Mr. Speaker, I move that the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, presented to the House on Wednesday, April 13, be concurred in.
It is an honour to rise in this House to speak to this motion. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
This is a very important motion. I want to share a little of its history. Nine mayors came to the justice committee and shared with us a very important concern of theirs: that nine RCMP detachments were going to be closing in Quebec. Commissioner Zaccardelli also came and spoke to us. We heard from him that there was a plan and we heard the rationale. The rationale was to close these detachments and redeploy these RCMP members to work in a central location to attack organized crime.
The nine mayors who came to the committee were very concerned that the presence of the RCMP was being removed from their communities, with the officers going to a central location. What does this do to these communities? When we remove the police presence, we are giving a message to organized crime members that they can do whatever they want. The nine mayors were very concerned about this.
I have a bit of a background in dealing with the RCMP. Before becoming a member of this House, I was a loss prevention officer. One of the things we dealt with in regard to the RCMP was the importance of the presence of the RCMP. If people do not see a police presence, the message is very clear that they can do whatever they want.
A vast majority of citizens are law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working Canadian citizens, but there is a small percentage of people in Canada, in our world, who are not law-abiding. That is why we need a police presence. Just the presence of the police acts as a deterrent.
An example of that can be found in traffic issues. People who never see a police officer tend to drive a lot faster. When police officers are present, people slow down. We have all seen that on the freeway. We have seen how people slow down a police officer is there.
All kinds of studies have been done in which a police decoy is put out there. Even if it is a fake car, even an old decommissioned RCMP vehicle or municipal police vehicle, traffic slows down. The presence of the police is very important.
It was important enough for the mayors of these nine communities in Quebec to come to Ottawa and ask us to please stop this because the decision to close these detachments, coming right from the top at the RCMP, was going to be disastrous for these communities. Why? What were some of the reasons?
Not only was the lack of a police presence seen as a problem, marijuana grow ops are a problem right across this country. If RCMP detachments are removed, who is going to be dealing with them? If this happens, we are saying that organized crime can do whatever it wants.