Long-anticipated RCMP civilian advisory board named
Members include Fredericton chief of police, CFL commissioner
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police finally have their long-awaited civilian watchdog body — at least for the time being.
Following years of mounting calls for civilian oversight, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced plans earlier this year to set up an external board of advisers to strengthen oversight of RCMP management and improve how the force handles harassment and bullying.
Today, his office announced the names of the 13 members who will sit on the interim board:
- Chairperson Richard Dicerni, a former federal and provincial deputy minister who served in a number of social and economic portfolios. He is currently a board member at Alberta Health Services and an executive in residence at the Richard Ivey School of Business. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2017.
- Vice-Chairperson Leanne Fitch, the soon-to-be retired chief of police for the Fredericton Police Force. Fitch, named officer of the year by the Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement and the International Association of Women, will join the board after June 10.
- Randy Ambrosie, a former professional football player and the current commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
- Elaine Bernard, a senior research associate and former executive director of the Labour and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. She is also a facilitator for the Canadian Police Association Executive Leadership Program with the Telfer School of Management.
- Angela Campbell, the associate provost (policies, procedures and equity) for McGill University.
- John Domm, former chief of police for the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service and former chief of police for the Rama Police Service. Domm has also been an active member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association.
- Dr. Ghayda Hassan, a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Hassan is also the co-chair of the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence.
- Maureen Kempston Darkes, a lawyer and business executive. Kempston Darkes was formly the president and general manager of General Motors of Canada.
- Douglas Moen, is the executive director of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. He is also a former deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general in Saskatchewan.
- Wally Oppal, a former politician and attorney general for British Colombia. He was the commissioner of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in B.C. and is the chair of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee.
- Kevin Patterson, a senior executive vice-president at CIBC.
- Keith Peterson, a former member of the Legislative Assembly for Nunavut who served as finance and justice minister.
- Emőke Szathmáry, a former president of the University of Manitoba.
Plans to make the board permanent were included in Liberals' budget implementation act, which is winding its way through Parliament.
"This is the biggest, single innovation in the management of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 145 years," said Goodale Wednesday.
The board's mandate includes looking at RCMP resources, human resources and labour relations. The public safety minister will have the power to issue directives based on the board's input.
'Power of persuasion'
"If I feel, as minister, that their advice is not being sought or not being headed then I have the authority to issue directives, but I quite frankly I don't feel like that will be necessary," said Goodale.
"They have the power of persuasion."
The board won't be involved in any matters relating to law enforcement investigations or operations.
"I'm confident that they will help us achieve our goal: a more modern, effective, healthy and inclusive national police organization, trusted by Canadians for our policing excellence," said Lucki in her own statement.
"I know the board will continue to help guide us on our journey."
The idea for the outside advisory panel came out of two critical reports which called for more outside input to shake up the RCMP's outdated and protective culture.
The reports — one from former auditor general Sheila Fraser and the other from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission — called for greater civilian oversight in the management of the Mounties and independent external adjudication of harassment and sexual abuse situations.
The government accepted all the recommendations in both reports and says the interim board will start to look at how to implement them.
Their first meeting will be scheduled in the coming months.