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Evidence of meeting #52 for Justice and Human Rights in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was information.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Joe Buckle  Director General, Forensic Science and Identification Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Anne-Elizabeth Charland  Officer in Charge, Management Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
David Bird  Senior Legal Counsel, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
J. Bowen  Acting Director, Biology Project, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Thank you, Mr. Lee.

I recognize Mr. Moore first, then Mr. Ménard.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

I think Mr. Brown's assessment.... I don't have any reason to challenge it, unless Mr. Lee can cite one of the bills that we brought forward that would be tougher on crime, at the expense, presumably, of criminals, that the CBA has supported. So I think we've all been around long enough, certainly in this committee, to draw that conclusion. Unless he has some evidence to the contrary....

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I don't want to get into a debate here, Mr. Chairman.

I know that the Canadian Bar Association deals with this committee and provides advice with respect to the rights of citizens. I don't ever recall their dealing generally with the bundle of rights of criminals. They talk about the rights of citizens.

I'll stop there. This issue will come up again later, I'm sure.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Thank you, Mr. Lee. I think it will be coming up for further discussion, probably in a steering committee.

I have a question. We have four witnesses sitting here yet, Mr. Ménard, and I know that your point of order may not be related, or your points might not be related, to these witnesses. I want to ask Mr. Bowen one question, but there may be some time to field a few more questions from the opposition.

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Are we going to be hearing other witnesses or will we adjourn at 11 o'clock?

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

No. We are finishing at 11 o'clock.

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

At 10:55 I would like to raise a point of order regarding the way that Bill C-18 will work. I will let you ask your questions.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Yes. Thank you.

I note, just for your point of clarification, Mr. Ménard, and in reference to your motion that was submitted at the last meeting, that it's not going to be dealt with at this committee meeting. It was already designated to go before the steering committee for further discussion, which we will do.

Mr. Bowen.

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Chairman, I simply wanted to tell you that we are prepared to support my motion. We should be able to adopt this in two minutes. I am prepared to accept Ms. Jennings' amendments. I will not be debating the motion; I surrender. I want things to work well in the committee. I accept that there need to be additional meetings. I think that all colleagues are prepared to support my motion.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

I think that remains to be seen, Mr. Ménard. It was designated to go before the steering committee.

Mr. Bowen, you're noted here as the director of the biology project. What does that specifically relate to?

10:35 a.m.

J. Bowen Acting Director, Biology Project, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The biology project is dealing with the expansion of the biology services. First of all, we're creating a separate directorate, known as biology services.

We're looking at creating a third site for analysis in Edmonton, as well as hiring a number of individuals—which would result from Bill C-18 and other initiatives—so that we can train them, bring them on site, and have them available to do case work within a reasonable amount of time.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

So does this also include, if you will, an education factor for other police departments—municipal, provincial—to deal with the information flow regarding DNA collection and instruction, besides the expansion?

10:40 a.m.

Acting Director, Biology Project, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

J. Bowen

Yes, it does, because a large part of what we have to do is consult with the clients. We do that through various mechanisms, through client consultation committees, to inform them of the changes we're making and how properly to submit samples to the lab. We also ask their opinion on how we should provide that service.

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

So a small department, such as in Camrose, Alberta—I believe they have their own municipal police department—doesn't have the necessary training facilities, for instance, to concentrate in certain areas when it comes to this kind of instruction. Is there's provision within the RCMP and under your directorate to pass that information on, the collection and the importance of how it's done?

10:40 a.m.

Acting Director, Biology Project, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

J. Bowen

That is correct. It's not necessarily within the biology directorate; it's within the Forensic Science and Identification Services that we offer that service.

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

There is one final question I want to ask.

In Alberta there is a new training centre set in place—it isn't constructed yet—which is not directly for provincial policing but for the sheriff's department that's been established. There will be some cross-over regarding any kind of policing or enforcement that would automatically happen. Could a service be provided from your directorate, or the RCMP in general, to assist the officers who are being trained there?

10:40 a.m.

Acting Director, Biology Project, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

J. Bowen

Yes, there is. The training of those officers would be done through the National DNA Data Bank. They have a specific training group that handles those types of information and provides that information to the clients.

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Thank you. Those are my questions.

Mr. Comartin.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We had evidence of how many of the samples that had been sent in weren't appropriate—that is, they had been taken for charges that weren't subject to the legislation. That was about 18 months ago. Have they continued to come in during the last two years, and how many do we have now that, as far as we can see, should be destroyed?

10:40 a.m.

Director General, Forensic Science and Identification Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

A/Commr Joe Buckle

According to our latest data, as of February 19, 2007, there are about 1,752 rejected samples that have come in. That represents about 1.5% of the samples that are in there.

We undertake a training program, through this training group that Dr. Bowen was just speaking about, to try to educate the submitters—

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Bowen, let me stop you. I understand that. Let me go to the next question.

Of the 1,700, how many are in the data bank, and how many were identified before they got into the data bank?

10:40 a.m.

Senior Legal Counsel, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

David Bird

None are in the data bank.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

None of them are in the data bank?

10:40 a.m.

Senior Legal Counsel, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Okay. It seemed to me, going back just on memory, that there was a problem in destroying them, destroying all records of them. There was a technical problem with it. Am I right, and does it still exist?