Rewarding incompetence

William Elliott was the first civilian Commissioner of the RCMP. An immutable failure while heading Canada’s once esteemed police agency, Elliott departed recently. Like disgraced predecessor Giuliano Zaccardelli, this man with little police experience is headed for an Interpol sinecure. The RCMP is further punished by having to pay his salary for at least three years while he develops U.N. partnerships in New York to identify international criminals. (Using mirrors, perhaps?)

After senior colleagues denounced Elliott’s leadership, The Globe and Mail’s Daniel Leblanc wrote this in November 2010:

According to the complainants, Mr. Elliott threw temper tantrums, failed to listen to his officers, acted disrespectfully and suppressed dissent. There were also concerns that he didn’t understand police operations, and that he failed to build, or even maintain, links with other police forces inside and outside of Canada.

Mr. Elliott, however, faced the mutineers head-on and got the support of the Harper government…

After the RCMP paid $44,000 for Elliott to take three days of “executive coaching” in Scottsdale, Arizona, he completed a purge of the force’s senior executive, with Deputy Commissioner Raf Souccar and others pushed out the door. A contributor to rcmpwatch.com — an online community of insiders and pro-police traditionalists — faulted Elliott’s ways :

His disdain for the “little guy” in his cross country trips shows, and therefore other than sycophantic types fawning support, his style does not engender trust, optimism and desire to follow through with meaningful change.

Not surprisingly, Elliott was paving his own road out a few months later. Despite support from loyal associates in the Harper Government, the RCMP’s mounting list of public failures and scandals testified the police service was spiralling into greater turmoil under its civilian Commissioner. The three year management experiment had to end.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Government provided lucrative rewards to Elliott despite his incompetence. Canada has reached an incongruous place where low-profile workers who perform inadequately earn discharge with little or no severance but high officials gain generous rewards, even after ruinous performances during brief periods of appointment. To ordinary citizens, the disparity is reprehensible, an unacceptable element of aristocratic entitlement authored by officials who hope for similar treatment for themselves in comparable circumstances.

Elliott put the best public face on his removal but it came days before Parliament’s public safety committee was to hear testimony from former senior RCMP officers about management disorder. That Elliott’s tenure was a costly failure is made clear by comments to the Globe and Mail by his replacement, new Commissioner Bob Paulson:

“Admitting to a culture of bullying and a legacy of botched investigations, the Mounties’ new commander says his police force faces obsolescence if it doesn’t get its act together – and quickly.

“RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says his mandate is to “clear-cut” problems that have taken root so deeply in the police culture that some Mounties are now embarrassed to tell neighbours where they work. Speaking to The Globe and Mail editorial board after a month on the job, he gave an assessment of internal dysfunction so candid that similar remarks would be almost unthinkable coming from the head of any other corporate or government entity…”

Commissioner Paulson’s frankness is both unusual and refreshing. Certainly Canadians are not surprised by anything Paulson said but they might be surprised at his directness and honesty. He is making clear to his members, and the public, that real change is necessary, that platitudes are inadequate. It is a good start down what will be a difficult road.

Categories: RCMP

Tagged as: ,

7 replies »

  1. I'm afraid that Paulson's frank proposals for change are just the next step of the Shock Doctrine. The previous Conservative appointee creates/worsens the problem to the level of disaster. They have the “bad guy” leave for Interpol, and now his right hand man comes in with the solution.

    And if the “new” guy and his solution makes things worse? They can bring in a new new guy to advance the Conservative police agenda. At all times just “trying to fix the problem”. I can hope for things to get better, but the G20 suggests that further militarization, brutality, political partisan control, and lack of accountability is the way things will go.


  2. It is said, Harper is a Reformer and he founded the Northern Foundation Party. This was in 1989. Harper certainly fits the profile of a dictator.

    Expect nothing good from Harper, he isn't capable. Canada is now so corrupt, it's embarrassing.

    I cringed at the meeting in Durban. Harper was actually bullying country's to accept the dirty tar oil. It doesn't seem to matter to Harper, how foolish he appears. Harper causes trouble, at every meeting of the Nations. He is known as a petty gasbag…Arrogant, stubborn, impossible to work with, and co-operates with no-one.

    Harper lost Canada's seat in the U.N. He embarrassed us in Copenhagen. Other country's are starting to shun Harper because, he is always the trouble maker, a control freak and is always a p.i.t.a.

    Harper is the new axis of evil, in these days. Dictators are always paranoid, and have to control absolutely everything. He controls and bully's politicians in other country's. Obama and P.M. Cameron for two, they can't stand up to Harper.

    Or perhaps, they agree with Harper, to get him to shut his mouth and to get him off their backs. Maybe other country's will come in defense, to free Canadians from Harper. There were country's that offered aid, for Harper's negligence of the F.N. citizens suffering, all across Canada. Harper should be forced to resign, for his cruelty. That is a crime against humanity.


  3. “Canada has reached an incongruous place where low-profile workers who perform inadequately earn discharge with little or no severance but high officials gain precious severance, even after ruinous performances during brief periods of appointment. To ordinary citizens, the disparity is reprehensible, an unacceptable element of aristocratic entitlement authored by officials who hope for similar treatment for themselves in comparable circumstances.”

    Very well said. Couldn't agree with you more, and would add only that it spans all political parties and jurisdictions and it's not just Canada.


  4. It seems to me that the only reason the conservatives were elected is because of A: the govt vote – that is…..votes by govt workers who love their big fat checks and pensions and B: the immigrant vote – that is ….immigrants who can keep escaping the crime ridden countries they came from….so they can become crooks here (tax evasion and money laundering is ILLEGAL and affects us ALL).


  5. Cronus, your comment is probably over the line that I've drawn for this blog and your other two are rejected. I will not tolerate antisemitism or any broad statements attributing ills of this country to some faceless group. Nearly all Canadians are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. My ancestors came to North American in the 1800's but I have three grandsons whose other grandpa came from Hungary in the fifties. You might think them less than perfect because they have blood of a more recent immigrant in their veins. I do not. Nor do I think that people who arrived here last year or 20 years ago are automatically less worthy of being citizens.


  6. My parents were homesteaders on the Canadian prairies, they were both from the U.S.

    It was the immigrant family's who built this country. A family from Poland, had no idea how severe the winters are on our prairies. They came totally unprepared, perhaps because of no money. All the neighbors gathered together. They built them a cabin, and a barn. Everyone gave them vegetables, fruit preserves, jams and jellies. They all brought the family a load of wood. Everyone pitched in and gave them chickens. My dad got them a moose. Other family's gave them, a girl and a boy piglet. This is exactly how the prairies developed. Every immigrant family who needed a helping hand got one, by all of the other family's. These same immigrant family's, all sent their sons to fight in WW11.

    Believe it or not Norm. My parents said, those early homestead days were the happiest times in their lives. Each family that arrived, brought their musical instruments and songs. There were barn dances, until the sun came up. When my dad was very ill with pneumonia. All the neighbors got together, to take my parents crops off. All those prairie people, were the salt of the earth.


Leave a reply but be on topic and civil.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s