Monday, May 02, 2016

Why the RCMP Commissioner Still Doesn't Get It

It seems only appropriate that on the very day Mike Duffy returned to the Senate, the RCMP Commissioner should appear before a Senate committee and show once again why he still doesn't get it.

And that a time when the RCMP is being rocked by allegations of incompetence and sexual harassment.

He should defend the force.

And blame its critics and its victims.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson came under fire Monday afternoon before the Senate national security committee, where he was hit repeatedly with accusations that recent harassment scandals are “destroying” Canadians’ faith in the force and asked why the force isn’t moving to establish an independent review body.

“There’s a couple of things destroying the faith that Canadians have and one of those is the irresponsible representation of the facts from within the organization without a definitive, proper hearing to establish that,” Paulson said.

Even though this scandal couldn't be more grotesque.

CBC News published a story in February highlighting allegations against two members of the force that suggested they repeatedly posed nude in the workplace, simulated oral sex and in one case, dumped what they reportedly claimed was pubic hair on a communal eating area.

And Paulson's response to claims the investigation was tainted couldn't be more outrageous...

Paulson said the force can screen for those kinds of things but did not explain why one of the individuals involved in investigating the Canadian Police College complaints was allowed to handle that file despite his own history as the subject of harassment complaints. 

“Who among us is blemish-free?” he responded.

Especially since today's appearance came only two days after Paulson shot his own credibility in the foot, with this speeding ticket tale.

He talked about speeding down B.C.'s Coquihalla Highway with some family members last year and being pulled over by an RCMP officer. Paulson got some laughs when he mimicked the horrified reaction of the officer who suddenly realized he had just pulled over the big boss and who now faced the decision of whether or not to issue him a ticket.

Only to try to deny the story.

Later, talking to reporters, Paulson was clearly not pleased when the speeding incident came up. At first, he said, "Aw, it was just a story I made up." Pressed further, he changed course, saying, "No, I don't want to talk about that. I do not want to talk about that."

And then admit it was true.

Finally Paulson said, "It was a joke," but yes it did happen, and he had been given a warning by the officer rather than a speeding ticket. The final question, which Paulson clearly didn't like, was, "Did you get preferential treatment by not getting a ticket?" Paulson delivered a firm "No" and then, clearly at his limit, ended the news conference.

Which can only raise more disturbing questions and images in my mind...

And yes, this is the bottom line:

If Paulson wants to start repairing his own credibility he needs to explain why the force charged Mike Duffy, but did not charge Nigel Wright...

Which he promised to do ages ago, but still has not done.

And if the RCMP is to heal itself, it needs to establish an independent review body to end its bully culture, and make it a better and safer place for men and women to work.

And if Paulson can't do both then he should resign or be fired...

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  1. This Con appointed clown shouldn't be given the luxury of resigning. He should be replaced. The sooner the better.

    1. hi Omar...yes, that little traffic stop story does make one wonder whether he can be trusted to tell the truth. And his failure to explain the reason they charged Duffy not Wright is unacceptable. I realize the RCMP's problem pre date him, but his collaboration with the Con regime should be reason enough to fire him...

  2. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Just another left over yes man relic from the Harper era who will keep compounding the problems until he decides to spend more time with his family. Would like to see the terms of his employment contract, the Cons certainly knew how to take care of their foot soldiers.

    1. hi RT...yes I'm afraid the Harperites politicized everything they touched, the RCMP is probably no exception. And what bothers me even more than the Duffy case is the way Paulson's force collaborated with the Cons on the terror file. Where every highly politicized announcement from the PMO had the RCMP playing second fiddle. If the Liberals were smart and ruthless enough they would purge the top leadership from every government department...

  3. Paulson has obviously lost the moral, to say nothing of the legal, credibility to head the RCMP and should be summarily dismissed.

    1. hi Kirby...I don't disagree with you, but you know this country. Over the last ten years our ethical standards have taken a dive. Far too many Canadians seem only to happy to shrug their shoulders or look away, and the powerful are always getting away with murder...

  4. e.a.f.3:28 AM

    if they are going to replace Poulson the big problem is who will replace him. Most of the senior officers in the organization are most likely as bad as he is or whatever.

    CBC is running an article advising the RCMP will lower their standards to try to increase the number of people willing to join. Like that is going to work? People don't join the RCMP because of all the problems on the force. How many work places have 300 people filing a class action lawsuit for sexual harassment in this country?

    it would be real easy to recruit officers, if the RCMP cleaned up their act. Until that is done they won't get quality recruits and the force will continue to "fxxk up".

    One of the biggest problems is the RCMP was formed to police in rural areas but now, in B.C., police major urban centers, including such places as Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Prince George.

    If people are waiting for an answer as to why Wright wasn't charged, don't hold your breath. We all have our best guess and we are all most likely correct.

    1. Why would replacing Paulson be a "big problem"? You think there are 'zero' qualified individuals to fill his shoes? It's not like he set a very high standard bar to get over.

    2. e.a.f.11:50 PM

      Yes, replacing Poulson would be a big problem. who would replace him? Remember the rest of the boys and girls within promotional space are most likely as bad as he is. That is the problem. To change the culture of the RCMP you'd most likely have to get rid of the top 3 tiers of the RCMP, clean house at the "DEPOT" TRAining school and then there is B.C. where they need to get rid of the head of the Surrey detachment.

      If they go to another police department you're looking at the chief of one of the big cities in the country. Jim Chui retired from the Vancouver Police dept. He might be a candidate but there are those who simply detest him. Victoria's police chief just got suspended. I don't know what the police chiefs are like in the other major cities in the country. Can't bring in a some one from abroad because there is that Canadian citizenship thing, oh, right they just eliminated that, resident is good enough. So that means they would have to go to a non cop to take over. We know how well that turned out last time.

      They might want to look at a big city Fire Chief, to take over. the rank and file might accept him and he would come with "desk" experience. They also have experience working in a unionized environment and that is the next challenge for the head of the RCMP, unionization.

    3. As cynical as I am about the upper echelons of the RCMP I refuse to believe it's as rotten to the core as you assert. There are good people in any organization and our national police force would not be any exception.

    4. hi e.a.f...I know there are good officers in the RCMP, or other police forces, so I'm sure we can do better. We need one with a reformist zeal to clean up the place, and try to finally fix its many problems, instead of always trying to cover them up....

  5. e.a.f.6:11 PM

    Zeal to clean up the place, those are the really important words in the new job description. for that I would suggest a big city Fire chief. Not exactly policing, but similar.

    Speaking of a mess, last night's news in B.C. advised Christine Galaford has withdrawn her lawsuit against the RCMP. she is the officer from the Lower Mainland who started the whole ball rolling with the 300 member class action lawsuit for sexual harassment. turns out the RCMP has settled "privately" with her, with a "sealed' agreement. What little the public knew about the case, it was awful. She had allegedly had been subjected to sexual harassment for most of her 20 yrs on the force.

    I expect the settlement would be an amount somewhere between $2 and $3M. She said it was doubtful she would ever be able to work again.

    Now there are only another 300 to go. if they all make deals which are "sealed" we will never know how bad it was, well some of know, we say the women on t.v. before they filed the lawsuit.

  6. Anonymous9:55 PM

    The RCMP has set the bar so low that many that should never be considered for a career in law enforcement are getting in. There is no fitness standard, the only police force in Canada that does not have one, the interview.....done over the phone they don't even know who they are talking to. oh yeah the polygraph only occasionally. The odd good one still applies but most opt for the higher paying city police leaving the regrets for the RCMP. Sad state of affairs and the Commissioner sits by and endorses the change.