When Pierre Lemaitre graduated in crimson serge in 1986, he was shipped to B.C., removed from his Quebec upbringing. Location didn’t matter: he had his Stetson and his Strathcona boots — he was a Mountie. This was the belief of a lifelong dream.

With an aching smile, his widow Sheila Lemaitre just lately testified about images of little Lemaitre “standing at cautious consideration” subsequent to Mounties of their iconic uniform. In 2013, after an extended and tough profession, Lemaitre killed himself.


He was 55, a 27-year veteran of the drive.

The inquest into his suicide, held late final yr, was tasked with inspecting the circumstances that led to his demise however in the end didn’t have the mandate to delve into RCMP administration — that, the Supreme Court docket is kind of clear, is a federal energy. And so, the work surroundings that Sheila — herself a former Mountie — lots of Lemaitre’s colleagues and a number of other consultants imagine contributed to the deterioration of his psychological well being went principally unexplored.

WATCH: Former Mounties open up about RCMP’s poisonous work tradition

The inquest lasted lower than per week. Retired Mountie David Reichert, who knew Lemaitre and is in his personal authorized battle with the drive, thought the suggestions coming from the inquest had been superficial. He referred to as it “the largest waste of cash you’ve ever seen.”

The entire invoice was about $32,000. That represents a tiny fraction of the funds that International Information estimates taxpayers have spent on fallout from mismanagement. Greater than $220 million has been spent within the final 20 years on all the pieces from sexual harassment lawsuits to human rights complaints and federal inquiries into nepotism, office bullying and turf wars with different police businesses. This determine contains funds spent paying out lawsuits associated to worker claims in addition to exterior claims together with use of drive, malicious prosecution and failing to guard informants. It additionally contains the prices of inquiries into Mountie mismanagement, from the examination of the RCMP’s use of drive throughout an Asia-Pacific Financial Co-operation (APEC) assembly in 1997 to 2 experiences in 2017 on office harassment.

Former RCMP Sgt. Derek Brassington pleads guilty to breach of trust in Surrey Six murder investigation

There’s no fast repair for remodeling a paramilitary group with over 30,000 members, together with over 18,000 sworn cops and 15 divisions with a mandate to cowl all the pieces from native policing to cash laundering, terrorism, human smuggling and the prime minister’s safety.

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The ensuing organizational tradition that has endured has been labelled a “tradition of dysfunction” by the drive’s personal Civilian Assessment and Complaints Fee (CRCC) in a 2017 report on office harassment. In lots of respects, the report repeated themes of the inquiries that got here earlier than. The issues, it discovered, are pervasive: Mounties who gained’t communicate up for worry of repercussions, promotions pushed by who you understand reasonably than what you do and a presumption that as a result of an officer occupies a senior rank, they mechanically wield that energy with ability and professionalism.

WATCH: Psychiatrist Greg Passey, who works with Mounties, shares his frustration over how the RCMP group impedes its personal members capability to do their jobs.

International Information has carried out intensive interviews with greater than a dozen former and present Mounties in addition to historians, psychologists and policing and organizational administration consultants, all of whom arrived at comparable conclusions: to this point, these efforts have been an costly failure.

The RCMP has acknowledged a few of its failings, together with in a proper apology in 2016 to ladies within the drive for careers “scarred” by harassment, after which, in 2018, to households of lacking and murdered Indigenous ladies and women for his or her investigative failings. By asserting plans final week to herald a civilian board to supervise administration of the RCMP, the federal authorities has implicitly acknowledged the failure to handle these points throughout the group.

Feds creating RCMP advisory board in hopes of combating internal bullying, harassment

On paper, these new reforms are sweeping and point out that the federal government is prepared to handle Mountie issues, mentioned Robert Gordon, a criminologist at Simon Fraser College. The truth, nonetheless, stays to be seen.

“I don’t assume the mandate, at this level, is to undertake the numerous restructuring and reform of the RCMP that’s required,” he mentioned. “It’ll be settling issues which have arisen inside the home versus issues which have arisen because of the construction of the home.”

WATCH: Criminologist Rob Gordon explains why he, amongst different policing consultants, imagine most of the RCMP’s issues stem from its dimension.

‘I felt helpless’: Trauma on the job

In December 1991, Pierre Lemaitre was referred to as to a homicide in Bella Coola, a small group on B.C.’s central coast, house of the Nuxalk Nation. A younger lady had been sexually assaulted and crushed to demise. Her face was swollen past recognition, and no one had reported anybody lacking.

“I felt helpless,” Lemaitre wrote within the years earlier than his demise in a letter to Veterans Affairs as a part of a pension software.

“All of us carry some flashbacks or heavy reminiscences or worries, once we have a look at our family members, that comparable issues may occur, however it’s a part of the job,” Sheila defined on the inquest.

And but, a 2017 report from the auditor common discovered that regardless of being one of many first federal organizations to introduce a psychological well being technique, the RCMP was not assembly the wants of its members. That report served as a reminder of how that failure reverberates: “Finally, members’ poor psychological well being impacts the RCMP’s capability to serve and defend Canadians.”

The RCMP didn’t immediately reply to questions on its psychological well being technique however as a substitute shared data outlining the companies at the moment out there to its members.

Lemaitre understood that by its nature, the job meant trauma and flashbacks, fear and worry. However, Sheila testified: “He nonetheless beamed when he placed on that crimson serge.”

Pepper-spraying protesters

In 1997, Pierre Lemaitre was one in all a number of Mounties tasked with communications throughout the November APEC assembly. It resulted in an nearly $10-million inquiry shadowed by allegations of political interference.

In late November, when world leaders gathered to speak about commerce, police arrested protesters who arrange a tent metropolis on the College of British Columbia campus forward of one of many scheduled conferences and tore down indicators held on coat racks that learn “free speech,” “democracy” and “human rights.” Snipers watched from the rooftops.

The turning level, on the ultimate day, was the actions of RCMP Workers Sgt. Hugh Stewart and his squad. Chargeable for clearing some 50 or 60 folks from the roadways, Stewart received out of his van with a can of pepper spray the dimensions of a fireplace extinguisher. He instructed the protesters to depart. They didn’t.

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Whereas Stewart wasn’t the one Mountie to shoot pepper spray — protesters writhed on the streets, making an attempt to wipe the chemical from their eyes — he was the one folks would bear in mind. A CBC digicam operator caught the spray on his digicam. That clip could be replayed again and again on the information.

The response was offended and instantaneous. Shirley Heafey, chair of the RCMP’s public complaints fee on the time, instructed reporter Jesse Ferreras in 2007 that she referred to as for an inquiry after the drive stymied her makes an attempt to research. There have been claims the prime minister himself ordered the crackdown. The inquiry didn’t fulfill lots of these outraged.

A demonstrator is assisted after getting pepper spray in her eyes when police used the spray to interrupt up an indication outdoors the College of British Columbia, the positioning of the APEC Summit in Vancouver, Canada, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 1997.

(AP Picture/Dan Loh)

In 2001, when the inquiry launched its interim report, Stewart — later promoted to sergeant main — was tasked with coaching officers on the Summit of the Americas in Quebec Metropolis. Many experiences have described the RCMP promotion system, as just lately as 2017, as having “little or no credibility.” Allegations or findings of fault appeared to haven’t any constant bearing on an individual’s profession trajectory, however talking up — as Lemaitre would come to search out out — did. The RCMP didn’t reply to questions on its promotion or self-discipline techniques. International Information couldn’t attain Stewart, nonetheless his spouse instructed reporter Jesse Ferreras in 2007 that he had “completely no curiosity” in speaking about APEC.

That the APEC inquiry and inquiries since don’t appear to concentrate on the systemic issues is unsurprising, mentioned Jaggi Singh, one of many protesters arrested throughout APEC. In his opinion, “the parameters of these commissions are properly inside not questioning the basic proper of the RCMP to do what they do.”

“The aim of it’s to absolve giant components of policing and perhaps critique a number of unhealthy apples,” Singh added.

Whereas the APEC fee criticized the “method” during which protesters had been pepper-sprayed, saying it “seemingly didn’t conform with beneficial process,” it in the end dominated the motion applicable.

“I don’t discover any inappropriate conduct within the method during which the spray was dispersed,” learn the fee’s remaining report.

Sexual harassment — inside and outdoors the drive

Catherine Galliford met Pierre Lemaitre for the primary time on the APEC summit media crew. He was variety, real and reliable, Galliford mentioned.

Galliford, who’s now 52, labored out of the drive’s Richmond detachment, dealing with high-profile circumstances just like the Air India investigation. In 1985, 329 folks had been killed when a bomb exploded aboard their flight, regardless of advance warning {that a} terrorist assault was seemingly. Just one individual was ever convicted.

Vancouver Police Sgt. Sheila Sullivan (left) and RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford (proper) maintain up a brand new poster launched by the Lacking Girls Process Power in Vancouver, Wednesday Oct. 6, 2004.

(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Galliford additionally labored on the lacking ladies investigation that might ultimately result in serial killer Robert Pickton’s arrest — a mishandled investigation that an inquiry, concluding in 2012, discovered “utterly missed the Aboriginal dimensions of the lacking ladies disaster all through the investigations.” Relatedly, a proposed class-action into the RCMP’s investigations into lacking and murdered Indigenous ladies was filed towards the drive and the federal authorities final yr, in search of $600 million. On the time, a spokesperson for Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale refused to touch upon a case earlier than the courts.

Greater than a colleague and buddy, Lemaitre turned an individual that helped Galliford cope together with her sexual harassment allegations. “What I wanted Pierre for was somebody to bear witness to what was taking place to me,” she mentioned.

Harassment, bullying in RCMP a ‘serious and persistent problem’

Galliford, who joined the RCMP in 1991, went public together with her allegations in 2011 and settled a lawsuit with the drive in 2016, mentioned she accompanied a supervisor on journeys throughout Canada to go to with the households of the Air India victims within the late 1990s. There was no information to inform them, she mentioned, however she alleges her supervisor used these journeys as an opportunity to attempt to have intercourse together with her.

A distinct supervisor had proven her his genitals and requested if she thought a mole on his penis was “cute,” she mentioned. Galliford says these had been simply two in a string of incidents she handled in her twenty years on the drive. When Galliford went public, the drive responded by saying sexual harassment was to not be tolerated and pledged to stamp it out. In its assertion of defence in response to her swimsuit, the federal authorities, on behalf of the RCMP, denied all of the allegations. Nonetheless, they settled the matter in 2016. The sheer variety of ladies coming ahead with comparable tales culminated in a category motion the drive settled for $100 million in 2016. Investigators are slowly weighing their claims.

WATCH: Former Mountie Janet Merlo explains why she sued the drive

Whereas Galliford discovered an ally in Lemaitre, others outdoors the group additionally turned to him once they wanted assist. Throughout the Kelowna wildfires in August 2003, a journalist approached Lemaitre and one in all his feminine colleagues with allegations of sexual harassment. He later wrote about this in his software to Veterans Affairs.

The reporter instructed Lemaitre that his direct supervisor had made “a number of inappropriate sexual feedback” throughout an interview. Whereas she tried to maneuver the dialog ahead, the Mountie stored at her, in response to Lemaitre’s account of the reporter’s allegations.

“He replied that he was shocked that she had the lead on the story whereas she was standing vertically as a result of she received most of her leads whereas mendacity horizontally, suggesting she obtained data from sources whereas engaged in sexual exercise,” Lemaitre summarized. “She was livid and left.”

Lemaitre reported the alleged incident, despite the fact that it concerned his boss.

“Our group was small, and I felt disloyal having to do that,” he wrote.

He was referred to as into his boss’ workplace and berated, in response to his letter and the testimony of his spouse and former colleagues. Lemaitre wrote that he was suggested that he “didn’t have the assist of senior administration anymore.” Vaughan mentioned the drive can’t affirm this, because it dealt with the matter internally and is thus “sure by the Privateness Act.”

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The drive’s unofficial motto: By no means ‘tarnish the buffalo’

Lemaitre was transferred to a much less plum evening shift in Chilliwack after reporting his superior, his spouse mentioned.

The allegations don’t shock Leo Knight, who was a Mountie for 4 years within the 1970s, later a Vancouver police officer and a well-liked blogger on policing points. The Mountie motto is “Maintiens le droit,” typically translated as “uphold the fitting.” The issue, Knight mentioned, is there’s additionally an unwritten one: “By no means do something to tarnish the buffalo.”

“If I do the fitting factor and it brings disrepute to the group itself, then instantly I’ve to look and do one thing else, which is probably not proper however it’s the fitting factor to not tarnish the buffalo,” Knight mentioned.

WATCH: Leo Knight, a former cop who labored for each the RCMP and the Vancouver Police, explains the Mounties’ unwritten mission assertion

In 2007, Carleton College administration professor Linda Duxbury despatched questionnaires to hundreds of Mounties and interviewed a whole bunch extra with a view to perceive the RCMP office. She honed in on the promotion system as an issue. Members noticed promotions as one thing you acquired in case you had associates in excessive locations reasonably than ability on the job. It was a course of, Duxbury famous, that worsened their harassment experiences.

The RCMP commissioned her impartial report on office points, and 12 years on, she’s but to see any motion on suggestions like overhauling its promotion system and altering how the drive handles self-discipline points. The RCMP didn’t reply to questions regarding adjustments to its promotion system. Nonetheless, in response to the 2017 CRCC report, which raised points like promotion and self-discipline once more, then-RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson launched an announcement, saying: “It ought to be famous that most of the experiences’ judgments depend on the historic context of RCMP transformation efforts that aren’t, in my opinion, reflective of present RCMP surroundings, insurance policies or processes.”

The Mounties’ top-down system is such that recruits with solely a highschool schooling could be shipped to Regina for coaching after which out to at least one coast then one other, per the CRCC report, working their method up with minimal management coaching. Cultural change, Duxbury mentioned, would require a change in how the drive rewards members, the way it promotes them and the way it disciplines them. If that change — beneficial in a number of experiences as just lately as 2017 — had occurred, she mentioned, you’ll see members being “let go for doing utterly inappropriate behaviour.”

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Lawrence Chung, who shared his story publicly with International Information for the primary time, additionally says he skilled repercussions when making an attempt to report misconduct. In 2007, he reluctantly took a switch from his felony investigation unit. A yr earlier, Chung had been the RCMP officer dealing with witness administration within the aftermath of the kidnapping of drug kingpin Peter Li.

Chung, now 50, mentioned one in all his coworkers instructed him jokingly that he’d hopped right into a scorching tub with one of many feminine witnesses.

The person was a buddy and Chung selected to not report him. He felt it was sufficient to take away that buddy from the case.

However three months later, the witness’ godmother got here in for an interview. After the official interview, she instructed him the evening earlier than she and her goddaughter had been having drinks with two of his colleagues dealing with the case.

Calls to reform RCMP, reduce harassment will be ‘carefully reviewed’: Goodale

Chung, who thought the incident was a one-off involving one colleague’s poor judgment, realized the problem was extra problematic than he’d initially thought: unhealthy optics creating the attainable authorized notion of potential witness tampering.

“I couldn’t imagine this was taking place on this main kidnapping case,” Chung mentioned

In response to detailed questions regarding Chung’s allegations, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Caroline Duval mentioned: “We can’t touch upon any police operations or police methods.”

Making the report wrecked the belief on his crew, Chung mentioned, despite the fact that “we’re educated that we’re supposed to boost issues once we see one thing that’s not proper.”

Lawrence Chung left the RCMP in 2017 over harassment allegations and issues about mismanagement.

International Information

Chung, who wished to get to 25 years of service, solely made it to 21. One incident, he discovered, has a method of following you round. He began having issues with a brand new crew in 2015. They had been all the time displaying up late, he mentioned, or calling in sick or not creating informants, a vital a part of intelligence-led policing.

He documented this in emails to his boss that he shared with International Information. The response, he mentioned, was swearing, dismissal, hints that he’d be transferred and a snide reference to his “historical past of getting issues.”

When Chung filed a harassment declare, the chief superintendent tried casual decision, telling him it sounded a bit of bit like “bitter grapes.” This December 2016 dialog — the audio of which Chung offered to International Information — highlights a recurring concern raised within the 2017 CRCC report: “In lots of circumstances, supervisors are exercising their managerial authority in an unreasonable method and for the aim of intimidation.”

WATCH: Retired Mountie says ‘harassment and bullying is just not new information’

Chung determined to take a switch. In January 2017, he realized he couldn’t muster the vitality to struggle anymore. He stop. Within the two years since, he’s watched the headlines emerge about allegations of RCMP case mismanagement, some dealt with by his former supervisor, who International Information has confirmed has since been promoted. Chung’s former supervisor mentioned by way of e-mail the allegations towards him had been “unfounded” and that he follows the “processes that should be adhered to” when taking part in an investigation.

It took months after Chung left the RCMP earlier than he was in a position to see the drive’s official choice on his harassment grievance. Per emails shared with International Information, they forgot to incorporate his e-mail handle when the choice was initially launched. They didn’t discover in his favour.

‘Are you the Lemaitre?’

4 years after he was booted to Chilliwack, someday round 2007, Pierre Lemaitre was promoted again into media relations on the RCMP’s B.C. headquarters in Surrey. On Oct. 14, 2007, 40-year outdated Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski was Tasered on the Vancouver airport after spending hours wandering the airport in confusion. He died inside minutes.

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Lemaitre was referred to as into work that morning. On digicam, it was Lemaitre’s job to inform the general public what had occurred. He reported that there have been three Mounties on the scene, too many individuals round to make use of pepper spray and that Dziekanski had been Tasered twice — data given to him by the officer answerable for the investigation.

Then, a video displaying the incident revealed this wasn’t an correct account. There have been 4 Mounties concerned, only a few bystanders and 5 Taser shocks.

Lemaitre was devastated, Sheila testified.

“Accusations flew that I had lied and given out false data,” Lemaitre wrote in his Veterans Affairs letter. “Sadly, the danger for any spokesperson is that you’re solely pretty much as good as the data you might be given.”

It took an unimaginable toll, Sheila mentioned. Lemaitre was shuffled out to the Langley site visitors division in early 2008.

At work, she mentioned folks whispered about him within the cafeteria. In public, folks acknowledged him. They’d be within the grocery retailer collectively, and the clerk would have a look at his bank card, then at him and ask: “Are you the Lemaitre?”

There was a way of vindication after he testified on the Braidwood inquiry in 2009, and it turned clear he had wished to inform the reality however was forbidden to, Sheila testified, though that data didn’t appear to filter all the way down to the general public.

RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre testifies on the Braidwood inquiry in 2009.

International Information

The inquiry investigated using Tasers in addition to the circumstances of Dziekanski’s demise, together with the best way passengers arriving from overseas are handled on the airport. Along with the $5.3-million inquiry, the B.C. authorities spent an extra $953,761 on a particular prosecutor to deal with the circumstances of the 4 Mounties on the scene of Dziekanski’s demise. Each time there was an replace about their prosecution, it was Lemaitre’s face that might flash on TV. (Three of the 4 Mounties have filed lawsuits towards the drive.)

In his Veterans Affairs software, Lemaitre wrote about how arduous it was turning into to get by means of every day: “Each time my cellphone rings at work or at house, my coronary heart races and I get anxiousness assaults. I get livid and offended in two seconds.”

On July 29, 2013, Lemaitre hanged himself.

‘I don’t want to die’: 5 years on, inquest into Mountie’s suicide to begin

Sheila filed a lawsuit alleging the RCMP used him as a scapegoat within the Dziekanski affair, disregarding the implications for his psychological well being. In her assertion of declare, she alleged a senior Mountie visited her a number of days after Lemaitre died and instructed her that “what was carried out to Pierre was carried out for the great of the drive.”

The RCMP settled Sheila’s lawsuit in 2018 with a non-disclosure settlement. Whereas Dziekanski’s Tasering enraged Canadians, it was one incident in an extended, particularly poor yr for the Mounties. The fallout from the O’Connor Fee into the rendition of Maher Arar — a Canadian citizen shipped by the U.S. to Syria whose practically year-long torture was “very seemingly” the results of unfair, deceptive and inaccurate data provided by the RCMP — continued to reverberate.

WATCH: Former Mountie explains why Canadians ought to care about RCMP administration

Testimony in 2007 on the Air India inquiry, which was probing the failures of the two-decades-old investigation into the worst terrorist assault in Canadian historical past, revealed Mountie mismanagement, work battle and an investigation hampered by RCMP and CSIS turf wars.

Additionally in 2007, David Brown, the impartial investigator charged with investigating the RCMP’s dealing with of its pension fund scandal — marred by nepotism, contract issues and a misuse of funds made worse by senior administration makes an attempt to stymie investigations — questioned the construction of the drive.

“A classy enterprise group of this dimension can’t present applicable transparency and accountability inside a command and management construction,” Brown wrote. He beneficial civilian oversight, a advice left dormant till now.

Steve Hewitt, a senior historical past lecturer on the College of Birmingham and writer of three books concerning the RCMP’s historical past, is blended on reviving the thought.

Reforming the drive

There was a giant hurrah final yr when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced Brenda Lucki could be the drive’s first everlasting feminine commissioner. However, Hewitt mentioned: “The constructions, the ethos, the historical past, the parable, all of that is still intact.”

Knight, the previous Mountie, likes to explain the RCMP as “14[6] years of custom unhampered by progress.” Tease that aside, he mentioned, and also you’re a drive that’s altering membership and tools however not maintaining with the world.

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With regards to the Mounties’ organizational tradition, Duxbury, the Carleton College administration professor, mentioned the RCMP hasn’t even begun addressing cultural issues that manifest in worry and harassment among the many rank and file and a poor promotion system that appears favourably on self-promotion and fewer so on HR expertise.

A typical notion amongst Mounties, per the RCMP CRCC’s evaluate of office harassment in 2017, is “the promotion course of exacerbates the issue of office harassment by rewarding self-promotion reasonably than management aptitude, efficiency, expertise and data.”

Civilian oversight gained’t come near touching the issue, Duxbury mentioned, due to what the drive has constructed and entrenched over greater than 140 years.

“It’s a really distinctive tradition,” Duxbury mentioned. “It’s a really robust tradition.”

When he introduced civilian oversight, Goodale mentioned, “Adjustments in governance and tradition aren’t a singular occasion… however reasonably a course of over time that calls for diligent, persistent effort.”

WATCH: ‘Conform or go away’

Each fee, each inquiry, each investigation, each report and each lawsuit is a nail within the Mountie coffin, mentioned Gordon, the criminologist from Simon Fraser College.

And but, to borrow his metaphor, hammering in one other nail doesn’t appear to alter a lot.

“One other nail, not the nail,” Gordon clarified. “It’s a giant coffin as a result of it’s an enormous group that has the capability to regulate to the blows from a hammer.”

—With recordsdata from Jesse Ferreras and the Canadian Press

The timeline on this story accommodates main RCMP prices. Not included within the timeline, however included within the International Information estimate, are payouts for false arrest, malicious prosecution, breach of duty, defamation of character, extra drive, assault, negligence, breach of constitution rights and awards for wrongful detention, amongst different payouts. These figures are captured in annual Public Accounts of Canada experiences.

© 2019 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.



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