Not a fair trade for Canadians.
Read this inspired piece by the Senator, Kenny that is, in today's Ottawa Citizen. I don't think Senator Michael Duffy could read this piece let alone write it. Or something similar.
That is what we are getting, have got, with the new Tory stacked Senate.
A multitude of Duffys.
RCMP reform is headed for a brick wall
By Colin Kenny, Citizen Special February 23, 2010 3:09 AM
I t would be comforting to say simple changes in attitude within the RCMP
will be enough to both strengthen the service's policing capabilities and
restore its status as a trusted national treasure.
But that would be a big, fat lie. Attitude change is certainly needed to
jumpstart RCMP transformation, and there are at least a few signs that the
service's leadership understands this. Unfortunately, you can preach all you
want about attitude, but eventually you have to come up with the people
and resources to create a better police force.
The federal government has given the RCMP what sometimes seems like
a million jobs to do. Canada needs these jobs done, and the RCMP is the
best agency to do them. But it doesn't have the resources to do all
of them right, all the time. The Mounties are stretched way too thin, and
that keeps showing up on the front lines.
I don't have to point to the list of distressing incidents the RCMP
has been involved in over the past decade.
Many of them are etched indelibly in our national psyche.
Commissioner William Elliott, pulled from the federal bureaucracy with a
mandate to right the RCMP ship, says he is attempting to steer the service
in a more human, less rigid, direction. That would be all for the good.
Top cops need to listen to beat cops, and all cops need to listen to
To police effectively these days, you have to care about people -- and
show you care. Barking orders and banging heads may always be part of policing,
but increasingly it's becoming the exception rather than the rule.
Which brings us back to resources: you aren't going to have an intelligent,
effective police service if officers are overworked and overstressed much
of the time.
The overall shortfall of employees at the RCMP last year was six per cent.
That figure doesn't come close to reflecting actual vacancies when routine
absences for things like sickness, maternity and paternity leave,
education upgrades and the like are taken into account.
There are huge holes in detachments everywhere, particularly
at the federal level and to a lesser extent in contract policing
for the provinces and territories.
Hiring more people costs money. Will it be forthcoming? My best guess is
that the RCMP reform process that is supposed to be well underway right
now is about to run into a brick wall that will soon be all the rage
on Parliament Hill: federal deficit reduction.
Deficit reduction nearly destroyed the Canadian military when the
Liberals took a sword to federal spending in the 1990s. Now the Conservatives
will be hacking away at the military, the RCMP and every other federal
institution and program financed by non-statutory funding, partially
because they've spent a lot of money on stimulus spending to promote
There's another reason the government is running short of money -- it cut the
GST by two percentage points. Most Canadians treated the tax as little more
than a nuisance, but paring it from seven per cent to five per cent is
costing the federal treasury $12 billion a year. Good politics? Probably.
Good economics? Terrible.
The current deficit hovers around $56 billion.
Twelve billion dollars a year would go a long way toward paying
it off once the stimulus program is wrapped up.
Twelve billion dollars a year could allow for investments rather than cutbacks. It would keep the Canadian Forces and the RCMP and other vulnerable federal institutions in respectable shape. But unless somebody has the guts to undo the damage, that money won't be there.
The Harper government loves to talk about law and order.
The smartest way to improve law and order is not to stuff
our already overstuffed jails with more people -- jails are places
people go to learn how to be better criminals.
The best way to restore law and order is to provide citizens with
the educational and social services they need, and to invest in the kind
of national police force Canadians want.
How much smarter to prevent crime rather than trying to
deal with it after it's happened.
David McAusland, head of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council, observed
in the second of his three reports:
"While the reform process is still assessing the costs of reform,
it is evident that many of the necessary initiatives cannot be
completed within existing resource levels ..."
More bluntly, McAusland told the Senate Committee on National Security
and Defence, "... no matter how you slice it and dice it, the force needs
more people, and, unfortunately, that means more money. It is undeniable."
There are no signs that the government is listening to McAusland.
In fact, the committee heard testimony that the RCMP are considering
cutting back on what has been a successful recruitment campaign
well before vacancies in detachments all across the country are filled, and
well before RCMP officers can expect to deal with sane workloads and
Those who have revered the RCMP over many decades have been
embarrassed by revelations of its weaknesses in recent years.
It would be comforting to say that investments are being
made to ensure that those embarrassments are behind us.
But that would also be a big, fat lie.
Colin Kenny was chair of the standing senate committee
on national security and defence during the last parliament.