Evidence of meeting #131 for Public Safety and National Security in the 42nd 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

Jim Eglinski  Yellowhead, CPC
Christina Johnson  Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee
Trevor Tychkowsky  President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association
Alicia Bedford  As an Individual
Geraldine Dixon  As an Individual
Edouard Maurice  As an Individual
Jessica Maurice  As an Individual

4 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

The proximity of the abuser in a rural area may complicate a victim's healing process, whereas this wouldn't necessarily be the case in major centres. Is that correct?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

4 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Do you think that health care professionals receive enough training to handle this issue?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

No. Most health care professionals are not trained in sexual violence-specific responses, including our doctors who are doing our forensic kits, which would also impact.... We have locum doctors who are coming into rural and remote areas with zero knowledge on how to actually perform the kits, so that impacts investigation and conviction all the way through sexual trauma-specific supports.

4 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Not only police officers, but also health care professionals who work in rural areas should receive better training. Is that correct?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

Everyone in the system who has contacts in sexual violence should be trained in sexual violence-specific responses.

4 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Okay.

I want to address the issue of rural areas, where often only two or three emergency room nurses may be on the night shift. Proper training is therefore crucial. Unlike large hospitals that have dedicated teams to handle front-line responses, small health care centres that serve the public in rural areas have limited staff, and anyone can be called upon to handle these types of cases. The training should be extended to all people who may be involved in these types of situations, which can occur at any time.

Thank you, Ms. Johnson.

My next question is for Mr. Tychkowsky.

Are minor crimes, such as theft or mischief, committed more often by people from the community or by people from outside the community who commit crimes in rural areas where farms are located? What's your opinion?

4:05 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

We've been finding that in fact it's not locals. That used to be the case, but now we're finding more and more that the people they're catching aren't local. These are hardened criminals who will go across many communities and continue these crimes.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Okay.

The statistics show that there are fewer crimes of this nature in rural communities in Quebec and Ontario. For example, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region is a seven-hour drive from the largest city, and Timmins, in northern Ontario, is about a seven-hour drive from Toronto.

Can the proximity or lack of proximity to major cities explain the fact that the crime rate is different from province to province? For example, in Quebec and Ontario, the rural areas are much farther from the major centres than in the west, where more major cities are located near rural areas.

4:05 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

That could be, potentially. I really don't know the direct answer to that.

My community itself is about one hour from Edmonton, Alberta. I guess there's a possibility. The ones way up north that are farther from bigger centres are getting hit by crime too. There's a crime issue right across our province. In a bit more northern community, would I say there is any less? No. We've been learning that crime in general has gone way up.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Okay.

You've taken local initiatives to increase security. Can you tell us which initiatives have worked well? Are there any simple initiatives that we could implement? You encourage people to lock their car doors and to get to know their neighbours, but do you have any other concrete examples of very simple initiatives that work?

4:05 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

It's really encouraging the general public to call the RCMP. We're getting too many complaints by RCMP members that people will go up to them weeks or months later and say, “By the way, I saw a suspicious vehicle go by but I never thought anything of it.”

It seems as though that's a repetitive wall that's happening. People have a fear of calling in or they think it won't be suspicious, or that it was just a neighbour who got a new vehicle. It's not until later, when they find out that a neighbour's place has been broken into that they say, “By the way, I saw a weird vehicle,” but they don't let anybody know until quite a bit later, and unfortunately, it's too late.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you.

Thank you, Ms. Moore.

Ms. Dabrusin, go ahead for seven minutes, please.

October 18th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Thank you.

Both of you are from Alberta. At our last meeting we had the RCMP here, and they talked a bit about some initiatives that they were doing in Alberta as well. I was hoping maybe you might give me some insight.

As far as I understand it, the Province of Alberta invested something in the order of—I'm going to get the number wrong—$10 million.

4:05 p.m.

Yellowhead, CPC

Jim Eglinski

It was $8 million for police and $2 million for provincial—

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

It was $8 million for police and $2 million for the justice system, I believe.

4:05 p.m.

Yellowhead, CPC

Jim Eglinski

That's correct.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

The RCMP in Alberta created some new initiatives based on that, working with different organizations and the like.

My first question is for the neighbourhood watch association.

Were you involved at all in this new crime reduction strategy in Alberta?

4:05 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

You bet. We signed an MOU with the RCMP, and that's when they announced that they were going to create a special crime prevention initiative. We've started to see some good success with that. There is a special task force team that is starting to come into the rural communities and is starting to hit these people who are hardened criminals, so we want to call them. We are starting to see some good increases on that, and we applaud the RCMP for such a good step, but it's a major problem now. The people within the communities are concerned. The trust is starting to go way down.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

The other part is that when I was looking at their statistics—and they were, in fact, achieving some strong results, based on what they were giving us—they all seemed to be related to property crime. Is that what you're seeing, as well, regarding what the focus is and your involvement on it is?

4:10 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

That's correct. That's what we're finding. Our community was hit with 11 break and enters in 24 hours, and that was from one end of the county to the other. That was within a 50-mile radius. That was just within the last two weeks. It's still happening.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

You said you had a memorandum of understanding. What's your involvement? What do you do with the RCMP as part of this new project?

4:10 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

We always had a great working relationship with the RCMP, but we just signed an agreement that really lays out what we would do as the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association and what the RCMP will do for us. It just solidified it, really, saying, “Yes, we will be the eyes and ears for you, and you guys will come to our meetings and give us as much information as we can have to relay to the public.”

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Was there any special training or anything that they provided to you as to what you should be looking for or what you should be working on?

4:10 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

There was nothing specific.

If we want speakers, we try to encourage our local clubs to use them, because they are definitely subject matter experts in this. We do use them when possible, but in the memorandum of understanding there was nothing specific that said that they will deliver this. As you heard in my speech, we are encouraging the CPTED concept, and they are experts in that matter. We are training more and more people within our area to really deliver that message, because we think it's working.