Lawsuit against RCMP near, Thunder Bay lawyer says
Women alleging harassment by fellow Mounties join class action
A Thunder Bay, Ont. lawyer says he’s close to filing a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP on behalf of current and former members who allege they’ve been victims of harassment and bullying by colleagues.
Alexander Zaitzeff says a team of lawyers is working full time to prepare the lawsuit, and a statement of claim could be filed as early as Tuesday.
"My firm has been taking calls from across Canada … from members that have had a lifetime of harassment, bullying, and gender-based discrimination in the RCMP," said Zaitzeff, speaking publicly for the first time about the suit.
He said the calls started with Thunder Bay resident Heli Kijanen, a former RCMP constable who contacted him after watching other women tell their stories on CBC News.
"The types of harassment range anywhere from plain and ordinary bullying, if there's such a thing, all the way to sexual assault." Zaitzeff said.
He has teamed up with a Vancouver lawyer to lead the lawsuit, which will name Attorney-General Rob Nicholson as the defendant.
Zaitzeff wouldn’t reveal how many women have signed on to the action so far but said the number grows daily and there could be hundreds in the end. Damages sought in the action could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.
"They want to see fairness in the workplace. They hope for redress."
Current and former Mounties began coming forward after Cpl. Catherine Galliford, a B.C. Mountie, told CBC News in early November that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after years of sexual harassment.