(Vancouver Province) – Canada’s top cop Bob Paulson is facing what he calls “pockets of resistance” in his attempt to institute a culture change in the RCMP, which is struggling with its public image. Recently, the RCMP commissioner was in B.C. to talk to senior officers about the need to promote and maintain an ethical organization and a respectful workplace. His words did not go down well in some quarters. The Province was provided copies of an email exchange between Paulson and Staff. Sgt Tim Chad of Ridge Meadows RCMP. Paulson said his email was not meant to talk down anyone’s view. “We need to think differently and act differently and my job is to lead that change.”
Chad declined an interview, saying he has been advised not to talk to the media. Read the exchange and tell us what you think.
CHAD, TIM(TIM CHAD) 30/07/2012 11: 14 AM
Dear Commissioner, Trust has become an essential element missing from the relationship between senior executive/ management and the membership in the RCMP’s leadership crisis. One of my peers commented after reading your video message, “I am getting tired of the Commissioner talking down to us like we are all a bunch of screw ups”. His comments illustrate a burgeoning divide, we are not all a bunch of screw ups but it is evident we are all being lumped into that category and we are not valued and trusted. We can understand the media painting us with that brush, but are having a hard time understanding why our own leadership says we all need to develop a new culture when a few “dark hearted” members have not been living the core values that you often speak of. This is where the trust that should have developed between us has yet to materialize and a divide is growing.
The perception is that you are making decisions in a vacuum that affect us all. In that vacuum distrust has developed. Decisions are being forced upon us instead of being negotiated with us. For example, at the same time that you and SEC are seeking cultural change within the Force you are also seeking significant erosion of our benefits and working conditions. This only serves to impair trust and confidence. Without trust there won’t be any buy in from the membership to make the “appropriate” changes to our culture.
The vast majority of the membership already lives by our core values and works hard every day to do the right thing and deliver first rate policing services for Canadians. However, benefits and protections derived from the RCMP Act and Health agreements that we have earned are under siege by an SEC who does not provide meaningful consultation to our members and our elected representatives. We are being paid lip service and this is of grave concern. It is my belief that these actions illustrate a disconnect between words and actions. In other words our relationship is developing into an Us vs. Them situation where no common ground exists and trust isn’t being fostered.
In another example, you commented about the changes to the senior executive promotion sys-tem. There is no comfort in the cur-rent process because quite frankly the system is not transparent therefore we don’t know if it is based on merit or other more PC or political factors. The perception is that there appears to be a disconnect between the words and actions of Senior Management.
Unfortunately, the Commissioner and SEC are not building trust and until you are willing to change that the Force will not be the respectful work place we all desire.
S/Sgt Tim Chad
Ridge Meadows E Div.
From: Bob Paulson
To: Tim Chad
Subject: Re: Every employee engaged
Sent: Aug 1, 2012 10: 03 AM
S/Sgt Chad I was deeply disappointed to receive your correspondence. I know full well the commitment most of our members have and the quality of work most of them provide. It stings to have you suggest otherwise. I’m concerned about your own view of your duty and responsibility in this organization. You are living under a rock if you think that our current situation in the RCMP does not warrant an “all hands on deck” approach to restoring the public trust which is vital to our very existence.
Your words reveal an ill-informed arrogance that is at heart of what ails us. Trust is essential, but for you to assign such limited terms under which this trust can exist is weak in its reasoning. Your attempt to discredit my effort to have an honest discussion with the staff of the RCMP strikes me as a cheap and unsophisticated insult, when you suggest that I am talking down to members.
You are perhaps unfamiliar and unused to looking at the world through the eyes of others. Like the Canadians you undertook to serve for example, when you were given the privilege of joining this institution. I’ve attached a sampling of what some of those people had to say to me recently. I get an enormous number of these. I may be wasting my time sharing these with you because it seems that you are completely persuaded that current events within the RCMP represents some PR anomaly that has to be managed better so we can all get back to ensuring you and your like-minded peers are better looked after. Wake up Man, this organization is at risk. We are making changes to the way health care is managed. That is true, but this will not lessen our benefits. That you would suggest this from an uninformed position speaks loudly about you. The RCMP Act will change for the better so that member conduct is actively managed by NCO’s. Are you prepared to actively man-age that responsibility in the Organization’s interest? When we have to dismiss someone from the Force as we must do from time to time, it will be done expediently and with the greatest respect for due process. It will be fair to the affected member and it will be fair to the organization. The SRR program (RCMP Labour Relations Program) has been engaged and will be engaged further in developing these changes. You are wrong to suggest otherwise.
So I must ask myself why you would do that. So, if you want to have a conversation with me about these important issues, I’m all for it, but don’t think you are going to be able to declare the terms. Inform yourself. It will take an effort. You can’t just wallow into a view and then express it as you have with-out expecting an argument. You are a Staff Sergeant in the Mounted Police writing the Commissioner on important, vital issues.
You have done yourself a disservice.
Commissioner / commissaire 73 Leikin Drive M8-3rd Floor, room 512D Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2