Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive July 21, 2018)

RCMP Members in Crisis



The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau - Prime Minister of Canada

Honourable Ralph Goodale - Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

I am a member of the RCMP who once had tremendous pride in the organization. I have served for almost 23 years as a regular member and three as a civilian employee.  I am the son of a member who dedicated 33 years to the RCMP and this country.  Today I struggle, trying to leave the Organization with some dignity while advocating to make change for those who continue to suffer abuses as a result of a continued failure to change.  My views are apolitical, but, I am hoping that those elected leaders with the power to demand answers will do so without further delay.

I write you today standing firmly with Janet Merlo, a woman that I have never met but admire for her tremendous integrity and courage in her letter to you both just this week.  Ms. Merlo, Krista Carle, Catherine Galliford, Linda Davidson and the other women that came forward have truly shown incredible courage and perseverance in their efforts to expose the truth about harassment and abuses of power that have been allowed to exist because of the mismanagement of the RCMP.  The manner in which their complaints were handled provides a clear insight into the lengths that some in senior management have and will go to in an effort to isolate, discredit, demoralize and financially destroy those who dare to challenge them.  I can tell you that these strategies are still very much in play by RCMP Management today. Management refuses to hold themselves to the very standard that they demand of the rank and file and it is no longer acceptable to allow this to continue without speaking out. Today I am doing just that. 

Former Commissioner Bob Paulson tearfully apologized at the infamous press conference before the Canadian public stating; "To all the women who have been impacted by the force's failure to have protected your experience at work, and on behalf of every leader, supervisor or manager, every Commissioner, I stand humbly before you today and solemnly offer our sincere apology".  He also threatened that the “fist of God would descend on abusers”.  He promised that accountability and leadership would be the focus of his team and yet we all know what occurred under his watch, don’t we.  The initial five hundred women claiming harassment has now grown to over forty-two hundred (4200) and the settlement fund will likely exceed the one hundred million dollars that Canadian tax payers are being asked to cover.  Who was fired or reprimanded?  What message was sent?  I challenge you to read the publicly available statement of claim and look at the names of those implicated to see if their careers were negatively affected.  Where are the investigative journalist we once trusted to keep government and public institutions honest and accountable? 

Does anyone remember what happened to Dr. Mike Webster when Bob Paulson authorized a complaint against him?  I can tell you that Dr. Webster is not alone in how he was treated as a medical professional as a result of providing an opinion that management did not agree with.  Some members have had their medical privacy breached, others have had to pay for their psychologist visits and then fight to be reimbursed because their physician of choice was “removed” from the list of approved providers by the RCMP.  Management cover-ups and manipulation of facts does not match with reality.

As Professor Darryl Davies and other objective critics have pointed out repeatedly, there continues to be major issues in the RCMP with respect to “patronage” and “nepotism”.  Rank and respect should be earned but sadly, often are not.  Positions are often filled based on what team you are on and what you are willing to do for the image of the RCMP.  Allowing the status quo in the RCMP to continue is not only an insult to the rank and file, but it is also an insult to all Canadians who have the right to expect that the current management of the RCMP will behave in a manner consistent with the RCMP Mission, Vision and Values (Honesty, Integrity, Professionalism, Caring, Accountability and Respect).  I respectfully assert that this is not happening and that the same problems plague the RCMP today that did under the leadership of Bob Paulson and his “regime”, including the former Commanding Officer of ‘E’ Division and his well-known team that are referred to Divisionally by several nicknames.   This culture has clearly been exposed in multiple independent reports commissioned by our government but those who should be held to account have not.  

Like myself, the vast majority of rank and file members believe that the former Commissioner and his team left this organization in a state of dire crisis and complete shambles.  The current leadership is ill equipped to reassemble the many broken pieces as many have been propelled through the ranks rapidly and sadly do not have the knowledge, skills and most importantly, the courage to address the problems that continue to be swept under the rug.  Making decisions can be risky when the goal is avoiding controversy to obtain another promotion or to maintain favour with the government of the day.  Lower level managers fear speaking truth or taking a stand as they view their superiors as “masters” who hold tremendous power.  Many junior officers have been clear that they have no real power and cannot make change from within. They encourage seeking a lawyer or even leaking to the media instead of taking a stand themselves, again, for fear of reprisal and a swift end to any upward mobility.  Who then is left to advocate for those who serve with valor and distinction and only want to retire with dignity?   Many in management stall and hope that someone else will solve the problem as they pad their own resumes with paper exercise and studies and reinvention of the wheel, meant to mimic real change.  Ultimately, they leave for other government, policing or private sector jobs before their incompetence, unethical behaviour and/or lack of courage is exposed.  We need look no further than the allegations surrounding the lack of action on the carbines (Moncton Enquiry), the current BC Casino Money Laundering scandal, the Dziekanski / YVR incident, the Surrey Six fiasco, the ‘E’ Division “Legacy Files”, or the recent inability to answer important questions surrounding our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMWI).  Negative publicity affects the rank and file and makes their jobs more difficult as they are who the public sees.  Managers are often shuffled quickly, scapegoat others or simply do nothing and then pass the buck, and all the while nothing changes.  If you dare look behind the shroud, I think you would be surprised at what you might find.  Is it any wonder that the public is losing faith in this organization across the west and calling for independent police forces?  I cannot blame them one bit.

What happened to the recommendations of the Federal Auditor General’s Report including the glaring gaps with member health and the failing five-year strategy on mental health. The current state of things is abysmal at best. Who is accountable to Canadians, the federal government, the Auditor General and the RCMP membership? When will any, or all of the recommendations be implemented in any kind of meaningful manner?  Sadly, further independent enquiries and/or a new legislation or policies to allow members to identify wrongdoing (“whistleblower” legislation) without fear of recourse may now be the only real way to have these matters that are like a black cloud still hanging over the force addressed.

I agree with Janet Merlo that the recent tragic death of Krista Carle must have meaning. It is absolutely imperative that blatant double standards and one-way accountability for upper management must end.  Inconsistent application of policy and rules, abuses of power and position, suppression of exculpatory evidence benefitting members, cover-ups, banishment, use of process to handcuff those with legitimate concerns, lack of accountability for “white shirts” acting on behalf of those in power, scapegoating members, and use of unethical techniques (medical, legal, internal, financial etc.) to wear members down and force them to abandon their claims of abuse of power and misconduct must be exposed. 

The veil of silence imposed on the rank and file is exacerbated by the lack of any real labour representation. The lack of representation and protection for the rank and file membership was likely implemented by Commissioner Paulson by design.  I can tell you that is has and continues to lead to countless abuses of power and position as well as a complete and utter lack of accountability. The dissolution of the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP) / Staff Relations Representatives (SRR’s) in May of 2016 and replacement with Member Workplace Advisors (MWA’s) is clearly nothing but a management scheme. The lack of any real voice and ability to evoke change and accountability in the MWA program is well known. It is honestly a joke and the MWA Representatives will tell you if asked.  Members have been arbitrarily subjected to a variety of punitive punishments with no recourse and often the process itself has been the punishment to wear down and force productive members to quit.  All internal mechanisms for complaint, appeal, access to information, accountability etc.. are all designed to benefit management and are used to obstruct those seeking fairness and truth.  The entire system seeks to silence members and take away any real rights and freedoms.  Members are advised to seek legal recourse with the knowledge that few are able emotionally or financially to fight the “Big Red Machine” that beats them down with delays that can last years.  There are many examples of this tactic being used as a means of keeping the rank and file in check.     

The lack of accountability by those in and trying to maintain power must end immediately.  I am telling you that the false narrative being put forward by the RCMP spin doctors does not in any way reflect the reality of the current situation.  The broken and continuing toxic abusive culture is made even worse by the lack of labour representation, the lack of fair pay and compensation, the lack of administrative support for front line officers, the critical manpower shortages and manpower shell games, the completely broken HR and Health Services programs. Most critically we continue to FAIL our most valuable asset, our employees.  So many employees are struggling from work related injuries and traumas, a good number are not the result of the work incidents themselves, but, the direct result of management failures and bad behaviour.  Questions about the lack of services and accountability are dismissed by administration management as unfortunate “organizational gaps” that “are and continue to be addressed”. For many that is coming way to late.  We are sick and tired of the inaction and sick of the meaningless scripted answers from our supposed leaders.

Commissioner Lucki’s statement that the RCMP is “not broken” is inaccurate or misleading at best and is considered by many to be a denial of the truth while providing cover for those who have and continue to fail us.  It is appalling and quite obviously tone deaf.  Three members died in Moncton because managers feared public perception and funded countless studies before they were forced to make a decision on the carbines.  How many in upper management were called to task for their lack of action?   The public should have seen what was blatantly apparent to the members who watched the inquiry and that is that many who seek promotions and promote themselves lack the ability to make decisions and the courage to stand by them because they are empty shirts.  Police officers on the street are required to make split second decisions and are held accountable but the same does not apply to management who waste precious resources on studies, lawyers and settlements.  The death of members on duty or by suicide are written off and quickly forgotten.   It brings me no pleasure in saying that another wave of lawsuits is clearly on the horizon for the RCMP and the Federal Government as management continues to ignore those they are charged with leading and serving.  The private sector would never tolerate this kind of management and consistently reward it with bonuses and even greater responsibility and recognition. 

Shame on all that continue to abuse their rank and/or refuse to speak out and demand change. Much of the continued behaviour is completely contrary to the RCMP Mission, Vision and Values and is also unethical and perhaps even criminally negligent.  No one appears willing to hear the reality that still exists in the RCMP today. 

I fully understand that supporting Ms. Merlo in this manner will undoubtedly come with additional personal retribution and consequences for me.  I will await another onslaught of attack from those I have offended with the truth many of us know.  This is the RCMP way as opposed to acknowledgement, an effort to make things right and encouragement of healthy dialogue leading to change. I have been on the receiving end of RCMP Management abuses for over three (3) years now, and, sadly I am not alone. My attempts to get any accountability and to get potential wrongdoing independently investigated has proven futile.  Requests for documents results in heavily redacted useless pieces of paper or claims that no notes exist yet perpetrators are permitted to retire or are transferred.   I am one of many with allegations that deserve independent inquiry / investigation from an agency separate and distinct from the RCMP.  I, and others who have brought forward legitimate concerns have effectively been shunned and banished by RCMP Management including the current Commissioner and Commanding Officer of British Columbia and her staff here in ‘E” Division.  This is either a failure of leadership or the result of legal advice that completely lacks insight into member health, safety, care and wellbeing. This lesson should already have been learned through the failures identified in numerous inquiries and commissioned reports. Why do we keep getting it wrong?     

I speak to members on a daily basis that are living one day at a time.  I also hear from members on a weekly basis who are on the brink of suicide and have been left almost completely destroyed by management.  What a sad waste of human resources.  A waste we cannot afford in times of critical manpower shortages across the country.  I am left wondering how many people must be off sick, must quit, or worst of all, must die before someone recognizes that the management of the RCMP is horribly broken and needs immediate intervention.  Why must good people continue to suffer without help and without hope?  When will you demand that officers like Commissioner Lucki and Deputy Commissioner Butterworth-Carr and their inner circle be held accountable?   Perhaps we need public perceptions to change.  How much longer will the Canadian public tolerate paying the bills?  What would the public say if they knew they were being served by the walking wounded?  How much faith can the public have in an organization that so badly treats its own members?  When the public hears the lengths that some will go to cover-up “questionable” behaviour then our very faith in our policing organization and legal system gets thrown into jeopardy. 

With respect to Commissioner Brenda Lucki, it has now been three months since she took over as the head of the RCMP.  Commissioner Lucki recently publicly stated that she wanted her employees “to come to work every day and be proud of their organization.” “I need every employee in the RCMP to own that and have the courage not only to be accountable for themselves, but to have the courage to be accountable to others and say, that's unacceptable and take a stand. Because otherwise we won't change."

I can tell you with conviction and documentation to support my position that I and countless others have brought these matters to her attention and have had no meaningful accountability.

The Commanding Officer of British Columbia, Deputy Commissioner Butterworth-Carr has stated that her actions will speak for themselves. Her signature block states “Have the Courage of Conviction to do what is Right in the Face of the Storm”.  I can tell you that these words are hollow and do not accurately reflect the experience of myself and others who have begged and pleaded for help and these are words I chose very carefully to accurately reflect reality.  Her subordinates, likewise, have displayed callous disrespect to our plight and received but minor reprimands and/or sanctions that no one ever hears of.  It certainly does not affect their careers.  Their indignation at being called out and their offence at being challenged when lives of others are being destroyed exposes what is really wrong and broken within the RCMP. 

Deputy Commissioner Butterworth-Carr, you or your staff have chosen to ignore me and others. This despite even a recent letter from Mr. Clayton Pecknold, the Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Policing Services for the Province of British Columbia bringing up the very issue of members being ignored and frustrated.  You have chosen to abandon me, abandon us.  You know the alleged injustices that have taken place yet have made no effort to have them fully examined.  You have ignored pleas for accountability while fostering a culture of obstruction under your leadership.  As the Commanding Officer of this Division the buck stops with you!  Your move to Ottawa came at a time when you personally needed it and I do not begrudge you that, but, respectfully where do those of us under your command go when they have been “blindsided”, ignored and abandoned.  Where and how do we move when you have power and control over our lives?   I implore you to live up to the words that follow your name in your signature block. Myself and others have done so and it is has essentially proven to be career suicide. You have left me no other option but to speak out with courage knowing you will continue to ignore me at best but likely take further efforts to condemn, discredit and punish me.  You do not hold yourself or your people to the very level of accountability you demand of your membership and this is unacceptable.  You have grossly failed myself and others in a manner that is not only shameful but also worthy of an investigation and sanction. 

What recourse do members in crisis have when their management team can point to an award from the Canadian Mental Health Association in recognition of their being a “mentally healthy workplace”.  Members must attend a course that teaches them to recognize operational stress injuries (OSI) / mental health issues in themselves and others.  How many will get promoted or documented praise on performance evaluations for this initiative as members continue to struggle to get access to a psychologist and their assigned managers do not respond to calls because they do not like the “tone” the member in crisis is using.  Tone deaf again comes to mind if a drastic change in a member’s correspondence does not scream CRISIS.   In many cases it is the actions or lack of action on the part of management that has created the OSI as is supported by recent medical data.

Sadly, it is not just the RCMP and individual members that are being damaged but countless families are being devastated and destroyed.  Every year we stop to honour the members of the RCMP who have lost their lives in the service of Canada but when will we honor those who’s lives have been lost to addiction, mental illness and suicide because of the damage that has been done to them by the organization that they so proudly served.  Who will be there to speak at their public funerals and espouse the fake RCMP Family platitudes?  Who will comfort their children with Teddy Bears?  Who will take the pain away?  The answer is no one because the reality is that today we still have a closet that we do not want opened and that is the shame of mental illness and suicide because we are all complicit if we do not speak.  Recently in Regina our leadership when questioned could not answer how many aboriginal women and girls in Canada have gone missing, so it is highly unlikely that they would be aware of how many serving and retired members have committed suicide or are suffering terribly and will become victims of their “operational gaps”.  Catherine Galliford and Pierre Lemaitre were once the faces of the RCMP in British Columbia.  Injustice leaves a trail of tragic victims and the suffering continues.


(Name withheld)

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