When will RCMP brass ever learn?


Tomorrow, Friday, May 13th, is Catherine Galliford’s last day as a member of the RCMP.  She will officially be pensioned off the staffing rolls. It comes ten years after she left the office for the last time and being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Galliford is well known in BC from being the face of the RCMP for many years as a Media Liaison Officer (MLO) from her days in Coquitlam, to the Pickton serial killer investigation during the long days of searching his pig farm for DNA evidence in the 65 plus Missing Women’s case that dominated headlines nationally and internationally. She was also the spokesperson for the RCMP when the Air India terrorist attack case was being prepared for trial and during the prosecution.

She was a poster child for RCMP recruiting. Attractive, fit and female.

She’ll retire with a Corporal’s pension and whatever big number in cash the RCMP had to come up with to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit filed back in the Spring of 2012. She fired the first shot in the Fall of 2011 in the war against the misogynist culture in the RCMP when she used her profile to go public about it all.

The RCMP denied everything of course. But they did settle last week for a big number because there is no possible chance the RCMP brass wanted to test her evidence in open court. Not in this lifetime or the next.

Her allegations made against three senior RCMP officers, a Force doctor and a member of the Vancouver Police Department were explosive. Her standing up against the Force encouraged many others to come forward including a class action lawsuit that has been launched involving over 400 female members at last count.

The RCMP brass did what they always do in cases like this. They deny, try to blame the complainant, then they try to trash the complainant, drag their feet, delay and more delay, try and force the aggrieved person to drop it because their pockets aren’t as deep as the federal government and in the end, instead of testing the evidence in a court of law, they settle for a big bag of taxpayer’s dollars. All, they would say if they actually gave a comment after the settlement, which they did not, would be to protect the reputation of the RCMP. The unwritten rule in the RCMP, is, whatever else you may do, don’t tarnish the buffalo, referring to the buffalo head at the centre of their logo.

I have long said the RCMP is 143 years of tradition unhampered by progress. And I say that as a former member and a member of the RCMP Veteran’s Association. And they proved that again in the Galliford case.

When one files a lawsuit, one files a statement of claim. The defendant files a statement of defence. Lawyers for each side hold discoveries of pertinent witnesses and either a settlement is agreed or the matter goes to trial.

Galliford was forced to participate in 11 discoveries. There were lawyers in the room representing the federal government, individual members, the provincial government, the Attorney General and, well you get the idea. The only lawyer in the room who wasn’t being paid by various governments was Barry Carter who Galliford was paying out of her life savings. She lost her house in the process and had to move in to her mom’s basement. Despite all of this she persevered and survived somewhat intact. And good for her I say.

In Galliford’s case, she wasn’t talking about a fellow constable slapping her butt or making a ribald joke. No, nothing like that. These were her bosses, older men in positions of power who did their level best to get her into bed. And, in her words, “When they are trying to get into your pants it becomes an obsession. It seems to consume them.”

The worst example of it was an Inspector, at the time in charge of a different section, who managed to ingratiate himself into the Air India file and begin travelling to, ostensibly, meet with family members of the victims and demanding she travel along. Now, there is no earthly reason in a file like that, that the MLO should travel all over Hell’s half-acre with a ranking officer to meet with family members of victims. No, this was just another case of a lecherous man in a position of power manipulating a situation to try and get her into his hotel room.

On one trip to Montreal, they were having dinner when – surprise – they were met at the restaurant by another, more senior officer, also from BC, who, during the conversation, suggested they re-convene at one of that city’s nefarious strip clubs. Needless to say Galliford declined and she returned to her hotel room, alone.

It’s shocking really. Galliford knew she had to, in her words, “play along to a point”.

“I knew that, for my career sake, I had to play along to a point. If I went to anyone to complain about it I knew I would be the one who was destroyed. So I tried to out-maneuver them,” she said to me earlier today.

By the time she left work she said, “If another officer asked me to sit on their lap I was going to become homicidal.”

The worst part of all of this is that everyone knows, they snigger and giggle but they condone it. The RCMP came to allow women in the fold rather late in the game. I was in Regina training in 1975 and only the second female troop was going through then. In contrast, VPD had female officers for decades before that.

But that doesn’t excuse the culture of the RCMP. Bob Paulson became Commissioner shortly after Galliford went public with all of this. He has mouthed all the pat phrases, all the platitudes saying there is no place for harassment and bullying in the workplace. Yet he, as Commissioner, is bullying the entire membership in ending the members’ advocates, the Staff Relations Representative program, by decree, and instituting something called the Members Workplace Advisors program. SRR’s had privilege in that anything members told them could be kept confidential in perpetuity. Not anymore.

The SRRs are done as of May 16th. The new program was initiated on May 9th. No consulting, just Commissioner’s decree. And the SRR’s have been ordered not to speak out. After all, no one may tarnish the buffalo.

As for Galliford, I wish her well. I have known her since 1997 when she was the MLO in Coquitlam Detachment. When I spoke to her earlier today she had an upbeat tone I hadn’t heard from her in years. I hope she is able to heal and be satisfied that she fought the bastards and won.


Leo Knight


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  1. Hey Leo, excellent article. I worked a ton of integrated units and closely on many cross border investigations with Burnaby no Coquitlam and I know most of t hose urns who were taking a run at Galliford. They were runni.g at her and anything in a uniform with breasts. She, and many, deserved so much better.

    Cheers buddy.

  2. Thanks Leo for some great insight into the matter.
    It is amazing to outsiders like me that the RCMP is able to remain so immune to cultural progress.
    I am so impressed at Catherine’s principled stand on the matter. True sacrifice for what is right.
    Let’s all wish her well.

  3. I am at a point in my RCMP career that I have decided that I would likely be better off resigning, every day we have some idiot making life difficult for us all. Management ( I will not call it leadership) is a joke. We are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked. We no longer seem to do police work, now it is all about UCR stats and covering our asses lest we get sued for something. I say a few more weeks and there will be one more vacancy to fill.

  4. I’m very happy that Catherine’s won her case. She should felel proud for standing up and exposing what has been hidden since 1974. Way to go!
    But as for the changes in the RCMP, you mentioned every thing the Commissioner is changing but didn’t mention what he is doing to the Civilian Members, we are being literally kick out of the force. I’ve worked for 25 years as a CM…and I have been proud to be part of this organization, however not so much these days. We have been part of the forces history since the March West…why are we being forgotten? I know we are only voices and bodies behind the scenes but we count to.

  5. Great Article Leo – Very happy to see Catherine get her just reward – She showed a lot of courage to keep up the fight for so long.
    It would appear the Peter principal still reigns in the Force. I was involved in helping get the Div.. Rep program going many years ago. At the time it was the “Jack Ramsey” article in McLeans Magazine that forced the then Commissioner to agree to the Div Rep Program. Prior to the article the Officer ranks thought everything was perfect as they carried on like they are Gods.
    It appears that they are back thinking the same way. Maybe they never stopped thinking that way.
    Keep up the fight


  6. I don`t know what it is with organizations like the RCMP and the Canadian Forces. I served 10 years in the military and was routinely harassed; as a young 19 year old private, on Fridays we were allowed to wear civilian clothing, so my captain would often ask me to hold hands and pretend we were dating during our several Friday luncheons at local restaurants. I didn`t want too, but I was 19, he was my superior and he was much older than me. It made me feel gross and lesser as a human being. That`s just one example. The list is long. But the worst one is that I was sexually assaulted by a co-worker. I was told by a superior to keep this to myself as it would bring down the moral of the group and it would make thing very difficult to get through our 6 month tour of CFS Alert. They made him apologize. It was awful as I had to see him and work with him regularly. I still occasionally see him. During my 10 years of service, the sexual and sexist comments and sexual offers were becoming part of the job. You brushed it off and soldier on! I loved the military so much, my great grandfather, uncles and cousins all served their country; I was so proud to carry on the family tradition. My pride quickly turned to heartbreak because the institution that I held in such high regards made harassing its members, mostly the females, seemed to be acceptable and tolerated. That was over 25 years ago since I joined and I`m sad to see that this kind of culture in work places like the RCMP and the CF, is still a big reality. When you hear a Chief of Defence Staff say that sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces is because some men are biologically wired in a certain way, it is quite disturbing and far from going away. When I see women, victims of sexual assault put on stands, degraded, cross-examined like they are the aggressor and have their entire personal and sexual lives exposed, it makes me angry. When I see men getting a few months in jail for sexual assault, or 20 minutes of action as the father of one rapist puts it, it disgusts me. I understand women that do not report their sexual assault, why would they when sexual assault seem to be treated as a simple misdemeanor. I know I wouldn`t. We have a long way to go and I don`t know or understand why. To me it`s seems so simple. We should be better, we should know better and we surely should be raising our sons better. It is unacceptable that in 2016 there is still such an epidemic of sexual assaults and that it is still all too often dismissed as a boys will be boys attitude. I have the utmost respect for Cate Galliford because she found the courage to do what I was too weak to do.

  7. Catherine came to the outfit with great expectations and right from the start at her first posting where I met her she was already a topic of backroom chatter. Refusing to see what an attractive person could possibly offer the force Catherine was labeled as easy on the eyes and not capable of much else. Yet I saw an eager young woman looking to do her job and move ahead within the outfit given that she posessed and still does to this day a level of intelligence and wisdom that exceeds her years. Is she a good looking girl, does she present wellnin uniform? Well of all the members who have come and gone the question of presenting well in uniform always had been a part of review time comments on files. The fact that she has the looks to go along with the rest should have no bearing on her capabilities as a new and learning officer. Yet the outfit’s “Old Boys Club” condoned by pretty much every commisioner since day one had already long before Catherine paved the road with the type of BS treatment that not just the women of the RCMP were subjected to!
    For any current or retired member of the force to make rude remarks publically that are blasphemous in nature had best be on their best guard. I for one am not tolerant of the ignorance I see still today and nor will I hold my tongue on the years past given what I saw, experienced and was subjected to.
    What the force must realize is that they….The Old Boys Club cannot even begin to think that there is anymore room under that red carpet to try to hide things done as the time has come. What if every member who was told and ordered to put in Voluntary Overtime (VOT) demanded monitary compensation today? Copies and orgionals of C75-D’s abound. Toss out the manipulating and corrupt and restore the Brass on that Buffalo to the luster 143 years has earned.

    • The CONCEPT OF POWER is behind much of all the gender related issues in private and public institutions, in corporations, and in direct smaller organizations of temporary or longer-term endurance. I was the Director of the Journalism Program that Catherine Galliford studied in at Kwantlen Community College, quite a few decades ago. She was an extraordinarily competent and astute student that we all respected. Did all her work efficiently, on a timely basis, and with competence, and even sparked with a higher purpose and imagination. I gave her a very high grade when I did the RESULTS of the program. Watching her move from journalism to the RCMP was fascinating, as it came to light. I was very impressed with what I saw of her subsequent career as a highly competent person appearing as an RCMP spokesperson on TV and elsewhere. Power relationships operate everywhere in the human sphere; existentialism is about that and the consequences…. as the comedies, the tragedies, the tragicomedies of life become apparent in all our VAST MEDIA RESOURCES TODAY….. in a DIGITAL CULTURE. Catherine should be applauded as an outstanding example of dedication to honesty. We, as a culture, need more of these commitments, and we need more publicity about achievements in breaking OLD MODELS that were racist, sexist, power-oriented in business and cultural, AND in the sweep of politics itself. The penultimate corruption is in the power world…. Catherine Galliford has set a new standard. Thankyou Leo Knight for publicizing her situation. Thankyou Catherine for your strength, courage and commitment to holding our major institutions to a new standard of transparency and accountability. Eric Ross Green

  8. I was a civilian worker for the RCMP in Coquitlam (on Christmas Way) in 1974–I am now 76 years old. I was first hired as a matron and when one of the dispatch officers had a heart attack, they needed someone quickly to replace him. I had never worked out of the home before this but our family had several police officers of various ranks, including a VCP chief. I was brought up to have the utmost respect for RCMP. To shorten the story, i am pleased to see the public press and changing attitude.
    My husband was an auxiliary officer at the time and one evening he was standing with his back against the wall and I was on duty taking calls and dispatching when an officer on duty at the time entered the room and came up to me…pulled ulp a chair and asked me what I thought of his new teeth. I said he looked fine and he suggested we should get together–have a little fun–I replied I am married—he said so what? so am i. I said: I have to ask my husband (hoping he would leave the com center). He chuckled and I said: you could ask him–he’s standing right there. Another time: a staff sergeant was holding briefing meeting with his watch and I had to interrupt him with an important message. He always got my name wrong (it’s Marjory not Margaret as he called me)…In front of his staff–he said: HEY MARGARET–I’m getting the first female officer on my watch and I am going to f— her–wadda ya think of that? MARGARET?? I said: Well, sir, she could probably put a bag over your head and I closed the door. A few days later I was walking home from work and the Staff Sergeant pulled lup beside me and told me to get into his vehicle…I resisted and he said if I wanted to stay at my job, I should get in. He added he just wanted to talk. He asked me what my husband would say if we had sex and I told him that my husband wouldn’t say anything but we would both be dead. He never bothered me again and left to become police chief at Hinton Alberta.
    Would you say that is harassement? I had not reported it before but had told a co-worker who thought it was hysterically funny. I used to shake visibly before I had to go to work. I changed detachments the following year after being hospitalized due to physical repercussions of job stress. A larger detachment was more suitable to my sensitive nature.


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