RCMP needs major shakeup: federal investigator's report
Management style of former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli criticized
The RCMP needs major changes to its governance and culture, a government-appointed investigator said Friday.
David Brown, the former head of the Ontario Securities Commission,was appointed by the government in April to investigateallegationsthat senior RCMP officers covered upproblems in the administration ofthe force's pension and insurance fund.
In releasing his report on Friday, Brownstrongly criticized themanagement style of former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli,sayingofficers who brought the pension and insurance problems tohis attention "faced career damage."
The lower-ranking force members who complained about problems "were treated very unfairly," he said.
Brownrecommendedappointing a task force of police, government officials and private-sector experts to look into the RCMP culture and governance to deal witha situation in which RCMP memberswere punished for challenging the prevailing management.
He described the actions of RCMP management as a "fundamental breach of trust" with the force.
The proposedtask force should report by Dec. 14, he said. A decision about appointing a task forceis up to the government.
"This is of the utmost urgency and importance" because lower-ranking officers and the public arelosing confidence in the force,Brown said.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said in a news release that the government will respond to Brown's report on Tuesday.
No coverup, just mismanagement
But Brown also said he found no signs of a coverup on the pension issue, just mismanagement.
Brown said he reviewedmultiple previous investigations and inquiries into RCMP management, hired forensic accountants KPMG to study 400,000 documents and e-mails, and interviewed 25 witnesses, including Zaccardelli.
As expected, he rejected the idea of a public inquiry. Such an inquiry "will uncover nothing new," he asserted.
But he did recommend the Ontario Provincial Police review an Ottawa Police Service criminal investigation of the pension issues to determine if the investigation was done properly.
He did not conclude that the investigation was flawed,only that the lack of independence in the investigationmay be a problem.
Brown also called for public recognition of three people who had struggled to reveal thepension issues and been treated unfairly:
- Government employee Denise Revine, who had worked in human resources for 33 years. Her position was declared surplus, and her health and reputation hurt. "Organizational changes were used to silence a person seen as a troublesome employee," Brown wrote.
- Chief Supt.Fraser Macaulay, who brought Revine's concerns to Zaccardelli's attention, and was quickly given a "punishment transfer" to the Department of National Defence.
- Staff Sgt. Mike Frizzell, who followed up on theOttawa police investigation until he was ordered to stop, and was transferred.
Ron Lewis, a retired RCMP staff sergeant, and Sgt. Steve Walker should also be recognized, Brown said.
Lewis, who initially spoke out against RCMP management, said heis satisfied with most of Brown's report. But he said hedoesn't accept the suggestion that there was no coverup.
"Not one bit.As much as I endorse the report, I think that's the one area where he may have gone a little soft."
Brown also had harsh words for Paul Gauvin, the top official responsible for the RCMP's finances. He said he's concerned that Gauvin has refused to take responsibility for problems with thepension plan.
NDP still calling for inquiry
NDP critic David Christopherson said he still wants a public inquiry so witnesses can be called to testify under oath.
"You're going to tell me that one person, a super investigator, was able to come bouncing out of the phone booth and by themselves get to the bottom of this in a few weeks," Christopher said."We ought to make that person king of the world if he's so smart. It's ridiculous."
Earlier this spring, RCMP officers and staff told a parliamentary committee they had unearthed abuse of thepension fund. They claimed that senior managers responded to their concernseither by punishing whistleblowers, or blocking investigations into the accounting irregularities.
Their allegations followed studies and investigations that began in 2003, responding to allegations thatthere was nepotism in hiring,doubtful expense account claims and improper contracts in the $12-billion RCMP pension plan and insurance fund.
Brown'sreport wasgiven toDay andVic Toews, the president of the Treasury Board.