Krista Carle's fight for RCMP reform 'will succeed,' Goodale vows after her death

After an outspoken former RCMP officer took her own life last week, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale vowed her fight to rid the force of harassment "will succeed."

Government has had ample time to fix RCMP's culture problem, says association head

Former RCMP constable and whistleblower Krista Carle took her own life on Friday. She was 53. (CBC)

After an outspoken former RCMP officer took her own life last week, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale vowed her fight to rid the force of harassment "will succeed."

But two associations representing Mounties say the government has had plenty of time to do something about the problem already.

Friends and colleagues confirmed that former constable Krista Carle took her own life on Friday. She was 53.

The B.C. resident was active in the fight to draw attention to sexual harassment within the RCMP.

"We were saddened to learn of the passing of retired RCMP member Krista Carle," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Marie Damian. "She will be remembered for her courage in speaking out against sexual harassment and as a force for change that helped improve our workplace.

"The RCMP extends its deepest sympathies to her family, friends and colleagues."

Carle came forward about her experiences for the first time after her former troopmate Catherine Galliford went public with her own claims of sexual harassment in November 2011.

Carle also was open about her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and her decision to leave the RCMP after 19 years' service with a medical discharge.

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of retired RCMP member Krista Carle. In addition to speaking out against insidious harassment she experienced during her time with the RCMP, she was also a source of strength and support for countess other victims," Goodale tweeted on Tuesday.

"Her courage and compassion will not be forgotten; her efforts to spur reform will succeed."

4th RCMP suicide in last few weeks 

Brian Sauvé of the National Police Federation— one of the groups vying to form an RCMP union — said Carle's death is the fourth RCMP suicide he's heard about in the last five to six weeks.

"Krista's death is a tragedy," he said. "What she did [coming forward] was monumental. It was a tipping point." 

He said the RCMP should be a leader in helping its members deal with PTSD and other mental health challenges on the job, but the police service doesn't seem to have the resources to cope with the problem.

Rob Creasser of the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada said the government has had years now to change the RCMP's culture.

"[Goodale has] had ample opportunities to act before her death and did nothing other than issue meaningless platitudes with no action behind his words," said the former Mountie.

"Mr. Goodale seems quite prepared to study issues for years. There will be more RCMP deaths if he continues on that course."

Janet Merlo, who was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit on gender-based harassment and sexual abuse within the RCMP, said the news of Carle's death was so shocking she reached out to Goodale directly.

She also said RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki's recent assertion that the RCMP is not broken struck a nerve among those with close ties to the red serge.

"It was like a kick to the belly," Merlo said.

"People are still suffering as there is no union, no collective agreement, there is no process within the RCMP to make things better right now."



Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service

Toll free: 1-833-456-4566

Text: 45645

Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca

Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS) (French): 1-866-APPELLE

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca

Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionFind a 24-hour crisis centre

If you're worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs: 

Suicidal thoughts.
Substance abuse.
Purposelessness.
Anxiety.
Feeling trapped.
Hopelessness and helplessness.
Withdrawal.
Anger.
Recklessness.
Mood changes.

With files from the CBC's Manjula Dufresne