Are the winds of change blowing in Ottawa?

For your outstanding leadership abilities, your commitment to the advancement of women in Canadian policing, and for your dedication to the effective delivery and management of human resources, wherein you have become an influential role model for all police officers. – 2006 Order of Merit of the Police Forces citation given to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Barbara George

The trouble with awards is that once given, they cannot be easily taken back. The other problem with national awards is that they are seldom given to those who actually deserve them. Too often they are given for political reasons, to individuals who just happen to be in a certain position or to members of the bureaucracy who tend to exercise some control on these things.

Barbara George was just another senior level bureaucrat when the Governor General pinned the award on her chest. What had she really done to deserve it? Difficult to say. She spent a career being a carpet cop and wouldn’t have the faintest idea what a real cop does for a living let alone being a “role model” for anything other than a bureaucrat wanting to climb the greasy pole in a federal government ministry.

Do I sound disparaging of the now suspended Deputy Commissioner Barbara George? Sorry, I don’t mean to. But, right after she was suspended by interim Comissioner Bev Busson following the testimony of several RCMP officers before the Public Accounts Committee concerning abuses of the Mounties’ pension fund and their attempts to get light shed on the subject, the Mounties distanced themselves from her pronto.

George herself testified that neither she nor former Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli had anything to do with hindering the investigation. Testimony supported by phone call recordings and other corroboration seemed to dispute that position. The Mounties outlined an atmosphere of corruption and condonation of corruption permeating the highest ranks.

Shortly after George was suspended, the RCMP erased any reference to her on their website. It was blindingly fast. Fortunately, the internet is a powerful tool and much could still be located. A review of her career highlights shows she was nothing more than a carpet cop. And therin lies the answer to all of this.

In 1984 the RCMP was politicized and the Comissioner was made a Deputy Minister with all of the political realities that entailed. In reality, the RCMP has become yet another moribund political bureaucracy.

This is not to belittle the hard-working members at the sharp end of things. No, not in the least. When I joined the RCMP two years after its centennial celebrations, I was given a quick education into the Force by a senior member. He explained the machinations of the Force as “A hundred and two years of tradition unhampered by progress.”

And that brings us full-circle to the scandal plaguing the RCMP that led to the suspension of Deputy Commissioner Barbara George. Throughout the 90’s and the the first part of the new century, the Liberal Party of Canada created a culture of those who were “entitled to their entitlements” among the bureaucracy. Why should the RCMP be any different?

Well, the reality was they weren’t as evidenced by the misappropriation of money from the pension fund by the carpet cops mired in the bureaucracy.

When members of the Force tried to raise concerns about the Pension Fund, the carpet cops shined them on, neutralized them by transfer or completely marginalized them. This is tried and true tactics by the carpet cops. Ask Bob Stenhouse or Robert Read. They have both been victimized by that culture.

Well, that corrupt culture has now been laid bare to the Public Accounts Committee. A senior carpet cop has been suspended. It remains to be seen if the price to be paid is real or mere window dressing and it is business as usual at Headquarters in Ottawa.

The RCMP should use this period in their history to reinvent themselves in their role as the national police force. And, what is now 134 years of tradition needs to finally see some progress.

Leo Knight

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  1. Come on Leo,

    Why would the top 85 officers want to jeopardize their nearly 4.5 million in bonuses by making waves. You know the kind of waves – using up their budgets, asking for more members, equipment, and modern patrol uniforms.

    The new buzz phrase is “integrated”. Which means less service. Instead of having a major crime section that knows the local streets and snitches, you have an integrated team that knows no one. No relationships built, and no sources to give you that key piece of info.

    Or the wonderful integrated ERT. It would suck to be in North Van with an active shooter, when the Team is in Surrey during rush hour.

    In fact, maybe lopping the head of this dragon, and starting over might be a good thing.

    And no one in the ivory tower cares that the burnout rates for GD members in the LMD is approximately 2 years.

    I’d be one happy camper if Jamie Graham decided re-tread in Commish job.

    Also, you made a mistake on the news the other day. The ratio of Bucketheads to Mounties on a night shift is approx 7-1 (and we all know what they’re doing at 2am..zzzz)

  2. I agree the RCMP should use this time to re-invent themselves , for years here in Alberta, they have been justifing thier existence by saying how cost effective they are, which is easy to do when you leave 100+ positions vacant as they have done for the last 14+ years.As well they have crossed the line into politics on many occasions, I know of one police service that was being approached by a town currently policed by the RCMP to take over from them because the service ther had recieved for years was below standard and the RCMP were not pleased.

  3. The anonymous post on 2007/04/04 is dead on.

    The majority of officers are carpet cops just looking for the next promotion. Its not about how effective you are or how good of a leader you are; its all about how you look on paper. Asking for more members, equipment, etc doesn’t look good on paper.

    As for ‘Integrated’ sections, that is also very accurate. You have sections based in Surrey made up of members from Chilliwack or Mission who don’t know the rats or areas. However integrated is the watchword of the day and looks good on paper and to the public.

    Moreover for the Municipal Agencies who participate integrated sections with the RCMP; they are no more than dumping grounds for their retards and problem children. For example I have a troopmate in IMPACT who have told me their is a municipal member there who has never arrested anyone in a stolen vehicle in their policing career prior to IMPACT. How does that happen????

    AS for revamping the RCMP put Jamie Graham as the new Commissioner or someone like him. Give the provinces more autonomy in looking after their own particular needs IE recruiting, staffing, etc.

  4. I find that the RCMP only intergrate with muni services when they are forced to by outside conditions like understaffing etc. etc..

    They should be like Canadas Secret Service, with the Provinces each having thier own police.


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