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The RCMP's familiar red coats at first made a brave show in this year's Calgary Stampede Parade. But the closer they got, the more I realized how much they were struggling to keep up appearances. Several officers were out of step, some were grossly overweight and none maintained the military posture I recall from previous parades. As they straggled by, I was struck by the metaphor they presented ... a once proud force now barely holding on to former glory.
David Brown and his task force said as much last December when they released their report, Rebuilding Trust: "We learned about basic human management systems that haven't worked for years: mandatory unpaid overtime; discipline and grievance systems that don't work; a promotion system with little or no credibility; a sometimes embarrassing record of accounting to the people they serve." Since then, little news has emerged regarding renewal efforts. The only whiff I've seen is an article out of Vancouver announcing a new communications director for BC. Acting Staff-Sgt Tim Shields, who sounds like a decent sort, says he hopes to build trust and openness. Nevertheless, he too reveals a preoccupation with PR rather than ongoing transparency. His first priority is a video feature on bc.rcmp.ca showcasing "the difficult and sometimes impossible situations that we are faced with." I wonder what he has in mind ... the Dziekanski case?
Mr. Brown called for regular six month progress reports on the RCMP's transformation. June 30th was the deadline for the first in the series. It passed without a word ... yet another indication that the Mounties are still out of step with Canadians.
Posted On Jul 28 03:10PM
The mounties still arouse great pride in me when I see them parade by. I'm not even sure why: some nationalistic hardwiring, I guess. And I know I'm not alone. They represent one of Canada's few quickly recognized national symbols.
All the more reason that they should be the best of the best, in terms of fitness, rigour, discipline and decorum. But also in values and training.
Let's hope some real changes at the top help bring back the lustre to an important Canadian Institution.
Posted On Jul 08 10:23AM
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