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October 31st, 2012

Changes to RCMP act do not go far enough

New Democrats move to amend bill to address claims of sexual harassment in the RCMP

Today as the Commons public safety committee begins clause-by-clause on Bill C-42, an Act to Amend the RCMP Act, New Democrats will be seeking a series of amendments that will promote accountability and reduce harassment within our national police force.

“After hearing witnesses and experts testify on C-42 it has become apparent that this bill has some deep flaws that won’t fix oversight at the RCMP,” said New Democratic Public Safety critic Randall Garrison. “The measures we are proposing are necessary to restore public confidence in the RCMP and to make this legislation better.”

With much fanfare, the Conservatives introduced C-42 as a response to the longstanding problems at the RCMP. However, the bill falls short in a number of areas such as not even addressing sexual harassment within the force.

The NDP package of amendments is meant to ensure C-42 effectively meets the challenges the RCMP faces.

The NDP will move an amendment to:

• add mandatory harassment training for RCMP members, specifically to the RCMP Act;

• ensure a fully independent civilian review body to investigate complaints against the RCMP;

• add a provision to create a national civilian investigative body that will avoid police investigating police;

• create more balanced human-resource polices by removing some of the more draconian powers proposed for the RCMP commissioner and by strengthening the External Review Committee in cases involving possible dismissal from the force.

“The Conservative government has argued that putting more power in the hands of the RCMP commissioner to fire individual officers will curb the issue of harassment in the RCMP,” said Deputy NDP Public Safety critic Rosane Dore Lefebvre. “However, witness after witness explained that legislation alone will not help to foster a more open and respectful workplace for all. We need to see an ongoing effort from the RCMP and the Government. ”