It was shocking to many Canadians when Catherine Galliford spoke out about harassment that she faced while an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Now more than 200 women have sent messages to a BC law firm requesting to join their class-action suit against the Mounties.
The suit was originally filed by Janet Merlo, who says she faced harassment almost daily in her 19 years on the force. Her lawyers now say that their offices have been contacted by more than 200 who faced similar experiences.
Galliford has filed her own suit, but the federal and BC governments have spoken out against her, accusing her of substance abuse and claiming she’s misrepresenting the situation. If Galliford had such problems while on the force, it is curious that they allowed her to be one of the spokespeople during some of their highest profile cases.
Both Merlo and Galliford say they are afraid of retribution they might face for speaking out, but the fact that they started this tide of complaints may make it easier.
Jason Murray, Merlo’s lawyer, told the Globe and Mail that the calls they are receiving allege sexual discrimination all the way through to physical assault.
Bob Paulson, the RCMP Commissioner, has declared that there would be a thorough investigation of the allegations, but no independent review has been announced. Paulson has also said stated in the media that it bothers him that officers take “every beef” public. Perhaps this growing lawsuit will teach the commissioner that there is something happening inside his force that needs fixing.
Photo Credit: Just A Prairie Boy