Mr. Speaker, members in this place who know me and who know me well know that I am an unabashed supporter of the RCMP.
I come by that support honestly, I believe. I have many friends currently in the RCMP whom I still consider to be very close to me, I have many retired members of the RCMP whom I see frequently, and unfortunately I have had many friends in the RCMP who have since passed.
As I am a representative from Saskatchewan and have lived most of my life in the city of Regina, home of Depot, one can understand my affinity for the RCMP and the work it does on behalf of all Canadians. However, to me it is more than just the friendships and the relationships I have gained over the years with members of the force. It is far more personal than that to me. My mother's first husband was an officer of the RCMP who was killed on duty at Depot. That has stayed with me my entire life. It reminds me, and I think it should remind all members in this place, of the inherent dangers that RCMP members face each and every day in the course of their duties.
I, unfortunately, have attended far too many funerals of members who have lost their lives in the course of their day-to-day duties. I was in Edmonton 11 years ago to attend the funeral of those brave officers who died in Mayerthorpe. I can say without equivocation that it is still the most emotional ceremony I have ever attended.
I take no pride in saying that I have attended these ceremonies. It is with great sorrow that I make mention of them, because it reminds me again that we as Canadians, and particularly as parliamentarians, should be doing everything that we can to support the RCMP in all of their endeavours.
The RCMP is iconic. Many members before me have spoken of that. They have spoken of the international acclaim rightly accorded the RCMP. It is the brand that I think most Canadians take pride in. In fact, a survey done not too many years ago indicated that the RCMP had the strongest brand of any organization in the world, second only to Coca-Cola. I would suggest to the House, as I have suggested to many officers within the RCMP, that the brand is so enduring because of the exemplary work that it has done over the years, starting in 1873 with the North-West Mounted Police and continuing on until 1920, when the RCMP, the modern-day RCMP as we know it, was formed.
This national police force of ours is, in my estimation, one of the best, if not the best, police force in the world. Notwithstanding the challenges that the RCMP has faced over the last number of years, most recently about sexual harassment within the workforce, the force continues to be a thriving and very necessary force in our lives. It is part of our culture. That is why I am so pleased to be able to speak on Bill C-7, which fundamentally affects the way the RCMP organizes and goes about its business.
Before I get into some of the details of Bill C-7, let me also say that I have a great background in and a great knowledge of the union movement in Canada. There may be members on the benches opposite who will accuse me and some of my colleagues of being anti-union and say that we are not supporting Bill C-7 because we are fundamentally and ideologically opposed to unions. I can say from my standpoint that this statement is certainly not true.
I was born and brought up in a union household. My father was formerly the head of the western Canadian division of the United Steelworkers of America. In fact, he mentored the current national director of the United Steelworkers, Ken Neumann. I still see Ken very often in the airports. We talk fondly about my father and the influence my father had on Ken and the work he is doing today. I can absolutely say without hesitation and without equivocation that I understand the role and, I would suggest, the necessary role that the union movement and the labour movement has in Canada.
However, there are many aspects of that movement and of unions themselves with which I have very fundamental and profound disagreements. With the Speaker's permission, I will get into those disagreements and into the content of Bill C-7 shortly after question period concludes.