Canadians who think of the RCMP as a fine organization containing "a few bad apples" are wrong. They must begin thinking of the Force as a criminal organization pleasing to Stephen Harper and in need of dramatic reconstruction.
The RCMP. Getting Away With Murder.
The conclusions arrived at in this consideration of the RCMP are clear. They will be hotly disputed for many reasons. The Force is in almost total denial. The Stephen Harper government (for its own unsavory, neo-liberal reasons) seems to support and encourage the present intolerable condition of the RCMP. Courts often abet wrongdoing by the Force or refuse to face its obvious obstructions of justice. The Mainstream Press and Media engage in faulty and sensationalist reporting of RCMP actions… without responsibility to law, justice, or the Canadian people.
Overall, those forces are all a part of the neo-liberal movement in Canada, a movement intended to rob democratic freedoms from Canadians and to create a fascist state here.
I conclude that – whatever else it may be – the RCMP has to be described as a criminal organization. By that I mean an organization frequently, consciously involved in criminal acts, frequently involved in the obstruction of justice, frequently closing ranks and purveying false information to protect RCMP wrongdoers, and – at its highest reaches – accepting political direction or compliantly submitting to political direction or, even, cooperating with reactionary governments to commit criminal acts or to cover for the criminal acts of politicians.
The claim that the RCMP is an excellent organization possessing “a few bad apples” must be dismissed. A new claim must be made. The level of corruption in the RCMP is so deep and ubiquitous it must be considered a deeply corrupt organization with, (fortunately) “a few good apples”.
Examine basics. There is no doubt in the minds of thoughtful Canadians that the RCMP is in serious trouble. That fact is thrust in their faces almost daily. The last Inquiry into the RCMP was conducted by David Brown QC and four others, reporting in December 2007. The Report of the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP called for changes in governance and accountability. And it called for a “new independent body for complaints”. David Brown spoke of a broken organization, but he did not speak of a criminal one.
Nothing, of course, was done. Talk goes on tirelessly about the Stephen Harper appointed Commissioner Bob Paulson failing to act seriously to make required internal changes. Just as William Elliott, his Stephen Harper appointed predecessor, failed to do so. Even in the face of RCMP internal criticism made public, Stephen Harper, I believe, does not want effective, remedial changes in the RCMP. If his intentions are to strip Canadians of democratic access to information about government, to scientific evaluations of natural resources, to rights of movement and expression, and to free and fair elections, Stephen Harper will need police forces loyal to him – not to Canada and its traditions of freedom and the rule of law.
Examine basics. If the Harper government wishes to change the flagrantly obvious corruption in the RCMP, it can do so in days … by legislation. It can act without delay. It proved it could do that when it went after enemies – organized labour in Air Canada and Canada Post and CPR. In a few days the Harper government acted to legislate contract conditions and other matters. Using its majority (but with Opposition support almost assured) the Harper government could change the face of the RCMP, create a genuinely independent Force, create a real public oversight body, and assure a national police force of scrupulous integrity. The Stephen Harper government, I am convinced, does not want an honest RCMP.
In the light of the ready ease with which the Harper government could tend to the problems of the RCMP, the appointment at an obscene salary of a U.S. person by premier Christy Clark and Attorney General Shirley Bond to help fashion a civilian oversight process for police in B.C. is a huge, expensive farce, a joke, and an insult.
Richard Rosenthal has a very mixed record in the U.S.A. His appointment, I insist, is a cosmetic, a cover-up, a sham, and an attempt by the Christy Clark cabinet to pretend it wants a clean and effective RCMP. The B.C. government itself could set up a provincial oversight body for police, in the legislature, publicly, with full discussion and debate. Instead, for a huge salary, a foreigner (without Canadian experience) is brought in to build a toothless and inadequate structure.
His appointment is a classic move. An outside appointee without natural contacts in the local population can be isolated, kept from contact with the community, manipulated, and presented as an independent, objective actor. He has worked, in fact, in secret with police organizations who are under serious criticism for wrong doing. There is no evidence he even met any community groups or organizations closely familiar with life in B.C. to seek their views on “oversight”.
And then … and then … his office – the Independent Investigations Office (which, almost bound and gagged, only takes some of the investigation of claimed police wrongs from the police) is overseen by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. That Office has such a sorry reputation that – even if he meant to be good – we can say ‘bye bye’ to Richard Rosenthal. (I am not one of those who believes for a moment he ‘meant to be good’.)
The whole story of the appearance of Richard Rosenthal is in keeping with a Stephen Harper government that does not want an honest RCMP.
That allegation is compelling, and it becomes more compelling as facts about RCMP corruption come to light. There is a large list of lawless acts, betrayals of trust, conspiracies to pervert the law, and failures to undertake the simplest lawful acts required of those in the RCMP employed “to keep the peace”.
The story is much larger, obviously, than the RCMP itself, which is only one factor – though a hugely important factor – in the present condition of Canada. The story of our time in Canada is of a move through neo-liberalism towards neo-fascism. It is a huge move with octopus arms. The RCMP is a highly visible arm of the octopus. Even so, Canadians tend to see only its obvious, blatant violations of lawful practice. They are important. But behind them, I allege, is an organizational move, less visible, to support the forces taking Canada into fascism. That move has speeded up with the advent of the Stephen Harper reactionaries. But it is older than his government.
In the highly visible realm are too many examples. One is the event, when four officers caught on film, showed themselves wholly responsible for the death of an innocent immigrant (Robert Dziekanski, 2007) in Vancouver International Airport. The facts were and are concrete and undeniable. Every false move of the RCMP hierarchy after the act (and it made almost no moves but false moves) has condemned it to universal contempt.
The same may be said, for instance, when an RCMP officer, Paul Koester, shot Ian Bush of Houston, B.C. through the back of the head in the RCMP office (October 2005) over the matter of a can of beer, open in a public place. Every arm of the RCMP including the fake oversight body, The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, went to work to whitewash that ugliest of events. I believe there was an outrageous failure of justice in the matter. In an attempt to get some kind of justice the mother of Ian Bush began a civil suit against the RCMP which she was forced to abandon because of a lack of money. Paul Koester was transferred to another posting.
Of less blatant violence but containing a series of injustices that are breathtaking, the case of Kelly Marie Richard in Alberta reveals the RCMP viciously at work to protect large private corporations by tearing honest policing to shreds. My involvement with the Kelly Marie Richard case brought me up against an RCMP – from Deputy Commissioner down, and involving the Commissioner in Ottawa as well as the laughable Commission for Complaints Against the RCMP – determined, in my judgement, to act lawlessly and to protect all those inside and outside the RCMP engaged in destroying the legitimate complaint of Kelly Marie Richard and her sons. She has written the story. It may be followed in detail by going to your computer and searching the Kelly Marie Richard case. In my work on the case, RCMP officers involved in the dishonest shut-down of inquiry were working in three provinces. The B.C. story is only one face of the RCMP at dishonest work.
Of less blatant violence but heavy with meaning is the present case against the RCMP for unrelieved sexual harassment of a fellow female officer, Corporal Catherine Galliford. (Galliford’s legal action has been followed by a growing number of women working towards a class action suit against the RCMP. “Hundreds of women join RCMP harassment lawsuit”, Canadian Press, July 30, 2012).
Galliford’s case may be seen as transitional between individual cases of gross injustice and what seems to be the institutional determination of the RCMP to identify itself with reactionary government, in this case with Stephen Harper policy and practice.
The real character of the Galliford trial is muted by the Mainstream Press and Media. In the Globe and Mail (July 21, 2012), for instance, Gary Mason, columnist, writes a large story. All the way through it, Mason refers to the Mounties fighting Corporal Galliford. But they are not. The (nasty, personal-attack style) Defence is not being conducted by the RCMP but (formally) by the Government of Canada (Stephen Harper) and the Government of B.C. Except Shirley Bond, B.C.’s Attorney General, quickly made clear that B.C. is named as a defendant but has nothing to do with the action. So it is Stephen Harper’s show.
James Keller for the Canadian Press writes of “the federal government, which represents the RCMP”. If that was ever common practice, it should not be.
There are many RCMP lawyers. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and his senior officers could hire a few more if necessary from outside the Force to tackle the case. Instead, as I see it, he has been brushed aside by the Government of Canada. It is collapsing the absolutely necessary arms-length separation of the Force and the Harper government and, in effect, declaring that the RCMP is made up of boot polishers for the Harper cabinet. That has become increasingly evident to watchful observers since the Harper forces took power in Canada.
But the drift of the RCMP into being a palace army for reactionary government is not new – and in British Columbia it has had dramatic expression. In 1995 the RCMP conducted what was said to be the largest RCMP operation in modern times. I believe it was a criminal operation, brought against Native People at Gustafsen Lake in B.C. At the time B.C.’s Attorney General, Ujjal Dosanjh, approved of draconian actions like the firing of thousands of rounds of ammunition by RCMP in the dispute, the calling in of military support, the creation of an exclusion zone in which the RCMP could (and dishonestly did) create any scenario it chose to offer the public – being unbothered by the presence of journalists or others. All to deal with about two dozen Native People.
Two RCMP officers are caught on a being-prepared training film saying that the RCMP are specialists in smear and disinformation. The film fell into hands the RCMP didn’t intend. One of those officers became the lead investigator a few years later (1999) in what I believe was the wholly trumped-up case against then B.C. Premier Glen Clark. Clark was charged with accepting about $10,000.00 worth of work on a residence deck for … possible favours.
That case must be seen very clearly. The first reports that Clark may have been acting wrongfully came from the constituency office of Gordon Campbell who became premier of the province. The lead investigating officer, Sergeant Peter Montague, had been offered a chance by Campbell, on two occasions, to run as a Campbell Liberal candidate. When the RCMP arrived at Glen Clark’s house with a search warrant, BCTV’s John Daly accompanied the Montague group and filmed through the Clark residence windows. When the investigating officer retired some years later, journalists (including, apparently, Mr. Daly) attended his retirement party and gave him a gift. There is every likelihood he deserved it … and much more.
In a round-up story on Glen Clark’s political destruction, Kevin Potvin wrote in The Republic an interesting remark. “The fact that the Ottawa headquarters of the RCMP somehow found over $5 million in a tight budgetary environment to finance a bogus investigation of Clark raises grave suspicions….”
Incidentally, I wrote the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP for an investigation of the time taken and the conduct of the investigation against Glen Clark. RCMP officers in Vancouver closed it up. I protested. Three full years later, the Commission’s Report on the matter sent to me concluded (A) that RCMP officers had “wrongfully” closed the investigation, and (B) that the Commission would leave up to the discretion of the RCMP whether or not it would re-open and pursue the investigation!
I firmly believe that the Gordon Campbell neo-liberals, their private corporate friends, the RCMP, and the Mainstream Press and Media set to work to hound the NDP out of office and out of favour illegitimately and to replace it with a neo-liberal government. That is most certainly what happened.
The Gordon Campbell Liberals then set to work to privatize, dismantle, and sell off any resource wealth held by the people of British Columbia – energy, water power, BC Rail, and – as much as could be slipped past British Columbians of – the holdings and potential of BC Hydro. To do what they did – and to do it very much in secret – required, I am certain, major actions constituting Breach of Trust and, very likely, other criminal actions.
The Auditor General of B.C. has stated that over ten years, financial accounting by BC Hydro has been so bad he cannot approve it. Part of BC Hydro’s work was contracted to offshore Accenture which was (under another name) connected to the Enron Disaster. Parts of that contract are still – years later – kept secret from British Columbians. That secrecy is not only unacceptable but smells of wrongful dealings which should have been investigated by the RCMP long ago.
The B.C. Rail “sellout” is accepted by many observing British Columbians to have been a corrupt transfer of assets to CNR. Gary Bass, top RCMP officer in British Columbia was formally requested to begin criminal investigation of Gordon Campbell and his associates regarding the corrupt transfer. Bass refused.
Out of the investigations around the corrupt transfer two cabinet aides and one media employee of B.C. faced a number of criminal charges. The laying of charges, pre-trial hearings, and trial covered more than six years.
Throughout the proceedings, Defence counsel insisted the three men had been targeted and the charges against them tailored in order to avoid investigation and charges against superiors in government and in private corporations. Thousands upon thousands of pages of documentation were piled up.
From the hundreds, only, that I was able to have access to, I concluded that, at least, fraud, conspiracy, and criminal breach of trust were involved in the “preparation” to sell B.C. Rail. [The immediate response of lawyers is that “conspiracy” is almost impossible to prove. That doesn’t change my point.] The RCMP would not touch the material easily available to them in order to begin serious investigation of the corrupt sale. I believe the refusal of the RCMP to act was the result of its political direction and its political allies.
We must remember that Defence counsel continuously criticized the work of the RCMP, and continuously suggested the accused were targeted, charges against them tailored. That would be by co-operative action of the investigating RCMP and the Special Prosecutor appointed to conduct the case. It is not irrelevant that the Special Prosecutor was exposed during the process as having been appointed in flagrant violation of the legislation covering the appointment of Special Prosecutors. Nor would it be irrelevant to point out that the leading RCMP investigator on the case was revealed by Defence to be the brother in law of Kelly Reichert, executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party – a man who had constant contact with Gordon Campbell, premier.
Finally, we must remember that when the list of private corporate people connected to BC Rail and top political actors began to be cross-examined by a searching and determined Defence team, a sudden deal was made to reduce charges against the men to almost nothing and to have the Gordon Campbell government assume all costs that had been built up by the two major accused over at least six years. The sum paid by the Gordon Campbell government to Defence counsel for the cover-up was $6 million. That government paid the illegitimate Special Prosecutor, it is reported, $10.7 million.
What I firmly believe is that the RCMP assisted in the fraudulent destruction of a fairly elected government and aided its replacement by what had to be an illegitmate force. I believe, moreover, that the RCMP protected and probably assisted in the criminal actions of members of that government. I believe the RCMP was renewed as a major police force in British Columbia in a twenty year contract because of its lawless relation to the government in power. And I believe that the former premier of the province, at an all-time low in public regard – Gordon Campbell – was made Canadian High Commissioner in London by Stephen Harper because of the picture I have drawn above.
I believe Stephen Harper’s neo-liberal politics and the move under his government towards fascism explains why he has no intention of making the RCMP a just, lawful, efficient, respected force. It explains why he chooses apparently incompetents to head the Force. It explains why the men in the RCMP who brought down disgraced Commissioner Juliano Zaccardelli and then the man judged incompetent, Commissioner William Elliott, were given no serious role in the reconstruction, repair, and management of the Force. In fact, they are nowhere visible in the present front-line personnel of the RCMP.
The present Commissioner, Bob Paulson, appears to have been appointed because he was not a part of any reform group. And it has just been revealed that though he was involved in the Missing Women/Pickton Farm murder matter, he has been shielded from appearing at the Inquiry.
It explains why Guiliano Zaccardelli as RCMP Commissioner interfered on behalf of the Stephen Harper forces in the 2006 federal election. It explains why then B.C. premier Gordon Campbell met top RCMP officer Gary Bass and expressed his sympathy for the killers of Robert Dziekanski. It explains why then Commissioner William Elliott telephoned three of the four involved in the death of Dziekanski to express his sympathy for them – never telephoning Robert Dziekanski’s mother to express sympathy for her.
It explains why Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass refused to investigate for criminal liability Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of B.C Rail to the CNR. It explains why – across Canada – the RCMP fails consistently to investigate wrongdoing in government unless “called in” by Stephen Harper in order to make him look good.
Until a new government takes power in Ottawa, Canadians will, more and more, I believe, see the RCMP as an enemy of the law and justice in Canada. They will have more and more reason, I believe, to fear the RCMP as a criminal organization.