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Commissioner Apologizes: Spin? Too Little Too Late?

Jun 07

Hello everyone,

In April, I held a Townhall session with employees in K Division.

At this meeting we talked about the importance of getting off-duty sick members the help they need, and getting them back to making a contribution to the organization.

An audio recording of part of that discussion was posted online last week.

After recently listening to my remarks, and hearing concerns raised by fellow employees,
I acknowledge that I made a sound and gesture that some have interpreted to mean that I was making light of psychological-related issues.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I know full-well the impact that work-related stress can have on an individual and their family.

I want to apologize to anyone who was in that audience — or who has since listened to that recording — and was offended. I’m truly sorry.

It was inappropriate and I sincerely regret it. Let me tell you, solemnly, that I meant no disrespect to anyone who has dealt with or is dealing with psychological-related issues.

I want to be clear: I do not take this issue lightly.

Post-traumatic stress disorder — and any work-related injury for that matter — is a real issue for our organization and we must — and we do — take it seriously.

We are continuously working to strengthen the support we can offer employees affected by operational stress injuries. I am committed to the implementation of our respectful workplace program to help reduce these occurrences.

If you get sick or injured on the job, we will look after you — and we will do it fairly.

We will also do it with the view of returning employees to being contributing, productive and healthy members of the Force. It’s in no one’s interest to have members on protracted medical leave.

Similarly we cannot have members using our generous medical leave provisions for reasons other than getting better and getting back to work.

Everyone has a part to play in this. We must all ensure that the workplace we come to every day is safe, free from harassment and responsive to the needs of our employees.

I need us all to be engaged on this — I commit to you that I am.

Once again, please accept my sincere apology for any harm arising from my remarks in Edmonton in April.

Thank you, and be safe.

(Document provided by MPPAC)

  1. Rolly beaulieu permalink

    I would like to say that if you were really sincere, you would have made your apology public so that everyone who is not an RCMP officer can hear you. Although your original comments with the whistle was made in-house, it was made public via CBC’s Power and Politics show. You have not only insulted everyone in the RCMP you insulted every single Canadian that has a mental disability.

    Also, I am still waiting for a public apology from you for attacking my credibility through comments you made to the Senate and all of Canada.

    Anything short of a public apology would be considered by me as another slap in the face. Your silence on this matter is very telling. A public apology and a meeting to discuss my retirement from the RCMP would be acceptable to me.

    Waiting for your response.

    Cpl. Rolly Beaulieu
    MPPAC – National Secretary.

  2. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    I am not familiar with the details of Beaulieu’s case.
    My shock and dismay is in regards to the above statement. How could anyone think that a person could compare returning to work in a perceived or real environment of abuse; and telling his story to the government?
    You would think that Commission Paulson would realize that the mental healing does not begin in these matters until it is settled. If he were to return to work, any problems affecting his work woud be perceived by the RCMP as performance issues rather than a mental, stress, or mistrust issue.
    The system has failed the RCMP yesterday; failed the RCMP today; and has created conditions to fail tomorrow.

  3. E Famia permalink

    The Commissioner is a smart man. He knew that Cpl. Beaulieu was going to testify the next day at the Senate Committee the following day. He knew that what he said at the committee hearing could not be used against him in a civil proceeding no matter how outrageous and false. His actions were purposeful. These are words I am sure he will not repeat outside those protected proceedings ever again. He did this to discredit Cpl. Beaulieu in the eyes of the public, membership and parliamentarians.

    However, now that he has admitted his folly with his crude delineation of mental illness at the Town Hall meeting in Edmonton, it is time that all members who are ODS with operational stress injuries file harassment complaints against the Commissioner. This may be the only thing that will have any significant impact on him. Believe you me he does not have your best interests at heart only you can protect yourself.

    • Catman permalink

      E Famia, I love your recommendation about filing a harassment complaint against the commissioner. I am off work right now since 3 years and was diagnosed with severe PTSD in 2009. I will ultimately probably be forced to take a medical discharge which I really don’t want to do. But so much damage has been done that I feel I may not have a choice when the time comes. I was extremely upset to hear what the commissioner had “said” or whistled when referring to mental illness. His apology is not sincere. What else does he think he was doing besides calling people with mental illness cookoo. Afterall, that is the “cookoo” whistle. I’m surprised he didn’t spin his pointer finger around his ear while he was whistling. There is NOTHING he could ever possibly say that will make what he said right. Nothing.

  4. Stewart permalink

    TWO months after making the gesture and comment leads me to question the sincerity of the apology message. Couple this with his comments recently that policing is not for everyone, some members are abusing the system and questioning that some members just don’t measure up.

    Genuine sincere apologies are heartfelt and done immediately. I don’t see that here, this looks like the Commissioner was voluntold to make an apology.

    Stewart Robertson
    LMD Members Support Group

  5. Jan Wong, once one of Canada’s most feared reporters, took on a powerful corporation, the Globe and Mail newspaper, which fired her after she suffered a major depressive episode. Despite the terrible toll the disease took on her, she refused to capitulate to what she deemed a wrongful dismissal.

    Eventually, she won an undisclosed cash settlement. Wong also spurned her former employer’s demand she sign a gag order.

    And this month, she exposes the sordid details of her mental-health ordeal at the Globe and Mail in a compelling and sometimes amusing new self-published book, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness.


    Jan @WriterWong’s epic battle w @globeandmail tell-all a best seller – buy on itunes for $10 #cdnmedia

  6. E Famia permalink

    Chief Bill Blair recently addressed Toronto police officers about standards of behaviour via an internal video. The Toronto Star obtained a copy.

    Does the Commissioners recent comments and gestures regarding mental illness meet the standards and values the RCMP delineate in their codes of conduct ? Does his apology, after the fact he was forced to apologize, meet Canadians standards. Compare and contrast what Chief Blair said in his address to Toronto Police Officers to the behaviour exhibited by Commissioner Paulson. It is clear hypocrisy on his part to demand high professional standards from his employees and act contrary to those same standards and then only apologize when caught. A Commissioner with those expectations from others should resign from his position when behaving contrary to those same standards. The buck stops here. Does he have the credibility to judge others for bad behaviour when his own conduct fails to meet the same high standards ? Who is holding the Commissioner to account ? Certainly not the Hon. Vic Toews who runs the RCMP. Members of the RCMP and all Canadians need to hold him to account and demand his resignation because his behaviour does not represent the values of the Force or the value of Canadians he serves.

  7. So what are you your retirement terms Mr. National Secretary?

  8. Hello Worker,

    Once my story is in the media. You can comment and tell me what you think would be a reasonable settlement for destroying my career. Of course, not to mention the mental stress this has put, not just on me but my family.

    Stay tuned.

    The court of public opinion will tell the Commissioner what he should do.

    Rolly Beaulieu

  9. Michael G. McConnell permalink

    He’s not truly sorry, he’s just truly sorry he got caught!

    • Catman permalink

      You’re exactly right Michael. We’re not fools. Who does he think he’s fooling? I am offended not only by his initial statement (whistle), but also by his apology. In his apology he said “I want to acknowledge that I made a sound and gesture that some have interpreted to mean that I was making light of psychological related issues”. Well, in response, I think more than ‘some’ people knew exactly what he was saying. And I also believe that we all interpreted it correctly. He said exactly what he meant when he did that. There’s no excuse. Typical RCMP, he’s trying to weasel his way out of it by blaming ‘some’ of us for misinterpreting what HE said. They preach accountability and taking responsibility to the membership yet they don’t follow their own advice.

  10. Anonymous permalink

    Dear Mr. National Secretary,
    I noted above that you will be revealing your story soon via the media. I must say I am anxiously awaiting for the reveal as I have heard quite extensively that it truly is a sad one. I do believe that once your story is made public you will have the vast majority of Canadians on your side and because of that more stories will follow.
    I hope you are taking care of yourself as the Commissioner has just confirmed that he could care less about those that have been mis-treated and he will take care of them as he stated “by pulling the trigger”, once Bill C-42 has passed.


    • catman permalink

      Do you have issue with other similar stories coming out as a result of Mr Beaulieu’s? That’s just how it works, and thanks to Mr Beaulieu for taking a stand and making his story public! He is paving the way for those who are also being treated unfairly. Thank you social media, thank you Mr. Beaulieu, thank you to all the members who have gone public to report the truth!!!
      And as for your statement that the commissioner “could care less…” …tell us something we don’t already know! That’s the whole point and that is exactly why he will be held accountable. Just you watch for that story! 😉

  11. The Old NCO permalink

    In the Commissioner’s apology he stated and i quote ” I know full-well the impact that work-related stress can have on an individual and their family. I would like for him to qualify that statement as to what event or circumstance he has experienced that would make him knowledgeable regarding the impact that work-related stress can have on an individual and their family. What was his experience, did he ever suffer from PTSD, or does he have some medical degree that makes him a expert on the topic? Is there any chance that he is monitoring this site to educate himself on the experiences of those that have experienced PTSD or is he satisfied that he has met his corporate responsibilities by issuing an apology of words that lacks substance and deeds. Commissioner Paulson does not display true leadership qualities and the same can be said for the majority of Commissioned Officers among the ranks of the RCMP. This ship has hit a iceberg quite some time ago and like in the story of the Titanic where the wealthiest and famed passengers were first in line to get in the life boats while the working class were left below, the most senior managers of the RCMP are doing likewise in that they live for their personal success, promotion and glory while the front line police officers are left to drown.

    • Catman permalink

      Old NCO, I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said! The whole thing is a farce not a force anymore. The Commissioner is trying to get sympathy from his readers by saying he understands…by empathizing with us. But he does not empathize or sympathize. Here’s but one bit of proof for that; If he did sympathize, he wouldn’t have gone public (after his apology last June) and state that he was “embarassed for Cpl. Ron Francis”. First of all there is nothing to be embarassed ‘for’ in my opinion. And secondly, if he were so understanding about PTSD he would have known better than to publicy try to belittle Cpl. Francis, especially knowing that Cpl. Francis suffers from PTSD. Isn’t that just adding to the pressures on a man who is already OBVIOUSLY struggling??? As a matter of fact, I was scared for Cpl. Francis after I saw the Commissioner stating this on TV. It seems he was just trying to push the man over the edge. I was very upset about this. The next time the Commissioner wants to show how understanding he is perhaps he will show support for his valued employees (his investments) rather than attempting to save face publicly, thus putting his employees at further risk. Then I might believe what he is saying.
      Most managers of the farce wouldn’t know what PTSD is if they fell over it (unless they already suffer from it). The reason? Because they don’t care to educate themselves on it to see what their employees are going through. The blinders are on. And like you said, because of this the ship did hit an iceberg. They are the masters of their own demise. If I still believed in the RCMP I would care. But those days are over. I am not a naive wide-eyed Cst anymore. My blinders are off. Life jacket is on.


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