Politics

RCMP boss to repay $912 for wedding honour guard

The RCMP's top boss is apologizing for having members of the RCMP Musical Ride act as an honour guard while on official duty during his wedding and promises to reimburse $912 for their hours worked.

Expert suggests leak to media intended to undermine force's brass

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is apologizing for having members of the RCMP Musical Ride act as honour guard while on official duty during his wedding with Erin O'Gorman on Aug. 16. (Betty Cooper/Sugarbush Studio)

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is apologizing for having members of the RCMP Musical Ride act as an honour guard while on official duty during his recent wedding.

In a statement released  Monday morning, Commissioner Paulson said he would also repay the amount corresponding to their hours worked while on paid shift.

"I would like to apologize to the members and to Canadians. I will reimburse $912 to the Receiver General as this amount represents the three hours of work of these eight constables," said Paulson.

In a statement to CBC News, Sergeant Greg Cox, a media relations officer for the RCMP, explained that the Commissioner "had asked the Corps Sergeant Major to seek some volunteers to act as an honour guard."

Paulson and Erin O'Gorman were married at St. Elizabeth Church in Ottawa, Aug. 16.

While having Mounties volunteer to act as honour guard during a member's wedding is "not unusual," Cox also said that the Commissioner "was not consulted on their duty status."

The Globe and Mail reported the honour guard was on paid shift citing sources that attended the wedding.

Dissent inside the RCMP

In an interview with CBC's Alison Crawford, Robert Gordon, director of the school of criminology at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University, suggested the leak of the Mounties acting as honour guard at Paulson's wedding while on official duty was a deliberate attempt to undermine RCMP brass.

"Where you have a huge disgruntled body of employees, you can expect to see all sorts of attempts to discredit the leadership, and here we see one popping up," said Gordon.

Paulson vowed to restore trust in the RCMP and rid the force of "bad apples" after taking the helm as Canada's top Mountie last November but in recent weeks, disgruntled officers have made their grievances public.

Two weeks ago, an anonymous group, the Re-Sergeance Alliance, claiming to represent over 500 members inside the RCMP’s E Division in B.C., emerged online threatening to expose ''an orchard of bad apples." 

The group said it would expose certain "investigative files" and compromising pictures of members whom it deemed unworthy of the uniform. The anonymous blog was quickly removed.

Cox said Commissioner Paulson is currently on holidays and out of the country.

With files from CBC's Alison Crawford.

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