/Time to fix the RCMP

Time to fix the RCMP

By Jim Poling Sr. 

prime minister was right on cue. Out in front of the microphone and
cameras, promising more gun control in the wake of the Nova Scotia
He said the government had been on the verge of banning assault-style weapons but was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
was interesting that he appeared to link the Nova Scotia killings and
assault weapons. The RCMP had not said what type of weapon was used in
the murderous rampage. In fact, it hadn’t said much at all about the
most horrific Canadian mass murder in modern times.
It took the
force’s senior management almost a week to give the public any details
of the massacres, including a vague reference to the killer having a
pistol and long guns.
The RCMP’s failure to properly inform the
public throughout this incident is indicative of the dysfunction within
the federal police force.
That dysfunction has been obvious for
years, yet the force’s senior management and their federal government
political bosses have failed to take action or even acknowledge it.
Nova Scotia mass killings, which included the shooting of RCMP
constable Heidi Stevenson, a 48-year-old mother of two, once again
reflect the problems within the RCMP and the consequences on its members
and the public.
Three years ago, the force was found guilty of
failing to provide its officers with proper use-of-force equipment and
training. That labour code charge was laid after five officers were
gunned down by a madman in Moncton, N.B. in June 2014. Three of the
officers died.
That tragedy followed the shooting deaths of four RCMP
officers by another madman in Mayerthorpe, Alberta in 2005. There were
calls for a judicial inquiry to find answers to safety questions raised
by that incident, but they were ignored.
For years now the RCMP has
been accused by its own members of bullying, sexual harassment, failure
to provide proper training and equipment and of incompetence in the
senior ranks. RCMP leadership and governing politicians have said either
not much is wrong, or that they are studying the situation.
action is needed before more officers are driven half-crazy by
harassment, or forced to quit because of bullying, or are shot because
their bosses are either uncaring or too incompetent to protect them
One ray of hope for change is the Federal Court of Canada
certification earlier this year of a $1.1-billion class action lawsuit
against the RCMP, alleging harassment and bullying.
The class action
was filed by current and former members of the force. The Federal
Court’s certification means that the lawsuit can proceed.
lawsuit should throw considerable light on the turmoil within the RCMP
and the reasons for it. Many officers and former officers blame the
force’s leadership, which is hidebound to decades-old traditions and
Canadians should not have to wait for a costly class
action lawsuit to see some action in fixing the long-standing problems
within the RCMP. Global News earlier this year estimated that various
lawsuits, human rights complaints and other inquiries into RCMP problems
have already cost taxpayers $220 million over the past two decades.
complaints have been well documented and reported in the media over
many years. They are not just whining from malcontents. They are real
problems destroying morale and respect and confidence in the police
The real shame is that the people hurt most by the force’s
dysfunction are the people who are not causing it – the frontline
officers who diligently do their risky work as commanded by bosses
following leadership patterns totally unsuitable for a modern police
The frontline officers are the ones who sometimes can’t do
their jobs properly, or quit because they can’t take the toxic working
atmosphere or even commit suicide because they have become so depressed.
I were Justin Trudeau, I would call the entire RCMP leadership into a
meeting and ask them to explain why they should not all be fired. I
would also refocus my mind to understand that more gun control is a far
lesser issue than the dysfunction consuming the RCMP.
dysfunction has been evident to both Liberal and Conservative
governments. It must be ended to restore Canadians’ pride in what once
was a national treasure.