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article imageHead cop no fan of Mounties airing dirty laundry in public

By Yukio Strachan     Jun 24, 2012 in Politics
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police's top cop, Bob Paulson, tasked with restoring public confidence in Canada’s national police force, decried Mounties airing workplace grievances in the public eye on Saturday.
"One of the trends that I have seen is this propensity to go public on every sort of beef that happens in the workplace," Paulson told CBC's Evan Solomon on Saturday edition of The House.
Last Wednesday, Paulson made a similar comment when the leak of an internal management report to Radio-Canada revealed there were internal concerns about workplace bullying by Supt. Bruno Saccomani, a senior RCMP officer responsible for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's security detail
According to the Province, management review report, published in January, included interviews with 41 per cent of the 117-member unit who protect the Harpers around the world and across Canada.
"The review team found that the examples of conflict in the workplace, harassment, discrimination, intimidation and perceived favoritism given during the interviews were disturbing," the report said.
Others complained about being reprimanded in front of their peers or in public. Mounties reported they felt they were "walking on eggshells" or feared repercussions following the review.
"Not being able to focus on the duties because they are anxious in the presence of the [officer in charge] adds risk to the safety of the prime minister, his family, others in their presence, employees and the general public," the report says.
Paulson called the leak "unlawful."
"It was wrong, and it was frankly unlawful to leak that document because it was a protected document," Paulson told The Canadian Press, adding "the underlying need here is to correct behavior, not to punish people," he said.
But Paulson did concede that there may be a reason why Mounties may be going public.
"I suppose you could argue that is a result of having no confidence in the internal processes and systems," Paulson told Solomon.
Having no confidence in "the internal processes" is exactly the reason why a former Nanaimo, B.C., RCMP officer Janet Merlo has filed a class-action lawsuit for alleged sexual harassment against the RCMP.
The lawsuit claims Merlo repeatedly complained about the harassment and discrimination, but was told by her superiors to "forget about it."
Any investigations resulted in her complaints being dismissed, Merlo claims.
Her legal team has told CBC News that up to 150 women are ready to join the suit with their own claims of sexual harassment.
Still, Paulson said some people are "exploiting" the public's interest in the internal workings of the RCMP by going outside the chain of police command to air their grievances, The Victoria Times Colonist writes.
"This chronic examination or public discussion of our bad behaviors can only bring around questions of trust and . . . trust is essential in order to be effective as a national police force."
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