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Mounties promise to deal with internal harassment

By Ada Slivinski, 24 Hours Vancouver

RCMP officials say they are serious about addressing problems within the force following an internal report that revealed female members are reluctant to report harassment.

"We've assigned someone to look after the workplace recommendations. It's a workplace action plan and we're going to be moving forward on this because we think it's important and we're going to take it seriously," said Norm Lipinski, Assistant Commissioner, RCMP 'E' Division.

The report found that many members don't feel their complaints will be heeded and fear retribution. It was conducted following high-profile allegations of sexual harassment.

Lipinski said making changes to the way complaints are handled is part of evolving with society.

"Well in the past, we felt that they were being handled well, but obviously not," he said.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has been criticized for his own workplace relationship.

His first marriage, in 1984, was the result of a workplace relationship and his second marriage, this summer, grew from an extramarital affair he began with a senior bureaucrat who worked on RCMP issues in the government department that supports Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office.

Lipinski wouldn't comment on Paulson's relationship, calling them a "personal matter" but said he has full confidence in the commissioner.

"Since he's been in there, he's taken responsibility for what has occurred. I think he's doing a great job," he said.

New regulations about workplace relationships within the RCMP are expected in the fall.