TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2016 /CNW/ – It is time for a massive transformation in the way the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducts its internal business, says the Mounted Police Professional Association (MPPAC), following the latest harassment allegations reported in a CBC media investigation. This latest revelation is only the most recent in what appears to be an unending litany of bungled decision-making by those charged with the responsibility of care for employees, under the oversight of Commissioner Bob Paulson, who promised to root out the “dark-hearted” behaviour.
One has only to ask two very important questions:
- How has this culture of mismanagement within the RCMP been allowed to persist?
- Why do we rarely, if ever, hear about such truly egregious behaviour in municipal or provincial police departments?
To begin, all municipal and provincial police departments are unionized. Collective agreements are very specific with regard to pay, benefits, pension, and employee expectations. The wiggle-room, buck-passing and deferral of decision-making up the chain of command within the RCMP has led to a moribund management culture that cannot or will not take swift, effective steps to address problems of misconduct.
“The RCMP has had one internal investigation after the next, related to harassment, bullying and workplace incidents, and yet what is changing?” said MPPAC’s President Rae Banwarie. “It is precisely why it’s time for our members to have an independent national police association – MPPAC – looking out for them and nothing less than transformational change to bring an enhanced focus on accountability and transparency to our national police force.”
This week, the CBC reported news of unwanted sexual touching, bullying and rampant nudity in the workplace at the explosives training unit of the Canadian Police College in Ottawa. In the story, the CBC reported that “allegations of harassment and bullying are not new for the Mounties — the force has been rocked by hundreds of complaints in the last decade” and referred to the 2012 public complaints commission investigation which “unearthed 718 complaints filed by employees between 2005 and 2011.”
Another news investigation about misconduct is set to be broadcast on Saturday, February 20 about the RCMP, in which members of MPPAC are interviewed. Global News 16 X 9_ will air its investigative report regarding a privacy breach in which RCMP members’ medical information was used without their knowledge and consent —an action sanctioned by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. The Chief Human Resources officer sent a message nationally by internal RCMP messaging, on Feb. 19th 2016, to every members’ electronic mailbox, in an attempt to minimize the harm done.
“There is a lot of work to be done in the force, and we are ready to provide the professional representation our members need and deserve,” said Rob Creasser, MPPAC spokesperson.
“For more than 20 years now, we have been raising questions of the RCMP management’s accountability, resources, training and ongoing issues related to officer safety which, had they been addressed properly, may have prevented the Moncton and Mayerthorpetragedies.”
It has not gone unnoticed the deaths of so many RCMP members in recent years has occurred while the vaunted Bob Paulson was either a senior executive in the RCMP, or elevated to his current role as Commissioner.
In January 2016, the Supreme Court gave the federal government until the end of May 2016 to pass new legislation that will grant collective bargaining rights to RCMP members. This followed the 2015 majority decision from the Supreme Court of Canada giving officers the right to collectively bargain.
Of the 227 police agencies in Canada, only the RCMP has been singled out for denial of this basic Charter Right afforded to every Canadian.