Part II - The Year in Review
The “Advancing Oversight” theme is particularly relevant given the Commission’s continued positive momentum this year advancing its oversight mandate in the context of an unprecedented operational workload of Public Interest Hearings, complex and voluminous conduct and interference complaints, and other matters, such as legislative renewal.
— Glenn M. Stannard, Commission Chairperson
I) Highlights and Accomplishments
The following information provides an overview of the highlights and accomplishments this year.
- On June 27, 2012, the Commission issued its Final Report on the Afghanistan Public Interest Hearing (PIH) examining the “
failure to investigate complaint” by Amnesty International Canada (AIC) and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) that certain Military Police (MP) wrongly failed to investigate Canadian Forces (CF) Commanders for allegedly ordering the transfer of Afghan detainees to a known risk of torture at the hands of Afghan security forces. The Final Report found the complaints against the MP subjects unsubstantiated. However, it made crucial recommendations to address a range of serious procedural and other problems, and to improve the work of policing when MPs are deployed on missions. It also made recommendations to remove major obstacles experienced by the Commission related to document disclosure and witness access during PIH.
- On March 27, 2012, another PIH was commenced to examine the MP investigation relating to the death of Corporal (Cpl) Stuart Langridge following a complaint filed by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fynes. Cpl Langridge committed suicide on March 15, 2008, at Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit (CFB/ASU), Edmonton. To date, 90 witnesses have been heard, over a period of 61 days, representing more than 12,500 pages of transcripts. The Chairperson has set a date of January 9, 2013, for the presentation of closing submissions from the Parties.
- The Report of the Second Independent Review of the National Defence Act (NDA), conducted by the Honourable Patrick J. LeSage, was released on June 8, 2012. The Commission had previously submitted comprehensive proposals to the Honourable Patrick J. LeSage. The Report made recommendations on a number of these proposals, although major areas of the Commission’s concerns were not addressed, particularly those aimed at improving its capacity to address complaints efficiently and credibly.
- Bill C-15, Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act was tabled in the House of Commons on October 7, 2011, proposing a number of amendments to the NDA primarily related to the military justice system for the CF. The Bill received second reading and was referred to Committee on December 12, 2012. One provision of the Bill relates to the proposed authority of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) to direct MP investigations. In its brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, the Commission expressed serious concerns regarding the potential impact of this provision on preserving the independence of MP investigations from interference by the chain of command.
- The Commission handled an unprecedented, heavy workload in 2012 including a new PIH, combined with a number of unusually resource-intensive complaint investigation files and other projects which severely challenged human and financial resources. To assist in addressing this PIH, the Commission sought and obtained approval for additional, multi-year funding from Treasury Board.
- Commission representatives visited seven CF bases across Canada to engage with key audiences about the Commission’s mandate and activities and to respond to any questions or concerns about the complaints process. Also, the Commission made presentations to groups of MP members in training sessions at the Canadian Forces Military Police Academy and at the MP Symposium. All presentations were very well-received.
- During 2012, 86% of the Commission’s recommendations in its Final Reports were accepted by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM).
II) Monitoring and Investigations
The following table highlights the Commission’s statistics on a four-year comparative basis from 2009 to 2012. The table cannot fully reflect the increased complexity and scope of the complaints and other voluminous files handled by the Commission, nor the difficulty predicting when such matters will be referred for investigative review. More and more, these matters involve thousands of pages of evidence and scheduling and interviewing multiple witnesses, in Canada and abroad. As a result, this extends the duration of investigations and the length of time required to consult on and write Interim and Final Reports. This in turn contributes significantly to increased costs.
|Conduct Complaints Carried Over||14||13||22||28|
|New Conduct ComplaintsTable note *||43||43||45||51|
|Interference Complaints Carried Over||0||1||0||3|
|New Interference Complaints||1||1||8||2|
|Reviews Carried Over||11||5||5||10|
|s.250.38 Public Interest Investigations/Hearings Carried Over||5||1||1||2|
|New s.250.38 Public Interest Investigations/Hearings||0||0||1||0|
|Judicial Proceedings Carried Over (e.g. Judicial Review)Table note **||1||1||1||0|
|New Judicial Proceedings (e.g. Judicial Review)||3||4||0||0|
|No. of General Files Open (Request for information and other)||36||45||45||59|
|New Files Opened||89||99||108||120|
|Total No. of Files Dealt in the Year||120||120||137||163|
|No. of Decisions/Rulings Issued||8||8||5||8|
|No. of Interim Reports||8||5||10||7|
|No. of Final ReportsTable note ***||17||12||9||14|
|No. of Recommendations on Final Reports||23||4||11||15|
|Percentage of Recommendations Accepted||100 %||100 %||100 %||86 %Table note ****|
|No. of Reports/Decisions/Rulings Issued||33||25||24||29|
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