Leo Knight (Editorial, 24 Hrs Vancouver/Canoe Sun Media) - A recently leaked email exchange between RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Staff Sergeant Tim Chad of the Ridge Meadows detachment illustrates the cultural divide that exists in the iconic force.
Equally, the response from Paulson — less than a year in his position — to Chad clearly shows why he is the wrong person for the job with which he has been entrusted.
Paulson sent a force-wide message, which in itself was a little bizarre. He started off recognizing a member, Const. Pineo, killed in the line of duty earlier in the month. He then segued into a sermon about five things that were “bugging” him. The tone was not one of a leader wanting to rally the troops around a vision. Far from that, members I have spoken to felt that he was trying to “steamroll” them and “talking down” to them.
In fact, this feeling is mentioned in Chad’s email when he refers to a colleague saying, “I am getting tired of the Commissioner talking down to us like we are all a bunch of screw ups.”
Chad’s email to Paulson essentially was saying that the majority of members were frustrated by taking mass criticism from the media for the actions of a few. And they were now feeling the same disrespect by the leadership of the RCMP.
Indeed, he is correct. And, one would think any good leader would want to hear what the perceptions of the rank and file were. After all, perception is reality.
But not Paulson. His reply, written two days after Chad’s email, was nothing if not the bleating of a bully, the very thing Paulson has vowed to expunge from the Force.
“Your words reveal an ill-informed arrogance that is at heart of what ails us,” he began.
“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,” says Paulson. He finished, displaying a highbrow arrogance: “You are a Staff Sergeant in the Mounted Police writing the Commissioner on important, vital issues. You have done yourself a disservice.”
The implied threat is stark.
Chad’s response is more instructive as to who occupies the higher moral ground.
“Thank you for your reply and your feed back. I disagree with your analysis but I do appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue with you,” Chad wrote.
Paulson has clearly demonstrated he is not the leader the RCMP needs now. Unfortunately, I suspect the RCMP is stuck with him for a few years to come.
FG_AUTHORS: RCMP Watch