Top cop commits to quick changes at RCMP
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson arrives at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 31, 2012. (CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI Agency Files)
Canada's top cop says a "controversial" revamp of the way the RCMP's men and women get along on the job is well underway.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, in his first speech since issues about his own ethical credibility on that file were raised, conceded that the fabled force is undergoing a difficult transformation but, in a presentation to a business crowd at Ottawa City Hall Friday morning, said he's confident he's the man to get the job done.
"We do have some challenges and we are under the gun and Canadians expect to see positive change come about quickly in the RCMP. That's what we're committed to. That's what we're engaged in," Paulson said. "Every Canadian is very proud, fundamentally, deep down in their hearts of the RCMP and they want us to succeed. I have to seize that capital and build on it."
Reviewing his first 10 months as the country's top Mountie, Paulson said "leadership and accountability" have been his top focus.
Earlier this summer, questions were raised about his leadership after it emerged that an RCMP honour guard showed up to add a little flair to his August wedding — on the taxpayer's dime. He said upon learning that Mounties in the honour guard were on the clock and not volunteers, as he had asked, he cut a cheque to cover their wages.
Then QMI Agency reported that as Paulson draws up new rules on workplace relationships, he could draw on personal experience because both of his marriages were to women he met on the job. Some experts said the circumstances of his own romantic life would hurt his credibility setting new rules on Mountie workplace relationships.
In his speech Friday, Paulson acknowledged both those issues.
"One of the most controversial issues, which has attracted attention to me personally, has been the workplace relationship policy which is not designed to control or regulate people's relationships," Paulson said. "It's just to engage the organization at the appropriate level of knowledge about relationships where there is relative power imbalances and it's the industry standard, frankly."
Paulson also suggested the media should focus on stories about individual Mounties doing good work across the country. His speech included snapshots of some Mounties who gave their lives in the line of duty.
"Reporters are not calling my ex-wife and my kids about these stories but these are the stories that we need to really emphasize and understand and get before Canadians."