VANCOUVER – A Mountie whose sexual harassment complaints against the RCMP prompted dozens of similar allegations and heralded legislation to modernize discipline for “bad apples” within the force says her employer is moving to dismiss her.
Cpl. Catherine Galliford said she received a letter saying the RCMP is seeking to discharge her because she’s unable to do her job.
Galliford has been on sick leave since 2006 and filed a civil suit against the RCMP two years ago alleging sexual harassment and bullying spanning nearly two decades.
The Mountie who was a spokeswoman for investigations such as the Robert Pickton and the Air India bombings cases said the dismissal process will involve a medical board hearing.
“About two years ago they wanted me to take an early medical pension, and I said No. I asked for a medical board instead,” she said.
“A medical board takes longer and I have a lawsuit ongoing and I need to have my income going to pay my lawyer. And I would be able to have my voice, be able to tell my story. I don’t know if I’m invited to the board, but I would like to be.”
Galliford said the medical pension she was initially offered seemed to be another way for the RCMP to do away with dealing with the conflict.
“My notice of intent to discharge, which I received last week, is telling me that they are going to appoint two or three doctors of their own choosing.”
Galliford, who said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, added that one of her own doctors will also be on the board.
However, she said she does not know when the process will start.
Galliford said that while she was initially angry about getting the letter about the dismissal process, she has accepted she won’t be returning to her job as a Mountie.
“The funny thing is my doctor has already told me I can never go back to the RCMP. And I know that myself so I’m kind of happy that I’m moving ahead on this. But they haven’t given me a guidebook as to how this is going to turn out.”
Galliford said other officers who have complained about being harassed at work have also received intent-to-discharge letters.
The RCMP was not immediately available for comment. But the federal government, which represents the force, filed a statement of defence a year ago denying Galliford’s allegations, which have not been tested in court.
The statement of claim also said that if Galliford had concerns about conflict, harassment or intimidation in the workplace or by other members, she was obliged to make a complaint.
However, Galliford has said there’s no union within the force and that her only option was to retain a lawyer and file a lawsuit but that she never intended to become a “poster child” for harassment within the RCMP.
In addition to the RCMP, Galliford’s lawsuit named three officers and a doctor employed by the force, along with a Vancouver officer who was part of the joint RCMP-Vancouver missing women investigation.
She first outlined her allegations in media interviews two years ago, prompting several other female Mounties to come forward with their own allegations of abuse against the national police force.
An open letter by RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson in March 2012 expressed frustration about the antiquated discipline procedures in the RCMP Act.
Paulson said his ability to disciple “bad apples” within the force is hindered by a system that was set up 25 years ago.
Then-public safety minister Vic Toews said new legislation would change discipline procedures involving wayward Mounties.
Bill C-42 is awaiting royal assent to become law.