To add to the ever-growing list of embarrassing problems the RCMP face, after Pickton,* Dziekanski* and Monty Robinson*; there is now a class action lawsuit filed in Vancouver alleging sexist comments, derogatory remarks, sexual taunts and a double standard, with reports of 200 or more female Mounties waiting to jump into the fray.
If the RCMP continues it current stance of denial and victim blame, remembering how just recently they publicly dismissed the complaint from Corporal Catherine Galliford calling her an “alcoholic”, it could be another ugly few years for what was once a highly regarded police force.
Their reputation today is in shambles and no one in charge seems to be able to figure out how to avoid another public debacle. Certainly not Superintendent Maria Nickel, British Columbia’s top recruiter, who recently remarked that female Mounties can be victims or they can rely on their “inner strength” to survive inevitable harassment on the job. How could Ms. Nickel allow herself to be used by the RCMP as their female messenger, or perhaps she too is a victim of the old boy’s club?
Nonetheless, it is astounding to hear this woman trivialize the serious allegations that have been made against her organization and respond by saying “just suck it up!” No employee should have to put up with behavior that is demeaning, belittling or causes public humiliation or embarrassment.
How would you feel if your daughter’s workplace contained a naked inflatable doll positioned adjacent to her boss’s desk? Would you think it appropriate for your daughter’s boss to ask her to pose next to the doll for the amusement of her male colleagues?
What if your wife was pregnant and she was met with caustic comments like “next time keep your f__ing legs closed” or “do you think you can handle this call or are you pregnant again?”
If this class action gets certified by the Court and proceeds, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson needs to get better public relations advice and a lawyer who has the good sense to resolve these complaints outside of court. Anything less will just drag the Mounties further down the hopeless road they seem determined to travel.
* Allegations include that serial killer Willy Picton could have been caught but for RCMP incompetence.
* Robert Dzeikanski was tasered by the Richmond RCMP at the Vancouver Airport and died.
* Corporal Monty Robinson was in charge during the tasering of Dziekanski, has been charged with perjury in relation to the hearing, and convicted of obstruction of justice after he killed a young man in a road accident.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang