.
It's important to note that the investigation of any allegations of forced or coerced sterilization would fall under the mandate of the police of jurisdiction. Therefore, any evidence of criminal activity should be reported to the local police of jurisdiction where offences are alleged to have taken place so that they can be properly investigated.
The RCMP proactively works with communities to identify, prioritize and solve problems, as well as to build trust and faith in the RCMP as a police service.
This collaborative approach is based on the philosophy that prevention is a core responsibility of policing, where decisions are evidence-based and responses should be community-led, police-supported, sustainable and flexible. The RCMP has been part of these efforts in many communities across Canada and will continue to reach out with professionalism and compassion to enhance trust with the communities we serve.
I have to add that compassion is one of our core values, but honestly, as part of our modernization, I don't think compassion is good enough. I think we need to bump it up to empathy. It falls in line not just with reconciliation but.... If we can all learn—when I say “we” I'm talking about my organization—to walk a mile in somebody's shoes, I think we would have a better understanding of others' circumstances and they would be treated differently if we had that understanding. Part of this is teaching people from the day they get into the organization and reteaching everybody along the way. In some effects, we've introduced at the training academy, for example, the Kairos blanket exercise, which is one way of teaching more empathy and more history.
In addition to contributing to a safer and healthier indigenous community, it's one of the key priorities of the RCMP. Protecting all Canadians from criminal activity is of the utmost importance. We're committed to protecting our communities and to achieving reconciliation with indigenous communities and partners through a renewed relationship built on the recognition of rights, respect, mutual trust, co-operation and partnership.
I would be happy to answer your questions.