RCMP interference in harassment review won’t be tolerated, Ralph Goodale says

By Alison Crawford, CBC News

Scott Brison with Ralph Goodale
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, right, talks with Treasury Board President Scott Brison before appearing before the National Security and Defence Committee in Ottawa on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has issued an indirect warning to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson about Mounties’ participation in a review of how the police force handles allegations of workplace harassment.

“No one, no one will interfere in that process,” Goodale forcefully told members of the Senate’s committee on national security and defence Monday.

Senator Joe Day had asked the minister whether he had followed up on testimony from the chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

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Last month, Ian McPhail told the committee how his work to update his 2013 report on RCMP workplace harassment had met a roadblock.

“He couldn’t speak to any of the (RCMP) members without the member first informing the commissioner that he or she was speaking to McPhail. So the study, he felt, was compromised because he could not ensure confidentiality,” Day told Goodale.

The minister said he asked McPhail to undertake “a very important examination of issues on behalf of me and the government of Canada, and all Canadians.”

McPhail also appeared before committee Monday to provide an update.

He said that two days after his testimony last month, commissioner Paulson wrote to him directly to relay that his directive to members that they must notify their employer when they communicate with the complaints commission would not apply to the ongoing harassment review.

McPhail told senators he expects his report to be ready by the spring of 2017.

In the meantime, Goodale said he intends to hire an expert to advise him on harassment within the national police force.

“I am looking at a distinguished Canadian or group of Canadians who could offer me some particular advice of certain dimensions of the harassment issue. When I get those persons identified and the precise mandate finalized, I can comment further,” Goodale told reporters.