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RCMP commissioner challenged on reprisals against critics

Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa (Toronto Sun) – A Liberal MP who led a 2007 parliamentary investigation into abuses at the RCMP says a troubling pattern of removing critics within the force continues under Commissioner Bill Elliott.

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj grilled Elliott recently at a parliamentary committee hearing to follow up on recommendations — now three years old — for change at the RCMP.

Dismayed that Elliott only recently embraced a key recommendation made by three separate RCMP reviews — for an independent board of management — Wrzesnewskyj suggested the outgoing RCMP commissioner and the Prime Minister are dragging their heels, and sidelining critics.

Wrzesnewskyj challenged Elliott directly, suggesting he had told senior RCMP managers that a board of management is “not going to happen, the Prime Minister doesn’t support it.”

“I never said that,” Elliott stated.

Elliott said he had not briefed Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the “specifics” of how proposed governance changes might work, and so Elliott said he could not “speculate” on the Prime Minister’s view.

Deputy public safety minister Bill Baker told the committee specific recommendations have not been brought forward yet — even three years later. He confirmed the final decision is up to the Prime Minister.

NDP critic David Christopherson accused Elliott and Baker of “a big song and dance that’s meant to delay things and leave the status quo in place.”

Wrzesnewskyj called on Elliott to table reports prepared by assistant commissioner Keith Clark — a request Elliott first agreed to, then balked at, saying he doesn’t know “what specific documentation there is.”

“We dealt with issues sort of on an ongoing basis,” said Elliott.

Instead, Elliott referred to a glossy pamphlet he ordered prepared last summer that features a photo of him, and gives a glowing review of the force’s efforts to modernize.

But Wrzesnewskyj challenged Elliott, reminding him that “one of the most serious allegations during our hearings here in the public accounts committee (in 2007) was the allegation of constructive dismissals and the culture of reprisals, fear and authoritarianism that resulted.”

It was a reference to the pension and insurance fund scandal that took place under former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. It, along with a series of critical inquiries and reports into the RCMP, led to the Conservative government’s appointment of Elliott, a former Conservative political aide, as the RCMP’s first civilian commissioner.

Elliott bristled when challenged by Wrzesnewskyj and denied he had sidelined Clark, whom he said is now on health leave.

“There is no basis to suggest that he was prematurely taken out of his position as head of the change management team,” said Elliott.

Clark, who was responsible for spearheading efforts to manage change and train leaders for the upper ranks of the force, has not appeared before the committee.

Elliot has similarly denied shuffling aside several other internal critics.

Most have since chosen to retire, or are on leave pending their departures from the force.

Categories: Broken Force, Commissioner of the RCMP, Senior Management, Whistleblower.

Comment Feed

6 Responses

  1. That is what happens when you let the government control the RCMP through the Commissioner. All the sludge of government permeates downward infecting upper management with the government malaise. Then people wonder why upper management is dysfunctional. When has the government been able to effectively/efficiently run anything?

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    Deepthroat2011.03.12 @ 16:11
  2. What a world we live in when we have to enact legislated government protection for people to tell the truth.
    The RCMP has to get this under control. Unlike other government agencies political posturing is likely to cost lives.

    When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.

    Calvin Lawrence

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    Calvin Lawrence2011.03.12 @ 08:11
  3. Just wondering; is this just another show like we watched years ago with former Commissioner Zarccardelli who walked out of his job costing tax payers over 10 million dollars in damages with a nice pension and a I think a bonus to boot.

    So if we can’t hold a Commissioner to his word and honesty how can we believe the rest will be any better, because they say so? That would be the joke of the year. :-) :-) :-)

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    Poor Performance Reports2011.03.11 @ 16:00
  4. Quite a leap in assumptions when the oversight board is the common recommendation, and would hopefully ensure the “whistle blower” legislation, along with other laws and regulations, are adhered to. Is that not why you would not want the government and its continuous meddling?

    Elliot engaged in unacceptable HR management practices that you and johnnyG would immediately classify as bullying, yet would you think a civilian board would not be accountable in that respect?

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    Deepthroat2011.03.10 @ 17:52
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    lanny2011.03.10 @ 12:01
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      D2011.03.12 @ 15:59
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