Why the RCMP is in crisis: policing expert

From Global News – April 17th., 2021: What does that Nova Scotia massacre, and the RCMP’s response in the initial hours and months since, say about systemic problems inside the force? Dawna Friesen sits down with Garry Clement, one of the leading authorities on policing in this country, for The New Reality. He says persistent problems inside the Mounties – including at the leadership level – are putting communities across Canada in peril.

40 Comments

  1. Don MacRae says:

    Whether or not Garry Clements is an expert or who attached the label to him is irrelevant. Sandy McGibbon accurately described management of the force and how it has deteriorated or, never was properly trained for leadership roles, save for some outstanding exceptions and we all know some of them. What can you expect from the remainder of the force if management is an absentee landlord vacationing somewhere warm.

    • Thank you Don, I was getting lonesome with my radical views. I hope many more vets think this issue through. It is not contract policing, federal policing or Portapic, NS as awful as that was. We Vets and all Canadian deserve and need full leadership at the top of our great organization that we served faithfully. Until our people can meet and talk on an equal level as the many senior civil servants who control our resources there will never be a leading national police Force. Education, training and preparation for the tasks is urgently required.

  2. Stephen MILLS says:

    Folks, the following has been sen to Dawna Friesen of Global News:

    The New Reality – Aired April 17th, 2021

    Dear Ms. Friesen;

    Your interview with “one of the leading authorities on policing in this country” was watched with interest by many current and former members of the RCMP. Contrary to what was broadcast, the views of the guest are not widely shared by those members of the RCMP who have worked Contract Policing and particularly those who have worked Federal, International and Contract Policing. Federal and International Policing could not exist without the presence of front line intelligence throughout the country that Contract Policing provides.

    The roots of the RCMP are entrenched in the Contract Policing model. From its earliest beginnings the RCMP was tasked with maintaining law and order, enforcing the Criminal Code, Federal Acts and protecting aboriginal treaty rights. This mandate has continued unabated and with tremendous sacrifice for nearly 150 years. The fact that one organization can communicate and wade through the vast array of legislation that police utilize on a daily basis, while not having to transition though multiple jurisdictional roadblocks is incredibly efficient and effective. One need only to inquire with Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Counties of Scandinavia to learn that the structure of the RCMP in Canada is the envy of these and many other Countries.

    There is no question that the current environment within the RCMP is very difficult and this is due entirely to decades of budgetary constraints by successive Federal and Provincial Governments. The force has long been depended upon to stretch its membership extremely thin while numerous additional responsibilities are piled on by Government. After decades of neglect there must be the will to provide an adequate level of funding for the RCMP organization and its dedicated members and bring the force back to a position that justifies the reputation that has been nurtured since 1873.

    I would welcome you to get to know the RCMP by reviewing the attached. It documents the history and current environment within the RCMP very well.

    https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/minister-public-safety-rcmp-briefing-binder-november-2019

    Regards,

    Stephen Mills, S/Sgt. (Ret)
    Chief of Public Engagement
    RCMP Veterans Association

  3. I question the use of the word “expert”. Does Garry Clement have the background to be truly called an expert? I am sure he did not chose the word. Just an example of journalist control of the message and the product. Garry’s comments are valid, well stated and accurate as to senior management. I retired as senior officer having served or worked in every division save “E” and the North. On my way up the ranks I had much good fortune of being in the right place at the right time. In the title of 0f
    his book: General Lewis MacKenzie said – Soldiers made me look good. That was me as well. However, let me be clear, I had absolutely no training or exposure to any facet of senior management even though I made to there. I participated in one interview that led to a national magazine article (my face on the front cover). It was not a good scene. Again, journalist control. In hindsight, I was used by the professional journalist and it was my inexperience and lacking of understanding /training that left me and my team looking bad.
    I had a couple of journalist friends who critiqued the article. They were not kind but honest. It was many years before I allowed myself into that role again. A few years on I was the ‘appointed’ leader of another investigative team and allowed one more interview. It was my last. Even with my several Division postings, I never became an expert. No offence, Garry.
    I am aware of one professional journalist who approached senior management with the proposition of a media/public affairs team – civilian and formally trained journalists to be the front for the Force. I assisted in setting up the meeting. His visit to Ottawa did not go well. He was dismissed. This event happened about 50 years ago. There have been similar approaches since. I am not aware of any professional journalist in the employ of the RCMP. The problem of media relations is not new, just denied for all these years.
    The lack of training for senior officers has been apparent for a long time. Unfortunately, the media focus has been on the front line personnel or the broad generality of the Force. The public gets the three second clip of troops in red serge on parade in Depot. To say it again, marching on parade does not help a whole lot at the top. The senior officer cadre absolutely require training in their expected roles/assignments and onward as they advance in their careers.

    The questions are so obvious; the answers, not so much. Note:

    —there is a “Directors” program offered through many universities across Canada and supported by Government agencies and major corporations. Have never seen the
    RCMP represented. Why not?
    —the DND school of media/public affairs situated in Gatineau, QC began in 2006. There are openings for other agencies. Why no RCMP participation?
    —RCMP media relations personnel with due respect, do not have the rank or power to deal with the media today. These people are simply overwhelmed in their tasks.
    An example, Canadian military public affairs personnel are at least Captain/officer rank. A must.
    —How many senior officers particularly at Criminal Ops/District Commander (subdivision) level have had any media relations training. We don’t have to be reminded of
    the unfortunate Chief Supt. in Halifax last April. Let’s get these people trained to manage RCMP public affairs.
    — How many senior officers really understand the role of the media in society today? Particularly, the competitive nature of that industry.
    —How many senior officers have been exposed to or undergone “Command & Control Training. Should be a pre-requisite to assuming any command position.
    —I could go on.
    I have been retired for many years. I have watched/read and listened to negative comments on the RCMP leadership. I never though I had a legitimate outlet for my views. It would never be any media outlet that I know in Canada.
    The RCMP will never be a competent organization until we have senior management educated and trained in their roles at the same level as other Government agencies, most assuredly those agencies that control RCMP resources and funding. A Commissioner at the Deputy Minister level is not enough. The “old school tie” still counts and never less so than in government. That creditability will also attach to the RCMP Public Affairs component.
    We RCMP Vets, if we can and have the will, must pick up the torch, lit by Garry Clement and add our voices. I think we have a duty to honor our history and service with an honest and sincere offering of solutions to meet the current and future problems of the RCMP and its leadership at the top. I do not think we should get too embroiled the issues of contract policing and all that entails. Those are issues better left to the political animals answering to their constituents. I am disappointed that no senior executive has come forward with comments. AND, I realize how simple that sounds and yet so difficult to carry out.
    Thank you Garry for getting this old car started…S

  4. Gavin Bérubé says:

    I agree with Gary that the RCMP could do a better job in getting in front of the media and project a reassuring leadership to the communities facing these type of crisis. I am not sure however that fragmenting policing in Canada “a la US of A” is a panacea either. There were times when our US colleagues envy our laws. Now we envey theirs, and their means. However there are no lack of studies and reports showing the fragmented USA law enforcement has its issues. Canada has a level of fragmentation and related similar issues. Agencies not cooperating or even trusting other agencies, not sharing information and data etc. There is no doubt that for all its mandates the RCMP is under funded. Its organization could be much improved and its use of technologies optimized for success. There are so many new and transformative Business and Operational Models out there, applicable to crime prevention, protection and enforcement, that rather than simply advocating making the RCMP a federal force only that perhaps the underlying issues should be looked at against other potential proven successful models. Perhaps a national Business Case needs to be well documented as to the advantages and disadvanages of having one Federal Force, thirteen or so Provincial and Territorial Police Forces and X number of municipal police forces, all on distinct systems, processes and enabling legislations as well distinct collective agreements, benefits etc. Would such fragmentation prevent incidents such as the one at the center of this conversation?

  5. Robert McKee says:

    Garry described the problems very eloquently. We have all observed the deterioration of the RCMP based on the decisions of government.

  6. Don Vander Graaf says:

    I agree with his views and in particular, that the Force is trying to do too much…. abandon municipal and provincial policing. Get out of protective policing of VIPs, PM detail, this should be a separate entity like the secret service and nothing to do with the RCMP. All this should have been done 50 years ago. Extremely poor leadership over the years and look where the Force is today. What a mess!!

  7. Mike Horn says:

    I generally refrain from engaging in these conversations as they are so often generated by the commitments to service by individual members and their loyalty to the Force. My family history goes back to the March West, my father was a Sgt. on the Coronation Ride and retired in 1971 as the CO of B Division, my brother is a retired member and my son-in-law is a serving member in F Division. I retired from Manitoba Justice in 2014 after 16 years with that Department and 30 years combined service with the RCMP and CSIS. I spent 11 years overseas in Europe and Middle East. The respect for the RCMP, CSIS and Canada abroad is remarkable to this day. Unfortunately that respect and the respect of Canadians continues without a solid understanding of the challenges faced by the men and women of both organizations; understaffing, underfunding, lack of government support in the face of adversity and less than adequate support from the media.

    I can tell you first hand as the lead for Manitoba in negotiating the current Provincial Police Service Agreement that the attitude of our federal government “partners” was deplorable. Most of my provincial colleagues were ex-members fighting for everything that makes the Force different and attractive to new applicants as opposed to large municipal police services, to no avail. The Force now sits in a position where its members rank in the 90s in terms of comparative salary levels. What a disgrace.

    I suggested at an one executive meeting of the National Agenda on Organized Crime that Canada should consider an agency similar to the DEA to relieve the RCMP of the drug enforcement responsibility. An A/Commr. literally got out of his chair to object. The point in raising an inflammatory point was to create a discussion around the fact that the Force was and is over burdened with responsibility. It cannot continue. Nor can the expectation that it be everyone’s provincial, municipal and federal police service, at least not without a huge infusion of funding and a major restructuring. As a well respected CROPS officer in D Division said once at a local meeting on provincial policing, “the structure of detachment policing hasn’t changed in 50 years.” My father said not long after I was out of Depot that the worst thing that happened to the Force was getting into provincial and municipal policing. Now, that comment was from a Saskatchewan farm boy who had been on the Musical Ride of the 1930s, was the Sgt. i/c the Safe Blowing Squad in Calgary in the early 50s (anyone remember those?) and saw the Force as the apolitical organization most of us wish it was.

    In order for the RCMP to modernize and meet the challenges it faces today, without a serious restructuring, it requires, at a minimum, a huge infusion of funding at all levels. The Force really needs a major restructuring. Having said that, the flippant comments from the current inhabitant of the PM’s office tell me that won’t happen. The understanding in Ottawa, including RCMP Hqtrs, of the challenges faced by members on provincial and municipal policing contracts is thin to say the least.

    The Force as we knew it is in trouble and it needs help and understanding on a number of levels. I’m not sure that the kind of commitment this involves exists in the current iteration of federal government.

    • Mike, I broke out laughing at your comment about the A/Commr objecting to you suggesting a discussion I spent one year in Ottawa as Supt, was given a direct assignment from a D/Commr. I started research and one day later I was greeted on arrival at work in HQ building by an A/Commr, a Chief Supt and a Sgt “supporter” Their first question without good morning was “What are you doing?” I left out several words in the quote. Guess that was a common problem!!!!! Glad to hear I was not the only one Sandy MacGibbon
      :

  8. Clement Cass MacInnis says:

    There are so many things that can be said,but not now. Like Jim Hislop said earlier – let the hearing etc go on and let people adjust. I spent 35 years in the Force and did far better than anyone thought I would. I can speak out and I will at some point. Just keep the Politics out of it (to a point) and let good honest people make the decisions not what we’ve seen and heard in the last several years.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with the comments made by Garry, especially concerning our role as Federal, Provincial and Municipal police and that the Force should basically only perform a federal role like the FBI and DEA. In fact I have been touting that idea for about 40 years.
    In the very early 1980’s when I was the NCO i/c of the Policy Evaluation Section of the NCIBranch at HQ I took a Political Science course at night at Carleton University and wrote a 23 page essay pertaining to a case study of Federal-Provincial conflict in police contracts in which I included recent comments made by Commissioner Simmons relative to restructuring police responsibilities leading to the eventual cessation of police contracts. Since that time nothing along these lines has ever taken place, that is until the present happenings in Surrey.
    Based on my field experience with NCIS in the 60’s and 70’s and my NCIB experience as well as my time spent in CISC dealing with RCMP CO’s, provincial police Commissioners and Police Chiefs from all over Canada it was obvious that organized crime was not getting the attention it deserved, because like Garry said, we were trying to be all things to all people. By the way, if you will allow me to brag a bit, I got an A- on my essay.

  10. Emerson Kaiser says:

    Criticism from afar tends not normally to be of any real value and I listened to and watched this interview through that lens. Further, In my career I have been in a position to decide what to release and what not to release during or after a serious incident and it is a no win situation. Be brutally honest and the press conclude that you are only trying to make the force look good and be less so and the press conclude that you are trying to hide something. I await the outcome of the enquiry and once all facts are on the table and only then will I feel free to make comments.

    The fact that that we are understaffed has been a fact since I joined the force in 1958. Have the provinces where I have been involved in the process (either directly or doing background work as the i/c Planning)been made aware of the outcome of remaining understaffed – yes most assuredly so. I say this to correct the assumption of some who were never involved in the process that “the brass” simply go along with the Force remaining in a state of being short staffed without objection.

    The bigger question out of all of this being what should the role of the Force be going forward? While the Force are able to outline a clear vision of what that future role should there are larger forces at play. The comments of some would seem to conclude that the matter of what our role should be is totally ours to make. If you are in that group you will have to give your head a shake and realize the the Federal and Provincial Governments where we are in signed contracts to provide policing services would have a large say in our future role.

    The Commissioner is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Federal government of the day at a deputy minister level and while independent on policing matters is very much less independent in the larger questions, as example, the future role of the organization.

  11. Tony Cooper says:

    I fully agree that the RCMP should be strictly a Federal Police Force and I have been saying this for many many years. The RCMP cannot and should not be expected to do Municipal and Provincial as well as Federal police duties. They have never had sufficient resources to do everything expected of them and have been under paid for years. I loved being a member of the Force for over twenty six years.

    • Bill Helland says:

      Tony, I agree. Bill Helland

    • Dennis Roughley says:

      Tony: Like comparing Apples and Oranges, given we have considerable differences in generations of new Members, making decisions that were quite opposite in time past. We that served in more certain times, ie (Saskatchewan & Alta), where it was quite clear with small detachments serving small communities, your responsibilities were quite clear, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And, we were all things to all people, including young folks who were raised in similar environments. What has happened in places like BC, Alta., and even Saskatchewan, and Manitoba closed down the small, and created the larger, and less personal kinds of oversight, including cities like Surrey, Nanimo and so on; and small became oversized, and less manageable, because no on enjoyed being employed in those conditions. A good example was Fort McMurray, Alta, which in 1972 was 8 to 9 thousand, and the other areas ie, indigenous communities grew so fast and unorganized with little or no leadership. Maybe the Supt., had great intentions of making a difference, it appears he departed and is more effective being the advocate for change, which he should have influenced when he was a RM. And, lets be frank, the Force was also changing its make up with ladies, and other under represented minorities, including out of Country born and raised….There is this notion that the Force should be just a Federal Force, similar to the FBI, and leave the local policing to local folks., especially at the Provincial Level, similar to OPP, and QPF & even NFLD. And definitely leadership needs to be more demanding, and supportive of its members especially knowing the Force is one of the lowest paid Police Services in Canada, yet has the largest number of Members? And, to make it even more complicated, the Force is now supposedly Unionized, and has representation especially at the Provincial level ? It will not be long before there is a major shift in who does what, when and where, and like the Military will have a clearer understanding who is over searing the debacle?

      • Thanks Dennis for the upgrade in my memory. In the mid 1960’s I attended Ryerson University. One research paper I chose was the union vs management issue about who directs what when and where. It was a fun thing to do with my teacher from mid management Ford Motor Co. She earned her living dealing with the union(s) at Ford. It was a real lesson in management, education and training so necessary to manage employees. I wonder sometimes if senior management has forgotten it is their job to manage and protect fully the biggest resource the RCMP has. Its 25000 plus employees. Now they have a union and the fork in the road has already been passed. We Vets may have differing opinions on the unionization. That time has passed and it is management’s job to stand up and direct, manage and protect the resource. Yes, it will take money, a lot of money and that answer ( a long bridge) lies with our elected parliamentarians. Our task as Vets is the offer advice on how to get across that bridge.
        Mark du Puy has condensed the issue well. Tell it like it is.

  12. Bill Adams says:

    While questions raised in this interview were skillfully asked, Gary’s response as an expert in policing is about as credible as those expressed by a gathering of Vets drinking beer at the Legion on a Friday afternoon. And I have an emotional reaction of using the tragedies of Mayerthorpe, Moncton and Portapique as anchors to support a subjective opinion that is held out to be objectively authoritative. Especially when one of those tragedies is still in the investigative phase. In the end, Gary’s criticism of the Force seems more vexatious than insightful.

  13. Barbara stewart Retired RCMP says:

    I agree with Clements comments!

  14. Donald Zazulak says:

    Provincial policing contracts elect to pay for either must do, can do or nice to do policing. Its their choice, inadequate or little funding translates into “can do” bare bones policing; make no mistake, the Province tells the RCMP what they can afford, and the RCMP management tries to deliver with what they have. Funds dictate “is the policing service reactive or proactive?”
    Every community would like a DARE program, or a COPS program, or a Block Watch program; there are literally a dozen other community programs out there. Unless a detachment has the manpower to organize and train and oversee these very useful programs, these programs will never flourish or have longevity.
    Take into account legislated policy changes that affect resource levels at Detachments. Since the late nineties a dozen or so Supreme Court decisions are greatly impacting on resourcing levels, are these factors adequately measured. The burden of “how policing” is to be accomplished – take Regina vs Stynchcombe (Disclosure) as an example.. This one decision alone has taken investigations into the “paperwork” jungle with no respite- and these decisions affect every policing agency.
    The RCMP is not alone in trying to secure enough funding to properly execute their ever expanding duties. So folks its up to our masters, the politicians, to decide whether they can afford a “lets get by service” or a properly funded service.
    Today’s society has created many detractors to policing. Consider court time, sick time, training time, travel time, annual leave, parental leave as prime examples.
    I do agree with Garry; the RCMP may have to take on a more specialized “national” role- if that means terminating some provincial contracts, so be it. Go Langley!

  15. Bill Helland says:

    I am retired but as far back as mid 1970s it was evident we were trying to do far too much. We were constantly seconded to cover off some responsibilities we were untrained for. One day you were a drug investigator, later on administration. Every member was expected to be able to do anything.

    Bill Helland

  16. Jim Hislop says:

    I will give Gary Clement credit for speaking his mind according to his understanding and assessment of the situation. I will resist the temptation to offer any further comment on this topic as the investigation is apparently not yet completed, and the Inquiry is about to hear from witnesses and victim families, etc. It is likely that too much chatter from active and retired police officers will serve no good purpose to anyone.

    • Scott Anderson says:

      I cannot agree with you more Jim, especially in view of the audience.

    • Jim Christy says:

      It has been mentioned herein that: “too much chatter from present or retired members would not be of benefit. I wonder. As a retired officer from Southern Sask. I visited my old detachment area to find that my three person detachment now exists as a sub office of a new detachment which serves two former detachment areas. In visiting the NCO in charge, I learned that due to: personal leave, maternity leave and stress related leave, that he was alone . He was getting calls for service from 100 kilometers away and with no back up.

      When I drove through the area last, the main detachment was closed. The sign on the door said that the hours were from 8:00am to 4:00pm. After hours, one should call Swift Current detachment. This is a clear result of an organization trying to be all things to all people. Please have the government decide what duties the RCMP. should be concentrating on, properly fund these and get out of areas that Provinces and Municipalities should be looking after.

      The Provinces will never move away from the RCMP policing the Provinces as the Federal Government provide these services more cheaply than they could afford. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper funding, they are getting just that: cheap service.

  17. Yves Rainville, S/Sgt (ret.) says:

    Supt Garry Clement (ret.) is an extremely respected and credible member. I met him in the early ’90s when he was a newly minted Insp.. I rode around with him for a few shifts, familiarizing him with the city and the role of Protective Policing in Ottawa and even then, I knew this guy was not a puppet. Garry always spoke his mind, albeit in a respectful manner but he was not, by any means a “Yes Man” (probably why he did not make A/Comm which he was fully qualified for). I had and still have, a lot of respect for him. I fully support his point of view, that Big Red has gotten too big and diverse to the point where it can no longer deliver the quality of service that the Canadian public expect from their national police force. Long gone are the days when we could say that any good member could perform any duty within the RCMP. This is, today, unfortunately far from the case. Very few members, and I would say “if any”, can become Commissionner and change the organization head over heels which is what is needed. No, the culture and mindset would prevent this way of thinking.

  18. Allbwell says:

    Mr. Clement has reiterated several very salient issues that have been plaguing the RCMP for many years: 1/Communication with media = his suggestion to have a veteran journalist (on contract) to guide the press releases and script the narrative for the police communicator are spot on. Every Canadian wants to believe in the RCMP and the RCMP wants every Canadian to believe in them but without clear identification of causal issues around an event being revealed – it always looks like a cover-up; 2/ Undervaluing the RCMP in relation to other police forces = the RCMP Commissioner is in the hands of the Government – always! The Commissioner is appointed by the Government and is picked partly on merit but mostly on his/her ability to be controlled and respond to the Government’s wants (not needs). Salaries have languished, the money (since 1994) for resources has gone to re-building a top-heavy hierarchy (directors, not workers) instead of putting uniforms on the streets; 3/ Taking responsibility for error is shunned by management; they rely on writing ‘policy’ to control rather than to support investigators. The RCMP policy books have become a library of dictates (“Do it this way only”) instead of being a guideline to help investigators to get the job done. Such control stifles initiative and creativity – thus people hesitate to act when swift tactical action is required and the situation is not described ‘in the book’; 4/ Hiring policies have been dictated by government to reflect the Canadian demographic BUT: on a Bell curve of people in Canada, that demographic does not reflect what a police person should be: Police people require a strong physique, strong communication skills. superior intelligence, strong values and a sense of humility. Find and hire those people and pay them properly and let them prove themselves. Those traits created the RCMP’s legend and they should be cultured again.

  19. Garth Hampson says:

    Yes, I have my two cents to offer from this interview with Insp. Clement. As we watched the early Sunday morning development out of Portapique on the TV last year I made a comment that this was not going to bode well for the Force because people were not alerted when they should have been. When the time came for the first interview, a very unknowing officer could not answer questions posed by the media. In Gary’s interview it mentions about the need for the Force to have trained media people to answer questions that would make the public feel less likely to be critical of how the Force operates. I knew too, from things that have happened here in Ottawa that the police will not make statements and that the incident is being investigated by SIU and sometimes that doesn’t happen for many months. It does not make for a happy taxpayer. Such concerns could be alleviated had we had our own well prepared media representative present.

    The other thing about relinquishing RCMP policing in Municipal and Provincial jurisdictions has become increasingly noticeable. We all know there are shortages in manpower and that is exactly what happened in Portapique. Most of our work in the provinces is in the countryside and I am aware that some members are even reluctant to be posted to the smaller two man detachments and yet, that is the area of a province where we are best known and appreciated. The taxpayer pays for the operation of the Force and they must be satisfied with the protection the Force is offering for their security.

    Going back to having a professional media person employed to deal with major incidents. There are members who do amazing acts of charity and maybe they should be recognized so that the public can see that police are part of community life. Do we indeed have a Public Relations office? That was where my work was for 24 of my 34 year career and the office I had to deal with at HQ, although labelled as Public Relations would have been better labelled “Complaints Office”. There is lots of good being done by members. Lets get someone to tell those stories and when the crunch comes from time to time, people have a better idea of what police have to deal with every day and we are there to help. They know us as one of their own. As Gilbert and Sullivan wrote in one of their famous satirical operas “A Policeman’s lot is not a happy one” – and it isn’t.

    Thanks for letting me offer an opinion. I compliment Insp. Clement on his forthright comments.

  20. R.A.P. "Dick" Hawkshaw says:

    Garry nailed it! The Force does not belong in Provincial or Municipal policing. Further, they must concentrate on recruitment. It does not matter what colour of skin, gender, sexual orientation or religious faith the applicant is. What matters is that the applicant is of top quality. And the pay must be drastically increased to ensure this.
    Being in the RCMP is not a 9 am to 5 pm job! It is a calling, it is an exceedingly worthy career requiring dedication, commitment and loyalty.
    Further, a long hard look must be directed at the leadership of the Force as it has dropped the ball. Political influence doe not belong and should not hold sway.
    Sorry James I had to respond. Being a member of the RCMP was a boyhood dream for me and I had a wonderful in fact superb career. I am a proud retired Mountie and it pains me to see what is happening regarding the Force today.

  21. Scott Anderson says:

    I cannot disagree with many of the observations put forth by retired Superintendent Clement. It should be worth stating as a senior leader in the RCMP retired Superintendent Clement had the opportunity to engage in many of those changes.

    I do want to suggest that all Canadians should exercise caution in relation to commenting on the Portapique, Nova Scotia matter in view of the fact the investigation has not been completed, and a public inquiry is forthcoming. Those processes unfold documentary, physical, and eyewitness evidence of what the RCMP did and did not do. We only know the result of the actions of the gunman at this point. Accountability can only be applied on facts, not the bits and pieces put forth on this tragedy by the media and others which at times are taken out of context. Canadians do not know all of the facts and I am suggesting withholding judgement on the actions of the RCMP until that is revealed. It is with great interest many of us in this country will be watching the public inquiry. If, after that, changes need to be made, there should be no hesitancy in doing so.

  22. Lloyd DAY says:

    Recruiting is also a problem in hiring the quality of candidates we need for our future, whether we do just Federal policing or not. How can the Force really get a handle on good candidates when so much of the background/character inquiries are done by some retired member over the phone, who has had nothing to do in his service with recruiting. We always use to attend to these types of inquiries in person. With the lack of our Senior or Leadership not facing the public as the video relates, a member feels hung out to dry and is suspicious of obtaining any support so often needed. Its a difficult job, we use to feel support from our leaders but today as everyone seems to run scared for their own future, it becomes everyone for himself. This can initiate a reluctance in members to pick and choose certain tasks which results in less risk of encountering controversy.

  23. William Hacock says:

    I agree with Garry’s comments

  24. Glynn Norman, Sgt. Ret’d says:

    I agree 100% with Garry Clement’s comments. It is one thing to assign such a myriad of responsibilities to such an organization as the RCMP and yet another to do so without providing them with the necessary resources to carry them out in an efficient & comprehensive manner. For far too many years government has left the leadership of the Force to their own ways & means & the need to scramble for the wherewithal to meet the demands being placed on their limited resources. No other police force in the world is stretched so thin that they are forced to be more preoccupied with the ongoing demands of defending their actions than they are with the role of the protection of life & property. A more limited area of responsibility together with the necessary resources to fulfill a renewed mandate is long overdue.

  25. Eric Ross says:

    Gary makes some interesting and relevant comments regarding the RCMP the most salient of which is the underfunding now decades in the making. Investigation of white-collar crime including money laundering and corruption have badly eroded under multiple governments. It is possible that this underfunding, particularly in this sector, is intentional as it is this very sector that is responsible for investigating business transactions of government with non-governmental businesses. This underfunding has led, in addition, to salary slippage and equipment degradation adding to morale and personnel issues affecting long term health of the organization. Unfortunately, the popular notion of removing the RCMP from provincial, regional, and municipal policing, advocated for decades by others and in this article by Supt. Clement (retired) is neither a quick fix for underfunding nor a substitute for effective policing on behalf of the Canadian people. In effect such a move merely pushes more funding responsibility to the provinces with increased inefficiency while allowing the federal government to reduce the effectiveness of the RCMP by additional funding cuts.
    After studying the RCMP for half a century and being involved with early reform of that organization what constantly impresses me is the uniqueness of an organization that has no equal in the world. The RCMP has for 150 years negotiated successfully with all levels of government to provide police protection to the Canadian people. I realize that it is popular with the media to disregard such a contribution in the light of some utopian society that will magically live in harmony, however, I wonder how many of the experts have truly thought through their position. Perhaps it is time for all levels of government to properly fund the RCMP to see if the properly funded organization can provide the quality of service on which their well-deserved reputation was built.

    • Christopher Mew says:

      Is this the Eric Ross of “J” Div and Sussex in particular? A well thought out article Eric, you hit the most important points right on, we have suffered from poor senior management and definitely a lack of proper funding, good point too about white collar crime, incredibly costly to do a proper investigation but with a P.M. who fires his Minister of Justice for upholding the law what can you expect.

  26. Wayne Noonan says:

    As a former member I was somewhat apprehensive on how this interview would unfold but also as a former Media Relations Officer for the Force I agree with the comments of this former officer. It’s long overdue that the Senior Executives of the Force stop bending over to accommodate too many masters. “Tell us what you want for service and be prepared to pay for it.” The Force has to take responsibility for years of micro managing their frontline members and deflecting reasonable concerns from our citizens re: staffing issues blaming those shortages on our municipal or provincial contracts.
    As far as transparency is concerned I’m not sure I agree with this as Force wide problem but as a citizen now our response to the tragedy in NS was terrible. And to make matters worse, in NS, the RCMP employs trained media resources(journalists) who are well aware what can be released to the public and how we should respond to legitimate concerns. Compare this response to the Swissair response in 1998. As a matter of fact you can’t…….

  27. George Jong says:

    If you want honest opinions of the FORCE, invite retirees to talk if they are willing to talk in a zoom type meeting

  28. William Hacock says:

    Garry’s comments are so over the top correct. Come on RCMP management…..please grow up and become more responsible to the people of Canada..

  29. Mark du Puy says:

    This is something that we, the RCMP, having been doing for years. It does not help to eliminate the public’s perception that we are not being transparent. Instead of getting ahead of the negative comments and releasing information we hide behind “privacy laws prevent us from commenting”. To the public it appears that we are spin doctors, spinning the facts so as not to look like the bad guy. Just state what happened. In today’s day with all the connectivity society has holding back details does not help. “ what did you know?” “When did you know it?” and “What did you do?”

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