Politics

Goodale calls harassment allegations at RCMP watchdog 'intolerable'

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is promising to reform the RCMP's civilian watchdog following reports of inappropriate workplace behaviour.

Former chair says he doesn't recall any harassment allegations

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale oversees the work of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is promising to reform the RCMP's civilian watchdog agency following reports of inappropriate workplace conduct.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, which investigates the public's complaints against the RCMP, says it launched a series of formal investigations after allegations of "harassing behaviour" were brought forward from within its own ranks.

Documents released under access to information law show concerns were brought forward by multiple sources and mention "disturbing emails."

"This kind of behaviour anywhere in the government of Canada is simply unacceptable, and particularly when it is alleged to have occurred within a watchdog agency that itself is supposed to keep an eye on that kind of activity," said Goodale Thursday afternoon.

"It's unacceptable. It absolutely must be reformed and remedied and that process is underway."

The commission's job is to investigate allegations of poor conduct made against RCMP officers. Last year, it released  a scathing report describing a dysfunctional RCMP workplace culture and calling out systemic bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment in the force.

Ian McPhail, the former chair of the commission, said he wasn't aware of any inappropriate workplace conduct issues happening during his tenure.

Ian McPhail, former chairman of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, left the post to resume his law practice in 2017. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

He headed the CRCC from 2010 until he went on leave in the fall of 2017 and returned to his law practice.

McPhail said the only major internal issue he can remember involved a manager complaining of being unfairly denied a promotion in the spring of 2017.

"Nothing to do with harassment," McPhail told CBC, although he added that other cases might not have been drawn to his attention. 

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says allegations of harassment at the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission is unacceptable and needs to be fixed. 0:39

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