RCMP has 'no interest' in discussing harassment suit settlement
Senators hear of bullying, harassment from Mounties in B.C.
A lawyer representing 300 women who worked for the RCMP alleging harassment and gender-based discrimination in a lawsuit says the national police force is declining an offer to mediate.
"The RCMP indicated they have no interest to discuss settlement. It comes as a big surprise to us," said Vancouver class action lawyer David Klein.
But earlier this year, RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson's action plan said the force would "expeditiously resolve, wherever appropriate, outstanding harassment-related lawsuits."
On Friday, Klein said his clients want to see some solutions.
"They want the RCMP and the women themselves to be able to move past this to settle," Klein said.
The allegations in the proposed class action lawsuit have not yet been tested in court.
Senators travel to B.C. to hear from Mounties
Klein made his comments as some Liberal MPs and Senators were in Vancouver to hear from RCMP officers who have complained about sexual harassment or bullying but were unable to testify at parliamentary committees.
Some women were excluded from speaking in Parliament because of their involvement in the ongoing legal case.
But others who are not involved in the legal proceeding also had difficulties testifying. Just last week Cpl. Roland Beaulieu, said he had been prevented from appearing at a Senate committee last week in Ottawa. Beaulieu was informed that if he was well enough to travel to Ottawa then he must be well enough to return to work. He is on stress leave suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I don't want to be fired. I'm hoping by going public here, will force management to deal with my issues," Beaulieu said on Friday in Vancouver.
Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell said he was appalled that some Mounties suffering from post-traumatic stress and other issues were not being heard.
"We had people who had been injured which we haven't been able to have because the government won’t let us call them before parliamentary committee," Mitchell said. "The take away is, it's deeply, deeply damaging on a personal level."
Mounties told the panel Friday the RCMP is broken, corrupt and rife with misconduct.
"I've seen female members harassed because they are lesbians. I've seen people picking up hookers and getting transferred and promotions," said RCMP officer Peter Kennedy.
On Friday, the Senators and MPs listened carefully.
"Short of blowing up the RCMP from the top down, I'm not sure after the things I've heard today and earlier, if we are ever going to be able to fix the RCMP," said Liberal MP Judy Sgro.
"All of these women were treated as they were just wallpaper, just the pretty candy, and they had to be there for the abuse of their superior officers," Sgro said. "And because they didn't co-operate, their lives were ruined."
With files from Natalie Clancy