British Columbia

RCMP too big to fix, says former spokesperson Catherine Galliford

Former RCMP spokesperson, Catherine Galliford, responded to the national apology from the RCMP and the settlement awarded to hundreds of women who suffered abuse from colleagues while on the job.

'They are talking about changing a culture and I don’t know if that can be changed'

Former high-profile RCMP spokesperson, Catherine Galliford, settled her own harassment lawsuit with the force in May. She shared her thoughts on the apology with CBC's On The Coast. (Senate)

The RCMP offered a national apology Thursday to female officers and employees who were subjected to harassment, discrimination and sexual abuse while on the job.

Compensation could total up to $100 million.

Catherine Galliford, a former high profile RCMP spokeswoman, filed an individual lawsuit in 2012 and settled in May. Hundreds of other women came forward afterwards, resulting in two class action lawsuits.

Galliford spoke with On The Coast host, Gloria Macarenko, to share her reaction to the apology and settlement.

Q: What goes through your mind when you hear the emotional responses to the apology from other women?

I am so proud of them. 

This is like a revolution because people are talking about it now. I don't want the members of the RCMP to stop talking about this because now they have a voice.

Q: The settlement covers all women in the RCMP since 1974. What do you think about those terms?

I think those terms are amazing. But what struck me today was the national apology.

For these women to have a national apology from the Commissioner of the RCMP, to have him say we owe these women an apology, that is worth more to them than anything.

Q: Do you think this settlement goes far enough?

I think they are talking about changing a culture and I don't know if that can be changed.

I think the RCMP has gotten too big to be managed. There are a lot of women and men who have been harassed to the point where they are still trying to do their jobs but are walking zombies.

People are afraid to complain and are still being harassed.

I don't believe the RCMP in its current state can be fixed. I think it should be a federal police board only and provincial governments can set up their own police forces.

Q: Presumably, many perpetrators are still working in the force. Do you think that's fair?

There are many sexual predators, harassers, and perpetrators, still working. There is no accountability for the perpetrators and I think that is what everyone is sitting back and waiting for.

Why are we being asked, or demanded, to go back into the workplace when we still have our perpetrators in there?

There are certain people in there that I could never work beside and I am waiting to see what happens to them.

Q: What other accountability would you like to see?

I would like to see the perpetrators held accountable. Shame them. Have the RCMP hold them up and shame them. The whistleblowers are the ones who have been shamed and demeaned and humiliated. I don't understand why the RCMP isn't turning the tables.

Q: You reached your own settlement in May. What are you doing now?

Almost daily I am a conduit for other members who are trying to file a complaint and need someone to talk to.

The continual harassment within the RCMP gave me PTSD and now that I am separated from my abuser I am going to treatment to hope that I can continue to move forward in my life. And that's what I hope for all the other women.

With files from On The Coast.

To hear the complete interview with Catherine Galliford, click on the audio labelled, Catherine Galliford responds to RCMP apology and settlement.