Thank you for the question.
It is a complex problem we face. I think in terms of identifying the fundamental problem, there are a number of aspects I would identify for the committee. One is that the nature of police work and the manner in which police officers exercise their duties vis-à-vis citizens requires the management of authorities and special powers. To put it in context, the RCMP—and policing in general, I might say—has historically been mostly a male-dominated profession. We have had one career span of women in the RCMP, most notably Bev Busson, who was a commissioner of the RCMP. She was in the first troop of women, and she finished her career as the commissioner.
Thirty-five years is a long time, but I think what's happened is that the RCMP hasn't kept pace with society in general and how society has moved to provide systems and processes that insist upon equality.
I use the analogy, and I hope it's an appropriate one, that the RCMP is a bit of an aquarium. The fundamental problem isn't the number, although I'm happy to talk about the number of women we have in the force today and what we're doing to increase that number, because I think it's relevant. I also think how many women we have in supervisory roles is relevant.
It's really more about the water in the aquarium. It's the culture of the organization that has not kept pace. Frankly, I think it's the filtration system for the water in the aquarium. We haven't been able to change our practices and our policies, or provide systems that would permit women to thrive in the organization and contribute to policing, which they must do.
For the RCMP to be a successful policing organization, we must have women contributing in a significant way. I think how the organization manages authority and power.... I've said it publicly, and I'll say it again. I think the problem is bigger than simply the sexual harassment. It is the idea of harassment. The idea that we have a hierarchical organization overseeing men and women who have extraordinary powers in relation to their fellow citizens, which requires a fair degree of discipline.
I'll add just one more thing. The cases that have attracted, rightfully, the public's interest are cases in which supervisors and managers and leaders haven't act quickly enough in the first instance to address the transaction that's giving rise to what, over time, ends up being a significant problem. It's a fairly broad answer, but I think, fundamentally, that's what's going on.