Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I'm sorry for this unintentional loss of time.
I am always impressed when I appear before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, especially when I am surrounded by officials from agencies responsible for the protection and security of Canadians.
I am accompanied today by Harvey Cenaiko, from the Parole Board of Canada; Michel Coulombe, from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service; Mike Cabana, from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Don Head, from the Correctional Service of Canada; Luc Portelance, from the Canada Border Services Agency; and François Guimont, who is the Deputy Minister of Public Safety Canada.
I would like to tell the members of the committee that these people work very hard, particularly when we were called to respond to the recent terrorist attack. We were in the House a few minutes ago, and I had the chance to meet the person who administered first aid to Warrant Officer Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial. We are currently preparing a proper and balanced response to this growing terrorist threat. Obviously, we are not going to overreact, but we are not going to stand idly by in the face of this threat, either.
Furthermore, I would like to publicly thank the heads of the agencies that help us to adapt. They have already taken concrete action to protect Canadians.
We are here today to make budgetary adjustments that will allow these important individuals to continue to ensure our protection. As you know, our department was created in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Even now, I note that the priority for national security is fighting terrorism.
That said, we must not in any way neglect the other important aspects of public safety, which is why I am here this afternoon.
As you know, we have implemented many initiatives to move forward our government's ambitious public safety program. This involves cracking down on crime, improving the rights of victims and strengthening our national security. For example, I recently announced the coming into force of the Safer Witnesses Act, which will increase the effectiveness of the federal government's witness protection program for the individuals it protects, while meeting the needs of law enforcement agencies.
Furthermore, we just sent Bill C-32, An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts, back to the House for debate at report stage. This fundamental bill will change the way we handle justice in Canada and will put victims at the heart of our justice system.
I also want to thank the committee for its work on division 17 of Bill C-43, which amends the DNA Identification Act to create Lindsey's law. This important measure will create a DNA-based missing persons index to help provide closure to the families of missing persons.
I understand that Judy Peterson made a very emotional presentation to the committee. I would like to thank you all for your support on this important legislation that she has advocated for on behalf of her daughter.
Many of you may remember that November 16 was the sad anniversary of the disappearance of Julie Surprenant, in Terrebonne. Her sister, Andréanne, wanted to pay tribute to her on that occasion. It was a moving experience. It allowed us to remind the victims and loved ones of the families of missing or murdered individuals of the implementation of this act, which will help them to get through this type of situation and to find some comfort.
On other fronts, I have introduced measures to provide a simple and safe firearms licensing regime with Bill C-42, the common sense firearms licensing act. This bill was thoroughly debated one week ago. I look forward to this bill being referred to this committee for study in the very near future.
Just last week, I appeared before you regarding Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. I know the committee has completed its study, and has returned the bill to the House without amendments. As I said earlier, recent terrorist attacks are a reminder that the terrorist organization ISIL is a very real threat to Canadians. It is the reason we are working very determinedly to strengthen the tools available to the police and intelligence community in the areas of surveillance, detention, and arrest. The protection of Canada from terrorists act is just the first step in our efforts to do that.
My department and its agencies continue to give priority to efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism, which includes working with our international allies.
Mr. Chair, I could speak more about the measures that we are implementing, but I would now like to move on to the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2014-15. Essentially, these are adjustments to the budget envelope that we were allocated and some modifications that need to be made to properly reflect the actual accounting and current expenses.
These estimates demonstrate our ongoing commitment to keeping Canadians safe from those who wish to harm them without creating billion-dollar boondoggles.
Allow me to provide some highlights of what I mean.
As the committee members can see, the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2014-15, aim to transfer $3.3 million from the Canada Border Services Agency to the RCMP to build a joint use firing range in British Columbia. It also aims to obtain a transfer of $5.2 million from the Correctional Service of Canada to the RCMP to support the renovations of C block at the RCMP training academy for correctional officer training.
These are prime examples of how we are using taxpayers' money. This way of operating is more effective. We are achieving this by grouping resources, while creating stronger ties within the department.
In addition, the estimates seek $5.2 million for CSIS in support of national security initiatives. I would also like to highlight two key items related to the RCMP. First, on November 28—as of Monday—the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act came into force, bringing in a new era of modernization and accountability for the RCMP. In order to implement that act, these supplementary estimates provide for $7.9 million to the RCMP to implement new processes relating to grievances and public complaints.
Additionally, there is $710,000 to the RCMP External Review Committee to maintain the committee's existing operations. This entails the review of certain grievances and appeals of decisions and disciplinary and other labour relations matters involving members of the force. This is a very important accomplishment, Mr. Chair. We've been working on that for years. In less than two years, the RCMP has been able to implement this major shift. The deputy commissioner can expand on this later on, but this is certainly a great accomplishment. As you know, we now have beefed up—if you allow me this expression—the oversight of the RCMP.
Second, the estimates seek to transfer $41.9 million to the RCMP for policing services provided pursuant to the first nations policing program. This funding will further support policing services that are professional, dedicated, and responsive to the first nation and Inuit communities they serve.
In addition, $3.7 million is set aside for the national public safety campaign for the next phase in the fight against bullying, called “Get Cyber Safe”. I must tell you that we have had very interesting results in terms of market penetration and our ability to reach out to young people.
We are very proud of the success of this campaign, which is having a significant impact across the country. More than a million people have visited the “Get Cyber Safe” website, and there have been different initiatives in that respect. Of course, I encourage committee members to pass on these constructive messages on the importance of having healthy practices when visiting social media sites and using information technology or any electronic device.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, it is clear that our Conservative government is taking strong action to keep Canadians safe. We are ensuring that victims are at the heart of the justice system and ensuring that child sexual predators face serious consequences. We are making our firearms laws safe and sensible, and we are making sure that our law enforcement and national security organizations have the tools they need to do their jobs.
The one threat that seems to run through all of these initiatives is that they have been delayed, obstructed, or sometimes opposed outright. But we are prevailing, Mr. Chair, and I am proud to say that we intend to stay the course. We have the protection of Canada act coming back into the House of Commons, and we intend to come in the near future with additional legislation so that we can tackle this evolving terrorist threat.
With that in mind, Mr. Chair, I would be more than happy to respond to questions from the members of this important committee.