The ‘Thought Police’ alive and well

Following today’s appearance by former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli it would seem that in today’s Force, the buck, such as it is, doesn’t stop anywhere.
Since I first wrote Are the winds of change blowing in Ottawa? I have received email messages from police officers across the country. The men and women at the sharp ends of things in the service of this country are in agreement that something drastically needs to change in the culture of today’s RCMP.
One writer, I thought, was particularly poignant. I asked for and received permission to reprint his thoughts in this space as long as I witheld his name to protect his career. A sad statement in and of itself now isn’t it? Here is his letter to me:
Much ink has been spilled with respect to recent and not so recent revelations of fraud, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the most senior levels of the RCMP. Although it may have been received with some degree of shock by the Canadian public, it’s a fair bet to state that no regular or civilian member of the RCMP would have been surprised by these headlines.

The repercussions for the members who dared to speak out also came as no surprise. The words “culture of corruption” and “culture of vengeance”, attributed to members of parliament describing the RCMP, are all too fitting. Truer words have never been spoken. Any member, whether dealing with senior management or low level supervisors have undoubtedly felt the wrath for going against the grain and exposing improprieties. It is the ultimate sin! Truth be known, honesty and integrity are regularly discouraged and viewed with scorn. The Image of the Force is far more important.

There are many questions being asked by the public, by members and by members of parliament. How could this have been allowed to take place? Where are the checks and balances? Men and women in power will often give themselves tools to enhance their ability to rule and will often abuse these tools when situations arise which could affect their grip. The RCMP has given itself such a tool and they do not hesitate to use it.

The public, members of the RCMP and legislators should look no further than the RCMP Act. This powerful tool of intimidation, which contains the Code of Conduct, is the weapon of choice when attempting to silence members. It’s deliberately vaguely worded “catch all” sections, which permit senior management to make square pegs fit into round holes, can and do discipline members for exercising their S.2 Charter rights of freedom of thought, belief and expression. The fundamental freedoms that all Canadians enjoy are routinely denied to RCMP members. If my identity was known, I would be ordered to resign from the Force within 14 days or be dismissed. How’s that for freedom of expression?

As long as the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Senior Executive Committee are given absolute power, they will use it. And use it with a ruthlessness usually associated with totalitarian and dictatorial regimes. There is one way to solve this problem…let the members speak without the fear of reprisals. Repeal the sections of the RCMP Act that forbid criticism of the organization. A Royal Commission on the abuses endured by members of the RCMP would have Canadians glued to their televisions….that is why it will never happen.

The only reason the Image of the RCMP has continued to be a positive one is not because of the accomplishments of its membership, it’s because anything that has the possibility to tarnish its image, from within, is simply not permitted. Cover ups abound, members are silenced every day, threatened with disciplinary action or dismissed for having integrity. If anybody ever questioned just how serious the problem is, I would point to Deputy Commissioner Barb George’s recent statements indicating her misleading statements to a parliamentary committee are protected by parliamentary privilege. Thank you for thumbing your nose at our elected representatives Deputy Commissioner, you are a true model of the Mission, Vision and Values of the Force. The rot is not exclusive to Ottawa but is entrenched in every single Division across Canada.

Senior management has no fear because it controls everything. The Public Complaints Commission against the RCMP uses RCMP members to conduct their investigations and their findings are turned over to the Commissioner, who has the final say to accept or deny them. The Force’s internal investigations sections frequently have their strings pulled by the puppet masters at the top. Double standards abound. Interference and obstruction are standard operating procedure. Officers who conduct themselves in a disgraceful manner are routinely let off with nothing more than verbal reprimands while frontline members are fined, transferred, demoted, dismissed and ridiculed. It truly is good to be King!

Name witheld by request.
A pretty damning condemnation of the status quo, wouldn’t you say?
Leo Knight

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  1. Dear Writer,

    I understand your feelings having policed areas/ ajacent to and around various RCMP detachments for the last 14 years. I have had ample oppurtunity to see your management abuse its staff and members, we have all heard the stories right down to the detachment commnader getting ” a hard on” for someone and making his life hell. The really sad thing is that it’s a problem that is happening at many services at the sr. officer level, one just has to look at Calgary to see tyrany run amuck.

  2. I guess now would be the time for the media to begin to introduce Zaccardelli as “the disgraced former Commissioner of the RCMP, Giuliano Zaccardelli”.

    There is a very, very clear cut criminal case here. Its bad on several levels. Its bad enough that Zaccardelli willingly assisted as an accomplice, as high ranking members stole money from their fellow Mounties -and ultimately the taxpayers. But, to top it all off – not only did Zaccardelli help rob his RCMP brethren of their pension funds; he then punished them when they identified clear criminal misconduct on the part of Barbie George and others. In short, the evidence shows that Zaccardelli CLEARLY obstructed a police investigation. Then, when Zaccardelli’s old boys club got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, he then resorted to lying under oath and making false statements in the media -denying everything that has already been proven.

    Based on what is now known and of public record, there are now reasonable grounds to pursue criminal charges against Zaccardelli, Barbie George and at least 2 other senior RCMP officials. There is Breach of Public Trust, Theft, Accomplice after the Fact, Fraudulent Concealment, Perjury Under Oath, Obstruct P/O, Obstruct Justice, etc, etc, etc. The list of criminal code could be endless.

    Yet, there does not seem to be a single Crown Prosecutor in this great country of ours that is willing to run with charges against any of these people. Isn’t that interesting?

    This has truly become the darkest moment in the history of a once great Police Force. Giuliano Zaccardelli and Barb George have disgraced their badges and uniforms; they are a disgrace to their country; and they are a disgrace to all honourably serving RCMP members, their families and the retirees. Zaccardelli and George have especially disgraced themselves to the memory of the honoured RCMP dead -those who have heroically fallen in the line of duty, defending the values and principles that Zaccardelli and George have basically defecated on.

    Will we ever see the guilty parties arrested, charged and brought before the court? Will we see Giuliano Zaccardelli and Barb George sentenced to a term in prison for what they have done? For the victims they have created? I must say, I highly doubt it. And that, unfortunately, is the saddest part. No Crown Prosecutor in this nation will have the moral gumption to go ahead with any form of proceedings against the suspects in question.

    We can only hope that the RCMP members, the feds and courts can construct some way to clean up the sleaze inside of the upper echelon of the RCMP; and take back this police force from the clutches of some truly evil and diabolical individuals. We owe it to RCMP Canadian heros like Robert Read, Bob Stenhouse, Ken Smith -and especially to those who fell at places like Mayerthorpe, Alberta – to take back the RCMP from the “carpet cops”; and to purge the RCMP of all its criminal elements. But it would take resolve of some sort on the part of the police, the public and the government. That appears to be sorely lacking.

  3. I believe that the greatest mistake to be made is in believing that these problems belong to the RCMP alone. In observing media reports from all over the country – that is not always knowing the “inside scoop” – it is painfully clear to me that each and every police service across the county faces similar criticisms. Obviously the “system” in place at this time is failing us miserably. Those who attempt to seek an accountability or change are chastised; labeled as
    whiners or harassers and ultimately sanctioned in some fashion for daring to speak out and demand an accountability. Sadly enough, you don’t have to be a cop to be subject to this – private citizens can and do fall victim also. Just ask me, I know to the tune of $5000.00.

    Nancy Killian Constant


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