We are telling criminals that these are the communities where there is no more police presence and these are good areas where they can open up these grow ops. If we do not have a police presence, we are telling criminals they can have their legal weapons, that they can do whatever they want to do.
The nine mayors came to committee and asked us to please stop the closure before it was too late, saying that if the police were removed their communities were going to be in trouble.
In December 2004 the committee presented its fourth report. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee adopted the following motion on December 9, 2004:
That the Committee recommend to the government that the RCMP keep open the nine detachments in Quebec whose closing was an issue in our hearings and that it maintain a return to them, a critical mass of officers per detachment.
Some of the detachments had only one officer. That is not adequate. We want to have the minimum number of officers that would provide the critical mass.
After the fourth report, we again had Commissioner Zaccardelli speak to the committee. The committee was told that it had already happened and that how dare the committee question it. We also heard the government say that how dare the committee question the RCMP.
Every member of the House is proud of and has great respect for the RCMP. It does an incredible job. The question we had concerned the logic in closing down these detachments. These detachments are not on the border but they are part of the patrol that guards the Canadian border.
We have heard a concern that we are not adequately protecting the Canadian borders. We are a sovereign country and the government has a responsibility to protect Canadians and our border. We have heard that thousands of people every year blow across the border without stopping. These people are not bringing milk across the border or crossing the border to buy cheese. These people are smuggling people, guns and drugs and the government is not doing anything.
Who is patrolling our borders? The RCMP is being pulled out of Ontario and Quebec and now it is going after Manitoba. It has to stop. It should have stopped before.
We have an epidemic within our country where police resources are being removed. We have a growing population and a growing crime problem. To remove RCMP members and police forces, who have limited numbers and limited resources, from the streets and put them in an office somewhere does not work. We need to protect Canadians and our borders.