-posted by Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa bureau, Nov. 29, 2011
It's 24 hours too late, and won't make it into the paper.
But since I asked again, and since the RCMP's media relations officer sought and got another response to the questions raised in yesterday's report from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, I thought I'd post it here.
If you didn't click through to the jump, the Human Rights Commission recommended to Parliament that national security agencies, esp CSIS and the RCMP, should be mandated to collect race-based and other statistics about their operations in order to track whether they discriminate on the basis of characteristics like race, disability, religious or ethnic origin. It said "good policy is not enough."
Sgt. Julie Gagnon emailed me a follow-up reply today which essentially suggests that there are enough safeguards already built in to the RCMP's working environment to protect against against "racial profiling." In other words, perhaps, good policy is enough.
For the record, here's the statement.
"The RCMP’s National Security Criminal Investigations Program is centrally controlled and responsible to assess, coordinate, conduct, and monitor all national security criminal investigations in Canada, and abroad where Canadians or Canadian interests are affected. While we do not collect "statistical data" concerning our adherence to human rights standards, our national security investigations are subjected to a range of oversight measures, which constitute a type of qualitative data, or check. These oversight measures include close monitoring at National Headquarters of RCMP policy guidelines, audits by the offices of the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General, as well as CPC investigations into complaints or public interest investigations. Human rights are also addressed by the judicial system (the courts) if a national security investigation reaches the prosecution stage.
"We train our members to conduct investigations based on criminal behavior and evidence. We also provide cultural training, which includes human rights education, to RCMP employees specifically engaged in national security criminal investigations."