RCMP blacklist B.C. psychologist critical of force
Psychologist Mike Webster says the vendetta is political, and will only hurt his patients
The RCMP is refusing to pay the medical bills for Mounties treated by an outspoken critic of the force, CBC News has learned
Patients of B.C. psychologist Mike Webster have been told to find another doctor, or pay for Webster's sessions out of their own pocket.
Webster treats about two dozen RCMP officers who are on medical leave due to some sort of on-the-job conflict.
Webster said the RCMP's move to silence him is a political vendetta that will only hurt its own members.
"It just amazes me that one little-old-psychologist can have this kind of effect on the RCMP— can bring it to its knees so that they have to resort to something like this," Webster said.
The RCMP also lodged a formal complaint against Webster with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia.
In a letter sent to Webster, the RCMP said its medical case managers lodged the complaint because: "...your lack of objectivity in both your clinical work and public commentary towards the RCMP have weakened your effectiveness in treating your RCMP client base."
It also said it is concerned Webster isn't getting his patients back to work quickly enough.
Webster has long argued that an unhealthy workplace can affect a person's mental health, but he said the RCMP doesn't want to fix that. He said the force just wants its members work-ready.
"It's uncontroversial that working for the RCMP can make you sick, so why would I want to return my patients to the toxic environment that made them sick in the first place?"
Cpl. Roland Beaulieu has been off work since February of last year due to what he described as systemic harassment issues.
He said he's been seeing Webster for about two years, and has improved. He said it should be up to him who he sees — not the RCMP.
"For them to dictate who I see tells me they want a certain report back that they're happy, not necessarily the truth," he said.
"And sometimes the truth hurts."
The RCMP said members can still see Webster: It just won't pay for it.
Supt. Kevin DeBruyckere said the change is not meant to be punitive and that with Webster's co-operation, patients can transition to other psychologists.
"The number one priority is the health of the members. A by-product of that is getting them back to work. And that's the expectation of our employees, of those members and of the people who are paying for it: the taxpayers," DeBruyckere said.
Cpl. Beaulieu said the organization is making Webster's patients suffer.
He said if the RCMP really cared about the health of its members, it would put its differences with Webster aside.
With files from the CBC's Curt Petrovich and Leah Hendry