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Political Expediency Not Compassion

Nov 29

I felt saddened today watching the sufferings of Cpl. Ron Francis regarding the seizure of his uniform because he used marijuana for medical reasons while in uniform.
As a retired Mountie,  (about 4years now – 25 year career), I have; still developing, leaning towards acceptance, of this special accommodation.  But that is not the important issue.
I felt saddened because Commanders had all the powers to take necessary steps, ensuring compassion and respect at all times, in seeking a solution that would not cause so much pain to Cpl.Francis.
This brought back memories of personal experiences, while I was a serving member.  Experiences where political expediency was a more important consideration than caring about the well-being of members. I also suffer PTSD.
And of course Peter McKay had to wade into this, in VicToews-esque fashion, scoring political points with his base and another not so subtle dig at Justin Trudeau.  (Would it have been too much to expect to hear a non-political, more compassionate statement?)
Ron, words can be inadequate, but I do wish you all the best!

Thinking of you, here in Regina.
Rossel Marion

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25 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Well said Rossel,

    I too watched the news and I am puzzled. It took a lot of courage for Cpl. Francis to speak to the media about his PTSD. He was honest and forth right about his use of medical marihuana to help him cope with his PTSD. It doesn’t matter that he smoked pot in Red Serge. What matters to me is that he smoked medical marihuana in Red Serge and this tells a story of a member who is suffering. It tells the public about the plight of many men and women in the RCMP that are suffering from PTSD. I know the optics are not good, however the message should not be overshadowed by media and political favoritism.

    What surprised me the most was that RCMP felt compelled to seize his uniforms and Red Serge. This man has suffered enough. I also agree that this should not be a political issue.

    Cpl. Ron Francis, I just want to say that I do not have PTDS, I have instead, a condition called Chronic Adjustment disorder. It means that I will never get better until the Commissioner of the RCMP deals with my many complaints against it. I do not see a resolution to my issues as nothing has happened since I have been off work Feb. 2011. It will be coming up on 4 years for me. Every single day I have been reliving the abuse that I was subjected to. I am under the care of a veterans Affairs doctor at this time.

    I am at home waiting to hear from the Commissioner to discuss my grievances. I am waiting for the hammer to fall and be medically discharged against my will. I expect the RCMP to punt me and never deal with my many complaints. Unfortunately for me, that means I will live the rest of my life with a bad taste in my mouth and a mental disorder that can only get worse, or stay medicated for the rest of my life.

    Stay strong brother and look after yourself

    Rolly Beaulieu

    • Anonymous permalink

      I concur with Rossel…well said.

      Rolly, I’ve seen you post in various areas of this site, but your last blog here hit’s home with me and had no idea you were going through this kind of horseshit as well. I thought you were a divrep that was providing moral support to members but obviously what ever you’re going through is well-shared (and more realized by me now) and others. Don’t you just love how the force is so dismissive of their people with these afflictions and adamantly deny it.

      I’m squirreling a bit but, can someone tell me why the RCMP needs bill-c42? I guess it’s to facilitate quicker discharges of members at their convenience whereas today it’s more of a process and paperwork? Funny you know, if the force wants to get rid of you, they don’t need this bill, they have many ways to do this. I guess the next bill they’re working on is imposing martial law? Squirreling done.

      I hope a better situation materializes for Ron Francis in the short to intermediate term. I would say smoking medicinal weed in serge, caught on camera and in public might not be ideal, or if it influences how he drives (or carries a gun), but otherwise, I do understand what he’s going through. My ptsd is also caused mostly by systemic harassment (then I left for other employment). Ron Francis, I wish you well my friend, I really sincerely do. BE CAREFUL! I believe the ArseCMP will now try pull a ‘dream-investigation’ about you out of their ass, possibly do surveillance on you to catch you or fabricate some story up about something you shouldn’t be doing to use against and discharge you. Walk the straight and narrow line until these useless panzis become disinterested, and the political winds shift their attention elsewhere.

      I hope the public pays attention to this particular blog, should this happen to Ron Francis. Not that it will shift the powers away from the Farce, or that my piece is some nobel prize literary achievement, but more, so that the public can be aware of what and how police handle these situations, where they should be helping members, but instead, throw them away like an empty Kleenex box, pickup another full-box until it’s empty, and throw away the next member like a Kleenex box…… like they’re garbage. That the public could say ‘this guy’s article, acknowledged this would happen even before it did’, although sure the cops would say ‘we were already investigating him’ or some bullshit equivalent response.

      Then we wonder based on experiences of civilians with police, why they don’t like cops? Is this a surprise especially considering the volume of the public that have this experience? The only point i’m making is many people dislike the force both internally (members) and externally (the public).

      I do wonder, if the public were given an option, for there tax dollars to be directed to an organisation for policing if they were provided the following choices: option A) the RCMP or option B) the Hells Angels, which they would choose? It would be an interesting vote to watch on TV, especially with all the bad press the RCMP get. Sometimes, the bad people aren’t always what the force would demand you to believe, because the force’s senior mgmt. and associated NCO bootlickers are much worse villains and criminals themselves, than the organised crime syndicates out there, it’s just they make use of public tax dollars to partake in their own criminal activities. It’s a shame because the “good members” get painted with the same brush.

      RCMP, the ultimate tax payers mafia, “To Serve and Protect Themselves”.

      • Anonymous permalink

        Well it seems my predictions of reprisal for Ron Francis, as per my last post, came true:

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/pot-smoking-mountie-ron-francis-charged-with-assault-1.2458428

        So, they sent out RCMP officers because ‘they couldn’t find him’? Was there any reason to go looking for him in the first place? Perhaps he wanted to be left alone for awhile? Ron Francis, willingly relinquished his uniform to J-Div HQ without a fight, has 21 years with the force (w/out an altercation with another RCMP member?), and all of a sudden I’m suppose to believe the force was conducting a ‘wellness check’ that triggered Ron to assault another police officer and get tasered in the process? I assume Ron has had PTSD for a few years now so the force will use this as a tool to suit their personal convenience against Ron. Exactly how do the RCMP conduct a ‘wellness check’? Do they provoke members with PTSD into some form of altercation to use against them as an ‘assault charge’ or ‘uttering threats’ when performing a ‘wellness check’? Ron was setup as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure the force set Ron up very conveniently for this activity and used any excuse they could to call it assaulting another peace officer – nice wellness check boys! Maybe Ron would’ve been safer if they performed an “illness check”. The ArseCMP do this to people all the time, all in the name of salvaging their fictitious and garbage image, and not concerned about their substance.

        So this is how the force helps members with PTSD, to make them look like the problem, to ostracize and use any means necessary in attempts to discharge them. So the ‘assault charge’ will be used against Ron as some form of negotiating tool to make him quit/retire. Interesting how Paulson says he’s embarrassed by this, but think we should be embarrassed by Paulson’s perspectives on members being ‘loony’ coupled with his lack of empathy for them needing help.

        This is how all RCMP members with any disorder will be handled….they’ll set you up and knock you down. Somebody shut the force down….use this money to bring policing back to municipal or community level. RCMP core values and ‘esprit de corp’ are all bullshit people! Always have been…always will be.

      • Anonymous permalink

        Yes be-careful what you say and to who you say it to. My husband has been suffering from PTSD and the associated problems that come with that for years. He was very vocal, wrote many emails and challenged them at every step of the way. He put in complaints, grievances, etc. Now he sits in cells because they decided to pull a Mr. Big scenario on him…now he has to deal with the trauma from this event. The details are something out of a movie…our whole family has been traumatized….they staged the contact first with the “break down of a motor bike in front of his son’s house”, his son is scared to leave, to talk to anyone….

  2. Anon permalink

    I think this situation has opened up a Pandora’s box of discussion on the matters of prescription meds, but also we have to ask ourselves, why are people becoming so damaged that they need to be prescribed these medications. It is clear that we have issues with our mental health. We all know that. It has been admitted that people are suffering so badly that they are not only falling back on psychiatric medications but alcohol which appears to be more destructive and weed in an attempt to appease their symptoms. What the powers that be need to address is the underlying cause of that systemic depression. All of these fall back strategies can be minimized if we have better access to mental health resources, if we are not ridden so hard, if we have better decompression, and debriefing. I have taken psychiatric meds and I have also not taken them while experiencing symptoms of PTSD and acute anxiety. I feel that as individuals for some of us they work, for others they make us worse as is the case in the general population. Not everybody can take prescribed meds. My personal experience was that it clouded my memory, made me less controlled or inhibited about my spending habits, or my social interactions, and at the end of it I felt that I had lost time. Yes, it helped with my symptomology but there was a price I paid for this because while I was taking them I felt myself invincible and I continued to expose myself to situations that had a compounding effect on me. What my symptomology was telling me I feel was that I was pushing the boundaries of my physical and emotional limitations. So I stopped taking the meds and it was hard, and scary, and I felt the pain for a while 24/7, and I got a heap of therapy. I learned coping mechanisms. Now I know that feeling, it comes back to visit me from time to time, and when it does I take steps.

    It brings to mind the way that the military have been prescribing cocktails of meds for their troops while in combat to keep them functional soldiers and how they crash when they come off those meds when they return home.

    I have worked with people totally bombed out on psychiatric meds. It can be very disconcerting because they are mind altering drugs and at times personality altering in certain cases. I have also worked with people taking weed and there is very little difference between the two.

    It was very painful to watch Ron Francis being humiliated that way on national TV because of his prescription and his diagnosis. It raises many questions and we should be asking those questions and debating those issues constructively and proactively rather than reactively.

    I wish Ron Francis all the best. I am not sure whether I want him to be smoking on the job because I worry about the intoxication issue in exactly the same way as I worry about the issue of alcohol and psychiatric meds, but it also depends on what his job is. If he is working for ERT maybe not. If he is office bound then maybe not so bad. It requires risk assessment. Regardless he doesn’t deserve to be humiliated in such a way. I believe he should have been given a respectful and discrete request to cease and desist while in uniform and encouraged and facilitated to find an alternative way of taking his meds. A much less damaging and stressful impact on him.

  3. corbettstu permalink

    So let’s get this straight:
    Smoke perscription marijuana in your uniform and the force comes to your house to take your uniform.
    Post pictures of yourself, wearing (some) of your uniform, on a sexual sadism site and the force goes to the house of the constables and civilians who realize your unfit to be a cop.

    What was it Vic Toews said in the House of Commons? Something along the lines of you’re either with us or the “child molesters.”
    By that logic, it seems clear where Mr. Mackay stands when it comes to “the rapists.”

    Don’t forget any of what this government has done, when it comes time to vote. 30 000 votes can go a long way guys.

  4. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    The use of any mood altering drug by a police officer on full duty is dangerous and not acceptable. This includes alcohol. For the RCMP organization the smoking of a joint in Red Serge on TV was more of dent in their public image. The member however was crying for help rather than exercising his right to medicate.

    RCMP members will work under staffed; with inadequate equipment; lack of training; and lack of proper supervision. They fight like hell to get the job done. When it comes to fighting for themselves there is no fight. If you ever watch a guard dog you will see that they will fight to the death to protect the master’s life and property. But if that same dog goes out on its own, it is timid and frightened.

    RCMP members have to fight just as hard for themselves. Don’t try to expose the RCMP as an organization. Expose the harassing, abusing, discriminating RCMP member. Document what they did. Gather evidence. Compare their actions with the core values of the RCMP and their oath and any bullshit directives by management.

    Take that evidence (with names) to the news media, politicans, citizen’s groups, the internet and any other process that you can think of. The results may surprise you. I used that process. I can give you a number of examples of Commissioned officers going the other way when they saw me coming. I received coverage from the media. I received help from lawyers. It did not solve the problem of the RCMP. It did cause stress to the wrong doers. If you are going out ODS, then take abuser with you.

    Stop expecting for some government body, individual, or organization to rescue you from your cry in the night. Don’t ask who is going to change the RCMP. YOU be the change that you are looking for.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Cal, not that I entirely disagree with you, but it’s also a fine way to sewer your own career in the process. This all seems to be a game of cards as to who will get their ass kicked out of the force based on what ‘hand’ you hold – I would say the good members always somehow ended up holding a weaker hand.

    • Bob Perry permalink

      Hello Calvin – Just read today online The Star (link below) of the issues S/Sgt. Cheryl Gravelle . She had suffered a back injury four years ago while wrestling with an EDP at her Nova Scotia Detachment. According to the media report she had gone public in 2012 and was allegedly threatened with dismissal for filing complaints about the treatment at the the hands of high-ranking officers within the RCMP (see article).

      The article states:

      In a Nov. 19, 2013, email to Paulson, Gravelle said a senior officer who was supposed to handle her case was patronizing to the extreme.

      “He offered to take me out for ‘cookies and Timbits,’ ” Gravelle wrote. “All that is missing was a pat on my head. I am dealing with serious actions of unethical behaviour and abuse of authority by certain members of the SEC (senior executive committee) at this time. I have to tell you that I am tired of being treated like a naïve little girl.”

      Paulson offered this:

      “Frankly, we’re all trying to help her get back to work,” Paulson said. “All of the officers who she complained about have retired or left the Force and we are committed to moving forward and getting her back to work.”

      Paulson found no evidence of “misconduct”. Yet the Mounted Police Professional Association noted:

      “She was subject to extreme abuses of position and process by her direct supervisors while trying to receive treatment and subsequently when she returned to duty in January 2012.”

      I hear what you are saying about taking the fight back to the organization. It just seems it is a heavy toll to exact for some small measure of comfort/peace of mind/dare say success against an organization that does not appear to “get it” at the best of times. I guess no one thought to start the conversation with S/Sgt. Gravelle with an apology as a step towards reconciliation.

      It is a sad state to see a once much revered institution imploding before our eyes. Many men and women have given everything to the organization, serving with honour and integrity and in some cases given their lives. It is unclear if this ship can ever be turned in time to avoid the rocks it so carefully tries to avoid, but careens into just the same.

      Link:http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/12/03/rcmp_just_offered_cookies_and_timbits_injured_officer_says.html

      • Anonymous permalink

        Check out the MPPAC website. The whole story is there. Even has the emails between paulson and Gravele.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    As a former member, I completely agree with you. I’ve been treated better by criminals or RCMP-perceived organised crime entities than the force.

  6. Jeff Who permalink

    Isn’t anyone on this site a little put off by a member smoking weed IN uniform and IN public? (I speak generally because I realize there is at least one who stated it was unacceptable). The RCMP in ‘J’ already said feel free to smoke at work but you can’t drive and you can’t carry a gun. Is this unreasonable? In addition to this he was ordered not to conduct any of this media blitz in uniform. How can anyone defend this?

    I realize that most people who write in to this site hate the RCMP and would love to see it burn but really? Is your bias so bad that you would lose all common sense? No one has stated he can’t smoke it, just use a little discretion.

    Let the hate messages fly…

    • Anonymous permalink

      If any real cops out there want a good head shake, I suggest you look up Jeff Who’s previous posts (and mine handing him his simple ass on a platter).

      Besides being self admittedly “perverse” enough to enjoy tormenting sick members, he was proven to have absolutely no appreciation for the realities of police work, yet still claims to be a member. I think it’s pretty clear that he is some sort of wannabe, maybe did a couple ride-alongs before his application got screened out. Probably has nothing better to do than listen to a scanner 24/7, fantasizing.

      To be honest, his previous posts are so stupid, poorly considered and self-defeating that I just don’t have time to rip them all apart, there’s just too much. I learned a long time ago, there’s no use talking sense to an idiot that doesn’t want to hear it.

      First off, I suggest a name change to Jeff Whubris, here is the definition of hubris from wiki:

      Hubris /ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities….

      Seriously, I couldn’t have made up anything better for this guy.

      Second, he is only here to torment unwell members who make the mistake of giving him and his opinions credibility. I am happy to keep spanking him but I have to suggest that we consider completely ignoring him. His last line “Let the hate messages fly” shows what he wants. To ignore him is to deny him his enjoyment and his objective coming on here.

      • Jeff Who permalink

        Actually my last sentence was merely reflective of the type of people that continuously write in to this site (thank you for proving my point). I understand how you think I’m not a real member considering I still enjoy my job and all the “the real members” do nothing but complain about how hard done by they are.

        And hubris? Funny coming from the person who claims to have “…handed me my ass…” (really, you ought to re-read those posts) because you know deep down that I’m more of a cop than you’ll ever be.

        And perhaps you should start by re-reading my message in relation to this article because what I wrote wasn’t unreasonable nor, I think out of line or insulting. Perhaps you’re just hypersensitive?

    • Anonymous permalink

      Likewise Jeff…let your hate message fly towards members on this site. I know you mention others’ bias about the situation, but the fact is the force has done nothing to help Ron. The bias around common sense seems to revolve around emphasizing ‘image’ (ex: cop in red serge smoking weed publicly) more than substance (ex: let us (RCMP) help Ron deal with his PTSD rather than skirt the issue, so he could come back to work healthier). I think the force owes it to their members to assist them, and while I know you think everyone on this site is faking their ODS and collecting a paycheque, I’m pretty certain these situations are at a minimum. I think the force needs to start having more substance and less concern about their image.

  7. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    The minute an RCMP member reports an incident of being harassed or discriminated against their career is over anyway. When I wrote on the now removed RCMP WATCH I used my name. Made up names or Anonymous should be repaced with your name along with the RCMP member who wronged you. You go from wearing the Scarlet Red Surge to wearing the Scarlet Letter branded to you. I went to the press long before I was retired. Did it destroy my career? To a degree it did. So what! There is more to life than allowing people to kick you to the curb. Either way some day you will retire. When you walk out the door do you feel like a door mat or a champion?

    • Anonymous permalink

      Calvin, when a member has only 7-10 years in, another 20 years is a long way to go when you file a harassment suit, and admittedly you’ve indicated ‘their career is over anyway’. Honestly, it’s tough to way the balance of ‘never being promoted or presented opportunities again’ over the next 20 years for filing a harassment suit. Members might stand their ground but most, if not all, will be broken in the end, so as far as I see it. no one walks out the door like a champion or feeling like one. I fought as much as I could, and still felt like a door mat, even with the fight I put up. It seemed like a win at a greater loss.

      • Calvin Lawrence permalink

        We as humans have been fighting since before we were born. Of all the billions of sperm you had to fight to be born;you won. We had to fight our way into the world as a human being from the womb. To take abuse for years is unrealistic. Everyday we have to fight in a world that wants us to conform rather than be an individual. Fight to be treated with respect and dignity. We are afraid. Fight anyway! Speak your mind even if your voice shakes. We as human beings, and in this case RCMP deserve it. Dig your heels in fighting abuse. We all go from the womb to the tomb. The only thing that matters is what we fight for in between.

  8. Anonymous permalink

    If you truly believe this, you are mentally ill. And don’t start with the “the RCMP made me sick” routine.

    • Anonymous permalink

      If you haven’t feared for your life from other members then you are luckier than some. The greatest risk that I ever felt while on duty was from other members and not criminals. Some of these same members came to my home on more than one occasion, including after dark and when I was not home intimidating my family. They came for the express purpose of undermining my safety and to silence me.

      If you do not believe this is happening across this organization then you are delusional.

      And why not start with the “the RCMP made me sick routine”? It’s a widespread and recurring truth, placing the responsibility where it should be. If you’re trying to avoid this reality then you’re just deluding yourself further.

    • Anonymous permalink

      I truly believe this and I’m not mentally ill…because I have seen many similar cases like this. Didn’t 4 mounties ‘kill’ Dziekanski in the Vancouver Airport with tasers? Didn’t those 4 mounties initially ‘lie’ in their testimony, then caught on video-tape showing they lied? If they weren’t caught on video-tape, those 4 would’ve gotten away with murder very conveniently. Dziekanski may not have been a member but the same concept equally applies to him as a civilian. So I’m not surprised if members ‘fear for their lives’ at times depending on the predicaments they’re thrown into.

      The RCMP DO ‘make people sick’, and it is routine and systemic for the RCMP to carry out with their members. Are you a cop or a civilian with an opinion? I had PTSD from systemic harassment, and have NEVER had any sort of thing like this happen to me pre-and-post my employment history with any OTHER EMPLOYER, with the exception of the RCMP, that are not accountable, carpet-sweep these issues under the rug, and compromised of liars (the majority). I still think there are some very GOOD people in the force, but I realize I can’t judge them because of their uniform nor the fact they’re employed by the force – because they were DECENT PEOPLE TO START WITH. I don’t give the force any ‘credit’ for finding them as they just ‘lucked out’ into getting these people by the numbers and find many of them in the same predicament as people on this site since the force does not value good people, or substance, but only ass-kissing drones.

      If you think these things don’t happen, then you’re not very intelligent or your cowardly-and-in-denial, and don’t start with telling us “how great the RCMP is”. If you feel the need to drink the Red Serge Kool-Aid…by all means go for it, but the rest of us on this site like to ensure our drinks aren’t spiked.

  9. Anonymous permalink

    I was told the exact same thing by another fellow out of Penticton, BC. Said the Hells Angels were nicer to him than the RCMP!!! They weren’t try to recruit, had no ulterior motives, but the HA were only exhibiting neighborly gestures is all.

  10. Jeff Who permalink

    What exactly was the problem with the Force’s position in relation to Cpl. FRANCIS? He was allowed to smoke his weed (even at work) but was requested to not do so in uniform nor drive a car nor carry a gun. Again: is this unreasonable? Who were the “dinosaurs” and in relation to what were they sleeping?

    People are missing the point if they think this is about PTSD, there are many members diagnosed with this problem and they are working just fine in the field. They sought help and they got it; although the method by which they manage their PTSD may differ from Cpl. FRANCIS’.

    The Force has a duty to accommodate (which they clearly did in this case) and anyone who believes otherwise ought to put their personal biases aside and try and look at this at least a little objectively.

    • Buck permalink

      What exactly is it that you have against Cpl. Francis? He was on Admin duties, not driving, not packing his sidearm. The Commissioner stated, Cpl. Francis was warned not to to approach the media, therefore senior management has some knowledge of what the PTSD entails (none of us do), I agree the media piece got attention which I feel may have been a cry out for help. How does anyone know if that was even marihuana he was smoking (insert Mayor Rob Ford joke here).

      The setting hair on fire over this is interesting & I hope I don’t get caught in the crossfire of the pissing contest. I would just like to enter for the record a couple of points, “No Case Seizure” (we’ve all done them because you gotta stay on the road) & Zacardelli (No explanation needed)

      Member’s Pension Fund Scandal & Lying to Parliament vs. Medical Marihuana for PTSD???

      Who’s the Bad Guy???

  11. anonymous permalink

    Jeff Who is right that its not about PTSD. It is about all those other things that have been mentioned here. People are justified in disagreeing with him smoking pot while in uniform or on duty. Thats fine. However, the man has done nothing illegal that we know of and he sits in a psyc ward to see if he’s fit for trial for assault. That assault occurred because the police were ‘conducting a wellness check’. He was tazered by four officers. The real issue is what is a wellness check and why is he forced to submit to it, and by what rationale can he be approached close enough that officers would be ‘assaulted’. Clearly this reeks of the same bad policies which have had the police in trouble in the past, so thats why this is a concern. I think thats pretty ‘objective’.

    I find this on ‘wellness check’: “Things escalated until, according to Matters, RCMP officers broke into his home one night at gunpoint on a purported “wellness check” because he hadn’t responded to earlier calls. He filed a complaint about the incident to the RCMP watchdog, which found the complaint was not substantiated.”

    And “The standoff began shortly after a “concerned citizen” called police at 10:45 a.m. asking that they send someone to do a “wellness check” on the man inside, LeBlanc said. ”

    Even at the RCMP policy manual online there is no mention of what is involved in a wellness check. If four officers tazered him, then I could well imagine a state of mind in him where seeing a large group of uniformed officers ‘coming to see how he was doing’ would simply make matters worse. As the first blog post said, the issue is about forgetting political expediency and doing what is best for individual members.

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