Wednesday, May 11, 2022

TIME – 6 p.m.

LOCATION – Winnipeg, Manitoba

CHAIRPERSON – Mr. Dennis Smook (La Vérendrye)

VICE‑CHAIRPERSON – Mr. Brad Michaleski (Dauphin)


Members of the committee present:

Hon Messrs. Goertzen, Johnson

Ms. Fontaine, Messrs. Michaleski, Sandhu, Smook


Hon. Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights


Bill 7–The Police Services Amend­ment Act (Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit Operations)

Louise Simbandumwe, Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition
Damhat Zagros, Aurora Family Therapy Centre
Shereen Denetto, Immigrant and Refugee Com­mu­nity Organi­zation of Manitoba
Jennifer Montebruno, Police Account­ability Coalition
Rachael Howgate, Supporting Em­ploy­ment and Economic Dev­elop­ment Winnipeg
Kate Kehler, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act (Alter­na­tive Measures for Driving Offences)

Diane Redsky, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
Hennes Doltze, private citizen

Bill 30–The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act

Louise Simbandumwe, Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition
Damhat Zagros, Aurora Family Therapy Centre
Shereen Denetto, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba
Jennifer Montebruno, Police Account­ability Coalition
Kate Kehler, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
Lisa Forbes, Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group
Catherine Biaya, private citizen


Bill 7–The Police Services Amend­ment Act (Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit Operations)

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act (Alter­na­tive Measures for Driving Offences)

Bill 30–The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act

* * *

Clerk Assistant (Mr. Tim Abbott): Good evening, everyone. Will the Standing Com­mit­tee on Justice please come to order.

      The first item of busi­ness is the election of a Chairperson. Are there any nominations?

Hon. Derek Johnson (Minister of Agriculture): I would like to nominate Dennis Smook as a Chair, please.

Clerk Assistant: Mr. Smook has been nominated.

      Are there any other nominations?

      Hearing none, Mr. Smook, please take the Chair.

Mr. Chairperson: Our next item of business is the election of a Vice‑Chairperson.

      Are there any nominations?

Mr. Johnson: I nominate Brad Michaleski for Vice‑Chair.

Mr. Chairperson: Brad Michaleski has been nominated.

      Are there any other nominations?

      Hearing no other nominations, Brad Michaleski is elected Vice‑Chairperson.

      This bill–or, sorry, this meeting has been called to consider the following bills: Bill 7, The Police Services Amend­ment Act (Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit Operations); Bill 27, The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act (Alter­na­tive Measures for Driving Offences); Bill 30, The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act.

      I would like to inform all in attendance of the provisions in our rules regarding the hour of adjournment. A standing com­mit­tee meeting is–to consider a bill must not sit past midnight to hear public pre­sen­ta­tions or to consider clause by clause of a bill except by unanimous consent of the com­mit­tee.

      Public pre­sen­ta­tion guide­lines: prior to pro­ceeding with public pre­sen­ta­tions, I would like to advise members of the public regarding the process for speaking in a com­mit­tee. In accordance with our rules, a time limit of 10 minutes has been allotted for pre­sen­ta­tions, with another five minutes allowed for questions from committee members.

      If a presenter is not in attendance when their name is called, they will be dropped to the bottom of the list. If the presenter is not in attendance when their name is called a second time, they will be removed from the presenters' list.

      The proceedings of our meetings are recorded in order to provide a verbatim transcript. Each time someone wishes to speak, whether it be an MLA or a presenter, I first have to say the person's name. This is the signal for the Hansard recorder to turn the mics on and off.

      Also, if any presenter has any written materials for dis­tri­bu­tion to the com­mit­tee, please send the file by email to the moderator, who will distribute to all com­mit­tee members.

      Thank you for your patience.

Bill 7–The Police Services Amendment Act
(Enhancing Independent In­vesti­gation
Unit Operations)

Mr. Chairperson: We will now proceed with public presentations.

      I will now call on Louise Simbandumwe, Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition, to speak to Bill 7, and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting.

      Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

Floor Comment: Thank you very much for–

Mr. Chairperson: Louise, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Louise Simbandumwe (Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition): Okay. I'm just organizing my notes.

      So, just wanted to start by thanking you for inviting me to speak at this com­mit­tee hearing.

      I came to Canada as a refugee when I was actually very young, but I still remember growing up as a refugee in India and in Kenya and being really frightened of police officers, and with good reason.

      And in coming to Canada, I truly believed that, in this new context, we no longer needed to be afraid of the police and that they were here to protect us. And over the years, this is the advice that I've provided to other immigrants and new­comers, and I've really urged them to say, hey, things are different than they were back home and you can have faith in our police service.

      However, over the past two decades, that faith has been eroded, both because of what I've personally witnessed and ex­per­ienced, as well as hearing story after story from racialized new­comers and Indigenous peoples–my neighbours, my friends–about their treat­ment by the police.

      And I realized that I couldn't dismiss these ex­periences as isolated incidents or a few bad apples, that there were and are deep-seated systemic issues that need to be addressed, and that there is an urgent need for a more robust civilian oversight to ensure police account­ability and equal pro­tec­tion under the law for everyone.

      So that's why the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition signed on to the Police Account­ability Coalition's policy brief and joined the Police Account­ability Coalition, and why I agreed to be co-chair of the Police Account­ability Coalition as well as my role on the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition.

      I think civilian oversight is a really critical piece to starting to repair some of the damage and restore some of the faith and trust that com­mu­nity members need to have in our police.

      I was really surprised when I learned that the review of the police act had been under­taken, because I hadn't heard anything about that process. And when I reviewed the report and looked at who had been consulted, even more shocked when I realized that there wasn't a single Black-led organi­zation that had been consulted as part of that process.

      Since then, we've been able to have a couple of meetings with staff at the De­part­ment of Justice that have been very positive and productive. However, I'm really concerned that that ability to provide input through that avenue is a level of en­gage­ment that is too little and it's too late, because the legis­lation in Bill 7 falls far short of what is needed and what com­mu­nity members told us, in our con­sul­ta­tions with them, that they wanted to see in terms of reforming the IIU.

      The Public Interest Law Centre undertook some initial research for the Police Account­ability Coalition, which included a cross-juris­dic­tional analysis of in­de­pen­dent in­vesti­gation units across the country. And this research told us what com­mu­nity members already knew and had been telling us: that the recom­men­dations included in the police act review were not strong enough and they lacked meaningful con­sul­ta­tion; that the current legis­lation that was in place for the IIU in Manitoba was very weak when evaluated against best practices–so, it scored nine out of a potential 53; and that Manitoba's legis­lation was weak when compared to other provinces.

* (18:10)

      So, they compared it to Manitoba, Ontario, BC, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The legis­lation in other provinces like Ontario scored 22 out of 35, and they set the minimum standard for Manitoba. So even with the amend­ments–and some of the provisions are positive–our legis­lation in Manitoba will still 'fafarf'–fall far short of what is required.

      And I assisted in conducting some con­sul­ta­tions with com­mu­nities. So, consulted with the members of the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition. We also had a town hall, which was co-sponsored by the African Com­mu­nities of Manitoba Inc., as well as a really interesting and impromptu listening session with Indigenous youth.

I'll high­light a few key areas of concern, which aren't addressed in this legis­lation, that com­mu­nity members felt very strongly about.

And I would say that they had the strongest and most visceral response around the composition of the IIU and who–and the investigators, and so felt really strongly about discontinuing the seconding of serving police officers in the IIU. And so we were pleased to see that, and that is an im­por­tant step, but they want it to go further, we–in terms of also not wanting to see former police officers as investigators either. That really undermines the perception in the com­mu­nity that this is a civilian-led oversight and that the IIU is in­de­pen­dent and free of any police influence.

      So we strongly support the recom­men­dation put forward by PAC to discontinue the use of serving police officers and former police officers in the IIU in­vesti­gations and to develop a plan that ensures that the IIU functions in a way that is fully in­de­pen­dent of police influence or the perception of police influence.

      There–they also felt really strongly about needing to ensure that the IIU in­vesti­gation team reflected the com­mu­nities that are served, parti­cularly com­mu­nities that tend to have higher levels of en­gage­ment with the police. And so it is imperative that a plan be created to diversify the IIU, which includes timelines and targets, and that this plan be public and that we get reporting of progress towards achieving those results.

      The last piece that I'll speak to is–that com­mu­nity members felt really strongly about was–and–was the failure of police officers to comply and co‑operate with in­vesti­gations. And they were really struck by the double standard in terms of their encounters with the police and what's demanded of them when they are being questioned by the police, and hearing in the [inaudible] report that less than a third of police officers were fully–that fully complied with in­vesti­gations was really shocking, and so felt really strongly that there needs to be meaningful penal­ties for officers who failed to comply with legis­lation, and they must be large enough to be a deterrent, so suspension without pay as well as limiting the potential for a future promotion.

      So, in closing, while we think that there are–there–that this legis­lation is long overdue, in terms of reforming the IIU, a lot more needs to be done to address com­mu­nity concerns.

      And so our key recom­men­dation is that this bill should be withdrawn and that a full con­sul­ta­tion–meaningful con­sul­ta­tion–with impacted com­mu­nities is conducted, and that includes priority com­mu­nities, includes Black, Indigenous, com­mu­nities of colour, disabled com­mu­nities, LGBTQ2S+ com­mu­nities, sex workers, people who use drugs, individuals living on low incomes and com­mu­nity-based organi­zations working with affected com­mu­nities. We think that that's an im­por­tant first step that was missed the first time around from the very begin­ning when the review was done of The Police Services Act, and that needs to be rectified.

      Thank you very much.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      Do members of the com­mit­tee have questions for the presenter?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Thank you, Louise, for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening.

      I am, you know, really sorry to hear about your own feelings and experiences with the police, both previous to coming to Canada and to Manitoba and since then, but I do ap­pre­ciate you sharing them with us because they are instructive and they're helpful.

      I want to assure you–and I'm glad that you had a good interaction with the De­part­ment of Justice, and I'm sure that, you know, those op­por­tun­ities will continue. I do want to assure you this is, you know, a legis­lated and regulated review of the police act. It's a regular thing, I think, by statute, and there's more reforms that are coming; it's not the end of the process.

      But I do think you high­lighted some good things that are in this bill, and I'm reticent and worried about, you know, sort of the good being the enemy of the perfect, and I think it is im­por­tant that we proceed on things that are im­por­tant. But I do take your comments to heart, and they will help inform future changes that would come forward with other reviews.

      Thank you very much.

L. Simbandumwe: Thanks for that, and it's inter­esting that you quoted that to me, because I was just quoting that to a co-worker just last week in terms of trying not to be a perfectionist.

       I think part of what I'd really like to impress on you is just how far the current legis­lation falls short of what would be required to restore faith and trust in the civilian oversight of the police when it comes to serious incidents. And so I think while we are sup­port­ive of some of the steps that have been taken, so much more needs to be done that I'm just worried that a process of very slow incrementalism will not do anything to restore the kind of faith that I had in the police when I first arrived in Canada.

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Miigwech, Louise, for your pre­sen­ta­tion, and I ap­pre­ciate all of the critique and concerns that you have brought forward and put forward as part of our official record here for the Manitoba Legislature.

      You know, quite obviously, a lot of the concerns that you've shared are concerns that I've brought up in the House and that I've actually shared with the Minister of Justice (Mr. Goertzen).

      I would–you know, one of the things that I am also concerned about in this bill that–the Minister of Justice is well aware that, as you know, this bill establishes a director of Indigenous and com­mu­nity relations. And this position is supposed to be engaging with Indigenous com­mu­nities, Indigenous citizens and com­mu­nity organi­zations or com­mu­nity in general.

      And yet, in the bill, there's nothing that says this person has to be an Indigenous person or has to be, you know, a Black person or POC. And so what I fear is that we're going to have another non-BIPOC person hired in this position.

      And so I'd like to hear some of your thoughts on that.

L. Simbandumwe: I didn't realize that that person didn't have to be Indigenous. I think I just made the assumption that they would be. And I also think that, while I have no objection to having that kind of a role, it's very easy for that role to devolve into just a public relations role, which would be my other concern.

      And part of what our recom­men­dations are geared towards is really robust civilian oversight, and so we also made some observations around the Civilian Monitor Program and just ensuring that there is a–that there is that level of oversight and that connection back to the com­mu­nity through­out the whole process of in­vesti­gation and not just as someone that would just meet with com­mu­nity and where it might just devolve to just being sort of public relations as opposed to being able to substantively impact what is actively happening within the IIU. [interjection]

Mr. Chairperson: Sorry. Ms. Fontaine.

Ms. Fontaine: And also, I do–also, I really ap­pre­ciate you bringing up the fact that investigators should reflect the com­mu­nity that they come most in contact with. And certainly that's been a criticism of myself of the IIU, and we don't see any of that in here.

      What would you like to see in respect of folks working in–

* (18:20)

Mr. Chairperson: Excuse me. We have run out of time, so if you would like to, we'll need leave to allow you to finish your question and to have the presenter answer.

      Is there leave for Ms. Fontaine to conclude her–[interjection]

      Oh, is there leave for Ms. Fontaine to conclude her question and for Louise to give us an answer? [Agreed]

      Ms. Fontaine, you may continue.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for that.

      So just very quickly, Louise, in respect of reflecting on those that are repre­sen­tative, what would you like to see in that regard?

L. Simbandumwe: Yes. So it's exactly as you de­scribed. That is not just in direct proportion to the number–the percentage of people that belong to different demo­gra­phic groups in the popu­la­tion, that there is–that we do look at the com­mu­nities that are most likely to come in contact with the police and ensure that they are being–that the IIU reflects that. And so–and I will also–the other piece that we didn't really talk about in our policy brief is also ensuring that that is reflected at all different levels of the unit.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      I will now call on Damhat Zagros from the Aurora  Family Therapy Centre. Mr. Zagros? Is Damhat Zagros online? [interjection]

      Mr. Zagros, could you just give me the op­por­tun­ity to acknowl­edge you. Please proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr. Zagros.

Damhat Zagros (Aurora Family Therapy Centre): Thank you.

      So, my name is Damhat Zagros and I came to Canada in 2017 as a refugee coming from Lebanon. I'm originally from Syria, and one of the reasons of seeking refuge was because of policing. And I really ap­pre­ciate the op­por­tun­ity to be here to share our concern.

      I work in an organi­zation the–called Aurora Family Therapy Centre, and we work with the youth that deal with policing on a daily basis to a point that they would even hesitate to call police when they are at risk.

      And so our trust–as a youth, as a person who went through many experiences with policing, we really lost our trust with anything that's coming from policing and back­ground and–because we tried a lot, in the past, that–trust policing and every­thing would end up just creating more tools that clear and–trying to make the image of police look good, rather than effective mechanisms that change the system.

      So, what we want to–and really the concern here is to see, like, people who look like us, organi­zations that we really trust and leaders from com­mu­nity that we really trust are being involved. We cannot trust police anymore. It's [inaudible] and mis­repre­sen­ta­tion in Winnipeg is still huge issue.

      So when this kind of law and rules are being made, that they are really being made by people who are not being affected by. So if this can affect our life, it's–this is going to affect our com­mu­nities. Let us be involved as well. Let people that look like us to be involved.

      So I'm here just to share this concern because I see, I work with youth on a daily basis. I see how they feel, and anything that has seeing a former police officer as being involved as a solution will not help because we don't trust them. So there is really need of effective con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity members. Here there is really need of an in­de­pen­dent agency to be involved–has no police back­ground.

      And also, like, diversity is–will be really im­por­tant too–for some was–like, there was mention earlier, like, if someone has no lived ex­per­ience, back­ground, if someone is coming from a totally different environ­ment, if–will never recog­nize and understand what's happening on the streets, what's happening in our com­mu­nities and what we are facing.

      So, I'm really, really concerned about certain points and we need to address them. We need to be considered, and I hope that this is, like–could be the tool that's led to change, like–and to let the change we need to balance the power. We are–we know–we have–we are dealing with a lot of mis­repre­sen­ta­tion, so we need a kind of balance in power dynamics. We need com­mu­nity members who are getting involved, and not just a box to check, and they have to be involved effectively. They have to have some power to make some changes.

      Thank you for allowing me to share today, and this is all from me.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      Do members of the com­mit­tee have questions for the presenter?

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion and for sharing your ex­per­ience coming from, I guess, originally Syria and then coming to Canada from Lebanon. And it's great that you can partici­pate in this process. It is, I think, unique–or, almost unique in Canada; there may be one other province that has hearings like this that allows citizens, residents to come and speak about legis­lation that's being proposed.

      If I understood your comments correctly, I think you are maybe spe­cific­ally talking about ensuring that the police force is and looks more diverse, and I think that those are fair comments.

      I know that the Winnipeg Police Service, as an example, when Devon Clunis was the chief police–first Black police chief, I believe, in Canada, and so I think that there is an under­standing that that's im­por­tant for con­fi­dence and it needs to continue to grow.

      This is parti­cularly about the IIU, and I know it does have specific provisions for diversity and ensuring that there are individuals, directors who spe­cific­ally have Indigenous or diverse respon­si­bilities and, hopefully, back­grounds, but I get your point about ensuring that police forces are diverse and repre­sen­tative of the com­mu­nities that they are policing.

      So, thank you for making that with your unique experiences.

Mr. Chairperson: Mr. Zagros, did you have any comments for Mr. Goertzen?

D. Zagros: Yes.

      So, like, I just wanted to ensure, like, that what we  are asking for is, like, the people of diverse backgrounds, in terms of, like, organi­zations being involved. If someone has–if someone is a former police officer or has a policing back­ground, that will not solve the problem, because we don't trust them. They're coming from the same system, from the same back­ground.

      So diversity, in terms of, like, different organi­zations that deal with people with lived experiences. So just to make sure, like, they understand our environ­ment, they understand our perspective.

      Thank you.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening and for being here this evening.

      So, I understood what you were saying in respect of diversity, and I also understand what the minister is saying. There is obviously–quite obviously merit in having a policing in­sti­tution that also reflects the public that they come into contact with.

      But right here, we're talking about the IIU, and we're talking about a civilian oversight that must look like the folks that they come into contact with, but also that relationship with com­mu­nity.

      So, I want to assure you that I understand and really ap­pre­ciate what you shared here tonight and that I also just want to take a couple of minutes–I know that you do a lot of good work with youth in the com­mu­nity. And that's such im­por­tant work, to  work with the youth and to develop those rela­tionships, and so I just want to say miigwech to you for that work.

D. Zagros: Thank you.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Just to clear up one of the issues: I think when you're talking about the need for diversity, you're talking spe­cific­ally about the IIU and the in­vesti­gative team, although it's im­por­tant to have the police force diverse that, in this case and this bill there should be some clause which says that the IIU itself must be diverse.

      Is that what you're saying?

D. Zagros: Yes. So, like, the diversity should be at all levels.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr. Zagros, and we will be now moving on to the next presenter.

      I will now call on Shereen Denetto from IRCOM.

* (18:30)

      Shereen, please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Denetto, are you ready for your–you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Denetto.

Shereen Denetto (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba): My name is Shereen Denetto, and I'm the executive director at IRCOM, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, and thank you very much for provi­ding this op­por­tun­ity.

      IRCOM is home to 110 new­comer–primar­ily refugee–families; 110 families translates to 500 individuals, two thirds of whom are children and youth. So, we have a lot–a huge invest­ment in the success of our families, our adults and our youth. The vast majority of our families are also racialized people, people of colour.

      And so I wanted to say–and I also want to say that we're also speaking in solidarity with our Indigenous friends and neighbours who are living in and around us. We're right in the heart of the inner city.

      So, what do we want for the newest members of our society? You know, what do they want? They want to live in peace, you know, and to set goals and to achieve them, to thrive in their new home, to be Canadians, you know, to be accepted as Canadians.

      And what holds them back? Well, I'm sure you're no strangers to what holds people back when you're new­comers. There are a lot of barriers. People start their lives here in low-income housing and poverty. Lot of, you know, systemic barriers, language bar­riers, edu­ca­tional barriers and so on.

      But racism–racism is another factor that deeply affects our ability to have families integrate suc­cessfully into Canada. And it's a huge problem, and in policing–I hate to say it, but we have ample evidence and many, many experiences, as Louise and Damhat talked about.

      You know, we do–at IRCOM, we work well with the police. We have had them recently come in to talk about gang awareness with our families. So, I ap­pre­ciate the work that especially com­mu­nity relations does, but we also, unfor­tunately, have real–a real problem with policing, as well. I have met with police and have been told that, you know, racial profiling is a useful in­vesti­gative tool. We've met with police and we've been told that it's a few bad apples.

      I've had a youth in program–he actually wanted to be a police officer, and he was mistakenly accused of saying some­thing in a 7-Eleven to a police–he wasn't even talking to the police officer, and he was handcuffed and taken into a station, separated from our staff who were with him and held for many hours. So, there are some real problems, and these are recent examples. Young, racialized men and some women, too, are harassed, profiled and falsely accused. These are life-altering events.

      So, speaking for IRCOM, we're part of the Police Account­ability Coalition; we're really glad that these bills are coming forward–bills 30 and 7 are coming forward–because we really, as Louise said, we really want to advocate for robust civilian oversight, a robust civilian voice in how the amend­ments move forward.

      Bill 30, the law en­force­ment review agency amend­ment, we're–we are asking for further con­sul­ta­tion, meaningful com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion. Looking at the high rates of complaints to LERA and–that are, you know, dismissed out of hand. Or the members–or the complaints that are withdrawn or abandoned by the public. The rates are shocking.

      So, to me, incremental–as Louise was com­menting on, incremental change will only get us so far, and we have a really–we have real pressing problems and we need to work with the police on this. We have a serious rising gang issue. It ebbs and flows, but it's not going in the right direction, let's just say, and we are–we're getting in­creasingly worried.

      And here we are, holding special sessions with our parents, we're holding another session tomorrow night, because we do not want them to lose their kids to gangs. They are being preyed upon by gangs. And so, we need to work with the police, but as Damhat and Louise said, our families are also–and our youth, in parti­cular–are extremely reluctant to connect with the police and to work together. So, yes, stronger and more robust com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion around Bill 30 is–would be really, really some­thing that we advocate for.

      And just, you know, to speak a little to the IIU. There are many points that Louise raised; I would support them all. I'll just focus on one of them, which is our recom­men­dation that the IIU be allowed to launch in­vesti­gations when notified, you know, by the public or through public resources. We know–and create a system of tracking complaints against specific officers.

      You know, we want to high­light patterns of behaviour, and if you can't look at it holistically and include com­mu­nity perspectives, it's not going to meet the threshold for IIU in­vesti­gation and there's–it's a huge piece of what is missing that is known to com­mu­nity. And I'm not saying we want this to be a witch hunt. There is factual, evidential, reliable infor­ma­tion that, when put together, would fully inform an IIU in­vesti­gation.

So, again, I would strongly encourage the com­mit­tee to look at these bills, some of the police account­ability recom­men­dations and really help us. As Louise said, you know, incremental changes, sure, and not wanting to be perfectionists, but as she also said, we're very far from that point.

As Damhat said, our families won't come for­ward. They won't call the police. I mean, this is a real problem. You know, I've got a son, he's 20 years old and he gets pulled over–in the last four years of his high school, you know, ex­per­ience–were being pro­filed and pulled over as well. And, you know, we're a middle class family, so I'm not going to make a big thing about it, but it's endemic.

So I really want to, you know, to make that point that a robust civilian oversight process is needed.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Denetto.

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you, Ms. Denetto, for your pre­sen­ta­tion and sharing personally about the ex­per­ience of your son, which I know is challenging for all of us to hear and, obviously, more challenging for you and your son to ex­per­ience.

      I–you know, I ap­pre­ciate the nature of your pre­sen­ta­tion because you spoke about the good things that you believed that the police are doing in terms of interacting with 110 new­comer families that you're dealing with in terms of gang awareness, and that's im­por­tant.

      But you also spoke about the challenges. And I think that that's one of the things about Canada that attracts new­comers to Canada is that­–not that it's perfect, but that it's always striving to be better.

And in this, as well, in the Legislature, I can assure you that this is not, you know, sort of the end of con­sul­ta­tion. We go through an annual process of legis­lation and con­sul­ta­tion, and trying to improve bills isn't some­thing that happens, you know, once and then it doesn't happen again for 15 years. It is an annual process and there's always looking for input.

So, I ap­pre­ciate you coming tonight, virtually, and sharing your unique perspective on behalf of the 110 new­comer families of which you are repre­sen­ting tonight.

      So thank you, again.

S. Denetto: Thank you for your comments, Minister, and I ap­pre­ciate the op­por­tun­ity to speak and I would also welcome any further con­sul­ta­tions, and also revisiting progress. Let's see what the acts and the amend­ments look like, what the changes in–are effected, and com­mu­nity, I think, would be really interested with provi­ding feedback on changes and im­prove­ments as we see them happening, and areas for im­prove­ment.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening.

      You know, back before I was a public servant here, I did, obviously, many, many, many years working on Indigenous police relations. And years back, there was–I can't remember what it was, but often the WPS would talk about how they had unbiased policing, and that they didn't racially profile. I cannot tell you how many meetings I was in that WPS members would say, well, we don't racially profile–which we all know that that's not true.

      So, I am curious, though–this is actually the first time I've heard racial profiling as a useful in­vesti­gative tool.

      In the limited time that we have, can you, kind of, share where that came from, what was the context of the con­ver­sa­tion and how that was, kind of, said to you?

* (18:40)

S. Denetto: Sure. Thank you so much for the question and the comment.

      Yes, I will, in brief, say that we had, you know, a number of cases of what we would consider racial profiling. It was happening to our paid staff em­ployees, young, Black men. So we called a meeting with the police. It was really getting bad, and they were harassed and profiled. So we called a meeting with the police and we met with a leadership team of four to five people, and in that discussion that's where the a few bad apples was shared. We also heard that phrase that, actually, you know, it's a useful in­vesti­gative tool–and it was appalling to hear that, but it was probably the truth.

      So I think there's a lot to be uncovered, and maybe we can get to these kinds of frank discussions and then we have to deconstruct that, you know, yes.


Mr. Gerrard: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Shereen.

      One of the strong 'perds'–points that I heard from you was the need to lower the threshold for an in­vesti­gation or look at what's happening by the IIU. Could you expand on that a little bit?

S. Denetto: Yes, I–we do have examples from our ex­per­ience–I'll try to be brief–where we've had know­ledge of harassment happening in a coaching context. So not a policing context, a totally different–sports related, but there's one individual. Then we've seen it on the streets as well, where that one person–in their role as a police officer.

      And, you know, when you put these pieces together, com­mu­nity has knowledge. Com­mu­nity–unfor­tunately, some officers have reputations. And if you can find credible infor­ma­tion from com­mu­nities, it can really provide well-rounded infor­ma­tion for the IIU. And, again, it's credible; it's not a witch hunt; and it needs to be heard and brought to the table.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Denetto.

      We will now move on to the next presenter for Bill 7.

      I will now call on Jennifer Montebruno from the Police Account­ability Coalition and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting.

      Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Montebruno, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Jennifer Montebruno (Police Account­ability Coalition): I–my name is Jennifer Montebruno, and I am here repre­sen­ting the Police Account­ability Coalition, which is made up of over 100 com­mu­nity-based organi­zations that have come together to work for imme­diate changes to resolve long-standing concerns regarding police account­ability and the allocation of resources in our com­mu­nities.

      I'm here tonight to speak to our analysis as PAC, or the Police Account­ability Coalition, about the recom­men­dations in Bill 7, spe­cific­ally pointing out that Winnipeg residents have the lowest con­fi­dence in police out of every major city in Canada. And 36–sorry, 36 per cent of Winnipeggers believe there's a serious problem with the police–the way that police interact with Black, Indigenous and other non-white people, meaning that there are serious, legitimate concerns that have been expressed for many years over police account­ability.

      And while we ap­pre­ciate the recom­men­dations and the position that is taken and some of the changes recom­mended in Bill 7 to look for us to ensure that Manitoba has the most effective in­de­pen­dent police oversight agency in Canada, it's truly our position that the proposed changes to the IIU are inadequate and have not involved enough com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion to provide true oversight, trans­par­ency and account­ability that our com­mu­nities are asking for, deserve and need.

      Our analysis draws upon the expertise of the many and diverse organi­zations in our coalition and as well as the–in–with con­sul­ta­tion, as mentioned, with the com­mu­nities that we represent, including research conducted by Legal Aid Manitoba's the Public Interest Law Centre.

      So there are many concerns and recom­men­dations that we have regarding the proposed IIU changes, and in the time I have, just to speak to a few.

      Regarding the Civilian Monitor Program, we would propose that–Bill 7 currently proposes re­placing this program with a com­mu­nity liaison pro­gram, and although this program may provide im­por­tant connection and outreach, it seems to lack the meaningful voice and input that an effective Civilian Monitor Program would provide. We have concerns that this will result in less public trans­par­ency and civilian oversight over in­vesti­gations. So, our recom­men­dation is to keep that program alongside the com­mu­nity liaison program and invest the Civilian Monitor Program with greater oversight.

      In regards to other issues or other pre­sen­ta­tions to changes involv­ing things from–everywhere from seconding 'slevring' police officers to having us discontinue that use, and also the discontinuance of former police officers in IIU in­vesti­gations, which would speak to some of the concerns expressed by the previous speakers tonight regarding trust and true part­ner­ship with police and the IIU.

      There are lots of recom­men­dations that we would suggest regarding officers who again, as mentioned, refuse to comply with legis­lation, which brings concerns for civilians, like myself, as to what we can expect when these in­vesti­gations occur, if this is already known and not being addressed further. We feel that there's much more room for op­por­tun­ity for account­ability in the bill.

      Bill 7 does not specify the mandate for the IIU regarding on- and off-duty domestic and sexual violence by police officers. Because the rate of domestic and sexual violence by police officers is high relative to the general popu­la­tion and because the police and the IIU have had a difficult and poor record of identifying and investigating domestic and sexual violence, parti­cular attention to this issue is needed. So our recom­men­dation is to expand that mandate to address the issue of domestic and sexual violence by on- and off-duty police officers to address the account­ability and lack thereof that exists with police and IIU in­vesti­gations in this area.

      My colleagues and friends have already spoken to the need for ad­di­tional diversity of investigators and an increase of the receiving and responding of complaints, so I'll just summarize at this point by saying that our recom­men­dation as the Police Account­ability Coalition is that you do not pass Bill 7 until meaningful con­sul­ta­tion is done with the priority com­mu­nities that have been mentioned.

      To reiterate who they are: Black, Indigenous and com­mu­nities of colour; disabled com­mu­nities; 2SLGBTQIA+ com­mu­nities; sex workers; police–or sorry, people who use drugs; individuals living on low incomes; and the com­mu­nity-based organi­zations that work with these affected com­mu­nities.

      We would welcome ad­di­tional con­sul­ta­tion. We would welcome ad­di­tional dialogue. And we hope to see that true part­ner­ship in this regard can be recog­nized that we all want, as we've stated, to move towards a recog­nition of the outdated system that is currently in place. We agree that we want to foster a culture of excellence to ensure police account­ability, and we believe that by doing so, by delaying this bill, you will begin to provide some account­ability and steps towards the trust that you say you want us as your civilians and the people you serve to feel from you.

      So we respectfully offer these positions and offer the op­por­tun­ity for increased dialogue to both increase our robust civilian oversight mechanism, but also to be repre­sen­tative of the people that are primarily affected and are entirely the society we serve in regards to this parti­cular issue. So I thank you for this op­por­tun­ity to speak to you tonight.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for that pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Montebruno.

Mr. Goertzen: Yes, thank you, Ms. Montebruno. And thank you on behalf of PAC, the coalition that you're repre­sen­ting today.

      You raise a number of issues and I'll certainly take them back. I don't want to try to address all of them, because I would take away time from my colleagues who I knew–know also want to speak.

* (18:50)

      You and others have raised the issue of current serving police officers being investigated as–on the IIU. And I know this was a sig­ni­fi­cant issue when the former NDP gov­ern­ment originally brought forward this legis­lation and were quite insistent that there should be allowed to be current officers involved as investigators.

I think this is the right step to move away from that. I'm reluctant to delay that step. Again, I know, you know, previous gov­ern­ment thought it was im­por­tant to have that. I do think it's im­por­tant to move away from that, both from perception and potential realities.

      So, I can commit that, you know, we want to continue to have dialogue and continue to hear concerns because this won't be, I'm sure, the only change that ever happens to the IIU. But I know that there are legacy provisions from previous gov­ern­ment that people are quite concerned on, and I think we need to make changes on and not delay it again for a year or two. But I do ap­pre­ciate very much your concerns.

J. Montebruno: Thank you. I ap­pre­ciate that we see commonality in that there are many outdated parts of the system to look at. And, as has been mentioned, no one is expecting any sort of perfection from any bill, only that there would be increased con­sul­ta­tion prior to its signing. I think we can all agree that the points that we've mentioned tonight are im­por­tant and real and provide us a real op­por­tun­ity for some steps to right some of the wrongs of the past.

      So I–again, I thank you for those comments and welcome ad­di­tional dialogue at any time with Justice and with others involved in the situation.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening, alongside your colleagues in the com­mu­nity and on the Police Account­ability Coalition who are doing really, really good work. And I want to lift up everybody that's on the call–or on the Zoom right now who do that work on behalf of all of us.

      You know, everybody so far–thus far has talked about the lack of con­sul­ta­tion that was under­taken in this police act review, and I suspect that the minister has heard that and appreciates that concern.

And, you know, what type of con­sul­ta­tion would you like to see at this point? Because as the minister has said, the–Bill 7 will pass. It's going to pass on, I think, June 1st, I believe it is–June 1st, June 2nd, I can't remember–but what kind of con­sul­ta­tion would you like to see for the com­mu­nity?

J. Montebruno: Thank you. Thank [inaudible] that question.

I think that there could be some op­por­tun­ity for some increased promotion of op­por­tun­ities to speak with com­mu­nity. I know that, at times, it has been difficult to get meetings with the key–with key folks, recog­nizing, of course, the challenge that our coalition–repre­sen­ting com­mu­nity members who are working at their day jobs during this time. So a lot of this com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, an op­por­tun­ity could be to have more con­sul­ta­tion on evenings and weekends, or at least a mechanism to provide greater dialogue and en­gage­ment.

      I think that our Police Account­ability Coalition has suggested that there could be more frequent en­gage­ment with the coalition. It represents over 95 com­mu­nity groups and there is many op­por­tun­ities to engage. All of these groups, I think, would be happy to have meetings as needed, and so I think this is–perhaps the bill will pass, you know, can't hurt to try to ask, but definitely I think there's an op­por­tun­ity, in this space, moving forward, to commit all of us to having more dialogue, because these issues can be–we can make some real progress together, but it does require a more frequent en­gage­ment and greater promotion of op­por­tun­ities to speak.

Mr. Chairperson: The Hon­our­able Mr. Gerrard, but you'll have to make it quick because we've got 23 seconds left.

Mr. Gerrard: You mentioned that the Civilian Monitor Program needs greater oversight. Can you be specific about what kind of oversight?

J. Montebruno: You know, I don't know if I have time to speak to it, but I will suggest to speak to some of the comments made earlier, in parti­cular by Shereen Denetto and Louise Simbandumwe.

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Montebruno, if you could ask the com­mit­tee for leave to answer the question?

J. Montebruno: I would like to ask the committee for leave to answer the question.

Mr. Chairperson: Is there leave for Ms. Montebruno to finish her answer? [Agreed]

      It's been agreed that we will allow Ms. Montebruno to continue her answer.

J. Montebruno: Thank you for that leave.

      You know, basically, I can speak to the idea that more civilian oversight would be recog­nition of the fact that when 1,700 complaints were filed during the past decade, only 1 per cent–if I'm looking at my notes correctly–only 1 per cent have ever been referred to public hearing. I just feel there is a correlation between ad­di­tional civilian oversight on civilian complaints and the amount of complaints that would be seen as deemed ap­pro­priate to refer to public hearing. And those are numbers that I understand have been in the place since 2012, so I just think there are many pieces.

      And happy to share our policy recom­men­dations with Mr. Gerrard and others if needed and asked for.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Montebruno.

      I will now call on the next presenter for Bill 7, Michael Redhead Champagne from the Restorative Justice Association of Manitoba, and ask the mod­erator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Mr. Champagne are you there? Seeing as that Mr. Champagne is not there, we will drop his name to the bottom of the list.

      I will now call on Rachael Howgate from SEED Winnipeg. Ms. Howgate, are you there?

      I would ask you to please unmute yourself and turn your video on. Ms. Howgate, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Rachael Howgate (Supporting Em­ploy­ment and Economic Development Winnipeg): Good evening and thank you for allowing us to speak again tonight.

      I am here on behalf of SEED Winnipeg and in support of the docu­ment presented by the Police Account­ability Coalition.

      SEED Winnipeg is an organi­zation operating in the North End where we serve a high proportion of Indigenous, new­comer and racialized com­mu­nity members, primarily those living on low levels of income.

      We just wanted to echo that our com­mu­nities have legitimate concerns regarding police and police account­ability. We agree with the position of the Police Account­ability Coalition that the proposed changes to the IIU in Bill 7 will not provide the level of oversight, trans­par­ency and account­ability that our com­mu­nities need and deserve.

      Some of our key areas of concern–many of them have already been high­lighted by my colleague speaking prior to me, but: the in­de­pen­dence of the investigators, as we've spoken about; the diversity of those on the IIU responding to complaints.

      So, currently, the IIU has no ability to launch investi­gations without notification from the police service, and in many cases police services fail to notify the IIU of relevant incidences. And this really hits back to the point of in­de­pen­dence of those on the IIU and just the in­de­pen­dence of the In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit.

      If we're relying on officers to report for them­selves, then in­de­pen­dence and trust comes into question. And so we would recom­mend that the IIU be allowed to launch in­vesti­gations when notified through the public, which would create a system–oh, sorry–to create a system to track complaints against specific officers to high­light patterns of behaviour and in the case that complaints do not meet the threshold for IIU in­vesti­gation.

      Another area that Jennifer had just brought up before me was the domestic and sexual violence by police officers. And so, in Bill 7 the mandate for the IIU is not expanded. It does not include sexual or domestic violence regarding on- and off-duty police officers, and we would really like to reiterate the importance of expanding the mandate to address those issues of sexual and domestic violence by police officers, and to also address the lack of account­ability that exists with police and IIU in­vesti­gations in this area.

* (19:00)

      So at this time, in concluding, we would again support the call to withdraw the bill and engage in con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nities, and I know we've spoken of con­sul­ta­tion, but these are our recom­men­dations.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Howgate.

      We will now move on to questions.

Mr. Goertzen: Yes, thank you, Ms. Howgate. More of a comment. And thank you for coming and supporting previous pre­sen­ta­tions; I know you were em­pha­sizing and supporting a lot of the positions before.

      I do want to thank you for your work with SEED. I've, you know, had the op­por­tun­ity to see, in different roles, the work you do with new­comers, English as a second language, I think even supporting new­comers in terms of shelter and home buying, and those are really, really im­por­tant programs.

      So, thank you for the pre­sen­ta­tion that you're on topic with tonight but also, more broadly, what SEED does in the com­mu­nity in supporting those who are coming to Canada and making a home of Manitoba.

      So, thank you very much.

R. Howgate: Thank you for your comments.

Ms. Fontaine: I would echo some of my colleague's comments. So, miigwech for the pre­sen­ta­tion and for sharing and reiterating a lot of what–im­por­tant, im­por­tant points that people have brought up here tonight. So I say miigwech for that and also for the really good work that SEED does.

      Again, I know that I asked this earlier, but I would–I want to really explore, every single presenter has talked about–and again, we know this to be true–that there was a lack of con­sul­ta­tion. And so I'd like to explore a little bit more with you what you would like to see in con­sul­ta­tion.

      The previous presenter had talked about, and rightly so, you know, potentially more con­sul­ta­tion in the evenings or on the weekends, but, from your perspective, what would you like to see in respect of, like, a com­pre­hen­sive con­sul­ta­tion?

R. Howgate: Yes, so [inaudible] that would be having an array of different times that people can meet to make that process more ac­ces­si­ble is, of course, im­por­tant.

      And Louise, who spoke first, also spoke of her surprise in finding out that no Black-led organi­zations were consulted in the process of this bill, and so that's another one. Again, em­pha­sizing the importance of actually consulting with those com­mu­nities who are most affected.

      And I think the last point would just be, like, really em­pha­sizing meaningful con­sul­ta­tion. So, not just to say that we consulted with com­mu­nity members, but reporting back what did the com­mu­nity say and what in this bill represents–did we meet with com­mu­nity and hear them, or did we meet with com­mu­nity and simply say that we met with them?

      Thank you.

Mr. Gerrard: You spoke about the importance of the IIU having the ability to in­vesti­gate sexual and domestic violence for on- and off-duty policemen.

      Let me give you an op­por­tun­ity to expand on why you think that is so critical.

R. Howgate: Yes, so, we did speak about–the rate of domestic and sexual violence by police officers is high relative to the general popu­la­tion. And so I do think that it's of parti­cular importance that we set a standard that those behaviours are unacceptable and those behaviours warrant in­vesti­gation.

Mr. Chairperson: Any further questions?

      If not, we thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Howgate.

      And just for the com­mit­tee's infor­ma­tion, we've been in contact with Mr. Champagne. He will not be able to make it this evening, so his name will be taken off the list for Bill 7 and Bill 30.

Mr. Goertzen: I might make the sug­ges­tion that if Mr. Champagne wants to make a written pre­sen­ta­tion, that he be provided maybe until the end of the day tomorrow to provide a written pre­sen­ta­tion that can be circulated to com­mit­tee members.

Mr. Chairperson: Is that in agree­ment with the com­mit­tee? [Agreed]

      We shall get in contact with Mr. Champagne and ask him if he's interested in doing a written pre­sen­ta­tion.

      We will now call on the next presenter for Bill 7, Ms. Kate Kehler from the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

      Ms. Kehler, are you there? I would ask you to–the moderator to invite you into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Kehler, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion, if you are ready. Ms. Kehler.

Kate Kehler (Social Planning Council of Winnipeg): Good evening. Thank you very much for the op­por­tun­ity to speak with you this evening.

      I am Kate Kehler with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. We're an organi­zation with over a hundred‑year history of working to create a better Winnipeg through com­mu­nity-led dev­elop­ment and progressive public policy advocacy. And, as such, we've also had a long history of supporting com­mu­nity-based coalitions, such as the Police Account­ability Coalition.

      So we were an active parti­ci­pant in developing the original brief and also on the recom­men­dations for the legis­lation on IIU, Bill 7, so–or, what we would like to see in Bill 7.

      So we already went through the con­sul­ta­tion process that we were able to do within the com­mu­nity and spoke to the concerns. There are very great remaining concerns. I just wanted to high­light again the fact that we were able to get support from the Public Interest Law Centre and–who did that scan for us. And I think it's very im­por­tant that we note that that scan demon­strated that the original legis­lation was amongst the weakest and–of–across juris­dic­tions.

      And while any im­prove­ment is welcome, what Bill 7 proposes is too long 'overtue' and does not go far enough. The latitude that is afforded law en­force­ment officers to choose to lay charges or not, to use force or not, and finally, to use lethal force or not is upheld more often than not.

      The current oversight in­sti­tutions, police boards, the Law En­force­ment Review Agency, the In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit, Manitoba Justice–through the Crown attorney's office–either do not question operational decisions, such in the case of police boards. They outright dismiss concerns or fail to offer support to complainants, such as LERA; is governed by legis­lation that is too far behind–that's the IIU–and finally, even when the IIU recom­mends charges, often refuses to proceed on the grounds that a conviction is unlikely, and that would be through the Crown attorney's office.

      So, I want to again high­light–I want to again just support what my colleagues have said today and add my voice to what they already brought forward, and I'll just speak to a couple of other ones, as well.

      So I wanted to spe­cific­ally mention, although it has been already, that the IIU currently has no ability to launch in­vesti­gations without a notification from the police, and in many cases, police services fail to notify the IIU of relevant incidents: that our recom­men­dation is to allow IIU to launch in­vesti­gations, whether notified by the public or through public sources, and create a system–and this is the im­por­tant thing to high­light, I believe: create a system to track complaints against specific officers in order to high­light patterns of behaviour in case there is a number of complaints that are made but they don't quite make the threshold of the IIU's definition of harm.

      As has been high­lighted many times, there are certainly concerns around the con­sul­ta­tion process, and while I've heard Minister Goertzen say that you–you know, you want–you don't want the good to be the enemy of–or the profession to be enemy of the good, I think what's im­por­tant to high­light here is that we know that continuous work can be done, but we also know that only so much work gets done in any legis­lative sitting.

      So this has to be prioritized because there is harm being done. We, here in Winnipeg, unfor­tunately went through one of those cluster events in 2020 where three people were killed by police in just 10 days, and there seems to be a pattern of cluster. In research there–that it does seem to happen when there is one incidence, there can be a number of incidents that follow afterwards and that certainly needs to be investigated further to find out why that happens.

* (19:10)

      But what's–why it needs to be prioritized is given the number of cases that do not go forward, that criminal charges are not laid, it's my under­standing that the families, the survivors, don't even get access to victim support services because no crime has occurred. So there is real harm being done, and that's why we need to strengthen the IIU legis­lation here and now as much as we possibly can.

      So the–while we do want to recog­nize that there are a few other recommendations that we have–while officers should be entitled to the same Charter rights as everyone else, the right to not self-incriminate must be balanced against the trust and power that individual officers enjoy over members of the public. All officers' work product must be considered public property so the IIU can access it for in­vesti­gations.

      The–just a very simple one that we haven't mentioned yet is just the reports need to be written in plain language so people can actually understand what's going on; that's key to trans­par­ency.

      And, I guess, again, I'll just close by, you know, again, reiterating what my colleagues have already said. I know you guys have got a night–a long night in front of you, so I don't need to drag it out. I would like to say, though, is that I am going to respond to the monitor's email and put our PAC recom­men­dation in front of you. We have submitted it to op­posi­tion parties, also to Justice, but I'm not sure if it's made it into the hands of the com­mit­tee members here. So we'll make sure that we can get that moving forward.

      But I just want to close by saying for people to have con­fi­dence in the police, who quite literally the power of life and death over them, the people need to know that members of the various police services are held to the highest standard. No one denies that it can be difficult and dangerous work at times, but they cannot be used to justify what seems to become for some members a sort of siege mentality; there very much seems to be a you're-either-with-us-or-you're-against-us mentality out there. We as a society have override on police–over-relied on police to fix all other systems failures; that has been a costly failure in both actual dollars, but also on our collective humanity. We need better and actually best practice oversight for everyone's sake.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Kehler. We will now move on to questions.

Mr. Goertzen: Yes, thank you, Ms. Kehler.

      And I think you corrected me, although you may not have known it. I think I accidentally said earlier on I don't want the good to be the enemy of the perfect. As you properly said it, the phrase is, don't want the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

      But I actually don't want anybody to be enemies, and so this might surprise you when I say that I have–you mentioned that the IIU legis­lation, when it was intro­duced by the former NDP gov­ern­ment, was the weakest in Canada. And yet I have some sympathy for Minister Chomiak, who I spoke to at great length at the time that he was intro­ducing the legis­lation and the struggle that he had in trying to balance certain things, and now I'm in the chair with some of that same struggle.

      So, you know, you speak of the, you know, the right not to self-incriminate, which I think is, you know, delineated in section 13 of the Charter, I believe, as a protected right, and I know that those things can be balanced out through a test. But those are the struggles that, you know, these pieces of legis­lation create.

      I do think it's an im­prove­ment. I do have sym­pathy for my former ministers of Justice, even other parties, who struggle with the legis­lation, but I take your point and others' point that there needs to be more advancements and not and end to con­sul­ta­tions, and I ap­pre­ciate that.

K. Kehler: Thank you for that.

      I would just say that that was another one that struck. When we had mentioned the ones that really struck in–struck home to the people that we consulted with, that was another one. It's that it really is the case: they do have the power of life and death, so they have a tre­men­dous amount of power, so that has to be absolutely balanced out.

Ms. Fontaine: So, miigwech, Kate, for presenting here this evening. You know that I always ap­pre­ciate every time that you show up and I get an op­por­tun­ity to hear from you directly and all of the good work that you're doing. You are quite obviously everywhere in the com­mu­nity and do such phenomenal work at supporting so many different com­mu­nity organi­zations and com­mu­nity events. So I just want to take a quick second just to lift you up for that work.

      I think it's interesting that you talk about the reports being written in language that folks can understand and is comprehensible. Can you comment a little bit more about that, in your con­sul­ta­tions, some of the concerns that had come up with that?

K. Kehler: I can only imagine, actually, being a member of–a loved one of somebody who has been involved in an incident and have lost the–a life has been lost or serious damage has been done, and has been trying to read one of those reports, where it's impossible to follow it through. It's officer 1, officer 2, officer 3, and then it goes–it–you know, you can't actually read it.

      I mean, I have a uni­ver­sity edu­ca­tion, I'm not saying anybody other–doesn't, but it's like–it's ex­tremely complicated to read. And so, plain language would be in the essence of trans­par­ency.

      So that's what–not–people who have looked at the reports–again, in our con­sul­ta­tions, it was more with–people who are actually involved in PAC have actually gone to look at the reports, and they're–yes, the same–it was the same answer, is that it's in­cred­ibly difficult to follow.

Mr. Chairperson: Are there any further questions for–the Hon­our­able Mr. Gerrard.

Mr. Gerrard: First of all, thank you very much for all the good work you do at the Social Planning Council and your involvement in putting together the report which you presented to our caucus, and to others.

      The ability for the IIU to launch its own in­vesti­gation without the police having referred it seems a–pretty critical. Can you speak a little bit more to that?

K. Kehler: It is the–it's just that concern, that–of the–again, for building trust and–so people can understand that they actually have the power to bring a complaint forward as opposed to waiting, because it's just another measure where the police get to police them­selves. They get to say this meets the standard. And if they say it doesn't meet the standard, then it doesn't go forward to the IIU.

      And so, that's of concern.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Kehler.

      This concludes the list of presenters I have before me to Bill 7.

      Are there any further presenters?

      Seeing's none, we will now move to Bill 27.

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amendment Act
(Alternative Measures for Driving Offences)

Mr. Chairperson: I will now call on our first presenter for Bill 27, The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act, Diane Redsky. I would ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting.

      Please unmute yourself and turn your video on, Ms. Redsky.

Floor Comment: Hi there.

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Redsky, you may start with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Diane Redsky (Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre): Thank you.

      Ojibwe spoken. Translation unavailable.

      That is, I wish to honour and start the meeting in a good way, also acknowl­edging Treaty 1 territory and homeland of the Métis Nation and Winnipeg, part of Shoal Lake First Nation water.

      So I'm here to speak against the changes being proposed to the highway and 'traffict' act in regards to repealing the require­ment to suspend the driver's licence of those not partici­pating in alter­na­tive measures. And so, I'd like to begin with, firstly, the back­ground, in case anybody doesn't know some of the ex­per­ience that I bring here, why I feel so strongly about this and so you know where–in what context this is coming from.

      So, the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is one of many com­mu­nity-based organi­zations working to end the sexual ex­ploit­ation of women and girls in Winnipeg, and especially for the Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre, the sexual ex­ploit­ation of women and girls–of Indigenous women and girls. And this is really im­por­tant because we view sexual ex­ploit­ation as violence against women, and this is parti­cularly harmful for Indigenous women and girls.

      And I wish to remind this im­por­tant group–this im­por­tant com­mit­tee–that we do have a prov­incial strategy to end all forms of sexual ex­ploit­ation and sex trafficking in Manitoba, and that strategy is called Tracia's Trust. And as a leader, I've been working on this for over 20 years. I've led a national task force in 2011 to 2015. I trained law en­force­ment all on the issue of sexual ex­ploit­ation.

* (19:20)

      At the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, we're part of a sexually exploited youth com­mu­nity coalition of a number of other com­mu­nity-based organi­zations. We opened up the first safe house in Winnipeg in 2003, so, 19 years ago. And in 2010, we opened up a rural healing lodge, which continues to be the only rural healing lodge for child victims of sexual ex­ploit­ation and sex trafficking in Canada. And we really–we opened this, really, resulting from the men who kept parking in front of our safe house that was located in Winnipeg.

      We also operate a mobile outreach program that operates in the middle of the night from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., six days a week, and in the past three years, we've served over 6,800 women and girls who have received outreach services. We have reported over 400 trap houses; 500 men buying sex. And out of those 500 men that are using their vehicles to buy sex, 180 of them were approaching minors.

      So some of the key points that I wish to make to inform this com­mit­tee: If you don't already know, sexual ex­ploit­ation is violence. Bottom line. Period. This impacts Indigenous women and girls and its impact to their lives is a lifetime of healing. Many survivors share with us that each of these individual instances of where they are bought for sex are individual incidences of paid rape. Women and girls are often on their healing journey for a lifetime.

      It is im­por­tant to understand what motivates men–which are primarily men–who are in these vehicles, who are driving around, approaching women and girls who are on the street, that sexual ex­ploit­ation is about power, control and greed. It is racism, sexism and classism at its very worst, and all strategies to address this must stop. This must be with serious action. Softening the approach to address the demand is a real concern. It is a crime to buy sex in Canada, and the criminal provision should align with the intent of this federal legis­lation and should also align with our own prov­incial strategy within Tracia's Trust.

      Removing–losing your licence if you don't follow through on the alter­na­tive measures sends the wrong message to society. We need this tool within this legis­lation that you can lose your licence because what we know–because of what we know on how vehicles are being used to commit this crime. Losing your licence would imme­diately protect women and girls because there are less men driving around looking to groom, lure and sexually exploit our women and girls.    

      We also can't wait for the justice system to play their role. It can–it takes way too long for those to go through the processes and creates a large window of op­por­tun­ity for men to continue their criminal activity and this violence against women and girls. This is a very serious issue and it's not getting any better. In fact, it's getting worse. I've been working on this issue for over 20 years, and when I started, the average age of the victimization of girls was 16 and today, it's 13 and getting younger and younger.

      We really need sexual ex­ploit­ation to be viewed as violence con­sistent with Tracia's Trust. There needs to be a clear message to all Manitobans that women and girls are not for sale here. The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is taking this issue of addressing the demand and addressing the men who are perpetuating this violence against women in a four-year project called engaging men and boys to address the sexual ex­ploit­ation and sex trafficking in Manitoba.

      We are pleased that two de­part­ments of the federal gov­ern­ment and the Winnipeg Foundation have approved this funding for this project. And so I thought since while I'm here, I may as well let you know we're waiting on the Province to approve your portion to this really im­por­tant project at $140,000 a year for four years, so we can start this really im­por­tant life-saving work. Miigwech.

      I can take questions now.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Redsky.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Yes, thank you very much, Ms. Redsky. Thank you for making the pitch at the end. It's good to use your time in every way that you can, and you used it well.

      You know, I acknowl­edge all of what you said in terms of, we need to do as much as we can and more when it comes to stopping sexual violence against women. And I'll give credit to my colleague for St. Johns; we sometimes disagree on things; we don't disagree on that, and she's a strong advocate on that issue for sure, and I acknowl­edge that.

      On the issue that you raised about the suspension of the driver's licence, I want to assure you that this law doesn't change anything that currently happens now or that has happened over the last 15 or 20 years. It has always been the case that those who are not suitable for diversion or cannot complete the diversion program and then get charged criminally, its always been the case that they don't have their driver's suspended because, under Canadian law, they're presumed innocent until found guilty. Of course, if they agree to go into diversion, then they are acknowl­edging fault. I think their charges get staid and my lawyer friends will tell me if that's not the right procedure. But they agree to go into diversion and agree to have their licences suspended.

      If they drop out of diversion or are not eligible for diversion, then they go into the criminal process which has much harsher sanctions ultimately, but then they fall under the Canadian law and premise that you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But this doesn't change anything that has happened over the last 15 years. That's always been the case and practice in Manitoba Justice under this gov­ern­ment and the previous gov­ern­ment.

D. Redsky: Thanks for that. I understood that the suspension of driver's licence, if they do not complete the alter­na­tive measures, is the proposal, if that section of it is to be repealed.

Mr. Goertzen: I believe it's repealed because it's considered a spent force because it's never actually been applied.

D. Redsky: Well, I would still advocate to keep it in, even though it's not being used.

Mr. Chairperson: The minister–

D. Redsky: We [inaudible] all hands on deck when it comes to violence against women and beyond. And so I would advocate to keep it in and I would ad­vocate to make it stronger so that we're actually making impact and reducing the violence that is happening on Winnipeg streets.

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Miigwech, Diane, for your pre­sen­ta­tion and then certainly, of course, all the work that you do in respect of sexual ex­ploit­ation of Indigenous women and girls and two-spirited, parti­cularly here in Manitoba, but in general as well. So I do want to acknowl­edge that. And you and I have worked together for many, many years on this and so I always have the–I'm always glad when we get to spend a couple of minutes together.

      You know, your last comment was you'd like to see things strengthened. While we have the minister's ear, what could the gov­ern­ment be doing to strengthen mechanisms to, you know, in respect of child sexual ex­ploit­ation?

D. Redsky: And, you know, the answers are always in–at the com­mu­nity level, and so we do have a strategy, Tracia's Trust, there is–I've certainly like to see more con­sul­ta­tions where we have survivor voice to increase their voice on identifying where those areas are. But where we are right now, where the province has some control today, is really looking at engaging men and boys in being part of the solution. And that proposal that we have is, you know, ready to go with the Province of Manitoba being the only funder not yet that committed to the next four years

      And I–so–and I do think that engaging men and boys is going to be a really im­por­tant part of part of the solution because there's one thing we can do about com­mu­nity and protecting and creating safety nets, but this is really getting at the root cause, you know, to stop men from continuing to victimize women and girls in Manitoba. And this is one way to do it, is to have them sit at the table and focus in on what are those solutions–

Mr. Chairperson: Unfor­tunately, Ms. Redsky, time for questions has expired. We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion and we will now move on to the next presenter, Hennes Doltez [phonetic], private citizen, and if I'm not pronouncing your name properly, could you please correct me.

* (19:30)

      I will now call on Hennes Doltez [phonetic] and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting.

      Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

Floor Comment: Hello and good evening. Yes, so the first name you got–

Mr. Chairperson: Hennes Doltez [phonetic], you may proceed when ready.

Hennes Doltze (Private Citizen): Sorry, yes. Well, thank you very much for the invitation and for the ability to speak here. So, the–my name is Hennes Doltze, so Doltze is the last name. I want to thank the com­mit­tee for the op­por­tun­ity to talk about the Bill 27 and the proposed changes, similar to what Diane Redsky had talked about.

      So, to give you a little bit about my back­ground, I'm a social worker and I've worked in the criminal justice field for the last 20 years, with a focus on restorative justice, domestic violence and sexual ex­ploit­ation. Between 2013 and 2020, I was the program co-ordinator for the Winnipeg-based Prostitution Offender Program, which is a col­lab­o­ration between Manitoba Justice, the Winnipeg Police Service and the Salvation Army Correctional and Justice Services.

      In that role, I counselled many men who had exploited vul­ner­able people for sex, and I have spoken at various conferences nationally, internationally, on the issues of domestic violence and sexual ex­ploitation. I'm actually currently employed by the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre and will be part of that dev­elop­ment of the project that Diane Redsky was talking about to engage men and boys in the fight against sexual ex­ploit­ation.

      However, for this com­mit­tee hearing, here, I'm speaking as a private citizen with the experiences that I have had from the Prostitution Offender Program. I'm also here to speak against the proposed changes in Bill 27 as they relate to section 273.3 of The Highway Traffic Act, and my remarks will only be related to that part of the bill, not to the–any other provisions of Bill 27.

      Before I give you my reasons for that, I'd like to give you a little bit more of a back­ground of the alter­na­tive measures program that is referenced in the bill with just the Prostitution Offender Program that I oversaw.

      So, as I mentioned, it's an alter­na­tive measures program, according to section 717 of the Criminal Code, and has been suc­cess­fully running since 1997. It's a com­mu­nity-based program with a focus on account­ability, edu­ca­tion and rehabilitation. Teaching sex buyers about the impact of their behaviour on the sex industry and how it fuels sexual ex­ploit­ation, prostitution and trafficking of vul­ner­able women and girls is a major goal for it.

      And it is run by Salvation Army, however, with input from com­mu­nity and like-minded agencies that work in this field–also, survivors, Manitoba Justice and the police services. And in the program, different speakers come to talk about the issue of ex­ploit­ation from various angles. So, Crown attorneys, StreetReach, which is part of Tracia's Trust, Canada Border Services Agency, former sex buyers, survivors and the com­mu­nity activist who talks about the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as well as a counsellor who focuses on recover and healing for men.

      And, as was mentioned before, sexual ex­ploit­ation and sex buying is highly gendered. So, most of the women and girls that are exploited are women and girls or two-spirited people, whereas the sex buying occurs almost exclusively amongst men. And we saw this many times in our program, where I'd never seen one woman in the program when I was managing it.

      And once a person has completed all of the re­quire­ments, which is an intake and a closing meeting, attendance at the program, fee payment and some com­mu­nity service hours, the Crown attorney can stay the charges. And the minister was absolutely correct saying that it's a stay of proceedings that parti­ci­pants will receive. And the majority of the men actually do partici­pate and complete it; however, there is some that do not, for various reasons.

      And I want to talk a little bit about those that do not complete it, what the con­se­quences are right now. So, if somebody does not follow through with their require­ment, then the program manager will inform the Crown attorney of the unsuccessful completion and the case is dealt through the regular court system. So, this could include another referral or just a longer process that then leads to conviction. But it can definitely take many, many months. As we know, the justice system sometimes is not very quick, and during that time, nothing would happen with that person.

      The other response that has been in place right now is the suspension of the driver's licence according to section 273.3 of The Highway Traffic Act, which is an imme­diate consequence if somebody does not complete the program and the alter­na­tive measures. And this is an effective tool as it impacts offenders and their lives imme­diately, and they feel the consequences right away. So, they're not able to use their vehicles for either regular activities or for committing offences including sex buying as well.

      So, it's always been a valuable tool when I was in the program and–of deterrence–whereas the risk of criminal proceedings in a lot of people's minds is way further down the road. And doing my time, there was a number of times when I actually did use the–this provision that the Highway Traffic Act allowed us in order to instill those con­se­quences on some of the parti­ci­pants.

      And I'd like to focus now on the, I think, the impact that the–a repeal would have that–if that section would be repealed. So, I think having the ability of the–for the staff of the program to suspend driver's licences is an im­por­tant tool to all defenders accountable who commit procuring offences under section 286 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which is the prostitution laws. Generally, when offenders get arrested, their car gets impounded and they're referred to the program. If they get accepted, the car will be given back to them, but then if they do not attend any of the program partici­pation, then they don't have any ability–there's no con­se­quences for them. Now, about 90 per cent of the men who get arrested in Winnipeg are using vehicles for their offences, so this is a very high number as well.

      And the Canadian prostitution laws, PCEPA, were changed in 2014, making it illegal for the first time in Canada to purchase sex anywhere, whether it's in person, on the street or in any other venue. And with this law, the gov­ern­ment put more of an em­pha­sis on the account­ability of offenders of prostitution and the use of sex trafficking victims. And a repeal of the provision in the Highway Traffic Act would send the wrong message to those offenders, as well as to the general public.

      A repeal will also lessen the account­ability and would be against the spirit and the ideas of the Manitoba framework to address gender-based violence from 2020, Tracia's Trust strategy, which was already mentioned, as well as the recom­mendations from the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth office to address demand and high­light those–the need to intervene in that level in different ways. So, all of those agencies and strategies have placed an em­pha­sis on addressing sexual ex­ploit­ation by focusing on the demand–meaning on those who commit those offences and exploit both children, youth and adults for their own–often for their own pleasure.

      Manitoba is often seen as a leader across the country in addressing sexual ex­ploit­ation by focusing on the demand, and part of this is the arrest of sex buyers and a strong legal framework and the ability for law en­force­ment to–and non-profit organi­zations–to use these laws as im­por­tant to send the message to exploiters that this behaviour is not welcome here and that there are consequences if people are engaged in this activity.

      So, in closing, I would just like to urge you to not repeal section two-eighty–273.3 of The Highway Traffic Act, but to keep it in place as an im­por­tant tool for account­ability for men and for those who exploit vul­ner­able people, women and girls, parti­cularly of Indigenous back­ground.

      Thank you very much.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr. Doltez [phonetic].

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you very much for your pre­sen­ta­tion and for your work in the Diversion Program. I ap­pre­ciate hearing your view of its success, and I've heard that from others as well.

      I just want to restate infor­ma­tion that I've been provided from Justice officials.

      So, when a person is eligible to go into the Diversion Program, their charges are essentially stayed. You know, those who would choose to go into diversion because it's less con­se­quen­tial than a criminal charge, if they complete the diversion program, you know, then that's been completed. If they fail to, they then–they are charged and they go into, you know, the criminal system, which is, as you would know, is more sig­ni­fi­cant with potential for higher penal­ties, although you acknowl­edged, I think rightly so, that it can sometimes take time.

* (19:40)

      But my under­standing from officials that has always been the case, that those who are not suitable or don't complete diversion do not face con­se­quences, then, until the conclusion of the prosecution because under our system of justice in Canada, people, when charged, are presumed innocent until proven guilty. And my under­standing from officials is that this is a provision that has not and cannot be used. So, while my officials indicate that it's being described as a tool, it's a tool that hasn't been and cannot be activated.

      So, I very much ap­pre­ciate your comments. I think you're absolutely right in the work that you're doing and the importance of diversion, but my under­standing is that this doesn't actually change anything that's been happening.

      Now, but–you and others have made the point: there could be things done that could make things stronger. And I think that those are very im­por­tant points, and I commit to you that I've taken your sug­ges­tions, and if there are other things that we can develop or create that fit within the framework of our criminal justice system and that don't put us offside or ultra vires with those laws, I would be very interested in doing that because it's im­por­tant to protect those from sexual violence.

H. Doltze: Yes, thank you for the feedback.

      So, I think there's two points that I would like to make. I think one is, you mentioned the issue of finding–of being–somebody being found guilty. So, when I was in the program, what we usually were asking people to accept a level of respon­si­bility, and I always said to the men, we're–you're not in a courtroom here, so you do not plead guilty or not guilty, right? But through­out the con­ver­sa­tion–and this is a require­ment of any alter­na­tive measures under 717 of the Criminal Code–is that this person accepts respon­si­bility for the offence. So, if somebody says, yes, I did engage with that other person for the purpose of sexual purposes, then that person would be eligible. If somebody says, no, I did not do that, then the regular court proceedings would come into place anyways. So, that is the first thing.

      During my time, there were some men–there wasn't a lot, so the number is not very high, but there were men where we used that section of The Highway Traffic Act after they had accepted respon­si­bility, partici­pated but maybe only halfway through the program and then for some reason were not finishing it up. And we would always get extensions and find out the reasons why–like, we wanted to be flexible enough because things happen in people's lives, right? So, we were not, just, okay, you didn't just attend one phone call that we had planned or one meeting that we had planned and off you go and you get, you know, con­se­quences right away. So–but there were some that were just not taking any kind of initiative to complete it, really, even though we had tried very hard. So, in those circum­stances, we have done it, but, again, the number was very low.

      But I fear that taking this away gives one less ability for the program staff to put some teeth to this. And, like you said, it is already an outcome that is very positive for somebody who completes it because they avoid a criminal record through the stay of proceedings, whereas a guilty finding in court would lead to a criminal record automatically, which has a lot of other implications.

      So, it is a very positive outcome for a lot of people, so–but this tool, I think, is im­por­tant for the program and putting some pressure–and I say this sort of lightly to say, okay, to say this is im­por­tant for you to listen to and to partici­pate in and to hear what impact your behaviour may have on other people.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr. Doltez [phonetic].

      This concludes the presenters I have before me for Bill 27.

Bill 30–The Police Services Amendment
and Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act

Mr. Chairperson: We will now move on to Bill 30, The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act.

      I will now call on Louise Simbanduwe [phonetic]. And, Louise, if you could please correct me in the pronunciation of your name, I would ap­pre­ciate that. Louise, from the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition, and I ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

Louise Simbandumwe (Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition): You did a pretty decent job with my name. It's Louise Simbandumwe, but my mother informs me that I don't pronounce it correctly either, so I think you're off the hook.

      Yes, so, thanks again for the op­por­tun­ity to present to Bill 30, which is the amend­ment regarding the Law En­force­ment Review Agency.

      And I'm going to start by sharing a personal story in terms of how I became aware of LERA. My sister, who had just moved back to Winnipeg–I guess there was a–bad infor­ma­tion that was provided to the police, I think they were relying on an informant that didn't provide good infor­ma­tion. But they were under the impression that there were–there was a drug dealer living in her apartment.

      And so, what ended up happening was the police burst in using a no-knock warrant–so, they literally broke the door down–and handcuffed her. They tossed the apartment looking for drugs, obviously didn't find anything because, again, it was based on bad infor­ma­tion.

      But in the process, and in terms of how she was treated–like, I came–like, I was at a meeting when I got the call from her, and I went to–I rushed as fast as I could, and when I saw her she was, like, pretty well in a catatonic state. Just absolutely and com­pletely traumatized by that encounter with the police. And I really struggled as someone that prides myself as a com­mu­nity advocate, and having done this and supported other people, just trying to figure out how to support my sister through this.

      And in my research, one of the possi­bilities was to submit a complaint to the Law En­force­ment Review Agency around the police conduct and the use of that parti­cular procedure in this case. And, again, reminding you that, like me, she comes from a refugee back­ground, so what happened to her was retraumatizing on a number of different levels.

      And the feedback that I got from com­mu­nity members was, don't even waste your time making a complaint with LERA, because nothing is going to happen. And so, I trusted these com­mu­nity members and continued to look at other avenues to address the situation.

      And again, when I joined the Police Account­ability Coalition when it was still forming, I did some research into LERA. And, again, what the com­mu­nity members told me was absolutely borne out by the data. So, looked at LERA reports over a five-year period between 2019 and 2015, and over that period, they processed 527 complaints, in terms of com­plaints that were closed–98 per cent of them–98 per cent–were dismissed, abandoned or with­drawn–98 per cent.

      So, out of that 527, three were resolved informally, four went to public hearings before a judge and one was disposed by criminal procedures. And CBC did a longer retrospective look at LERA and found the same stats. It's–so, not surprising that there is no faith in terms of feeling like this is an effective mechanism through which to bring forward the complaints.

      And–so, while I think it is a good–it's a good thing and completely support the idea of increasing the length of time that people have to submit a complaint–because that's been a long-standing issue–there are–and also the move towards creating a police code of conduct. I think that there are many long-standing issues that aren't clearly addressed by this bill.

* (19:50)

      And so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail because I know that my colleagues will speak spe­cific­ally to a number of them, but would just like to maybe speak a little bit to com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions because that's come up and that, again, many of our recom­men­dations in relation to LERA are very much con­sistent with the Police Account­ability Coalition recom­men­dations related to the IIU, because the structure and the concerns are really similar.

      So the com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion is a really key point. I would say that this is a form of con­sul­ta­tion. What would make it meaningful would be to have some faith. Like, I take the point that this legis­lation is likely going to pass, but is it going to pass with amend­ments that reflect what you've heard here today? Is that really going to be taken into con­sid­era­tion, or is it going to be sort of congratulating ourselves and saying, hey, at least we have this mechanism for people to voice their concern but it's going to be busi­ness as usual, and the time that we spent preparing for this will be–will have been for naught?

      The other thing that I would ask is to really consider, while I think it's wonderful that–and I'm really ap­pre­cia­tive of this op­por­tun­ity to speak to this com­mit­tee, just to really consider who wouldn't feel comfortable or be intimidated or not know how to navigate the bureaucracy or not have the flexibility in terms of their work, to be able to, with very short notice, drop every­thing and look at and prepare for a hearing of this nature; whose voices aren't heard at this com­mit­tee level, and what changes maybe you could look at making to bring some of those voices to the table so that they can feel comfortable and not alienated by this process.

      In terms of broader com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions, I would really encourage proactively reaching out, again, to individuals that are dis­propor­tion­ately impacted by en­gage­ment with police. So, that involves key organi­zations that serve them, like, parti­cularly grassroots com­mu­nity organi­zations and not just the political organi­zations that represent these com­mu­nities, and also reaching out directly and hearing from com­mu­nity members with lived ex­per­ience and being very thoughtful about how to structure these en­gage­ment sessions in a really thoughtful and ac­ces­si­ble way.

      So, working with com­mu­nity organi­zations, having the con­sul­ta­tions happen at com­mu­nity locations, using interpreters, recog­nizing that there's out-of-pocket expenses and op­por­tun­ity costs asso­ciated with people partici­pating. So, provi­ding small honorariums to respect people's time, to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as trans­por­tation and child care.

      And in cases like this, when it comes to issues of civilian oversight, we have to really acknowl­edge that a fun­da­mental trust has been broken, if it was ever there. And in that case, much more needs to be done and so I would really challenge you to think about models for con­sul­ta­tion. Rachael talked about that feedback loop of saying this is what we heard and this is what we're acting on, maybe we can't act on this just yet. And so, having those really difficult con­ver­sa­tions, but maybe having enough trust to engage in a co-creation process with com­mu­nity would also be a way of having more robust and meaningful con­sul­ta­tions and really inviting people into the process of building legis­lation that directly impacts their lives.

      So, that's every­thing that I have to share and I'm open to questions.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Good evening, again. It's good to see you again.

      One point you made about the ability to come and make pre­sen­ta­tions and how it is intimidating for people, and I think that that's true. And while we're unique–well, almost unique in Canada on this, I think we've tried to make this better, but I think there's room for im­prove­ment. The ability for people to make pre­sen­ta­tions from their living room is some­thing that's only happened in the last couple of years and I hope makes it a little bit more ac­ces­si­ble for people and maybe make people more comfortable than coming into this, sort of, grand building and having to leave their homes. So–but I get your point that there could be other things done.

      I want to be clear on this: So, LERA–this was never intended to be a bill that reformed LERA. It was clearly that there needed to be some changes to LERA in terms of timeline of application, but I do think that this bill could reform LERA in a different way.

      So, right now if you have a complaint against the RCMP, there's an online portal, you can make a complaint against the RCMP. If you–of course, if there's a criminal charge, the IIU can look at that and we've discussed that earlier this evening. But there's all this stuff in-between with other forces that isn't captured.

      And so this is intended to create a uniform code of conduct for police officers across the province so that all those other issues–and you mentioned, sort of, breach of conduct–where those complaints can be, you know, imported into those uniforms coats–codes of conduct, of which there will be con­sul­ta­tion on, and capture all that.

      So, it may not make LERA irrelevant, but it probably will speak to how LERA–if it doesn't change significantly–how it may not be–if it's ineffectual, that these–that the ability to speak to a uniform code of conduct and have direct action perhaps more quickly and more directly with the police agencies involved, I think, could be a much better process. But that'll involve con­sul­ta­tion, and I think it will change how we look at LERA in the future, once those codes of conduct are filled.

      So, I hope that that's some­thing of a comfort or of a clarity, but I do actually take the point that LERA isn't working in the way that the com­mu­nity and others feel that it should. And this legis­lation, I think, will go a long way in changing that, even if it doesn't move into LERA, because it will indirectly change the need for LERA in many ways.

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Sambambuwe [phonetic]–Simbandumwe.

L. Simbandumwe: Thanks for that clari­fi­ca­tion.

      And in terms of the operation of this com­mit­tee, I had someone from the com­mu­nity who is a youth school member who was, I think, in a really good position to speak to her direct-lived ex­per­ience. And one of the questions that I had was, well, can she present alongside me? And the response that I got is, yes, that's possible, but there's this whole big process that we need to go through in order for that to happen.

      And–yes, so it's procedural pieces like that that can make it really challenging for people, because I do think it is really helpful when crafting this legis­lation. And part of the reason why I shared my own direct ex­per­ience is to really have a sense of how it impacts people ultimately on the ground, and what kind of damage can be done over a long period if you don't get it right.

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Miigwech for your second pre­sen­ta­tion this evening and for sharing your personal story and that of your sister. It's im­por­tant to have that on the official record.

      My colleague and I differ, obviously, in respect of this bill. You know, I don't think that this bill actually does anything, actually, to reform LERA in any sub­stan­tial manner, other than adjusting the time frame for which people can make complaints. You know, the code of conduct–there's nothing in this legis­lation that says if you break this code of conduct–which we don't know what the code of conduct–here are the con­se­quences. So, I don't have much faith in this bill versus my colleague there.

      I am curious, Louise, what you would like to see in respect of codes of conduct for police officers.

L. Simbandumwe: I think, to begin with, having a code of conduct is really im­por­tant, that is broader and more uni­ver­sal.

      I think one of the key pieces that I would like to see is the duty to–if they see some­thing happening that breaches the code of conduct, the duty to report that to an in­de­pen­dent in­vesti­gation–to some sort of in­de­pen­dent investigator because one of the–

Mr. Chairperson: Unfor­tunately, Ms. Simbandumwe–

An Honourable Member: Leave.

Mr. Chairperson: Leave has been requested.

      You may continue. Louise, you may continue.

L. Simbandumwe: Yes, so a key con­cern is that the people that are in the best position to see these breaches are not compelled to or required to report and to provide infor­ma­tion about infractions by fellow police officers. So to really make that part of the culture, because my concern is quite the opposite is happening right now.

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Simbandumwe, we thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      We will now move on to the next presenter, Zamhat [phonetic] Zagros, from the Aurora Family Therapy Centre.

      Mr. Zagros, I ask the moderator to invite you into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

* (20:00)

Damhat Zagros (Aurora Family Therapy Centre): So what I'm seeing here, and what's also that concerns me here in Bill 30, it's seeing that–I kind of talked about that earlier, it's like shifting of power. Seeing here that the person who's going to create the standards of police service operation is like the head of police, has really concerned me, and it's really again creating another tool where we give power to individuals to create the standards.

      So seeing that is really con­cern­ing me and it's like–it's not just like we're giving power, it's like we're using another person who's coming from the same school, from the same back­ground. So I think in the sense of, like giving all that power to individuals in policing will be more helpful that there's been kind of like standards already being created using some kind of, like, human rights framework where there is–in­de­pen­dent agencies will define this kind of standard and the power will be going–the shifting of power's been happening so we don't really create other tools that will make things worse and worse.

      So seeing that was really a concern to me–that's oh, here again, we're going to create another tool, we're going to give more power to these individuals and the fates of many people in the com­mu­nity will depend on the knowledge and the ex­per­ience of the person who is in charge.

      Thank you.

Mr. Goertzen: Yes, thank you and good evening. Again, I want to just say one point about the codes of conduct, and I ap­pre­ciate the previous presenter speaking in favour–I think it's very im­por­tant and I think it could change how–it could be more effective than LERA. And I recog­nize my friend from St. Johns indicated that those standards are not in the act, but I suppose if we'd have put the standards in the act, we would have been criticized for not consulting before putting the standards.

      So I think it's im­por­tant that we put–we have con­sul­ta­tions and develop those standards because a key part of the pre­sen­ta­tions tonight have been about standards.

      In your comments, I think you may have been indicating that the police com­mis­sion will be respon­si­ble for monitoring the compliance on the standards and that is true. The police com­mis­sion was esta­blished by the previous gov­ern­ment, essentially as civilian oversight; they're ap­point­ments. And so, you know, somebody has to do the standards and–but they're not, it's not the police who are doing the checking; it's the police com­mis­sion who are ap­point­ments from the com­mu­nity, as was esta­blished under the previous gov­ern­ment.

      But I–your point is a good point. We had to make sure who's, you know, who's monitoring these things, that they are seen to be both capable but in­de­pen­dent; so thank you for making that.

D. Zagros: Thank you for your comment.

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Fontaine? No questions?

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Yes, thank you for your comment. And I'm just curious. Esta­blish­ing the standards and making sure that everyone's aware of them is one im­por­tant aspect, but one of the other aspects, of course, is enforcing those standards, or, provi­ding that somebody who breaks the standards has a–fields a measure of contrition or punishment or what have you.

      I mean, what would your advice be in terms of how police officers who break the code of conduct should be treated?

D. Zagros: I think it will be very helpful to define a mechanism where people can be held accountable. So whoever the person is, however–like what discipline, what kind of back­ground they have, if there is a mechanism, if there is like an in­de­pen­dent agency, can have the power to question everyone and to–and like, there is many–in many cases there is many police officers that have kind of pro­tec­tion because of where they belong to.

      So having–giving the power to the right places will make sure that everyone is being held ac­countable. So I think having–giving the power to the right sources, the right position will help them.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you, Mr. Zagros.

      Are there any further questions?

      Seeing no further questions, thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      I will now call on our next presenter, Shereen  Denetto. I won't–and I would ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting.

      Ms. Denetto, could you please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Denetto, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Shereen Denetto (Immigrant and Refugee Com­mu­nity Organi­zation of Manitoba): I, as previous speakers have mentioned–so, again, I'm the executive director at IRCOM, serving 110 new­comer refugee families and many more new­comer families in the surrounding downtown–over 1,000 new­comers a year.

      Just to say that I would just support what a number of speakers have said already. Sure, we greatly ap­pre­ciate a longer period for making a complaint. That would be a starting point and, as people have mentioned, it's going to pass. But I'm really hoping that there can be an examination of barriers to access, to make these complaints. Clearly, there are huge barriers.

      So, we work with new­comers, refugees. And, you know, a number of our families have ex­per­ienced in‑your-face hate crimes. As an example, so, being spit on, being harassed, getting your hijab pulled off–like, really egregious things happening. We have not been able to get a single person to file, you know, a complaint.

      And this is a different area, but I'm just saying it's all related, right? It just speaks to how–and this is with the backing of an agency that is, you know, advocacy sort of focused. People will not come forward. They have come from repressive regimes where nothing good comes from identifying yourself in the eyes of the police or the system. Sometimes their immigration status is still in process, so they're not going to flag anything.

      So, we're talking about a very disempowered group of people–systemically disempowered. We've also tried over time–when a lot of our youth, as I mentioned earlier, were getting, you know, for lack of a better word, being profiled, pulled over, carded and so on–we tried to encourage them to write down–just to write it down, just to write down what they have ex­per­ienced, and then our idea was to work with them and to see if they wanted to proceed. And it didn't even get as far as writing anything down. There was just no way that they were going to engage in this process.

      So, you know, just to add to the comments that–we have solutions. We, you know, you've–the Province funds us to create access, right? We have–as Louise mentioned, we have child care, we have interpreters, we have cultural brokers, we have folks who can do this work. We're struggling when it comes to linking people to the police system. But I think, together, we can make a difference and increase access. So that's sort of my first point.

      I was really glad to hear about the dev­elop­ment of the uniform code of conduct. As a senior manager, I would say that it's–a code of conduct is–again, it's the starting point, right? (1) It has to reflect multiple voices. If people are engaged in the process, it will speak to them, and I believe that means, you know, it's not–it is the com­mu­nity who has to speak to this. It's also the–also police. There are police in the system that may want to have a voice in how to uphold, you know, a code of conduct, and I think that's also im­por­tant.

      And, you know, I guess I would just say it's self-evident. But the code of conduct is only as good as the system that is in place and that surrounds it to uphold it and to hold members accountable, right?

      Again, as a senior manager, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make policies relevant, how to make them lived and how to make sure that we're making change.

      And I think the only other thing I would say is–and I think I'm say–I said this earlier–is that I, you know, I'm involved in some sort of prov­incial level change around diversity, equity and inclusion. And the thing that I have learned about this is that data can drive change. You know, data is just really im­por­tant. And so, we have some really good/bad statistics about the performance of LERA and the rate of acceptance of claims or complaints and the numbers that were dropped.

      So, I would really strongly encourage that we set a baseline–we have a baseline–and that this be monitored over time and that the com­mu­nity would be, I think, more than interested in speaking about those metrics as we revisit them over time. I think account­ability–and, again, I speak as a senior manager of an organi­zation that, you know, account­ability is every­thing. We can put a lot of things in place, but we have to demon­strate that we've made some change.

* (20:10)

      So I hope, in the future, to see decreased rates of abandoned and withdrawn complaints to LERA, you know, decreased numbers of complaints that are dismissed out of hand; couple of easy indicators to measure and ones that will tell a story.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Denetto.

Mr. Goertzen: Good evening, again, and thank you for staying with us and making a pre­sen­ta­tion on this bill as well.

      So you know, again, in terms of the codes of conduct, I think that'll inform us what LERA looks like going forward, and we want your voice on both of those things. Once there's a uniform code of conduct in place, you know, how LERA operates might change as well because many of the things and complaints that may be going to LERA might be captured under a code of conduct.

      But I really liked your point that you made that maybe doesn't get enough attention, that it's not just when the complaints go in, that maybe people don't feel satisfied in terms of the result, or maybe even the process to get to a result, that people might be fearful to even make the complaint. And I think that that's a very good point.

      And so my officials have been listening to your pre­sen­ta­tion, and I think that they–they'll engage with you both as we look to the con­sul­ta­tion on the code of conduct and then what implications that has for LERA as well, because those are–they're very good points, so thank you for that.

S. Denetto: Thank you. I ap­pre­ciate, you know, having the op­por­tun­ity to remain connected and provide input. Thank you.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your second pre­sen­ta­tion this evening. It's much ap­pre­ciated.

      I do want to revisit the whole discussion in respect of Bill 30 and the code of conduct, and I think we should put on the record here that–and I'll just read it into the record here: So a code of conduct for police officers in Manitoba Police Services may be esta­blished by the director of policing. The chief of a police service must provide the director of policing with a report on each contravention of the code of conduct by a police officer.

      So, again, maybe there's going to be a code of conduct. They may produce a code of conduct, and then, if there is a code of conduct and there's a contravention, the only con­se­quence of that is a report to the director of policing. It's just a report, and that's what the bill says here.

      And so I would like your opinion on what kind of code of conduct, if a code of conduct is actually esta­blished for policing in­sti­tutions, what kind of things would you like to see in a code of conduct for police?

S. Denetto: It's a great question. I think we need to see direct measures that–I don't know if I can speak to the details of a code of conduct, but I would say that we want to see non-biased, you know, non-racist behaviour. We want to see equitable treatment. We want to see people–there were comments earlier about officers off duty and sexual violence and those kinds of behaviours. I mean, all of those account­ability pieces have to be included in the code of conduct.

      I think the con­se­quences have to be serious. You know, again, in a work­place, if someone's accused of harassment–sexual harassment, racial harassment–we have to take that very seriously. There's a power imbalance here, and of course in the police and public context it's even greater. And, you know, police and racialized BIPOC peoples it's even greater.

      So, of course, suspending officers, conducting in­vesti­gations, it goes back to the IIU process in making sure we have in­de­pen­dence and that we have civilian oversight. All of those pieces fit together to hold the whole system and individuals in the system accountable.

      Thank you.

Mr. Gerrard: I think I heard in your pre­sen­ta­tion that, you know, the problems with LERA are severe. They shouldn't wait until there may be codes of conduct. And maybe one of the things that the current minister might do is to initiate a con­sul­ta­tion with regard to the future of LERA.

      Do you think that would be a good move?

S. Denetto: I believe–I can't speak for the whole com­mu­nity, but I would say that that is–that would be really welcomed by the Police Account­ability Coalition and many members of new­comer com­mu­nities and my guess is Indigenous com­mu­nities. Yes, if we could re-open it and have those discussions, that would be welcome.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you, Ms. Denetto.

      Time for questions–there seems no further questions. We will now move on to the next presenter.

      I will now call on Jennifer Montebruno and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Montebruno, are you there?

      Ms. Montebruno, please proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Jennifer Montebruno (Police Account­ability Coalition): Hello. Welcome–or, welcome?–thank you, I meant to say, and I'm glad to be here to speak.

      Again, apologies. I'm putting my video back on.

      Thank you for the op­por­tun­ity to speak to you again this evening on Bill 30, this time about the law en­force­ment review amend­ment act.

      I just wanted to make some clari­fi­ca­tion that earlier I spoke to a statistic about complaints that I  referred to for the IIU. Unfor­tunately, those complaints are actually referring to the–to LERA. So that was actually from statistics found by CBC over the past 10 years, that Manitobans had filed more than 1,700 complaints and that the vast majority were dismissed by the com­mis­sioner or abandoned by the person who made the complaint. So, again, just want to make that clari­fi­ca­tion.

      Of course, I'm speaking to you tonight as a member repre­sen­ting the Police Account­ability Coalition, who wishes to just make some points in regards to the proposed changes to Bill 30.

      Again, not going to belabour this point. I'm sure it's clear to everyone in this call that there has not been, in our opinion, meaningful con­sul­ta­tion with priority com­mu­nities prior to the intro­duction of this bill. So we urge you to not pass Bill 30 as it is, recog­nizing that we ap­pre­ciate that there have been ongoing, you know, con­sul­ta­tions and sug­ges­tion that there have been fulsome con­sul­ta­tions, but as spoken to by my colleagues and previous speakers, these consul­ta­tions have neither been meaningful nor thoughtful and certainly have not been as ac­ces­si­ble as we would like to see for such a con­sid­era­tion.

      Louise spoke to some ideas about how com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion may be more sig­ni­fi­cant. Of course, looking at things like location of con­sul­ta­tion and the introduction of honorariums and interpreters to ensure that the voice of the com­mu­nity is actually being heard would be im­por­tant. From the Police Account­ability Coalition's perspective, we want to ensure that we clarify that our concerns need to be addressed for meaningful reform, including the involvement of, as mentioned, former police officers and investigators.

      Of course, the high dismissal or abandonment of complaints–that indicate that there is a lack of trust in an op­por­tun­ity for justice when it comes to police culture. And the–of course, as mentioned earlier, lack of robust civilian oversight over LERA.

      So while there are several changes that are encouraging to see in Bill 30, overall, we know that this agency has not been effective over holding police accountable for misconduct. And the recog­nition that there has not been the con­sul­ta­tion, as mentioned, with priority com­mu­nities to ensure that the voice is clear ensures that we cannot trust that the process related to the new position that Bill 30 will create, which is that director of policing position that has been mentioned, will have both advice and author­ity that will create true account­ability standards for police service operations and province-wide codes of conduct, as mentioned, for–moving forward.

      So we want to ask whose voice will be prioritized in the creation of both that code but also in the overall account­ability related to that new, in­cred­ibly im­por­tant position. So, to just, you know, to clarify and to just make sure that we're clear, you know, we are hoping for more ad­di­tional com­mu­nity input and do believe that, although people want to move forward, we do believe there is an op­por­tun­ity to pause and not to pass the bill but rather to consider ad­di­tional support, em­power­ing the voices that should be considered as central in this conversation.

* (20:20)

      So thank you. I'm open to questions now.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Montebruno.

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you very much again and good evening again. I want to just make sure the record is clear in terms of the codes of conduct and con­se­quences that come from it.

      So, the codes of conduct will have the con­se­quences for breaching a code of conduct within them and those have to, by virtue of the act, have to be reported upon in terms of what those breaches and the con­se­quences were for. So it's im­por­tant that there are consequences in a code of conduct and they'll be reported upon.

      I do ap­pre­ciate your comment about con­sul­ta­tion and ensuring that they're done in a way that is ac­ces­si­ble, and that was made by a previous presenter as well. And there will be con­sul­ta­tions on the codes of conduct and they'll involve, you know, the ability for people to make those pre­sen­ta­tions in the best way possible, so we'd be open to your advice on that.

      I personally believe that the need to have codes of conduct is very im­por­tant and I'd be, you know, reluctant to wait two or three years, and the way the legis­lative process is, it might be that way. And I think it's im­por­tant that we start that con­sul­ta­tion and engage with the com­mu­nity after this bill has passed, to develop those codes of conduct and I'm reticent to hold off, again, knowing how long it takes and the importance of those codes of conduct for the com­mu­nity.

      So we look for your advice in terms of how we can ensure that those con­sul­ta­tions are ac­ces­si­ble and meaningful for the com­mu­nity.

J. Montebruno: Thank you, Minister Goertzen. I ap­pre­ciate your comments and sug­ges­tions and the open offer to engage on what code of conduct might look like.

      I do want to mention, however, that, while I ap­pre­ciate the op­por­tun­ity to have en­gage­ment and con­sul­ta­tion now, perhaps this would have been seen with more account­ability and trust if this con­sul­ta­tion had been more robust in the past, say, six to eight months to even have more op­por­tun­ities for, you know, the coalition itself and the member com­mu­nities and the organi­zations to really engage in a thorough and meaningful way.

      So moving forward, that sounds fantastic; however, would want to make sure that we're clear that the comment would be that would have been ap­pre­ciated in the past, and does further provide op­por­tun­ity to recog­nize that it is the length of the process and the lack of the clarity around it that further erodes trust, which, of course, you know, just makes our–both of our jobs much more difficult.

Ms. Fontaine: Well, I ap­pre­ciate the minister clari­fying that there will be con­se­quences attached to contraventions of these codes of conduct, so I think that that's im­por­tant that that was put on the record today.

      And, again, I guess it would be the same question, is, you know–well, first off, I also think it's really good that it's on the record that the minister is saying that he is more than willing to engage in con­sul­ta­tion, I would imagine, almost imme­diately or kind of imme­diately with your group, and so I think that that's some­thing to make note of.

But, you know, what would–what are some of the codes of conduct that you would like to see?

J. Montebruno: Thank you, Ms. Fontaine. I think it's, you know, to be honest with you, the coalition feels, frankly, that the process has been unclear to date and that it's hard to comment on what code of conduct could look like when there hasn't been a thorough dialogue to even engage in what has been previously agreed to. So, I don't feel prepared at this point to speak on behalf of the coalition in regards to specific aspects because, quite frankly, I don't have the infor­ma­tion that can allow for that con­ver­sa­tion to occur at this time.

Mr. Gerrard: Yes, the minister has said that he's going to engage in con­sul­ta­tions on the code of conduct, but it may take some time and we have major problems with LERA.

Do you think the minister should also be engaging in con­sul­ta­tions on the future of LERA?

J. Montebruno: I mean, I'll–you know, to echo the comments of my colleagues and previous speakers, absolutely, you're not going to hear a grassroots coalition of organi­zations tell you that we wouldn't want to have dialogue with our gov­ern­ment. We absolutely would ap­pre­ciate and are open to these con­ver­sa­tions occurring as soon as possible to robustly look at what LERA really could do to move police account­ability in Manitoba forward.

      Thank you.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your 'presentatious'–pre­sen­ta­tion, Mrs.–Ms. Montebruno. Tough night.

      I would call–I will now call on our next presenter, Rachel Howgate, and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Howgate does not appear to be available. We will drop her name to the bottom of the list and return to it when we're–when we've concluded the other presenters.

      So, I will now call on Kate Kehler from the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

      I would ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Ms. Kehler, please proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Kate Kehler (Social Planning Council of Winnipeg): Good evening, again. Thank you for the op­por­tun­ity. Again, being in a, you know, near the end of a list of speakers, I don't want to go over the points over and over again, but I am here to lend my voice and to the idea that, you know, while we did understand, or there's–now we have better under­standing that this was not ever meant as, like, a LERA overhaul, but why we're here is to obviously point to the fact that LERA needs to be overhauled. And we're concerned that the process that's being put in place is not fulsome enough.

      So, that's what we're tying to esta­blish here. So, again, as others have said, Bill 30, you know, obviously we support that longer period to make a complaint. As for com­mu­nities that are traditionally marginalized and racialized, to only have a very short period of time in order to gather the strength, in order to take on a police service, is–takes more time than that, and they need to be able to garner community support. So, we do applaud that part of the legislation.

      But it does seem that this–from the reading of it, is that the director of policing is the one who will have the power to create the standards for the police service operations and the province-wide code of conduct for all police services. So, that's what we're looking for clarity on because, again, con­sul­ta­tion–and just so that they're read into this part of the Hansard, you know, we want those priority com­mu­nities to include Black, Indigenous, com­mu­nities of colour, disabled com­mu­nities, 2SLGBTQQA+ com­mu­nities, sex workers, people who use drugs, individuals living in low incomes and com­mu­nity-based organi­zations working with affected com­mu­nities to develop that code of conduct. So, this could be a time for an amend­ment that would actually codify that. And that that becomes a priority, and those voices are the ones that are prioritized in the dev­elop­ment of that code of conduct.

      So, just as far as, you know, again, under­standing that this is not about revamping LERA at this point, but there is just so much wrong with LERA, and it has been such an ineffectual body. That has been pointed out. But I wanted to relate a couple of stories.

      When I was with the John Howard Society of Manitoba, we actually met with LERA and–to, you know, to be–have a pre­sen­ta­tion on how they work. The investigating officer was a former police officer, and when discussing, like, okay, what constitutes a breach, the person couldn't actually get any–give us any sort of clarity on that, and kind of–he basically shrugged his shoulders and, this is almost a direct quote, he said, well, you know, that's how busi­ness gets done. Basically justifying inti­mida­tion.

      Now, I've not been intimidated by a police officer–that when I get stopped because I've done some­thing wrong, the exchange is usually very polite. I've never been stopped for not doing anything wrong. Yes, I can be a little heavy on my foot in the car.

* (20:30)

      But, as Shereen has pointed out–you know, and has been pointed out earlier in other pre­sen­ta­tions with PAC–is, like, even IRCOM staff is–are not safe from being stopped by the police. And the fact that they actually came out and admitted that to her, that racial profiling is a useful tool, whereas I have only ever had the con­ver­sa­tion where they say, oh, no, no, race has nothing to do it; we are data driven. And then, when you go back to them and you say, well, actually, if you are policing in one parti­cular area and the data demonstrates who lives in that area, you are over-policing those com­mu­nities. That's just how it falls out.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson in the Chair

      So–yes, sorry, I don't want to repeat what everybody else has already said. So, what I think maybe I'll end with is–I thought was a very interesting point, is that the last time there was meant to be some sort of adjustment to LERA, there was quite a bit of uproar from members of the WPS, and over 200 of them apparently came to the Leg. in plain clothes. And that speaks volumes to me, to the idea that they are very concerned with maintaining what they would call their tools. As they said, racial profiling is a useful tool. Those tools are doing harm to the com­mu­nity.

      Another story: I was in a car with friends, they–daughter of a friend of mine who's a refugee family. She was driving. Her brother was much taller, so I'm like, don't be ridiculous, you get into the front seat, I'll get into the back seat.

      We were driving. We were pulled over. Couldn't tell why, but I was sitting in the back. This is an old, probably fourth-hand van that was being driven. And the police officer approached the driver's window and said: nice car, drug money? And I leaned forward and said, excuse me? And the con­ver­sa­tion completely changed.

      So, what's im­por­tant to know is that those com­mu­nity voices need to be able to have–you know, as has been pointed out, they need to have safe con­sul­ta­tion, a way to safely tell those stories so they actually lead to real change. Because police officers–I've had police officers say they never use inti­mida­tion, and I've had other police officers who will say, well, of course, we use inti­mida­tion; but then they justify it because they believe that, well, at least it's not violent.

      Well, again, never having been impacted by that sort of inti­mida­tion, I don't know that, but I can only imagine, you know, a youth driving home after a long day at work, who's a new­comer them­selves, being stopped time and time again. Inti­mida­tion is a form of violence. And so, we just need to prioritize those voices.

      Thank you.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson: I want to thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion.

      Do members of the com­mit­tee have questions for the presenter?

Mr. Goertzen: Just a quick comment.

      Thank you again for staying with us this evening. I certainly heard your frustration with LERA. You've–you were very clear on that, and I ap­pre­ciate you stating that and also sharing difficult but personal stories that you were involved with or witness to.

      And I also made note of the groups that you're looking for in terms of con­sul­ta­tion with the codes of conduct. So thank you for sharing that as well.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson: Ms. Kehler, would you like to respond?

K. Kehler: No, just say thank you.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech again for–again, I'll re­iterate what my colleague is saying–for staying with us tonight and for your words on the official record tonight. And again, for sharing what is a really im­por­tant story about that interaction between WPS or any policing in­sti­tution within Manitoba, certainly, and BIPOC folk. And if it weren't for you having been in that vehicle, I'm sure that that interaction would've looked a lot different.

      So, miigwech for sharing that and putting that on the official record tonight.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson: Ms. Kehler, would you like to respond?

K. Kehler: Am I allowed to respond a little bit outside that comment? Because you've asked some of my colleagues around the code of conduct, and I just wanted to reiterate my support around that idea of–that duty to report needs to be some­thing–because what we have heard, you know, it's been mentioned here again tonight, you know, that whole idea of a few bad apples.

      What we need is the actual whole entire police service–and that includes their union–to actually remember that that is not the way that that ends; it says a few bad apples spoils the whole bunch.

      And they need to recog­nize the fact that if they're not going to call out their own, they are all going to, they are all going to have to wear those mistakes and the harm that is done.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson: Is there any other questions, Mr. Gerrard?

Mr. Gerrard: You've again brought up the major problems with LERA, and I think that there's some doubt whether just putting in the code of conduct will solve things.

      So, would you be in support of the minister doing a broader con­sul­ta­tion to make changes to LEDA [phonetic]–LERA, in–to move forward in terms of under­standing and making a commit­ment to a better future for LERA?

K. Kehler: Yes, absolutely.

      You know, as Jennifer pointed out, you know, you don't go to–you don't work in com­mu­nity without being willing to talk. So definitely, we would want that.

Mr. Vice-Chairperson: Is there any other questions?

      If not, we'll move down to–I'll call on Lisa Forbes and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. And I'm going to ask Ms. Forbes to please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

Mr. Chairperson in the Chair

Mr. Chairperson: Ms. Forbes, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

Lisa Forbes (Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group): Tansi, com­mit­tee members.

      I am a Winnipegger and a member of the Peguis First Nation. I'm speaking on behalf of the grass­roots coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women citizens who gather occasionally over the past 12 years to lend our voices to urgent issues. At the risk of being seen as not having the ability to see the whole of police conduct matters, I'll start as others have this evening by sharing a positive ex­per­ience.

      So, I have been present at public demon­stra­tion events where I would have expected police inter­ven­tion, but the Winnipeg Police Service chose to stand down as to not es­cal­ate the situation and incite violence. So, tonight I am here as a member of the Police Account­ability Coalition. We–and as part of that, we join in requesting that Bill 30 not be passed as it is and instead undergo meaningful com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion. My pre­sen­ta­tion will differ a little bit from what you've heard and I'll talk a little bit about what that could mean.

      So, LERA is not an effective way for citizens to report and expect justice for police misconduct, and I'll share a bit of a story with you. In 2020, on the graduation day of a self-em­ploy­ment training program that I facilitate, I received word that a dedi­cated, enthusiastic First Nation young woman parti­ci­pant would not be able to attend to give her final project pre­sen­ta­tion because she was in hospital, having been physic­ally assaulted by members of the Winnipeg Police Service a few days prior.

      Unknown at the time of the incident, she sustained an internal injury and finally at the urging of family members, went to receive emergency treatment at hospital. Someone suggested that she file a LERA complaint. I assisted her in doing that. She met what was required of her, including filing within the time limit, and subsequently, her case became one of the 98 per cent of LERA cases that do not make it to a public hearing.

      To reiterate what Ms. Denetto, the IRCOM repre­sen­tative, said earlier this evening, this incident didn't see the light of day in terms of public exposure or justice, but to her and her family, it was life altering–not in lasting physical injury, but in mental torment of the physical and also deeply cutting verbal assault. Because it's so ineffective, I do not encourage or use the LERA process.

      Contributing to what my colleagues have said this evening, robust civilian oversight and meaningful con­sul­ta­tion is needed so I'll talk a little bit about that. There is a key principle of the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people, and it's also referred to in the Truth and Recon­ciliation Com­mis­sion's Calls to Action, which is: repre­sen­tatives in a consultative process need to be chosen by members of the com­mu­nity. In the case of Indigenous peoples–that is, Indigenous women, men, LGBTQ, two-spirit people and, finally, as a member organi­zation of the immigrant matters in Canada coalition, I would further say this principle could apply to repre­sen­tatives for Black people and people of colour.

* (20:40)

      Even though we are calling for Bill 30 to be scrapped until con­sul­ta­tion has happened, I support my colleague Louise's request at the begin­ning of this hearing that since you are likely to pass it, I implore you, Minister Goertzen, to please amend to include a require­ment for meaningful com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion on its aspects, including the code of content–code of conduct.

      Thank you. Ninaskomtin [Thank you] for hearing me.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Forbes.

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you, Ms. Forbes, and thank you for being with us tonight on this bill and also for reinforcing the previous comments that were made about the need for con­sul­ta­tion. I think the message has been heard, and I ap­pre­ciate you adding a unique perspective, and sharing also a difficult personal story, as well, to make us mindful of the need for change and in a lot of different ways. And thank you, again, for reinforcing the need for con­sul­ta­tion.

L. Forbes: Thank you. I have–thanks for hearing me, and I have nothing else to say.


Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening and for sharing some im­por­tant experiences and stories to the com­mit­tee.

      When I was at Southern Chiefs Organi­zation, a lot of the work that I did was helping folks navigate the different complaints processes–so, the RCMP complaints process, the WPS–WPS' Pro­fes­sional Standards Unit and, of course, LERA. And at the time, we didn't have the IIU.

      And as you shared, you know, the story about the woman that is, you know, one of the 98 per cent of folks that don't get any justice. One of the things that I always tried–and still today, even in the House, I try to share–is what that does for people, what that does for citizens who come before a body that they hope will give them some semblance of justice and how defeated and hopeless people feel. And so I am curious if you wanted to share the–maybe some of the impacts of when you do file these complaints and nothing happens, what that feels like for folks.

L. Forbes: Thank you. I'm just contemplating whether or not I should–whether I should say what this was like. So, I am regretful that I did encourage her to do the LERA process because when I spoke to her, I went to visit her in the hospital, and she told me that when–I said in my statement today that it was deeply cutting, the verbal–the lasting sort of intense, just cutting of her–how–what the assault meant. And so I know that the process added to that. She had said to me she was intending to commit suicide, but a family member stopped her.

      So it made me very, very regretful of having–I'm very used to being very active and proactive on things, and I wish I hadn't in this case because I know that the whole process con­tri­bu­ted to her anguish. So, yes, I hear you. That's–I think that that happened in this case as well.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech, Lisa, for sharing that. I know that as difficult as that is, and you're probably really conflicted about sharing some­thing so personal and so–as you said, even so cutting–to such a public space, but it is im­por­tant because, you know, there's con­se­quences to when we have a public complaints system that doesn't work for citizens. There are very real con­se­quences. And, as your–you've just shared and put on the official record, you know, they can have long-lasting, devastating con­se­quences when people are looking for justice in respect of their interactions with the police.

      So that was such an im­por­tant story and an im­por­tant narrative to put on the official record, so I say miigwech.

L. Forbes: I would just–I just want to just finish off by saying that there has been work, you know, decades of work to make the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This is really im­por­tant that–you know, we've been throwing around what com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion means. But having repre­sen­tatives come who are chosen by the com­mu­nities is so im­por­tant, and I'd like to–again, I encourage Minister Goertzen to offer an amend­ment to this legis­lation this evening, to be able to include meaningful con­sul­ta­tion.

      It just so happens that we all, as citizens, you know, off the side of our desks, came this evening to do this. But we need to have a formal way to get com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion involved, and you can still do that tonight, Minister Goertzen, and I hope you do.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Forbes.

We will now move on to the–sorry–before we go ahead to the next presenter, Rachael Howgate is unfor­tunately feeling unwell and will not be presenting to Bill 30 tonight. We hope she feels better soon, and her name will be taken off the presenters list.

      I will now call on Catherine Biaya and ask the moderator to invite them into the meeting. Please unmute yourself and turn your video on.

      Catherine? Catherine Biaya, you may proceed with your pre­sen­ta­tion. Catherine, are you muted?

Catherine Biaya (Private Citizen): Okay, can you hear me now?

Mr. Chairperson: Yes, Catherine. Please proceed.

C. Biaya: I'm originally from the Demo­cratic Republic of Congo, where the word account­ability exists only in the dictionary. But people don't care about that.

      So when I heard about PAC, Police Account­ability Coalition, I went in back to them, talking as a Canadian citizen, a pastor. Because I'm also a pastor for Saturday church here, a francophone church, and mostly people connect with us easily and they tell us [inaudible] all kind of stories because we speak the language they speak. So–

Mr. Chairperson: Unfor­tunately, Ms. Biaya, we're having a hard time hearing what you're saying. Ms. Biaya, can you continue?

C. Biaya: Yes. So I was saying that I'm so happy about the bill. There'll be some changes that they initiate and that you took to make the Bill 30 and the act of conduct is very good as my–people preceding me have said is really vague. They said is très [very] vague–is vague. We'd like to have some­thing concrete.

      And everybody's talked about the con­sul­ta­tion piece, which is very im­por­tant because the systemic racism or discrimination is intergenerational, is ongoing, and sometimes people have dif­fi­cul­ty to accept that it even exists. But we are dealing with people on the front line; we deal with it every day, with stories coming from people.

      For example, young–we have inter­national students–I'm dealing with inter­national students, with refugees. So these young people, they work hard, and as young people coming from a country, war-affected zone, where they couldn't have even the opportunity to buy a car, when they start working here, the first thing they do, they buy a car and those cars–not bought cash, it is loan. But the police usually, they see them with those cars, they think it's–the car, the money came from the drugs.

* (20:50)

      So one–two of my boys are in the church, they were driving. One have a beginner licence, the other one have a full licence. So they were pulled over; the one who have a full licence was a little bit tired and was, kind of, not sleeping but was–has his eyes closed. Sorry, my English–I'm a French-speaking person. So, when they pulled them over, the question was asked again; they start searching, asking questions where they get money to buy that car. So the boys said that, we are working at the centre; we are students. Then they said, no. They pulled them and they say, because you were sleeping and the one who have a beginner was driving in this case, come out; the car was towed.

      And I know the law; the Manitoba public–MPI said that someone who have a novice or a beginner driver licence, when he has someone with a full licence, there is no contravention. So, because they were Black, they were pulled, the car was towed, so they have to pay and the towing and the ticket when it shouldn't do–shouldn't be like that.

      So my concern is about that this fear, that the fear that has been created, that new­comers or inter­national students can't even complain or write the complaint because they know that nothing will be done. When we come with this high ex­pect­a­tion, that we come from a country where there is a lot of police harassment, we come to a free country where we are safe; and suddenly this safety is in question. So how can we build again the trust?

      And like my colleague has spoken about, the con­sul­ta­tion is very key. We will not consult with any com­mu­nity. So, how we can create the bridge or col­lab­o­rate with PAC, with people who are already in place [inaudible] every day who can help with giving the feedback is the key. And I know that people are still dealing with very, very difficult–so when the people were living those mistreatments, they should be part of people also. Not all of them, of course, but it is a coalition already representing them. That's not exactly what's going on–can help–which will help the minister and his Cabinet in writing the code of conduct.

      And I'm also grateful because there is some­thing in place, but pausing that this–pausing for a little bit–comment on dit? [how do you say?]–it's coming in French. So pausing back this bill will be good when some­thing sus­tain­able is there and concrete, so it can be passed once from all.

      And that's what I wanted say because all my presenters have said it all.

      And also how to create awareness to build trust between the com­mu­nity members and police. So, is there any findings that can be put in place where the PAC will be organizing com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion where the police would come and present, because still, our people are lacking of infor­ma­tion like gang and drug awareness, how do the recruitment for gangs happen, and how the PAC can help to support the kids and where they can go in case such things happen. Those–all those things are needed to be in place.

      Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank you for your presentation, Ms. Biaya.

Mr. Goertzen: Thank you, Pastor Biaya, for your pre­sen­ta­tion. I ap­pre­ciated–there was a little bit of connection issues there, and–but from what I heard of you, it was very clear and very passionate, and I ap­pre­ciate where your heart is at and for bringing the perspective that you have.

      And I know, as a pastor, in your congregation you will be a person of trust and no doubt people share with you many different experiences that they have, whether it's with the police or other experiences coming to Canada.

      I very much ap­pre­ciate and support the idea of more con­sul­ta­tion.

      Near the end of your pre­sen­ta­tion, if I understood correctly, you're looking for more op­por­tun­ities to have police maybe make pre­sen­ta­tions or have connections into your com­mu­nity.

      I will ask my officials to get the contact infor­ma­tion for you and to connect with maybe WPS, because I know they have com­mu­nity liaison officers, and to see what type of pre­sen­ta­tions might be helpful to you, whether through your congregation or otherwise.

      So, thank you again for that.

C. Biaya: Yes. Yes, thank you. You're welcome and I truly ap­pre­ciate it.

      And I–and what I would like to add is, you know, we have already, like, of course I can be the representative person, but how can his com­mu­nity [inaudible] the Police Account­ability Coalition in whole, in one?

      We can have that space where we can–yes, because I'm representing a few people, just francophones who are Christian, but there are different people in the com­mu­nity. There are Muslim, there are other congregations who need all those kinds of infor­ma­tion.

      So, I would like to em­pha­size that it's not only me or the francophones that I am dealing with, but there is different com­mu­nities that–a lot in my congregation or attend my church. So, this is really the com­mu­nity wide.

Ms. Fontaine: Miigwech for your pre­sen­ta­tion this evening. It was good to hear. And for the com­mit­tee's sake, it was good to hear the story in respect of students just driving. And they should be able to drive. They should be able to drive on our streets and not get stopped and not then have to deal with the con­se­quences of getting their vehicle towed or having to pay a fine or tickets.

      So that was a really im­por­tant story because I don't think that, you know–often, you know, when there are stories about interactions with police, often they're kind of dismissed or not believed, and so I really do believe that every op­por­tun­ity that we have, or citizens have, to put those on the official record are really im­por­tant. So, I ap­pre­ciate you doing that this evening.

C. Biaya: I ap­pre­ciate the comment. Thank you.

Mr. Gerrard: Merci bien pour votre histoire. C'est très important, les histoires de vos enfants, et–


Thank you very much for your story. The stories of your children are very important, and–


      I hope that your words and those words of others here will be helpful in enabling some im­prove­ments both in the 'cos' of–code of conduct, and also it's very clear that we need some im­prove­ments in LERA, as well, because we have heard time and time again from presenters that it's not functioning very well right now.

      Thank you.

C. Biaya: Yes, thank you so much for listening, and thank you for approving and–what we just said. Thank you. Merci beaucoup.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you for your pre­sen­ta­tion, Ms. Biaya.

      This–that concludes the list of presenters I have before me for Bill 30, Bill 27 and Bill 7.

* * *

Mr. Chairperson: In what order does the com­mit­tee wish to proceed with clause-by-clause con­sid­era­tion of bill number–of the bills?

Mr. Goertzen: Mr. Chairperson, I would propose that we proceed numerically, starting with the lowest number first.

* (21:00)

Mr. Chairperson: Is that agreed upon? [Agreed]

Bill 7–The Police Services Amendment Act
(Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation
Unit Operations)


Mr. Chairperson: We will now move on to clause by clause of Bill 7.

      Does the minister respon­si­ble for Bill 7 have an opening statement?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I do have an opening statement.

      Normally, I sort of go through and answer questions that I got at second reading. I think a lot of them may have been answered through inter­action with the com­mit­tee members–sorry, with the presenters who were here with us tonight.

      You know, I want to make it clear, I–and I don't mean this is a criticism; I really don't. Some of the presenters indicated that the IIU legis­lation is among the weakest in Canada. That's not a criticism of the former minister, Mr. Chomiak, who I hold in high regard, who brought the legis­lation in, or his predecessors–or, sorry, his successor as NDP Justice ministers. I know it was difficult and I know he struggled with it, and even as his critic we had good con­ver­sa­tions about the challenges of it, as I do with my critic on different issues.

      So–but I also take as instructive and I know there was sig­ni­fi­cant discussions with the grand chiefs, I believe, on this legis­lation, that it is an im­prove­ment. Will it be the perfect solution? Clearly not, and presenters made that abundantly clear. Will it be the last change to the IIU legis­lation? I'm sure it will not be. And so there'll be further op­por­tun­ities for en­hance­ments and im­prove­ments.

      But I do believe it is a step forward. People can make, you know, criticisms or make opinions about how big that step is, and that's fair in demo­cratic system, but I still think it's imperative upon us as legis­lators to move forward on legis­lation that is an im­prove­ment to the situation that exists while still continuing to look for further improve­ments in the future.

      So with those comments, I want to thank the members who came to make pre­sen­ta­tions on this bill. Where there were criticisms about con­sul­ta­tion or the need for more con­sul­ta­tions, I'll take those on as my respon­si­bility and, you know, consider that in future iterations and future pieces of legis­lation.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank the minister for those words.

      Does the critic from the official op­posi­tion have an opening statement?

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Well, first I just want to thank all of the presenters this evening and those that spoke to Bill 7.

      And, you know, I remember being a part of–when all of the discussion for the IIU started to happen, I was the director of justice for Southern Chiefs' Organi­zation, and I remember, as part of my respon­si­bilities, one of the things that I was really pushing the gov­ern­ment of the day was to develop what, at that time, we were calling in­de­pen­dent in­vesti­gations, or a special–I can't remember what we were calling it, but an in­de­pen­dent in­vesti­gations unit. And I remember that we brought the Ontario special in­vesti­gations unit–and I can't for the life of me remember his name, but I had organized a com­mu­nity infor­ma­tion session with him, and he talked about how Ontario had started their in­de­pen­dent in­vesti­gations unit and started this discussion.

      And then the gov­ern­ment of the day, the NDP, had esta­blished a working group with MKO, SCO, AMC and MMF. And so we sat with and we were working with Glen Lewis, at the time, because he was in charge with dealing with the police act.

      And I remember those discussions. I–you know, the same things that were brought up here tonight, we had those discussions, including, you know, about not having former police officers or, you know, seconded police officers on the IIU.

      And so I agree with the minister, those are really difficult discussions and things to kind of navigate. And so, you know, is the IIU perfect? Absolutely not; I agree with the Minister of Justice (Mr. Goertzen). I think that there are some good changes here, and certainly we have to see more changes to make the IIU, you know, perhaps not one of the weakest in Canada, and we can strengthen it as we go along.

      And in that process of trying to strengthen it and make it better, I would suggest that as we heard re­peat­edly tonight, the importance of con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity members across Manitoba, and certainly com­mu­nity members within that–the BIPOC com­mu­nity.

      So I think that that's about it. I'll leave it there for right now.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank the member for those words.

      During the con­sid­era­tion of a bill, the enacting clause and the title are postponed until all other clauses have been considered in their proper order.

      Also if there is agree­ment from the com­mit­tee, the chair will call clauses in blocks that conform to pages with the under­standing that we will stop at any parti­cular clause or clauses where members may have comments, questions or amend­ments to propose.

      Is that agreed? [Agreed]

      Clauses 1 through 3–pass; clauses 4 through 9–pass; clause 10–pass; clauses 11 and 12–pass; clause 13–pass; clauses 14 through 16–pass; clause 17–pass; clauses 18 through 22–pass; enacting clause–pass; title–pass; Bill be reported.

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amendment Act
(Alternative Measures for Driving Offences)


Mr. Chairperson: We will now move on to Bill 27. Does the minister respon­si­ble for Bill 27 have an opening statement?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): So, it doesn't appear that there was lots of concern regarding the IRP portion of this bill, but there was a couple of presenters and my friend from St. John raised this in second reading about the issue of the suspension of the drivers if somebody drops out of the diversion program.

      So it's been assured to me, and I've tried to provide the assurance to others, that this doesn't change anything that's been happening over the years. But I will commit to reconfirming with officials prior to third reading that again that that is in fact the case, in that there aren't individuals who have dropped out of diversion before who then had their license suspended prior to conviction because a conviction gets imposed again after they move out of–if they don't complete diversion and then, you know, the presumption of innocent–innocence kicks in.

      But if–I want to make this clear, you know, to do a double check to ensure that that has not been the case where the suspension has been put in place, where there's a diversion, someone who doesn't complete diversion, because that's not the in­ten­tion. The in­ten­tion is to essentially make the legis­lation as it's being applied and needs to be applied.

      But I want to give assurance to those who presented–the two individuals who presented tonight, and to the MLA for St. Johns who's raised this before.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank the minister for those comments.

      Does the critic from the official op­posi­tion have an opening statement?

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): So, once again, I  just want to thank everybody that presented on Bill 27.

      And again, to me, there's still–it's not entirely clear, because one of our presenters said that if an individual, if an offender chose not to complete the program, that the–they had the ability to suspend the licence, which was an imme­diate con­se­quence, and that was the words that he put on the record. And he said that the offender then imme­diately feels those con­se­quences. So–but then when the minister was speaking earlier, the minister had said, well, but it's not being used.

* (21:10)

      So I'm still not clear, right. Like, we've got–we've kind of got two discourses coming out here: (1) it's not being used; and when it is being used and it's an imme­diate con­se­quence and a deterrent. And so I would like some clari­fi­ca­tion on that and some assurance.

      But, you know, I want to go back to what Diane Redsky was saying, in the sense that, you know, all of us at this table, all of us as legis­lators should know the realities on the street right now. You know, we have outreach workers that are on the streets until the wee hours of the morning who go out to parti­cular areas of our city because they know that there are little ones out there. And Diane was talking about, you know, when she was starting to do this work, the median age was–for a child sexually exploited–was 16. That's gone down to 13 years old, a baby.

      I know families that I've worked with in–MMIWG family members, one in parti­cular that I will not name, who was murdered when she was 17. She came into contact with a pedophile, with a predator, when she was 10 on Ellice at the 7-Eleven. And he knew that he would find a vul­ner­able Indigenous child, a girl child–he knew. He was 42. And he sexually exploited her until she was–she ended up being murdered.

      And so why I share that is because that's the reality of what's going on in our streets today, tonight, right now as we sit here and we debate this bill. And so when Diane says that, you know, we should be doing every­thing within our power, we should be doing every­thing within our power.

      One of the things that strikes me–or struck–striked me about one of the presenters was, well, you know, if the individual can't do it, you know, I reach out and I, you know, try to make allowances, can we reschedule this; maybe I'll do another referral. I'm so sick of–and I say this, probably, you know, at least, you know, six times a week–I'm so sick of the way that patriarchy bends over backwards to protect its own, and this is a good example. We have men–and they said it, our presenters, and we all know it, that it is pre­domi­nantly all men that are sexually exploiting women and children, and the system bends over backwards so that there's no con­se­quences.

      And so my concern with this is that the little con­se­quence of having their licence taken–suspended–and if they're married, they have to be accountable to their wife–why the hell do you not have your licence? Now, if that's taken away, if there's not that imme­diate response, that's con­cern­ing. So, again–and I ap­pre­ciate–I know that we've had this con­ver­sa­tion to try and get some clarity on there because, like I said, now, you know, our presenter said that that–it's an imme­diate con­se­quence.


Mr. Chairperson: We thank the member for those comments.

      During the con­sid­era­tion of a bill, the enacting clause and the title are postponed until all other clauses have been considered in their proper order.

      Is that agreed? [Agreed]

      Clause 1–pass; clause 2–pass; clause 3–pass; clause 4–pass; clause 5–pass; clause 6–pass; clause 7–pass; clause 8–pass; enacting clause–pass; title–pass. Bill be reported.

Bill 30–The Police Services Amendment
and Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act


Mr. Chairperson: We will now move on to Bill 30.

      Does the minister respon­si­ble for Bill 30 have an opening statement?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I want to thank the presenters for all the bills who came forward tonight. They all came forward virtually, which is good that that ability exists, and that's some­thing that all op­posi­tion parties agreed to, to continue on. And I think it's good that we did.

      So, there's a couple of points here of clari­fi­ca­tion I want to make. I think there may be some conflating between standards and codes of conduct. Standards are the things that will be publicly known in terms of the operations of policing. And so I found this out: if you go onto the British Columbia website, you can find policing standards publicly available, and they'll talk about, you know, standards for high-speed chases, or the use of force and a variety of other things. And you can–it's a prov­incial-wide standard in terms of policing and how they, in certain operations, in certain matters, they have to conduct their busi­ness, and I think that that's im­por­tant. Those are standards–policing standards.

      On the other side is codes of conduct, which also then had lots of discussion, and this is about, you know, the ex­pect­a­tion of the public or of the police in interacting with the public and that–making that clear and trans­par­ent. And that doesn't mean that police forces don't have some degrees of standards at this point, but I think that they be uniform and that they be publicly known is im­por­tant because I think it can have a sig­ni­fi­cant impact about how complaints can be made or how maybe complaints can be avoided, can be acted upon even before there's a complaint, which might have an impact on the frustrations that we've heard about LERA. I think those are very im­por­tant things.

      Lots about con­sul­ta­tion tonight. And I suppose all of the codes of conduct that have been built into the act–I think there have been questions about con­sul­ta­tion. I think it's better to consult first, have those standards put, you know, in the act. There were some questions about whether we could amend the act to prescribe who should be consulted with. My concern there, of course, you know, is to start to delineate individuals or groups who can be consulted with, almost invariably you would have people say, well, hang on, how come we weren't included in that? And now the whole thing feels less inclusive instead of more.

      So I think that the im­por­tant point is that there is a commit­ment for con­sul­ta­tion on the codes of conduct. I took the point from presenters, you know, in being mindful of how that can be done in a way that, you know, people can meaningfully–have meaningful en­gage­ment but that there's ac­ces­si­bility for that as well.

      Those are good points, and, you know, we got really good feedback tonight and look forward to further feedback from those and others who weren't able to make it here tonight.

Mr. Chairperson: We thank the minister for those comments.

      Does the critic from the official op­posi­tion have an opening statement?

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): So, once again, miigwech to all of the presenters on Bill 30.

      You know, the minister earlier said, and I think it's really im­por­tant to kind of reiterate that again, because I would suggest most of the public don't–I didn't know this, obviously, before I became elected, but this process of standing com­mit­tees where the public have the op­por­tun­ity to present to the minister and the com­mit­tee and MLAs is actually–again, I think–like, I think we're only the second province–[interjection]–yes. So, you know, very, very few juris­dic­tions do this across Canada.

      So, you know, I always feel, even though it's very long days and long evenings, I feel very fortunate when we get to hear from the public and the public gets to engage in this process that otherwise they wouldn't have an op­por­tun­ity to do.

      So, again, I say miigwech to each and every one of them who presented tonight.

      You know, LERA is–you know, there has been many, many concerns and many criticisms for many, many years. You know, I started at Southern Chiefs' Organi­zation in August of 2002, and the vast–and I worked at Southern Chiefs' Organization for, I believe, 10 years. The vast majority of the work that I did when I was there was on police relations and police complaints. And LERA was as disappointing then and as ineffective then as it is now.

* (21:20)

      And so, you know, how long do we continue to tinker with LERA until we realize it needs a complete overhaul or dismantling to put in place a complaints body or a complaints mechanism that actually works for the com­mu­nity, and works to ensure that we have the best policing in­sti­tutions that we can have?

      Because we don't have the best policing in­sti­tutions that we could possibly have, and LERA is not a part of that space to make things better, because we still have complaints. We still have 98 per cent of those citizens who come forward with interactions between the police service and them­selves and feel that they were violated and their rights were infringed on, and nothing has happened.

      So, you know, is it–you know, when do we look at doing more?

      You know, I said in second reading debate that, you know, it was an op­por­tun­ity to do a little bit more in this bill. I would suggest it does the bare minimum. I know that we keep talking about the code of conducts. You know, it's not unreasonable for someone like myself, who's been doing that work for–com­mu­nity work for a long time, to not have faith or trust in the system–in the very system to develop codes of conducts–and expect, then, that there will be changes in LERA. And it's not unreasonable for the com­mu­nity also not to trust that.

      But we did hear from several presenters saying that they're happy that there's going to be codes of conduct. And we did hear from the minister today–tonight–commit to doing those con­sul­ta­tions. So, if anything, I think that those are two good things that came out of tonight.


Mr. Chairperson: The member for those–[interjection] Oh. We thank the member for those comments.

      During the consideration of a bill, the enacting clause and the title are postponed until all other clauses have been considered in their proper order.

      Also, if there is agreement from the committee, the Chair will call clauses in blocks that conform to pages, with the understanding that we will stop at any particular clause or clauses where members may have comments, questions or amendments to propose.

      Is that agreed? [Agreed]

      Clauses 1 and 2–pass; clause 3–pass; clauses 4 and 5–pass; clauses 6 through 9–pass; clause 10–pass; clause 11–pass; clauses 12 through 15–pass; clause 16–pass; clauses 17 and 18–pass; clauses 19 and 20–pass; clauses 21 through 24–pass; enacting clause–pass; title–pass. Bill be reported.

      The hour being 9:25, what is the will of the com­mit­tee?

Some Honourable Members: Committee rise.

Mr. Chairperson: Com­mit­tee rise.




TIME – 6 p.m.

LOCATION – Winnipeg, Manitoba

CHAIRPERSON – Mr. Dennis Smook (La Vérendrye)

VICE‑CHAIRPERSON – Mr. Brad Michaleski (Dauphin)


Members of the committee present:

Hon Messrs. Goertzen, Johnson

Ms. Fontaine,
Messrs. Michaleski, Sandhu, Smook


Hon. Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights


Bill 7–The Police Services Amend­ment Act (Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit Operations)

Louise Simbandumwe, Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition
Damhat Zagros, Aurora Family Therapy Centre
Shereen Denetto, Immigrant and Refugee Com­mu­nity Organi­zation of Manitoba
Jennifer Montebruno, Police Account­ability Coalition
Rachael Howgate, Supporting Em­ploy­ment and Economic Dev­elop­ment Winnipeg
Kate Kehler, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act (Alter­na­tive Measures for Driving Offences)

Diane Redsky, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
Hennes Doltze, private citizen

Bill 30–The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act

Louise Simbandumwe, Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition
Damhat Zagros, Aurora Family Therapy Centre
Shereen Denetto, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba
Jennifer Montebruno, Police Account­ability Coalition
Kate Kehler, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
Lisa Forbes, Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group
Catherine Biaya, private citizen


Bill 7–The Police Services Amend­ment Act (Enhancing In­de­pen­dent In­vesti­gation Unit Operations)

Bill 27–The Highway Traffic Amend­ment Act (Alter­na­tive Measures for Driving Offences)

Bill 30–The Police Services Amend­ment and Law En­force­ment Review Amend­ment Act

* * *