Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Nov. 25, 2012)

More Girls

By Bob Cooper


I’ve often said that I’d sooner have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother in politics.  A few days ago, while the RCMP was grieving the death of Surrey Constable Adrian Oliver, Commissioner Bob Paulson received an early Christmas present from Justice Minister Vic Toews in the form of a swift, ill-timed, and very public, kick in the balls.  This arose from comments by the Commissioner in a Canadian Press interview in which he acknowledged that an audit found evidence of gender bias within The Force along with a 52% reduction in the number of female recruits.  Not surprising, considering the highly publicized allegations of sexual harassment in the RCMP from an increasing number of female members over the last year or so.  Let me be clear, I’m not blaming the press.  They have a duty to report on stories like this and the fact that women interested in law enforcement careers are giving the RCMP a wide berth at the moment is an unfortunate but unintended consequence.  Other than that, the Commissioner toed the line, saying all was well and savaging anyone who dared suggest otherwise, but received scant credit from the Minister for his efforts.

Don’t be fooled for an instant about the source of Toews’ frustration.  These issues were around long before Paulson assumed command.    Toews is mad because the Commissioner slipped the leash and publicly acknowledged a problem thereby denying Toews the opportunity to be seen as having solved it.  Getting between a politician and a headline is like taking a steak away from a hungry Pit Bull or perhaps the Minister was simply demonstrating the type of harassment and bullying he wants eliminated in the RCMP.

So now the Commissioner has been given 3 weeks to submit an ‘action plan’ which contains strategies for, among other things, ensuring the force is 30 percent female ‘in the immediate term’, establishing quotas for promoting women, reducing complaints, etc, with specific timelines.  As far as the 30 percent, I’d say the Commissioner’s options are limited to hiring every applicant in a skirt or arbitrarily assigning a number of male constables to undergo ‘gender reassignment’ surgery to fill any shortfall.  Perhaps they can draw straws, pick the lowest ticket producers, or go ‘rock, paper, scissors’.  The quota route was tried years ago by the Liberals and is, in large measure, to blame for many of the current problems in the RCMP but this appears lost on Toews.  Or is it?  

It’s an old trick.  Establish a set of goals that are unattainable for a subordinate you want to get rid of.  I recall a couple of VPD Inspectors that had it down to an art form.  Watch your back Commissioner, this guy is setting you up for a big fall and worse yet, doesn’t care how much damage he does to the RCMP in the process.  In the meantime you’d do well to realize that not everyone who criticizes the RCMP (particularly your own members) is the enemy and you might want to throttle back on the reaction as you’re apt to need some friends ‘in the immediate term’. 

Bob Paulson’s main competitor for the Commissioner’s job was the bright and affable Deputy Commissioner Peter German who succeeded in pretty much everything he competed for in his career.  While writing this I couldn’t help but think that this is likely one time Peter is glad he came in second.



Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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Contributing 2012