05/30/2012 12:33 EDT | Updated 07/30/2012 05:12 EDT

RCMP discipline changes coming soon, Toews says

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he will soon bring in legislation to modernize the RCMP's civilian oversight and discipline process to deal with a "glaring error inside the way the RCMP operates."

Legislation drafted by the government in 2010 would have granted new powers to the RCMP commisioner to demote or fire officers, but mostly focused on unionization of the force, in response to a court decision. That matter is still before the Ontario court following the government's appeal of the 2009 ruling.

Toews said Wednesday he doesn't have time to wait for the court to deal with the unionization issues, so those measures won't be in the new bill.

"I'm prepared to proceed on [the RCMP discipline] bill without addressing that particular issue," Toews told reporters on Parliament Hill.

A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed the bill will also contain measures related to civilian oversight of the force. Those measures were dealt with in a separate bill in the government's 2010 attempt to update the act. Both of the previous bills died when the 2011 federal election was called.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said this week the antiquated discipline process is preventing him from dealing quickly with abuse allegations that have rocked the police force.

Paulson voiced his frustrations over the process in an open letter to Canadians released Monday.

Toews said he was pleased with Paulson's letter, calling it an important step in the RCMP's communications with Canadians.