Inquiry Into Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Commission of (McDonald Commission), was a federal commission, est 1977, following allegations of crimes by the RCMP Security Service. Matters referred to the commission included a break-in at a data-processing company and the theft of a PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS membership list; 400 break-ins without warrants, mainly in BC (since 1970); electronic surveillance of at least one member of Parliament; unauthorized mail openings; the burning of a barn in Québec; widespread monitoring of election candidates; theft of dynamite; and use of forged documents. Former RCMP Commissioner William Higgitt and former Security Service Director General John Starnes testified that they knew subordinates occasionally broke laws in performance of duties. RCMP officers also claimed that they had informed their ministers of various activities, but Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and other ministers testified that they had received no such information.
In its final report, issued in 1981, the commission recommended, among other things, that police comply strictly with the law; that the RCMP be permitted to open mail with judicial authorization; and that a civilian security agency, divorced from the RCMP, be created. The new civilian agency, called the CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, came into existence in July 1984 and was given broad powers.