Remarks by Minister Goodale at the 111th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police


August 17th, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario

(check against delivery)

Good morning everyone. Greetings and good wishes today from Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada.

On this particular morning, as a member of the Government giving a public speech in Ottawa – indeed, in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier – I cannot fail to note the sad passing last evening of my friend and colleague, Mauril Belanger.

He was a passionate Parliamentarian – devoted to the institutions of democracy and to the well-being of his constituents.

Mauril was a relentless (and successful) crusader for the causes which he espoused: inclusion, minority language rights, women’s equality, the cooperative movement, and the plight of the less fortunate in Burundi and other places in Africa.

He never gave up. And along the way, he taught us all a great deal about service, courage and dignity.

He will be long remembered. And our love today surrounds his wife Catherine and their family.

Mario, thank you for your welcome, and congratulations on your election as President of the CACP. I look forward to working with you.

Chief Bordeleau from Ottawa, thank you for hosting what I’m told has been a very successful meeting.

And to your past-president – my fellow Saskatchewanian – Clive Weighill, thank you for inviting me today. Thank you also for your hard work and dedication through your term as president.

In particular, I’m grateful for Clive’s good counsel.

I had been in office in this portfolio for barely a month when I got a detailed written memo and personal briefing from Clive – critiquing the Mandate Letter given to me in this portfolio by the Prime Minister. Fortunately for me, Clive and the Prime Minister seemed to be mostly on the same page in the instructions they provided. It might have been a bit awkward, otherwise.

Chief Weighill took the 12 specific instructions from the Prime Minister and commented on each – on behalf of the CACP. For the majority, he was fully supportive. On a couple, he offered constructive advice or additional ideas for moving forward. I’m grateful for that thoughtful input.

The pace of events involving Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is rapid and turbulent. I’ve often said being the Minister in this portfolio is like “riding a firehose” – the volume, velocity and gravity of the issues are unrelenting.

To mention just a few:

Right after our government came to office in November, we faced the immediate challenge of rescuing 25,000 Syrian refugees. And my job was to develop and implement a screening and security system that would help in this large humanitarian endeavor, while protecting our national security and keeping both Canadians and the refugees safe and secure. With the strength and expertise of the RCMP, CSIS, the CBSA and others, we got that job done.
In the midst of it however, terrorist attacks in Paris raised security concerns around the world. We had to check all of our agencies, all of our systems, all of our sources, all of our data – to ensure the safety of Canada … and to reassure Canadians about their national security. To be genuine and fully transparent, we published – for the first time ever - the National Terrorism Threat Level for Canada, which was then (and is now) at “MEDIUM” where it has remained unchanged since the fall of 2014.

Then a Canada-US Leaders’ Summit began looming on the horizon, and that triggered three months of intensive work with the White House and with Jeh Johnson, the US Secretary of Homeland Security. We sought to strengthen our cross-border arrangements – to enhance security both ways, while facilitating the legitimate flow of 400,000 people and $2.4-billion in two-way trade every single day. We put together a new Pre-Clearance deal, also a new system for collecting basic passport data on those who are leaving our country, improvements in the way we manage No-Fly lists, and better information-sharing.

Then as spring arrived, so did a highly dangerous wildfire season. With the boreal forest tinder dry, we were suddenly confronted with the Fort McMurray disaster. More than 80,000 people displaced. Nearly a million hectares burned. A big chunk of Oilsands production shut down. The costliest fire disaster in Canadian history. In coordinating the federal response, I got to see something truly remarkable – the raw courage of the people of Fort Mac, the skill and tenacity of the amazing first responders, the leadership of local and provincial public officials, the proficient dexterity of the Red Cross, and the empathy, the cohesion and the enormous generosity of Canadians everywhere who said in both spirit and in hard cash: “Hey Fort Mac, we’ve got your back!”

June was a busy month getting promised legislation before the House of Commons, including a new law to create a statutory “committee of parliamentarians” with extraordinary access to classified information, and a mandate to scrutinize the security and intelligence operations of all federal departments and agencies. This new committee’s purpose will be two-fold – to ensure that all those departments and agencies are being effective in keeping Canadians safe, and to safeguard Canadian values, our rights and freedoms, and the open, inclusive, democratic character of our country. Presenting this legislation was a flagship commitment from the last election!

And then came Strathroy. The first thing to note about that disturbing, home-grown, world-be terrorist situation is that Canada’s police and security agencies, working with international allies like the FBI, foiled that plot in a remarkably short span of time. Public safety was preserved.

Before this audience, I want to pay tribute to the women and men of the RCMP, the OPP, the London City Police and the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service. They were professional, seamless, courageous and effective. The loss of any human life is tragic, but these officers and their partners prevented a much more terrible outcome. On days like August 10th, Canadians unite in common admiration and gratitude for the skill and service of our public safety officers and first responders.

Going forward, the events in Strathroy underscore the high importance of our commitment to a serious open examination of Canada’s entire national security framework – what is it, where should it be improved, how can it become more effective in keeping us safe while protecting the essential values that make Canada, Canada?

That consultation has already begun. It will intensify this fall.

Parliamentarians, subject-matter experts and Canadians generally will be asked for their input and advice. An inclusive approach is long overdue.

Also long overdue is serious national engagement in a coherent strategy to deal with the “radicalization” that leads certain individuals to violence. Among our largest security concerns are the “lone wolves” who get sucked into perverse and extreme beliefs that promote death and destruction.

That’s why we have budgeted for a new national office and centre of excellence on counter-radicalization – to advance and coordinate research and knowledge, community outreach, prevention and intervention. We want to build on the good work being done locally in places like Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.

If we want to preserve our openness, diversity and pluralism as unique national strengths, we in Canada need to get really good at dealing with radicalization.

We need to fully understand what it is and how it happens. We need to know who is most vulnerable to it, and why. We need to develop the talent that can prevent and intervene. We need to support community-based agencies working at the local level. We need to share best practices.
We need to understand what positive messages can counteract the insidious poison that draws people in – especially young people. We need to have the right knowledge and tools at the right time in the right place to try our best to head-off tragedies before they happen.

Your wise counsel from the CACP will be most welcome. The budget last March provided $35-million to get started.

Well, these are some of the “hot files” that have kept me busy through my first 9 months as Minister.

In between times, I’ve been working on all the other things in my Mandate Letter:

On gun violence and gang issues, we’re working with provincial, territorial and municipal leaders to determine the most effective way for the federal government to support communities and law enforcement to enhance local safety. I’ve heard directly from MPs, provincial Ministers,police officers and mayors in both Toronto and Surrey about how important this is.

We have undertaken to provide larger financial support for specific Guns-and-Gangs Task Forces. We’re committed to certain legislative changes laid out in our platform. And we’re putting together a new, more representative advisory committee to provide the best advice to the government on firearms issues.

For “public safety officers and first responders”, we are at work on three specific commitments.

Our first budget provided the funding necessary to restore and expand the essential Heavy Urban Search and Rescue teams across Canada that are such a vital part of Canada’s emergency response capacity.

Secondly, we are putting together a new compensation benefit for the families of firefighters, police officers and paramedics who are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The death benefit side of that commitment is pretty clear-cut. We’re focused now on the disability issues which, actuarially, are more complex.

Thirdly, we are pushing ahead with a National Strategy on post-traumatic stress injuries which disproportionately affect public safety officers – the research that is required, early warning signs and detection, effective and readily available treatment, fighting the stigma and getting healthy people back to work and back to successful living once again!
In all these areas, your representatives have been valuable partners and advisors, and I thank you for your collaboration.

Indigenous issues are high on this government’s agenda and mentioned prominently in ALL Mandate Letters. The Prime Minister has said repeatedly that no relationship matters more to him and his government than a renewed and revitalized relationship with Indigenous people.

That’s why we are tackling Indigenous health, education, housing, water and infrastructure issues on an unprecedented scale.

One essential pre-condition to progress was the long requested National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is now getting underway on a sound basis. Your help and work and engagement will be important to a successful conclusion, and to healing and reconciliation in so many lives.

On another front, we are renewing our approach to First Nations policing. The current policy was devised a long time ago – in 1996. The latest funding formula was negotiated in 2013 and locked in until 2018. We want to use the time between then and now to build a new approach – one that involves the best, most modern policing methods and standards, one that’s flexible enough to accommodate traditional knowledge and customs, and one that is sufficiently and sustainably funded.

A new legal regime for marijuana is another Mandate commitment.

The existing regime has clearly failed. It costs some $2.3 billion a year to enforce it, but still, Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users of marijuana in the western world, and organized crime is raking in some $7 billion a year in illegal profits.

A different approach could hardly do worse!

We have asked a distinguished panel of experts to consult and advise.

A new legal regime would provide for legalization but within a strong framework of regulations, restrictions and taxes – to keep marijuana more effectively out of the hands of our children; to cut off the flow of illegal cash to crime lords; and to deal severely with drug-impaired driving.

The panel includes people with health, social, legal and community expertise.

The Chair is the Honourable Anne McLellan – a former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Justice, Health and Public Safety.

The law enforcement dimension is ably represented by Rafik Souccar whom you all know, by Superintendent Marlene Jesso from Newfoundland and Labrador, and of course by Parliamentary Secretary Bill Blair.

Another part of my mandate – which fits with your discussions this week – is Cyber Security.

Specifically, the Prime Minister has asked me to lead a full Cyber Review of how well (or not) Canadians and our critical Infrastructure are protected from all manner of Cyber threats.

This work is beingundertaken in partnership with the Ministers of Defence, Innovation, Infrastructure, Public Services and the Treasury Board, among others, as well as other levels of government and the private sector.

Virtually every dimension of how we live our lives is dependent on information technologies. So are the most critical infrastructure systems which underpin our economy and our society. We’re all heavily inter-connected and networked which adds huge value to our quality of life. But it also compounds our vulnerability.

In complex commercial supply chains, a successful cyber-attack on one enterprise can richochet downstream to impact all their customers and upstream to affect all their suppliers. We’re only as good as the weakest link.

Major corporations – in telecommunications, finance, utilities, information technology and others – are totally engaged in the global cyber security challenge, investing mega-bucks to protect themselves. But others, especially smaller businesses with limited time and resources, cannot. This represents real risk and missed opportunity.

The hackers and scammers who are constantly trying to break into our information systems are a motley, but potent combination of foreign states and militaries, terror groups, organized crime, petty thieves and vandals, and the lonely computer geek in his basement.

Their objectives range from espionage, sabotage and mayhem to theft, extortion, revenge, pornography and just sheer nuisance. There are millions of potentially malicious cyber activities every week. Hacking tools are readily available, cheap and prolific.

It has been speculated that cyber abuse could well have played a role in Canada’s loss of Nortel. Innocent Canadian NGOs have had their databases forcibly encrypted and then ransoms demanded to get them back. It’s estimated that cyber-crime globally causes some $400-billion (US) in economic losses every year, and before the end of this decade that figure could exceed $2-trillion.
We’ve seen the harm done in Ukraine when a foreign government cyber-attacked that country’s power grid. You cannot even imagine the consequences if a terror group got access to air traffic control systems or the technology that underpins banking, telecommunications or healthcare.

But while we need to be acutely aware of these massive risks, we should not be driven by crippling fear or defensiveness. I want to approach our Cyber Review as an opportunity to build Canadian strength and excellence, and thereby transform a liability into an asset.

This matters to Canadians. On a per capita basis, we spend the most time on-line of any country in the world – at 41.5 hours per Canadian per month.

If we get really good at cyber security – at every point in supply chains, at every level of government, and in our personal use of the internet – we can multiply our potential and capitalize on all the advantages of new technology in a digital economy. And with justifiable, verifiable confidence in the security of our information systems, we can sell our skill and competence to the rest of the world.

The international market for cyber security products and services stands at some $105-billion today. By 2020, it’s likely to balloon to $170-billion or more. This represents huge opportunities for Canadian science, research and development, for innovation and cutting-edge manufacturing, and for knowledge-intensive jobs.

Cyber security professionals are a highly specialized, highly south-after and highly paid subset of IT workers. The global job market for cyber pros is expected to rise by some six million over the next 4-5 years, and current projections indicate a shortfall of 1.5 million in qualified candidates.

Talk about a career and employment opportunity for young Canadians–including smart high-tech jobs in law enforcement. A profit centre for businesses. Stimulating possibilities for science. And huge potential for building a powerful Canadian brand!

But there’s no sense of this in Canada’s current cyber security strategy, which dates back to 2010 and is decidedly out-of-date. A Canadian Cyber Review is long overdue.

In this process we will examine cyber structure, governance and funding issues within government.

We will assess existing partnerships and capabilities in the government’s Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, in the private sector’s Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange, around Critical Infrastructure Tables and through the “Get Cyber Safe” awareness campaign. But far beyond that, we need to take our cyber game to a whole new level. I hope our review will raise the profile and the understanding of the cyber threats that face our country and the cyber opportunities we might embrace.

I hope we can lay the foundation for a new and stronger strategy:

  • One that protects the safety and security of Canadians and our critical infrastructure;
  • One that defends fundamental rights and freedoms on-line;
  • One that fosters innovation, economic growth, exciting jobs and prosperity;
  • One that is nimble and flexible to anticipate change and adapt to new technologies as a constant fact of life; and
  • One that defines roles and co-ordinates across jurisdictions, sectors and borders.

Our review needs to rethink how the Government of Canada can best provide leadership. It needs to vigorously engage and animate the private sector. It must also stimulate a whole new generation of Canadian cyber talent.

It should also trigger a very useful discussion about where Canadians want the intersection to be found between encryption and absolute privacy on the one hand and legitimate investigations to protect the public good on the other. Where do Canadians draw that line? What safeguards are necessary? Having this consultation and debate is urgent.

There is obviously a whole lot to be tackled. I hope Canadians will want to participate vigorously.

And I know the CACP will be fully engaged.

Thank you for your service and for the opportunity to be with you this morning.

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