The RCMP: a Royal Canadian disgrace

What will it take before someone fixes the iconic force?

A royal Canadian disgrace

Arlen Redekop photo/PNG

A sleep-deprived Catherine Galliford is running on adrenalin and ragged nerves after a wild week that saw the RCMP corporal rock her employer with claims that she was sexually harassed and bullied by senior officers, even as she served as the spokesperson for two of the biggest investigations in the force’s history. Galliford was calm and competent on camera as the public face of the RCMP’s investigations into the Air India bombings that claimed 329 lives, and serial murders committed by Robert Pickton on his Port Coquitlam pig farm. But while Galliford’s allegations of harassment reached as far as the House of Commons this week, one of her most explosive claims is only now being made public. Galliford says the rampant sexism within the ranks of the RCMP that ruined her health and career may also have contributed to the mismanagement of the Pickton murder investigation, at a cost of many lives.

Galliford said during an internal affairs meeting with RCMP staff this April that a senior officer “did nothing” with information that could have broken open the Pickton murders more than two years before his arrest, and attributed the flawed investigation to sexist attitudes and misogyny. In two extended interviews with Maclean’s this week, she said her examination of a file from the Coquitlam RCMP, with information dating as far back as 1997, showed the force had more than enough information by the late 1990s to obtain a warrant to search the Pickton property. Instead, surveillance on the farm was curtailed, indicative, she says, of the “indifference” that marked the investigation of the disappearance of women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and a “misogynist” attitude toward women.

She said in October 2001 she read an RCMP file dealing with the Pickton farm as she briefed herself on her assignment with the missing women’s task force. “I had one of those ‘oh, no’ moments because I saw what was already on the file. There was enough evidence there for another ITO (information to obtain a search warrant),” she said. She said the file included evidence of guns on the site of the farm, as well as women’s clothing, government identification and an asthma inhaler later tied to one of Pickton’s victims. Yet, she said there was only a cursory attempt at surveillance, which was cut short because it was impossible to see activity at Pickton’s trailer, which was set back far from the road.

No further action was taken, in what she called an “appalling” lapse of judgment. “And during that time, Pickton went on a killing spree.” By some estimates, about 14 women disappeared between that period and February 2002, when a search warrant was executed on Pickton’s farm, leading to his arrest. Galliford said the information on illegal guns at the Pickton farm that precipitated that 2002 warrant was already in the old Coquitlam RCMP file. “They took all the information that was on the original file, the firearms file, and they pretended it was new information,” she said of her supervisors. If there was new evidence, as they claimed, she said she was never able to find out what it was. Nor did she get an explanation for the past inaction. Investigators eventually found the DNA of 33 women on the farm. Pickton was convicted of killing just six of the women, though he once bragged of killing 49.

Galliford said she expects to testify in the new year at the ongoing inquiry in Vancouver into the ineffectual investigations by the RCMP and Vancouver police into the murders. “When I testify at the missing women’s [inquiry] it’s going to be on behalf of the [dead] women’s families,” she told Maclean’s. “It’s not going to be on behalf of the RCMP.” She said she was unable to voice her concerns while the Pickton case was before the courts, or later, while she battled both the RCMP internal complaints process and her own stress-related demons. “The beauty of it now is I can actually talk about it.” Moreover, with her career in tatters, she said she has nothing left to lose.

RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, a spokesman for B.C.’s E Division headquarters, said he was not aware of Galliford’s claims that the force sat on search warrant information for Pickton. “It would be majorly inappropriate to comment about that,” Vermeulen said. “There’s an inquiry going now, so those questions I’m sure will be answered there.”

Sexism in the RCMP is not a new story, but as Galliford and other women like her speak up in growing numbers, it has become the leading symptom of the force’s ongoing dysfunction. Five years ago, after commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigned amid the Maher Arar affair, the government promised sweeping reforms, in part to confront a veritable plague of harassment cases. Task forces were struck, consultants summoned. For the first time in 133 years, the government went outside the organization to find it a leader.

Today, the most rudimentary fixes lie unrealized. The Mounties remain under the umbrella of the federal public service, an arrangement that hamstrings their ability to implement reform. The creation of an independent board suggested by a task force to oversee human resources decisions never came to pass. (The head of that panel, David Brown, famously described the RCMP’s paramilitary management structure as “horribly broken”.) Two federal bills that would have created a civilian complaints commission, while strengthening rules and discipline on workplace misconduct, died when Parliament dissolved for last spring’s election. “We’re not any further ahead,” concludes Cpl. Tori Cliffe, one of four sexual harassment complainants who took the force to court in 2003. “People are still defining their actions as appropriate when they certainly were not. Nothing has changed.”

Certainly the stream of lurid tales emanating from RCMP station houses shows no sign of abating. Last December, a constable in Parksville, B.C., admitted to having sex in a police van with a young woman who had joined him for a ride-along. Another officer, in Hamilton, Ont., admitted around the same time to sending vulgar emails to a mailroom intern, offering the young woman money to strip for him (she refused). Then, two months ago, a staff sergeant in Burnaby, B.C., was accused in a lawsuit of using his authority to coerce a female constable into a four-month sexual relationship.

The scandals tarnishing the RCMP are by no means limited to sexual harassment. Footage of a constable kicking a man in the face in Kelowna last January unleashed a wave of public anger in B.C., where nearly a third of the force’s officers are stationed. So did the findings of the Braidwood inquiry, that officers gave false testimony during the probe into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. Both incidents arose amid accusations that outgoing commissioner William Elliott—the outsider brought in to clean up the force—had been bullying and intimidating his own deputies. (This week the Conservative government was set to name Bob Paulson, a veteran RCMP officer and deputy commissioner, to the top job.)

Now, Galliford’s allegations have raised the stakes even higher. Within weeks, a woman who once personified progress within the organization—the firm-yet-sympathetic image of police authority—may well be describing from a witness box her belief that her bosses were laying bets on who would have sex with her. Or how the antediluvian attitudes of her superiors toward women compromise public safety. All of which calls into doubt the RCMP’s ability to do its job. If the force can’t safeguard the woman who speaks for it, or even protect the integrity of its most prominent criminal investigation, exactly what can it protect?

It’s not as though the force hasn’t had time to evolve. The first troop of female members graduated 36 years ago, in standard-issue high heels and pillbox hats instead of high-browns and Stetsons. Gender-related harassment was part of working life for women back then, says Bonnie Reilly Schmidt, who joined the force three years later and served for a decade. In the RCMP, she says, “there was everything from mild sexual comments or jokes about your breasts to overt sexual touching.” Shaking it off was part of proving you were tough enough to be a cop, adds Schmidt, who has written a dissertation on women Mounties for her Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University. But the taboo on harassment that has prevailed in most workplaces since the late 1980s never took root in the RCMP. Women either endured the jibes and gropes, seeking transfers to get away from offenders, or they left the force for good. Attrition rates of the women who joined between 1975 and 1985 were nearly double those of male officers.

Even now, as a brave few take the force to court, the abuses continue. “Every woman in the RCMP has experienced some form of harassment in her career,” says Schmidt, who has interviewed more than 20 female officers as part of her research. “Not all women had such severe experiences they had to go on medical leave. For some, it just rolled off their backs. But it depended on the environment. If you have three or four of five men who are abusive and you’re the only woman, that’s serious pressure.”

The psychological effects can be debilitating. Galliford has been off the job on full pay since 2007, after she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the result, she said, of a barrage of advances from some superior officers and colleagues dating from about 2000. “I think I became the flavour of the month,” she says. “I don’t know if it was because I was on TV, but it almost felt like I was some kind of a bet.” She began to abuse alcohol, became physically ill at the thought of going to work and developed a phobia about stepping outside her Vancouver-area home. Since Galliford first spoke out in a CBC interview, several other current and former RCMP members have come forward to say their working lives were also plagued by sexist behaviour, unwanted advances, or harassment of a non-sexual nature.

Mike Webster, a B.C.-based psychologist with 35 years experience in police-related counselling, said he has been contacted by more than a dozen other RCMP members facing harassment issues since Galliford, an occasional client, went public. He blames the RCMP’s “bizarre” policy of unlimited sick time for contributing to the problem. The RCMP’s formal complaints process, the Division Staff Relations Representative Program, is a “toothless tiger” in the hip pocket of management, he says. Too often, contentious issues are left unresolved for years, driving disaffected members onto fully paid, indefinite sick leave, a move Webster calls “fiscally unsound and organizationally perplexing.”

No surprise, then, that filing a harassment complaint in the RCMP can mean career death. Barbara Dixon, a former homicide and major crimes investigator who worked out of several B.C. detachments, found that to her detriment. She endured constant comments from her direct superior and another team member “with the intention to discredit, demean and humiliate” her. “I think it was just scared little boys who didn’t like a female in their midst,” she says. In just one example, Dixon says her boss labelled a murder file she was working on—that of a mother in the sex trade who had a nine-year-old son—“Project E-Erectile.” She went over his head to change it, horrified that she would have had to carry that file name into the court case, and complained to a senior officer. “My life changed from that moment on,” she says in an interview from her home outside Calgary. “Once you file a complaint, you are forever tainted.” Instantly, she was given a poor performance review, after years of being considered a high flyer. Eventually, she transferred to E Division headquarters, where a supervisor was willing to take a chance on her. Still, the complaint flatlined her career prospects. She quit the force in May, ground down not by the murders and crimes she once investigated, but by some of the people she worked for.

Such accounts have left an indelible stain on the Mounties’ image. And even those with a grasp of its sprawling complexity shake their heads at the RCMP’s failure to get ahead of the damaging allegations. “There seems to be almost a regular diet of issues surfacing in the organization,” says David Brown, head of the 2007 task force on governance and culture within the RCMP. “With the proper management structure and focus, much of this would not have happened. They’re needless issues that can and should be rectified.”

Four years ago, Brown thought he had some answers. His task force recommended a board of management for the RCMP that would have liberated it from the interfering bureaucrats and politicians when it came to human resources matters. It also suggested a civilian oversight body to handle complaints against the Mounties—not just from the public but also from RCMP members. “Potentially, that kind of system could help to alleviate some of these [recent] problems,” he says.

The Harper government greeted the suggestions warmly, then left them to wither on the vine. A more modest bill to create a civilian commission to handle external complaints died on the Order Paper, and Mike Patton, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, says the government has not yet decided whether to reintroduce it. Another bill to strengthen the force’s policies on workplace conflict, grievances and discipline will be reintroduced, Patton says, but he doesn’t know when.

As for that “horribly broken” management structure, it too remains unchanged, to the dismay of would-be reformers. Last December, a panel struck to implement Brown’s recommendations cited the apparent office feud between commissioner Elliott and his deputies as proof of the need for independent oversight. “Now is the right time for the government to initiate legislative action,” the group urged in a report to Toews. But a year passed with no action, leaving critics like Robert Gordon, director of the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University, with little hope for the RCMP’s future. “The bottom line is: the organization is sick,” says Gordon, a former cop, “and it doesn’t seem capable of healing itself. There’s got to be some kind of major change take place, if for no other reason than for the sake of the people who work for the RCMP.”

But the organization sails on, impervious. Critics, especially in B.C.—the scene of so many of the Mounties’ debacles and disasters, from the Dziekanski Taser death to a cascade of harassment allegations—are astounded that the RCMP survives in its current form. Even its most egregious self-inflicted errors have failed to scuttle negotiations to renew the 20-year provincial, territorial and municipal policing contracts the RCMP has in all regions but Ontario and Quebec.

Alberta and Saskatchewan broke ranks and signed renewal agreements earlier this year, and few doubt that the RCMP will lock up the rest of the provinces and territories, possibly within weeks. The federal government, which is playing hardball on the Mounties’ behalf, has imposed a Nov.30 deadline on contract negotiations and has threatened to pull the RCMP out of British Columbia by 2014 if it fails to reach a deal by the deadline. That would give B.C. just two years to cobble together a provincial police service, saddling it with massive start-up costs and leaving such major communities as Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond scrambling to form city police forces. The RCMP serves as the town cop in most communities outside of Vancouver, Victoria and a handful of other cities with local police departments.

That might explain why both B.C. and its municipalities are so forgiving of the RCMP. In September, B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond warned she would consider forming a provincial police force if the province and municipalities aren’t given greater say in containing the spiralling $900-million annual cost of RCMP service. But she soon toned down the rhetoric. Last week Bond said she doesn’t expect claims of sexual harassment to impact negotiations. “I have been reassured that there is a process in place to investigate any allegations,” she said of Galliford’s complaints, which have lingered without resolution for four years. Peter Fassbender, the mayor of the city of Langley and the municipal representative at the contract table, said RCMP harassment issues “need to be dealt with . . . but I’m not prepared to say the RCMP isn’t worth keeping.”

Truth is, says SFU’s Gordon, B.C. has missed an opportunity for a discussion on replacing the RCMP with more accountable policing alternatives. Kash Heed, a provincial Liberal MLA who served briefly as provincial solicitor general before leaving cabinet due to election campaign financing irregularities, is troubled that harassment complaints drag on without resolution. Yet he continues to receive anguished emails from women in the RCMP who are victims of bullying. “These harassment complaints are not from the ’70s,” says Heed, the former chief of West Vancouver’s police force. “These are recent complaints. These are complaints in the 21st century.”

So will the Mounties drag themselves into the 21st century? Or can Canadians look forward to a couple more decades of embarrassing revelations from their storied police service? When contacted by Maclean’s, an RCMP spokesman stressed the force’s “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual harassment, and noted an online awareness tutorial on the issue that members are required to complete. Last year the force appointed a “professional integrity officer,” to whom harassed officers can go if they are worried about trying to go through the chain of command.

Curiously, some of the harassment complainants voice similar notes of optimism, offering hope that their criticism leads to positive change—even if it costs them their careers. Krista Carle, who sued the force in 2003, alleging sexual assault by an undercover officer based in Calgary, enjoyed a surge of unaccustomed confidence last week watching Galliford challenge “the old boys’ club” on prime-time television. The following night on CBC, she did the same. “Unless you step up, there’s not going to be any change,” she says. “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. ”

Galliford has less faith in RCMP brass. But she did take heart when Toews rose this week in the Commons, pledging for RCMP members “a workplace free of harassment” and calling on Mounties to “carry out their duties with integrity and professionalism.” More than an acknowledgment of Galliford’s suffering, it was a commitment to change from the only authority with the power to make it happen. It might not come in time to salvage her career, and it’s certainly too late to remedy the mistakes of the Pickton investigation. But there’s still time to save the iconic institution whose uniform Galliford once proudly wore.




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The RCMP: a Royal Canadian disgrace

    • I am proud of the work done by the RCMP. They have always dealt with my concerns with professional manner.  

  1. Sorry to hear that because of a few bad apples some people have lost their pride in the RCMP. I’ve seen some crazy people take it to the extreme, going as far to call the RCMP a ‘disgraceful gang of rogue thugs’…..really? I mean…really? Rogue thugs?…wow.

    I, for one, am still proud and appreciative of the work the majority of the RCMP does.

    • It is more than a few bad apples my friend it is a terrible work enviroment and culture. Even the good members are affected by their mentors.

      The perjury, serious assaults, tasering, shootings in the back and yes the many sex scandals by senior members.

      Kick thier sorry butt’s out of B.C. and get someone you can call 911 and have confidence in.

      • BC seems particularly plagued. With 1/3 of the force, the goings-on there tends to skew perceptions. I’m not convinced that the problems are anywhere near as prevalent in the other regions they look after.

        I have a brother in the RCMP who has worked both coasts, and based on things he’s said to me, it’s a different organization outside of BC. That’s not to say there aren’t problems that need addressing; they just aren’t on the same magnitude.

    • Then you, with your head in the sand, in full denial, you are part of the problem. 

    • Let me guess, you don’t live in a community “policed” by the RCMP. It you did you wouldn’t appreciate their “work” (read: lazy incompetence).

    • Tasering people to death, shooting unarmed prisoners in jail cells, lying about the whole exercise, refusing to accept responsibility for their actions, G20, etc. What’s to be proud of?

      • Going out in remote communities at night when he/she is the single officer working and getting shot and killed by a drunk who is threatening his family with a gun….

          • and putting their lives on the line to stand up to a bully in Mayerthorpe, Alberta who bullied an entire community before shooting and killing 4 young Mounties.

          • Laughing at and then Ignoring reports of gunfire at a neighbours house, waiting til a body is found a few days later to respond.  Tasering an 11 year old boy. Tasering a deaf senior.  Driving drunk and killing Orion Hutchinson.  Sending 14 officers out to arrest a single drunk driver.

    • Those of us who live in B.C. have a different view of the force. 

    • I agree it is always a few bad apples,my son is a police officer & I know many RCMP’s.Who are good  citizens,believe in the truth,the law  and are working hard putting their lives in danger. I am proud of our RCMP.

    • i have worked with many of the police in my city in b.c.  I don’t envy that kind of dangerous, stressful and sometimes very helpful work.  In my experience, a  few of them are decent people.  The majority of them, in many ways, engage in absolutely grotesque, vicious and often illegal ways.  They may also do good work at the same time.  This problem appears to stem from the culture in the force of ignorance, racism, sexism, fear, and substance abuse. And obviously from being allowed to act with impunity.   They have been harrassing, beating, raping and even murdering canadians, and how many have been given more than a paid leave until their names are cleared.  i can think of only one in the last decade in canada.  And now in bc alone we pay almost a $1 billion annually for this service?  I see little difference between police forces in general and organised crime, or a gang if you wish.  And i feel for the good cops who have to work in that atmosphere.

  2. Wait till they start to look at RCMP policy and how it deals with fingerprint retention. If you are charged, have your day in Court and the Judge renders a “Stay of proceedings” or  “Acquital” unless you ask to have them destroyed they are not. If not they are shared by database with US Homeland Security and you will not receive your NEXUS Pass to cross the border.

    Also both PROS and PRIME-BC data bases retain data on “Negative Police Contact” but this is not defined. So the next time you tell a policeman to stick his radar gun where the sun does not shine he can enter a “Negative Police Comment” that goes unmoderated.

  3. I do not feel that the RCMP should be used a public police force as they are in British Columbia. There duties should only be on the National level . Assisting local jurisdictions similar to how the FBI operates in the United States. This would allow them to develop their investigative skills for the more complex cases and Federal and Trans-Provincial crimes. I do not see that the originators of the RCMP had a vision of them doing traffic enforcement and giving out parking tickets, Their roll needs to be redefined.

    • And if you look at every police force in Canada they are plagued with scandalous actions by police officers. In Windsor we have had and officer use a police vehicle to steal patio furniture.Now a case of an officer beating a Doctor with survallence film running only to find he had the wrong man.  

      • No perjury, fatal shooting X 3 where the public was shot in the back. How about the sex scandals that escape memory.

    • The originators of the RCMP (NWMP at the time) didn’t have a vision of them doing traffic enforcement or giving out parking tickets since cars hadn’t been invented yet. But that’s a lot closer to their vision than yours. The NWMP was not active at all east of Manitoba and was responsible for policing, postal delivery, customs, collecting taxes, registering mining claims etc.

      They never have had any investigative skills.

  4. *Girl Power*

  5. One of the most remarkable things about Canada is why the RCMP even continue to exist. They have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that it is a broken organization; incompetent, unaccountable, and dishonest.

    They run Bill Elliot out of office after a mutiny by the senior officers.  So the answer is to appoint another veteran of the force?  Insanity is doing the same stupid things over again expecting different results.

    The real answer is to shut it down and start from scratch.

    • Worst of all the Harper government is either scared of them or does not want to deal with them. I think someone got caught doing something nasty with a goat.

      The RCMP needs leadership but suspect the new so called Commissioner will be no different than the last rank and file leader Zacardilli or what ever his name was.

      He left town on his horse as well trying to flee his scandal.

  6. The Airborne Regt was disbaded for less!!

  7. It seems to me that the RCMP should be more selective when picking new recruits,  They seem to be attracting quite a few egomaniacal, self-centered, cruel sickos into their midst.  Whatever happened to the days of ‘Serving and Protecting’ the public?  The abuse of power some of these sickos exhibit is criminal and yet they lie like sidewalks, and suffer no consequences. 
    I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this Force, that we Canadians used to be so proud of, has become a huge embarrassment!
    Do something about it – Clean up you act!!!!!!

    • As if that’s not the case for recruits to just about any police force. You have your bad seeds in all of them – and a lot of good ones too.

      • Keith, not as many it would seem. They are a tarnished lot and the final toll is far from finished from the pathogens they have in the ranks.

      • When was the last time you ran into a good one?  Years ago, I’ll bet. I used to believe in the integrity of the RCMP, but  all but one RCMP officer I have met in the last 20 years has been lazy, dishonest, very arrogant and unjustifiably rude to me.  Their motto is “Uphold the Law”  not “Serve and Protect”, and all civilians are seen as covert criminals.  BC needs its own police force made up of officers from BC. 

        • As I noted above in another comment, the BC experience seems to be significantly worse than what is experienced in other regions.

          I have to confess to a bit of a bias, though, as my brother and a number of my university friends are in the RCMP (on the other coast). I happen to know how seriously they take their careers – and that includes the well-being of the communities they serve. But yes, they will also admit (privately) that there are bad apples in the bunch – and that the force does not have the proper tools to root them out.

          Where I live, we have a regional police force, and it too has its bad apples – their wrongdoings, however, rarely get national coverage because Peel Regional Police doesn’t have the same headline-grabbing effect across the country as does RCMP.

  8. Same old problems who polices the police forces in this country ; its allways themselves  ;every police force has their share of misfits ; they hate to send them down the road they keep them on doing mundane jobs

  9. Before I saw the picture I thought the headline was referring to the submarine fiasco!!

    • It is a different submarine in B.C. ……… wink wink, nod nod.

  10. In a culture that has such low esteem for what is right and good, what can we expect from our police forces?  Without some kind of moral transformation in our culture, not much will change.

    • Sorry, but the Force has to accept responsibility for their actions. That’s the culture that needs to transform. That’s the culture that’s lost its moral compass.

  11. AS I once looked upon the rcmp (note I have so little respect for this gang of corrupt shits that I cannot use capitals) with pride I am shamed by their evil criminal ways. there is not one man in that corrupt force of sexual deviants that should be allowed to wear the crimson coats that once were the pride of CANADIANS of every social level.
    They are force inept purient and evil sick criminal bastatds. They give CANADA a bad name s***t every one of the crippled bastards!

  12. As a long time resident of BC I would like to see the RCMP kicked out of the province and instead a Provincial Police force be set up. Something similar to the OPP. There are just too many unprofessional and often time criminal incidents happening in the BC RCMP that they get away with. The force needs to be reminded that they are here to serve us and not the other way around. It’s more than a few bad apples, it’s more like there may be a few good apples left.

    • I think you may find that being held up as a national icon, as with the flag, Tommy Douglas, Tim Horton’s etc., the RCMP, a seemingly autonomous and unregulated org., has become simply too big for its capacious breeches. The fact that yet another insider has been appointed to the top position is indicative of nothing changing in the forseeable future.  Police cannot police themselves.

  13. This article should have included ALL POLICE FORCES  in Canada.  Don’ think the red  coats are the only villains.  What happened to the mountie happens to women all across Canada that are police officers.

  14. This happens to women in ALL POLICE SERVICES in Canada.  And will it ever stop.  NO!

  15. RCMP “CULTure” is a toxic wasteland of senior managers unable to do their jobs (fix a horribly broken Force) and unwilling to act against a corrupt system, deprived of independent oversight that got them to where they are today. If they admit the problems then they admit they happened under their watch. Harrasment is second nature for those who have no people skills and cannot manage.

    Lead or get the hell out of the way!

  16. I think that Sgt.Preston and his ever faithful companion Yukon King would do the right thing and patch over and join a B.C. Provincial Police Force

  17. This comment was deleted.

    • Playing that game will only make the force look worse. 

  18. It is a terrible shame that the mounties have descended into the realm of corrupt, anaccountable thugs.  They have allowed themselves to become an immoral class of elitest scoundrels, and the rest of us have allowed this to happen and are paying them to be badly behaved.  Put a complaint about the unprofessional or criminal behaviour of an RCMP officer, and you can count on being harrassed and bullied by their department long after their complaints commissioner has dismissed your complaint.  When was the last time you met an officer who was friendly or helpful?   Most Canadians are, at some level afraid of the RCMP.  Lets get rid of them and cobble together a police force that is an asset to law abiding citizens.  We have two years, lets get on it.

  19. Some look at the RCMP the same way many of us looked at our clergy in years past.

  20. It is ironic that Vic Toews has any responsibility for the RCMP.  He came to Ottawa championing “family values”, which supposedly means some sort of respect for women and at least no abuse of the women in your life.  He made all sorts of noise about how marriage was a sacred thing only between a man and a woman and that women belonged at home.  He promptly started a romance with a much younger woman who worked for him, fathered a child with her and then dumped his wife of thirty odd years so he could marry his new romantic partner.  With an example such as this, can it be any suprise that the RCMP didn’t take seriously any rules about how women should be treated or make any move to change their behaviour.  Or will it be any surprise that they will ignore his claim that the RCMP will do so in future.  The governing Harperites are now setting the tone for many Canadian instiututions and the tone is very damaging. 

  21. In BC it is the petty politicians in those small cities around Vancouver who want to maintain their power within the community, and policing is one of their powers, contract with the RCMP. Because Vancouver itself and at least two of the communities have their own local force, the result is a mish mash of policing where there is no coordination between the RCMP and those local forces resulting in all the inefficiencies such a system reflects. One of the tragedies coming out of this is that perhaps 6 or 7 of the serial killer Picton’s victims might have been saved and the killer himself apprehended much earlier if information in the case had been shared. If they want evidence of the efficacy of consolidation, I suggest they copy the policing setup in NYC where the five boroughs, with five times the population, are policed by the one force, the NYPD. The RCMP should police the vast underpopulated areas of the country as they were set up to do in the early days and act like the FBI in the US, looking into the more serious criminal threats and doing lab work but change comes very slow in less-dynamic Canada so we shouldn’t look for change in the near future.

    • Good points. However throughout the Greater Vancouver region various police services including the RCMP ARE involved in several integrated teams ranging from major organized crime, murder, drug enforcement and “even” police dog deployment. Some of these specialized integrated teams are lessons-learned from the infamous Clifford Olsen serial-killer days. Other changes have come from the Pickton file. 

      But the larger issue is the ability of the RCMP to serve on multiple levels of policing including international, national, provincial, and municipal. The fact is: it cannot. The RCMP culture, structure and chiefly centralized-in-Ottawa command apparatus is outdated, underfunded, and very poorly led. It is de facto a junior federal ministry reporting to a Minister who reports to a Prime Minister. Almost 40% of its deployment is in British Columbia yet 90% of its decision-making is in Ottawa (in both official languages). The stressors have been building for years and now indeed, as expected, the rivets are popping. Soon the whole damn thing will explode/implode.   

  22. I have no respect left to give. The force will never be able to get its dignity back. Once a strong respectable force that Canada was prowd of now just a disgrace. In my travels we have become the joke of law enforcement disbanded and maybe save some hope as a country. My family has been members for many generations and we hang our heads in shame.

    • “Prowd of.”  Ow.

  23. I am disamayed at some of the responses listed below.  Let the process go forth and the guilty parties punished severly.  I have friends who are mounties and they all are decent people with good Canadian values.  I live in a province with provincial police and feel that they do an adquate job even though they have gone from being the friendly force to one that is at times threatening by their demeaner. The RCMP were not the only ones that didn’t give any priority to protstitutes or street people gone missing moat of the general public ignored the fact also and still do.

    • “I am disamayed”.  Moy auzi.

  24. While the majority of RCMP members probably discharge their duties competently, I doubt that there’s a single institution in Canadian society that has disgraced itself as much within the last 25 years as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. There probably isn’t a single police force in North America that doesn’t have a similar culture of misogyny, but let us not forget that the RCMP did nothing to prevent Sikh militants from blowing up the Air India flight when it had the information.  

  25. See what happens after we gave women the right to vote???

  26. No one is going to change it……its all part of the plan to turn Canada into a police state……The RCMP and the OPP and all the police forces operate outside the law and all governments

  27. I was threatned by an RCMP member who lives on our block and he struts around our neighbour like he is untouchable.  I used to have respect for the RCMP…..not sure anymore.

  28. I can’t think of a single institution in Canadian society that is more in ill repute than the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I am still astounded that the RCMP had a lead on the Sikh extemists who blew up the Air India flight and failed to act on it. 

  29. Disband them.Their smoky the bandit uniforms are a joke and match the mentality… 

    The only thing they do well is pose for pictures

    Keep the Musical Ride as a tourist attraction. . 

  30. the same thing happens in japans national poice agency except that it hasnt gotten out-yet.

  31. It goes to show that on earth nothing is perfect. Despite this, the RCMP is admired the world over for its commitment to keeping the citizens of Canada safe. They just need to weed out the few bad eggs among them. Jamaica wishes it had a unit like that…..

  32. Those involved in commtting or condoning harassment in any form should be turned out of any organization, root and branch. That being said, the RCMP is an agency of nearly 30,000 people and, last time I checked, they weren’t handing out haloes at Depot when they were handing out badges. It likely has the same percentage of misogynists and personality disorders as any similar-sized group. Those involved in the episodes above that are substantiated should be properly punished but part of the problem is that the current RCMP Act makes this well nigh impossible. For whatever reason, there seems to be little political will to remedy it. The vast majority of the rank and file of the RCMP would welcome the required changes. Macleans does itself no service by using every possible scenario, real and perceived, to paint their negative picture. How about a little recognition that this  “horribly broken” oranization manages to deal with a million calls for service every year in B.C. alone, the vast majority of which quietly turn out fine for all invovled. And using the same tired triumirate of RCMP critic, Dr.. Webster, Professor Gordon and Kash Heed, lends no credibility to this story. They are all pursuing their own agendas for their own purposes. Boring. Finally, I knew Katie Galliford in North Van in the 1990s. I feel nothing but sympathy for her. She was a great police officer and a good person back in the day. I wish her the best.  

  33. Russell Barth you’re a disgrace to the country with that picture of our flag upside down

  34. The RCMP is an excellent police force. Perhaps the best trained in North America. A lot of this nonsensical Mountie Bashing is by the BC Media who are not exactly known for there journalistic integrity. All kinds of hearsay is printed with no substantial proof. This would never be done against an individual citizen because people would be sued. However, the RCMP never defends itself or sues anyone so people can print whatever hearsay they want. This story is more nonsensical hearsay. What do the majority of Canadians think about the RCMP? last year a survey was done throughout Canada. The results. Canadians found the RCMP to be among the four most admired institutions in Canada.

    • There is no quick and simple answer, there is good and bad in everyone. However, I believe these are the main reasons the force has been tarnished; First of all, it all starts at the top. They must LEAD by example. The force knows nothing of LEADERSHIP. Secondly, any police force will draw it’s share of power-hungry people into their light like moths. Give a badge to that guy and you have a ‘pompous power-driven tool’. Unfortunately this behaviour is often rewarded by the RCMP. Third, there was a huge shortage of members in the mid nineties. Experienced members were retiring and some detachments had guys with 2 years experience supervising. No police force will ever admit it is short-handed for political reasons. Imagine the stress that placed on the members left to pick up the pieces. That is not the fault of the members. Fourth, many of the Officers in white shirts are only interested in promotion, they don’t relate to REAL police work anymore. Fifth, I agree with what someone said earlier, the force has gotten too widespread and has lost control. They have absolutely NO quality control in their organization. Sixth, the RCMP have begun to run their organization as a BUSINESS instead of a SERVICE, for which it was intended.

    • Well, people who have dealt with the RCMP say otherwise.

    •  ”not exactly known for there journalistic integrity.”  Well, they do things differently, over there.

  35. The RCMP’s disgusting behaviour can also be sen in more mundane circurstances. Foe example, if you get into a car accident with the other driver being at fault AND an RCMP officer, he will threaten you in no uncertain terms to not make a claim against him. Can you believe that? This is Montreal.

    • “Foe example” takes the legal sense of “adversarial” a bit far.

  36. MacLeans – I have never read a more biased, jaded, and inappropriate article in my life.  If your sole purpose is to bring discredit to the RCMP then please continue to print this sort of trash.  If you want to strive to bring the actual ‘NEWS’ to Canadians, then please, wait for all the facts to be presented.  The RCMP can’t comment on on-going matters for legal reasons – as you should be well aware of. It’s too bad the media isn’t held to that standard. These writers, and the editor who approved the article, disgust me.

    • Well, people who have dealt directly with the RCMP say otherwise.

  37. Years ago when I worked in an office as a secretary, a man in management and senior to me co-erced me to a storage room where he put me on his knee and spanked me.  I reported this to management and wrote a letter to higher management where I was not taken seriously.  After the fact I went to the RCMP and after explaining what had happened to me.  The officer took one look at me, did not believe me and sent me on my way.  He did not even fill out a report.  No investigation was ever made.  This needed to be investigated because the man had assaulted me.

  38. Run Bambi Run

  39. Not only do the RCMP have the best trained police officers in North America but, with the exception of the some of the media, mostly from BC, the General Public (the great silent majority) greatly admire them. They caught Pickton much faster than the Americans caught  Bundy or BTK and no American ever said boo. The Bush case was investigated by two independent sources plus the RCMP complaints commissioner and found that the RCMP officer did nothing wrong but, the media persists. Galliford has made allegations. They are just that allegations. I can say the earth is flat. It doesn’t mean the earth is flat. The naive media just doesn’t realize that all these BC inquiries are for 1) the purpose of changing the channel for the BC government deficit, HST, etc and 2) a make work project for lawyer friends of the government. That is why they can convene in Las Vegas. It takes the heat off the Clark government. This story is basically nonsense. By the way, the BC government hates the RCMP so much that shortly they will be signing a 20 year contract with them. If you use the provincial law on policing, (Vancouver Police Force), there own police force with unionized members would have cost at least twice what the RCMP costs.   

    • This sounds straight from Message Central. The PMO spin is showing up everywhere.

  40. I have had many a harrasment and bad advice from the rcmp in several towns. I have been buged followed and lied to. There is a cop on the Vernon force that is part of a mafia contact. I have had harassment from the rcmp for 20 years.I was coming home in 1994 when I was picked up by the rcmp after a false complaint and was brought to the Brandon institution after jumping off a train after being threatened with a needle in the next seat. I waited for a stop and went to the baggage car and jumped off when they could not see me..when I called the rcmp they had been warned and I was brought to the Branden institution. This was to cover up what ever trail they had left.
    if you want to follow up on this story please mail me @Ellen_406@Hotmail.com.
    Margurite a martin

  41. What I can’t understand is why so many people still think that the cops are anything but criminals and the Justice system is anything but a racket. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Censorship is being practiced by every newspaper because they are trying to suppress anything that isn’t linked to a facebook account. We should be reforming the entire government and outlawing politically affiliated or owned media. The fact is the Canadian people are heavily oppressed by a corrupt and complicit government. And before some brain-dead toad starts crooning that it’s just a few bad apples, it only takes one criminal cop to make the entire force complicit. It’s time to flush these thugs, start anew and hold the government fully accountable for absolutely everything that occurs within it’s ranks.

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