Senior RCMP members have complained about Commissioner William Elliott to some of the highest levels of the federal government on two separate occasions in the past seven days, CBC News has learned.
The complainants, possibly as many as 10, include some of the force's top officers, including deputy commissioners Tim Killam and Raf Souccar.
They have accused Elliott of being verbally abusive, closed-minded, arrogant and insulting. One complaint described Elliott, who became the first civilian to head the Mounties in July 2007, in a rage, throwing papers at another officer.
The Prime Minister's Office didn't deny the complaints were made but declined to comment Monday. Neither Elliott nor the deputies would comment.
"The RCMP is a very hierarchical organization, where people respect the rank," said Linda Duxbury, a professor at Carleton University who wrote a study on the Mounties and their command.
For members to go outside the force with "a complaint against the head of the RCMP means that many people have been pushed beyond a point where they're willing to tolerate it," she said.
Fate rests with PM
The apparent protest against the commissioner comes a month after Canada's top spy, CSIS director Richard Fadden, made comments to CBC News that the agency had two provincial cabinet ministers and a number of municipal politicians under surveillance for their relationships with foreign governments.
Both Elliott and Fadden were appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and their fate rests with him. The CBC's Brian Stewart, who has followed the Mounties for decades, said the RCMP protest is unprecedented.
Harper will have to sort out whether this is a valid protest by top RCMP staff or whether Elliott has made a lot of enemies trying to reform the organization, he said.
"That's what the prime minister is probably going to have to sort out very quickly and then decide, I think, which force is going to have to go: either the commissioner or the group protesting against him," Stewart said.