Mr. Speaker, as this is my first speech, I want to take the opportunity to thank the great people in the Kootenay—Columbia riding for putting their trust and faith in me to represent them in Ottawa. The support from my family and friends was incredible and from my wife, Heather and our five children, Ryan, Rob, Kassidy, Chelsea and Kendall.
With 80,000 square kilometres, it was very challenging to travel and meet residents from all corners of the riding. The campaign team and volunteers did an outstanding job, working long hours every day.
I listened to the concerns, the priorities for softwood lumber and priorities with the firearms legislation. I also want to talk about supporting the mining industry, tourism, the energy sector, Alberta, as it is neighbouring our riding, and health.
I am pleased to speak to Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act. I do so today on behalf of many border officials in ports of Kingsgate, Nelway, Porthill, Roosville and Rykerts, all within the riding of Kootenay—Columbia.
I thank them for their service and I thank the CBSA Kootenay area chief of operations for leadership and dedication in ensuring the safety and security of our area. I also support the RCMP, which provides municipal, rural, provincial and federal policing throughout the Kootenay—Columbia riding.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all the men and women who serve to protect this great nation from coast to coast.
One issue I heard when travelling throughout the riding was the word “accountability”, which is really interesting because that is exactly what we are talking about today.
I support internal investigations. In fact, I have been involved in many internal investigations in the RCMP in a 35-year career. I support independence. I believe we need independent investigations. It would be great to hear how this is going to work. I have not heard yet, with the delays in investigations. I know right now with the RCMP, which has an independent review, it is two, three or four years at least. We have some members on the old RCMP act and some members on the new act, and now we are going to change it again to have a new accountability process with this review committee.
I have heard some concerns about the consultation of CBSA with its union. I am also wondering about the consultation with the RCMP, as they are now working toward a union as well. Have we looked at the consultation there and have people come in? I look forward to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security having people come in so we can talk to them and see how they feel about what is happening.
One of the most important things that has not been brought up is training and service standards. What are the service standards of CBSA? What are the service standards of the RCMP? What exactly is the role of an RCMP member? The review committee can then understand what that person is going to do, what they should be doing and what they should not be doing, so they do not, because they have no experience in law enforcement, for example, think that behaviour is inappropriate when maybe it is or vice versa.
Developing service standards is a requirement before we can move forward with the bill, so that the review committee has a clear understanding of the role for CBSA and the role for the RCMP.
One thing that came up at one of the last meetings of the public safety committee was administrative issues that were not expected. I would be interested to hear from the government what those administrative issues were. Was it the hiring of new people? Was it the service standards or was it a union? I do not understand what administrative issues would have popped up in December.
The RCMP and CBSA are very reputable organizations. I want to be up front. They would welcome a well-thought-out, well-trained independent review, but not something where someone is appointed and we would run into the same issues we are having right now with the Parole Board.
I request that the government and the public safety minister answer some of these questions so that we can move forward in supporting this bill and the changes proposed in it.