Thank you, Madam Clerk.
Welcome, Commissioner Paulson. We're very pleased to have you here, and congratulations on your appointment as commissioner of the RCMP. It's a very important position. The RCMP has long been the Canadian flagship. It's recognized all over the world.
I'm extremely concerned about these troubling reports we hear in the media. I think concrete things have to be done to correct the matter.
It was really interesting hearing what your plan was, what you're doing right now, what has been done, and what's in the future.
The thing I'm worried about is that police officers are there to serve and protect. That doesn't mean to say that any police officer, woman or male, should be abused. I feel that the RCMP has a somewhat damaged image, and it's unfortunate. I'm very supportive of the RCMP. My own son is an RCMP officer. However, there is a culture that needs to change, as you have so aptly pointed out, right now.
I've talked to many women RCMP officers who are very supportive of the force and have had wonderful experiences in the force. I think it is right to talk about these incidents that happened. It is right to say that we need to change the culture. That's what has to be done.
Right here in Canada we have the international women in law enforcement conference. It's a big conference. It's an international conference sponsored right here in Canada, in St. John's. I think that's a good opportunity. We need to see the parade of nations. We need to see it filled with the red serge. We need to stand very tall. That's from September 9 to 13.
Now, from what I can find out, there are 17 countries registered and 275 attendees so far, and 154 from Canadian agencies—that doesn't mean RCMP—which is less than half. Only 75 at this point are from the RCMP, but there's lots of time. It's in September. I know that there's one male registered so far, which I find a little bit troubling, because to change the culture we have to be inclusive and include everybody in that.
As I understand it, there are 600 detachments in this country and roughly 20,000 police officers. Many members going right now, I understand, are funding it through their own pockets.
When we talk about the RCMP image today, we know how good that image is worldwide. You can go to any country, and people respect and honour the RCMP.
As a woman, as a Canadian, and as a member of Parliament, I would like to see what you're doing, which is very good in terms of correcting this problem and correcting it quickly. But also I see that something like the International Association of Women Police conference, and including not only women but men as well, could be a great way of bringing up the image of the RCMP. I know that there are many speakers, as you already know, at that conference. What an opportunity.
I'm going to ask whether you support that particular conference, because I understand that it has leading-edge police topics. I've seen all of the topics.
What are you going to do to make sure that RCMP officers, and not only women...? When I see that there are only 75, that worries me a little bit. But it's early. What can you do to make sure that this particular conference is supported? Because I think it's a great opportunity to build networks.