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

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

I'll pass this over to Ms. Sahota.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

You have about a minute and a half.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Ms. Johnson, you mentioned the cultural aspect of gender-based violence and assault. I think you've alluded to this but haven't clearly said so, but would you say there is a specific culture, a Canadian culture, when it comes to this, or do you think there are differences in our rural, urban and other regions throughout Canada? Does the culture vary from place to place, and what solutions can we come to if it is different?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

I would say that one rural community is one rural community. When we're working within, it's really using a community development model to figure out what the values and beliefs are of that community specifically when it comes to gender inequality, sexism, and then all the intersections that come within.

I don't think there's one approach to fixing it. It really is getting in and rolling up the sleeves, doing that assessment, meeting the community where it is, and then moving forward through an education approach that is “non-blamey”.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Our study is a rural crime study. So you don't think there are certain approaches that could be applied throughout rural Canada when it comes to this, or are you saying that every region is unique and we'd have to apply different approaches everywhere?

4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. Yes, an education strategy, specifically when it comes to sexual violence and domestic violence, is absolutely critical in terms of definitions—what it is and what it isn't—and then really taking the time to break it down.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Since you're from Alberta, is that something that's under the jurisdiction of—

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you, Madam Sahota.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

I've run out of time.

Thank you.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

We have a few minutes left, and because I'm such a nice guy, I'm going to give four minutes to Mr. Paul-Hus.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

You're too kind, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Hello, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Tychkowsky.

Ms. Johnson, at the start of your presentation, you said that women weren't reporting sexual assaults. Assaults do occur, but women don't dare to report them. Based on your presentation, I understand that they don't report their abusers because they can't receive services. Is that correct, or are there other reasons?

4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

I would say that having service is part of it, absolutely. It's also the lack of anonymity. If someone reports, the whole community knows. There are those pieces, and again, that direct access to service. It's also the believability: “Am I going to be believed, and am I going to be supported if I report?”

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Okay.

This week, people from the RCMP met with us. They told us that, for the past year in Alberta, a great deal of effort has been made. According to them, services for victims of crime have improved.

Ms. Johnson or Mr. Tychkowsky, do you think that there has been a real improvement in the services provided by the RCMP?

4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

We've seen an improvement, absolutely, but as was said, unfortunately, sometimes they're going after the big picture. They're going after those hard criminals and trying to chase them all the way throughout the system. Unfortunately, I don't know if that's really more of a band-aid than anything else.

I'm not saying it's a bad approach. It's absolutely a great approach, for a start. These crimes will continue. We have to find ways to give the public, our taxpayers, knowledge so that we can put this back in a positive sense.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Okay.

You spoke of situations where things calmed down once the criminals had been arrested and incarcerated. However, after the criminals were released, you expected the crime rate to increase. It seems that gangs or specific groups are involved. The people from the RCMP didn't provide any names, obviously, since they can't give us specific information.

The people involved in criminal activity in rural areas are specific groups such as organized gangs that commit crimes everywhere, rather than isolated individuals. Is that correct? If we create a strategy that targets these gangs, can we resolve the issue more effectively?

October 18th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

As a rural crime watch, we don't have a whole lot of specifics about who exactly is being arrested. We do know there is gang activity, absolutely, but is it all related to gangs? I really don't know that answer. The RCMP would be the only ones who could answer that.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Okay.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

You have 30 seconds, Jim.

4:25 p.m.

Yellowhead, CPC

Jim Eglinski

Real quick, for both of you, earlier you mentioned your involvement and what you're doing. Do you see a role whereby our communities can get even more involved than we are now in assisting the police, in helping the communities be prepared, with better education in case of sexual assaults and a better know-your-neighbours role? Do you think there's a bigger role the communities can play, with an education proponent coming maybe from the police?

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Very briefly, please.

4:30 p.m.

President, Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association

Trevor Tychkowsky

Yes. I believe the communities really need to step up to this, absolutely.

4:30 p.m.

Yellowhead, CPC

Jim Eglinski

Ms. Johnson.

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee

Christina Johnson

Yes. We all have a part to play, every one of us.

4:30 p.m.

Yellowhead, CPC

Jim Eglinski

Thank you.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

That's a very good note on which to end our first hour.

I want to thank each of you on behalf of the committee for your efforts to get into the place where you're located and bring your testimony before us.

With that we'll suspend while we bring in the next panel.