How the RCMP & C-42 Fail Cadets

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How the RCMP & C-42 Fail Cadets

Postby Thomas » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:40 am

Tales from Depot too Ticklish to Tell: How the RCMP & C-42 Fail Cadets

One of the most glaring issues surrounding mobbing and sexual harassment in the RCMP is how the public has not really been made privy to the fact that these issues are commonplace at Depot. Yet, not a word is said nor is anything really done.

Sure, Catherine Galliford has mentioned that her harassment took place as early as Depot and before. But, no one seems too concerned about what services or supports are in place for cadets at Depot. They’re not members, they’re essentially students. And, seemingly, their outcomes are inconsequential to the public or the Force.

Tell that to Ali Tahmourpour, Tammy Downes, James Maroney or any cadet who has had their career cut short because of harassment.

Unlike the old program, cadets are students in a “designated post-secondary institution.” The Force is quite proud of this since it was a way to cut costs from the old recruit program. It also seemingly provided them a way to weed out candidates in an expeditious manner, whether or not there was cause. The organization closes ranks and circles the wagons on targets in a heartbeat. Appeals processes are a sham, and, as cadets, they have no rights at all under the Act.

So, when the C-42 steamroller is put forward to make changes to an act that has not been changed in almost three decades, it is sad to note that no mention is even made of cadets anywhere in the Act. In other words, you can put your life on hold for your career, you can put yourself in debt, be issued tax forms for your room and board – but if we don’t like you, you’re screwed.

What does this teach cadets? You’re expendable. Or some of you are. The more predatory of the ilk, those that “fit the mold” will make it through. A goodly number of those who are middle-of-the-road cadets will make it through with no problems. But, if someone gets a whiff of something they don’t like about you, god help you. There’s nothing that can be done. The Japanese have a saying for: deru kugi wa utareru – the protruding nail is pounded down.

What does this teach the member? I’ve heard it said more than once by serving members who recognize the phenomena: the RCMP eats its young. The cadet that needs extra help to make it. The cadet who stands out in training or show any signs of being above-average. The cadet who sticks up for others or makes ethical waves of any kind. You will be consumed and spit out.

Sound familiar? Sure it does. Substitute ‘cadet’ for ‘recruit’ or ‘member,’ and you’ll likely recognize this behaviour as the one that plays itself out in personality conflicts or harassment issues in dets and divisions across Canada. There’s trouble in the Serge – someone is in for a rough ride and it is not the perpetrator. It is the target (and/or anyone who tries to intervene on the target’s behalf) who will suffer. The common behaviour now becomes ‘keep your head down and your mouth shut and toe the organizational line. Oh, can you SMELL the dysfunction?

And now Comm Paulson and Min. Toews think that C-42 will solve all the problems. Members with half a functioning neuron see this as false. But, if they truly wish to change the culture, they need to do one of two things: they need to extend the Act, through C-42 or otherwise, to cover cadets. This will allow them more rights and freedoms in terms of dealing with issues of harassment FAIRLY. Currently, and since the cadet program began back in 1995, the rights to fight improper treatment in any form are abysmal. There are two paved routes into Depot. One off of Dewdney, one off of Garrett. However, there are many ways to get railroaded out of Depot… and Depot admin have all the controls. This, for many reasons, has to change.

The other option is to kill the baby and re-instate the recruit program. Abandon the post-secondary experiment, which has been borne on the backs of cadets for the past 17 years, as a failed experiment. Level the playing field again and allow targeted candidates in training the same rights to appeal and grieve as members are allowed. If all other issues in the Act work as the nabobs in Ottawa believe it to, then management at Depot will still have means to deal with miscreants who somehow find their way to Depot.

Plenty of good folk have been railroaded out of Depot since 2005. Competent individuals with impressive skillsets. But, a pitiful complaints process – the facilitator is the agent of contact for all problems, but often the facilitator is the tormentor or a catalyst/ agent provocateur – has led to their dismissal from Depot unceremoniously. Think only the good get through? Check the rolls of miscreants and malcontents in the ranks who have made their way into the news in that same time frame. It’s more than a small few who came through under the cadet program.

Want to change the culture of the Force? It has to begin at Depot, one way or another. Failure to include Depot in the change process will ensure the insanity continues. It will see the mobbing and harassment issues continue unabated. It will end some good, maybe even great, careers prematurely.

And it will ensure that all survivors learn some terrible lessons about how to stay alive in the Force: keep your head down, don’t stick out and don’t try to defend anyone who is being picked on.

I’ll leave you with some sage wisdom from a late friend of mine, a form mil pol officer, that came while I was going through my time in the Force meatgrinder: in the RCMP now, members need two vests – one to protect them from the bad guys and one to protect them from their own.

Jamieson Hanlon ... il-cadets/
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