A group vying to become the Mounties' first bargaining unit is using new allegations of sex harassment and bullying to try to make its case for a group to represent rank and file officers.
A representative for the Mounted Police Professional Association said the RCMP is mismanaged, and higher-ups turn a blind eye to allegations of harassment and assault in the workplace.
Rob Creasser points to a CBC report last week detailing allegations of unwanted sexual touching, bullying and rampant nudity in the workplace at the explosives training unit of the Canadian Police College in Ottawa.
The report prompted a sharp reaction from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. He said he told RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson he expects a comprehensive, transparent investigation, strong discipline, support for victims and a plan to end what he calls "this toxic workplace behaviour."
"The cultural problem is that the people at the top don't realize it's a cultural problem, because they want to keep things the same."
Creasser said the allegations show RCMP officers need an association to encourage transparency and accountability in the force.
He said, as it stands, managers choose people they want to bring into their ranks, and do whatever they can to protect those people.
"I've heard it referred to as an 'old boys club'. Like, you support people that you want to support, and if something comes up that is a little hinky with one of your 'chosen', you do everything in your power to make that go away," the now-retired Mountie said.
He said he'd witnessed as much in his 28 years with the force.
"We can't continue to count on people at the top of the organization to change the organization."
"We can't continue to count on people at the top of the organization to change the organization,'' he said. "They have a vested interest in the status quo and keeping the amount of power that they have. The type of transformational change that we're talking about is going to be driven from the ground up.''
The RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"The cultural problem is that the people at the top don't realize it's a cultural problem, because they want to keep things the same,'' Creasser said. "They want to blame the odd bad apple. And how's that working?''
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