In recent years, there has been an increasing number of complaints about how the traditional, paramilitary, male-dominated culture of the RCMP has given rise to too many incidents of harassment, bullying and an apparent refusal to acknowledge the realities of a diverse society and workforce. Financial settlements of class-action lawsuits will not change this culture; what is required is a wholesale change of the negative aspects of the culture, starting from the top but engaging employees at all levels – both regular members, and public service employees – in the creation of a more inclusive and respectful workplace. This is a long-term endeavour that requires vision, leadership and determination over a decade or more. At this point, many of the claimants I spoke to do not see a capacity to make these changes in the RCMP as it is currently structured. Indeed, there are strong reasons to doubt that the RCMP has the capacity or the will to make the changes necessary to address the toxic aspects of its culture. I believe that true change can only take hold in the RCMP if independent external pressure is brought to bear on it. Trying to solve problems from within has been attempted several times and the result has been that the cultural biases and prejudices that exist within the organization have not been eliminated by the proposed solutions. It is my view that fixing the RCMP and addressing the negative culture that has taken root in it will take an immense effort and will require the good will of its leaders and members. Most of these individuals are invested in the status quo and will not likely want to make the necessary changes to eradicate this toxic culture.
Broken Dreams Broken Lives