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If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Jan 25

To begin, I wish to express my sorrow and a deep sense of frustration to the Wynne family, for the loss of their husband and father.  From my perspective, this was not necessary.  At the outset of this brief piece, I will refer you to several articles that are on Re-sergeance and refer to the topic of “transformational leadership”.  I do so as it will save me from repeating myself, and allow me to focus on a contemporary example of where a transformative leader may have been able to capitalize on a tragic situation and make use of Cst. Wynne’s sacrifice to “lever” change in the RCMP.

You may recall that the Commissioner’s initial response to Cst. Wynne’s murder was to begin pointing fingers.  The gist of his response was that he and the working members of the RCMP couldn’t be expected to do everything, with the manpower (and budget?) that they presently have.   He forcefully shirked any responsibility, and pointed squarely at the Federal Government in Ottawa.  He continued to complain loud and long about the volume of work, the shortage of members to do the work and the size of the municipal budgets he had, to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Now, if you were in the Commissioner’s boots, what would you propose as a solution?  Apparently, it would be “more of the same”; there would be nothing new or transformative about it, and it would have about as much of a chance of succeeding as the continued existence of a “fart in a wind storm”.  Predictably, that is just what the Commissioner suggested.  That is, he railed on about more members and more money.  He must have been more interested in appealing to those who fail to keep themselves informed on the topic; for as I recall, his boss continues to chop RCMP budgets while increasing their responsibilities.

So to answer the question posed at the outset of the previous paragraph, I hope you would first of all see this situation as an opportunity to do “something different”.  Do you recall the story of the drunk who was searching for his lost keys (quite unsuccessfully) under a bright street light.  A passing policeman asked the man if he was certain that was the spot where he lost his keys?  The drunk answered “no”, and pointing said “over there, however it’s much too dark over there to see anything”.  Sound familiar?

The Commissioner’s deceptively simple formula (i.e. “more of the same”) is one of the most successful recipes for disaster ever known to person kind.   Over the course of the Earth’s history, it has lead to the extinction of hundreds of species.  The formula is really nothing more than the unwavering retention of a solution; that may have showed promise in another situation; but not in this one.  How do we know?  Would it be because it has been tried unsuccessfully on several occasions over time?  This may come as a revelation to the Commissioner, but what he is suggesting is not an optimal adaptation final and valid forever, in these types of situations.  Why?  Because, there are always a number of other possibilities; perhaps even better than “more of the same”.  This administrative myopia seems to have blinded our hero (who is busy fighting for the Wynne family?) to the fact that his pet solution continues to become more ill-fitting; and serves only to prevent him from seeing a number of more appropriate, better suited solutions  that have always been there and have a greater chance of success.

Here’s one!  It is my opinion that the RCMP should be downsized.  They could become Canada’s answer to the FBI, investigating only federal statutes.  General duty policing in the cities and provinces across the country could be put in the hands of the Municipal and Provincial police services.  The RCMP would then be confined to the policing of federal laws, let’s say for example, “terrorism”.  In addition, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to have a “cuddly” relationship between the Prime Minister and his Solicitor General.  This would mean no more deputy minister status for the Commissioner of the RCMP.  I think it is best that the head of the Force operate at arm’s length from the government.  You really shouldn’t be perceived as being in charge of the P.M.’s private army!

So there it is.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about and most importantly to discuss with your brother and sister members.  What say you?

“Stand in the light, when you wish to speak out”,

Dr. Mike Webster   R. Psych.









  1. Anonymous permalink

    Well said Mike. Bravo!

  2. Terry McKee permalink

    Simply put, more will die. I quote from the anals of recent history, “How do you handle a monster like that?”
    I propose we ask the same question of that statements’ author!

  3. thewolfinsheeps permalink

    My condolences to the family, friends and co workers of brother David WYNNE.

    The RCMP’s struggles to keep it’s head above water in the business of contract policing is tiresome. The model that was created may have worked fifty years ago, but I don’t think it has been viable for a long time. The RCMP is infamous for doing things on the cheap. “Doing more with less” is our moto. At whose expense? Well the public we serve for one, but also the members. Worked to the bone quite often, burned out, disheartened. The reason most municipality’s renew contracts with the RCMP is because they realize they are getting the service for the fraction of what a unionized Municipal force would cost. Yet the members are expected to carry the same work load, with inferior equipment and numbers.

    Something else that the RCMP likes to do is not change. Even on the smallest of scales we are forced to do things just because we have always done it that way. Try and change some outdated or ineffective policy in the RCMP, or even suggest it doesn’t work and you will see the challenge we are faced with internally. We treat our business practices like the Ten Commandments. Someone in Division HQ or Ottawa once wrote this down on a piece of paper, so lets just keep doing it forever. It matters not how antiquated, illogical, or cumbersome it is, it’s POLICY. You can’t question policy? Who do you think you are? It’s almost like you are trying to make things better?

    I see the comments from Paulson as nothing more than empty rhetoric. He is a hypocrite. It shows the massive scale of his ego to suggest that he is somehow going to spearhead some sort of drastic change in the Justice system. Please Bob. How about you concentrate on trying to convince your army of white shirts to think more like leaders and less like politicians. Concentrate on leading and not just talking about leading. What officers in the RCMP have lost sight of, or more aptly have never known, is that they work for their subordinates. Their job is to support us and make our jobs easier and in turn improve the service we can deliver to the public. Leading isn’t about your next bump, or your pension, or making municipal governments or Federal politicians happy, or about protecting the all mighty “image” of the RCMP. If you LEAD, the rest will fall into place quite nicely.

  4. Where is the common sense?

    Going into gambling casino thinking you are among friends I say is not wise. The guy could have been tipped off causing the series of events that happen.

    However I see the logic in your blog; but unfortunately with what is expected of police officers today using logic or common sense is not the choice they are expected to make, it’s an arrest. A Mounties’ life and it could have been two for a stolen vehicle is a very poor choice and so is a police chase and killing others.

    Also walking in the light would be a stretch for those who like walking in the dark but I see the point in what you are trying to make.

    I keep hearing you can only get back what you have sown in life. The natives say it a little differently, what goes around eventually will come around, life is a circle. Also for those who don’t know this yet the good book says; if you take a life yours will also be taken.

    Unfortunately all Murders in my book are tragic, even all those unsolved ones across Canada, but in some cases we seem to pick and choose who’s life is considered valuable and who’s life is not today even if the number are a thousand to one.

    I really like the show of unity more than all the money spent on these police funerals. When Pope Jean Paul II dies he was buried in a pine box showing how humble he was. Here’s a suggestion from a police officer who was shot himself five times and lived to tell about it. Could we use some of those funds, they say are in limited supply and use some of it to investigate unsolved murders and bring some kind of closure to those waiting?

    The huge response to the movie “Sniper” is just one of many examples of how we capitalize on death & destruction and I believe today those highly public funerals are no longer accomplishing for police what they think they should and are having the reverse effect and are helping criminals to make a point. We know they are not going down as heroes but they are taking some with them.

    Look all over the world what kind of mess we are in, there’s way to much media coverage for the wrong reasons and they don’t seem to care that covering the rottenness of humanity in their darkest moment is adding to out problems and only spreading more of it. I would like to see the politicians do something about that sacred cow.

    Look up the definition of insanity for yourself; if you keep doing the same thing expecting different results it’s called insanity.

  5. The Old NCO permalink

    There have been many suggestions over the years what a renewed RCMP should look like but no real attempts have ever been made to change the mandate of this Federal institution. Talk and more talk but without action it is useless. It will take a future government with real vision to first of all understand that the present day RCMP does not work effectively and is as leaderless as a ship without a rudder.

    For all of it’s shortcomings over the years, the RCMP has always found ways to overcome but I dare say that I believe the bottom of the pit has been reached. The organization is as low as any organization can ever go and that in the end may be what it will take for a future government to get it’s act together and address this National embarrassment.

    I believe a Royal Enquiry is necessary with a mandate to bring this force into the modern age. I do not pretend to be an expert on how this force should look and operate, but the voices of many of you should be heard before decisions are made on a renewed RCMP.

  6. anon permalink

    Old NCO……good comment about a Royal Inquiry being necessary.

    Funny about ten years ago this kind of thing took place with the Brown Inquiry. Brown and his people went coast to coast and the idea was to have town hall meetings with front line members to talk about what was wrong with the upper management of the RCMP.

    Went to one of the meetings myself and the before it started in paraded the CO my Division and his ‘support’ officers. All sat quietly in the back of the room. Do you think anyone of the fifty or so members in the room from Csts to Sgts said a word about upper management with that group sitting in the back row???? The only one who stood up and said anything, and this is totally true, was a member with less than a year service. The rest of us knew better with the Gestapo sitting in the back row taking notes. Any member with any service knows exactly what I’m talking about.

    After the ‘meeting’ I met with Mr. Brown in the washroom. He asked me what I thought of the meeting. I told him frankly it was a joke because there was no way in the current RCMP system that a member would speak out against upper management for fear of all kinds of reprisals from the white shirts. He told me that he was frustrated because everywhere they went across Canada for these town hall meetings, the upper management in every Division was following along.

    Anyway the Brown report, such that it was, eventually came out with all kinds of recommendations, all of which were basically just swept under the carpet and the status quo in upper management continues of course to this day.

    But you’re right Old NCO, something really major has to take place for this outfit to ever effectively change for the better.

  7. You have no ideal how bad it can get when you speak out and those above you want to silence you.
    If all you got is a few sitting at the back you were lucky. It’s much different when you find yourself being ordered to work a double shift or you will be fired, someone shoots you five times and vanishes and investigators sit on the sideline destroy the evidence and cheer.

    The reason the recommendations were swept under the political rug is because you lost the battle in the meeting when you didn’t stand up for what is right and they knew by showing up you guys were cowards and would cave in.

    It really doesn’t do much to help others when you give in like that but if it makes you guys back down and the force knows it why would they need to change when you do.

    You can always hire more pawns right and who wants to rock the boat with all those perks.

    The changes on your wish list you seek for you, for others or for the force will never happen until you stand for what is right, not for what is wrong. Standing for what is right will always piss off those who would rather stand for what is wrong. But someone has to do it, let it be you.

    Former Shediac Town Police Officer

  8. anon permalink

    Unsolved Major Crimes…..

    Cowards huh? No idea huh? Rock the boat and suffer the consequences huh?

    Boy I sure wish you were in the RCMP so we could sit back and see how far you get with your self rightousness attitude.

    You have no clue, so don’t try to pretend you do.

  9. Hey anon;
    Hell will never freeze over so don’t be so touchy about it

  10. Anonymous permalink

    Unsolved Major Crime

    I think many readers and contributors to this site know exactly how BAD it can get. Many have spoken up and out against the wrong they have seen, heard and been victims of. Many here have suffered greatly because of their need to see right over wrong. They have lost friends, colleagues, reputations, careers, families, health and some have even lost their lives. Many would probably do it again even knowing what was in store for them.

    I do not in any way minimize your experiences but I do know that no one here can claim that they have it better or worse than anyone else. Implying that this mess of a Force is the fault of those that did not speak up at those meetings is simply unfair and uncalled for. I’m sorry for what you have suffered and if there were anything I could do, I would try. Keep safe.

  11. Terry McKee permalink

    I support the Old NCO’s suggestion of a “Royal Inquiry”. I have recently been interviewed on the Global TV program 16×9. The program is based on the June 4th shootings in Moncton. With all that has taken place and the main corporate culprit being Paulson I have called him. I believe and still support an independent inquiry. It is no secret now that members were NOT provided the proper tools/equipment to do their job with the utmost safety in mind…Even though the MacNeil Inquiry claims it was not internal and have changed its name to independent we all know it was internal. This inquiry does make admission that Moncton had no carbines and limited hard body armour. Imagine, two female members assigned to a vehicle that night with only one hard body armour. One member said to the other, “You have a family, I don’t, you take the armour”. To me, and I ask of you, is that not enough to have a criminal investigation??? I refer you to Bill C45, which created an amendment in the Criminal Code. Specifially “CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE” _ Sec 217.1, Criminal Negligence…”Every one who undertakes, or has the authority to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from the work or task.

    We should step up…. have an online petition…. band together. what say you?

    • Terry I hear you….. the night I was called in to the office at 11:30 pm to work a double shift or I would be fired, the shot gun had been removed from the police cruiser before I started my 4-12 shift and locked in the white shirt’s office. Then to add insult to injury; a letter was intercepted three months earlier from the Dorchester Pen by a prison guard and I was made to work without even a bullet proof vest. I know what they can do and it must stop.


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