In an interview with Evan Solomon on CBC Radio’s The House, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said he has concerns about officers in the police force and “this propensity to go public on every sort of beef that happens in the workplace.”
Paulson was reacting to a story about the head of the Prime Minister’s security detail acting like a bully, accused by other officers of intimidation and harassment. He said that these stories may erode the public trust in the RCMP, which in turn would make their job more difficult.
Unfortunately for Paulson, most of the complaints being aired publicly recently are coming from former officers who claim to have been sexually and verbally harassed while working as Mounties. Catherine Galliford was the first to come forward with allegations, saying she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by her work environment. Now there are rumors of up to 150 female officers ready to join a lawsuit against the RCMP for not acting on their complaints.
Since the allegations were first made public, the federal government has given the commissioner more power to discipline or fire so-called ‘rotten apples‘ from the force, and Paulson has dedicated himself to a ‘cultural change.’ In the past there has been evidence that female Mounties seem to face harsher punishment than their male counterparts, even when the man acting inappropriately is her superior. One Mountie, found guilty by the police force itself of sexual misconduct with female officers, and responsible for what Paulson called outrageous behavior, was transferred rather than fired.
Why is Paulson surprised that such an environment leads Mounties to take their complaints public?
Photo Credit: Brian Chow