More than a decade after independent investigator David Brown declared RCMP management “horribly broken” and recommended civilian oversight, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the 13 members who will make up the force’s interim civilian advisory board.
The new board, which was expected to be up and running April 1 but delayed until June 5, includes Wally Oppal, the former B.C. attorney general who chaired an inquiry into the botched investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton, as well as Ghayda Hassan, a clinical psychologist and co-chair of the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence.
Board members’ terms will last 18 months, according to Goodale’s spokesperson.
The advisory board is expected to cost roughly $1.56 million per year and will not have the power to make binding decisions. Should the 13-person board get into disagreements with the commissioner, it will remain up to the Public Safety Minister to intervene.
At the time the board was announced in January, Jane O’Reilly, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa who specializes in sexual behaviour within organizations, told Global News it was a “good first step.”
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“Problems that the RCMP are facing are so systematic that it can be really helpful to have an outside or neutral perspective looking into what’s happening and giving advice,” she said.
Others were less optimistic.
An advisory board might “shuffle” a few things around, historian Steve Hewitt said, but it doesn’t deal with “the fundamental core.”
“I would be surprised if it does lead to any kind of wider reckoning and reflection on where the institution has been in the past.“
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RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the force would meet for the first time “in the upcoming months.”
“Their advice will provide additional, valuable perspectives to help us make decisions that support our people and the communities we serve,” she said in a statement.
A Global News estimate put the total fallout from mismanagement of the force in the last 20 years alone at more than $220 million.
The advisory board will have to deal with what the RCMP’s own Civilian Review and Complaints Commissions labelled a “culture of dysfunction,” one which has cost the force over $100 million in sexual harassment payouts and more than $72 million in commissions and inquiries, and facing at least $2.4 billion in damage claims that are still before the courts.
On paper, the board indicates the government is willing to address Mountie problems. Yet Robert Gordon, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, said the reality will hinge on what the new board members are able to accomplish.
“I don’t think the mandate, at this point, is to undertake the significant restructuring and reform of the RCMP that is required,” he said. “It’ll be settling problems that have arisen inside the house as opposed to problems that have arisen as a result of the structure of the house.”
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The full list of interim board members:
Richard Dicerni – chairperson. Mr. Dicerni is a former federal and provincial public servant who served as a senior executive for different governments and supported the development of significant public policies, including the development of Canada’s first national AIDS strategy, and policies in the fields of telecommunications, science and technology. He led Alberta’s public service during a recent period of transition and modernization, and served as a senior advisor to the dean of the Ivey Business School and chair of the Ivey Sustainability Council.
Leanne J. Fitch – vice-chairperson. Chief of Police for the Fredericton Police Force since 2013, Fitch spent more than 20 years in various front-line operational policing roles. She was named officer of the year by the Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement and the International Association of Women; earned Police Officers’ Exemplary Service Medals and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; and was invested as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada.
Randy Ambrosie – member. A former professional football player and the current commissioner of the Canadian Football League, Ambrosie has championed diversity and free speech within the league. He has worked in the financial services industry with firms like Merrill Lynch, CIBC Wood Gundy, HSBC Securities, HSBC Brokerage, AGF Management Ltd. and MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
Elaine Bernard – member. An academic and proponent of the role of unions in promoting civil society, democracy and economic growth, Bernard is the senior research associate and former executive director of the Labour and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. She is the facilitator for the Canadian Police Association Executive Leadership Program with the Telfer School of Management, and a member of various associations and organizations.
Angela Campbell – member. An academic and lawyer, Campbell is the associate provost (policies, procedures and equity) for McGill University. Her areas of specialty include feminist legal studies and family law, health law, criminal law, wills and estates, and children and the law. She previously clerked for the Justice Frank Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada.
John C. Domm – member. A former Chief of Police for the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, as well as Chief of Police for the Rama Police Service, Domm has 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. He received the Police Exemplary Service Medal (2009) and was invested as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada (2013). He served as the vice-chairperson of the Ontario Regional Division of the Parole Board of Canada.
Ghayda Hassan – member. Ghayda Hassan is a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Hassan is the co-holder of the UNESCO–PREV Co-Chair, a worldwide first, dedicated to addressing the prevention of radicalization and extremist violence. Hassan is also a senior researcher at the Research and Action on Social Polarisations and is the co-chair of the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence.
Maureen Kempston Darkes – member. A lawyer and business executive, Kempston Darkes is the former president and general manager of General Motors of Canada. Her areas of expertise include audits, governance, human resources and compensation, corporate social responsibility, and environment, health and safety. She sits on boards for several organizations, including Brookfield Asset Management, Canadian National Railway, Enbridge, Schlumberger Ltd. and the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Douglas E. Moen – member. A lawyer and former provincial public servant, Moen is the executive director of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. A former deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general in Saskatchewan, Moen was the president of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, the commissioner with the Regina Crime Prevention Commission, and helped establish the Saskatchewan Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform.
Wally Oppal – member. A lawyer, former politician and attorney general for British Colombia, Oppal has been involved in many significant reforms of the justice system, including the establishment of Canada’s first community court to deal with chronic offenders, developing new Rules of Court in order to promote quicker resolution of disputes and developing new initiatives in dealing with violence against women. 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 – member. Patterson is senior executive vice-president and group head of technology and operations at CIBC. A CIBC employee his entire career, Patterson is responsible for the technology and operations required to run CIBC’s operations worldwide. Primary activities include technology infrastructure, application delivery, technology governance and information security. Patterson is the chair of CIBC’s Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council.
Keith Peterson – member. A former member of the legislative assembly for Nunavut who served nine of those years as finance minister and five as minister of justice, Peterson was responsible for the finance, health and justice portfolios, and for the Qulliq Energy Corp. His areas of expertise include contract policing, the RCMP, crime prevention, corrections and community justice, fiscal and monetary policy, labour standards, and health and social services.
Emőke Szathmáry – member. Former president of the University of Manitoba, an academic and advocate for diversity, inclusion and accessibility, Szathmáry has extensive experience in the administration of public and private institutions. She is the president emeritus and senior scholar at the University of Manitoba, and holds board memberships with the Power Corp. of Canada, Power Financial Corp., the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation and McMaster University.