Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act (Bill C-42)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, this bill is a long time coming and certainly we need improvements in RCMP accountability. These changes are welcome. I am particularly mindful, not just of the individual transgressions that come to light too late or that are sometimes put under the carpet, but of some rather high profile ones where the failure of the rights and powers of the public inquiry into the RCMP, when it was headed by Paul Kennedy, made it unable to put forward subpoena powers. In that way, former commissioner Zaccardelli refused to appear to explain why he put out a press release naming an hon. member of this House for something in which he had no involvement whatsoever. We needed to get to the bottom of that. It affected an election. We were unable to because the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP had no subpoena powers.

I would like to ask my hon. friend if he would join me and urge the committee to call the former head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, Paul Kennedy, to provide his expertise on whether this is good enough or whether we need more improvements to this proposed law. 

Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I tried to emphasize during my comments was the fact that we have been afforded an opportunity by having the bill brought forward because of an RCMP commissioner. If the government really wanted to improve the system the best thing it could do is to approach the committee with an open mind so that there could be amendments brought forward, whether at the committee stage or perhaps at third reading. Those amendments could be given attention and listened to as to what people have to say about them. I suspect that there are likely a number of amendments that would improve the legislation.

I do not have any problem looking at good ideas, listening to why a member might feel it should pass and then voting accordingly. That is something the Liberal caucus has done in the past and will continue to do in the future. At the end of the day, we want to have and continue to promote the best police service in the world, the RCMP.