RCMP’s structure could change under new commissioner, says Ralph Goodale – Politics

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the looming retirement of RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is as good a time as any to consider rejigging the governance of the force, including the outstanding recommendation to set up a civilian oversight body.

“The change in command is an opportunity to examine all dimensions of governance and structure. The new commissioner will have important challenges to address in terms of maintaining the tradition and heritage of the force and at the same time acknowledging all of the new things that modern day policing requires,” Goodale said in an interview with Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio’s The House.

“Obviously we’ve had issues internally to deal with, with the allegations of harassment and bullying, a major class action that the RCMP has now been successful in settling,” he said.

“The RCMP is just an absolutely fundamental institution in this country and the standards in terms of workplace behaviour has to be absolutely top of the heap.”

Goodale has already publicly acknowledged the support behind the idea of civilian oversight, which was the central recommendation of a 2007 report from a task force on governance and cultural change at the RCMP. 

That’s welcome news to Queen’s University and Royal Military College professor Christian Leprecht, who is about to publish a study on the RCMP’s leadership structure through the MacDonald-Laurier Institute.

In the past, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said the federal government should consider setting up a civilian board of management for the RCMP. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Leprecht said you can’t fix harassment and the RCMP’s other issues if you don’t fix the governance structure.

Look to DND model?

“It’s a fairly dysfunctional structure and organization but it is replete with very good people trying to do their best,” he said.

“Institutional cultural change is gradual but the only way you can get there is by changing the way…

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