Commission for complaints against RCMP to conduct investigation

Commission will determine whether policies and procedures were adhered to

A public interest investigation into the conduct of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members will take place, according to the interim chair of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP.

The investigation will look into whether RCMP policies and procedures were adhered to and if they are adequate to deal with harassment allegations. The Commission will also assess the thoroughness and impartiality of investigations into allegations of workplace harassment.

"I am satisfied that, given recent events, there are reasonable grounds for me to conduct a review of RCMP procedures pertaining to workplace harassment," said complaints commission interim chair Ian McPhail.

The investigation comes on the heels of complaints of harassment and bullying from several veteran officers and former RCMP members. Among them, a former RCMP spokesperson claims she experienced systemic sexual harassment over her 16 years with the police service and that the actions of some of her male colleagues have left her traumatized.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford says a supervisor exposed himself to her and that she suffered other unwanted sexual advances. She has been on sick leave for post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse since 2007.

Earlier today, a new commissioner of the RCMP was announced by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Bob Paulson says his first job as commissioner will be to deal with the RCMP’s tarnished image.

“These allegations do not represent the force that I joined and this condition cannot stand,” Paulson said in a press conference in the House of Commons. “I, like the rest of my colleagues in the RCMP, indeed like all Canadians, am very concerned about these recent allegations. I will sort this out in a way that Canadians can have faith and trust in the RCMP.”

Paulson said his office will investigate any outstanding sexual harassment complaints and set up an office in Ottawa to deal with any future allegations.

Paulson replaces William Elliott, who steps down on Nov. 21 to take a position with Interpol at the United Nations.

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