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Goin’ Along To Get Along: And How’s That Been Workin’ For Ya’?

May 11

Here’s an age old question; how much of your individuality, autonomy, privacy, or rights as a worker are you willing to give up to preserve the “status quo”? You are often advised to “go with the flow” or “don’t rock the boat”, after all there are approximately 19,000 regular members in the RCMP and it doesn’t seem to be an issue with them. That many members can’t be wrong! Really? Why can’t they?

Isn’t that you who counsels your child to think for him\herself after unthinkingly following the crowd on some issue that resulted in havoc? Where do you figure new ideas, theories, and policies come from? How are better, more effective and efficient ways of doing things developed? A few centuries ago everybody believed that the Sun was in orbit around the Earth. The entire medical community believed that a horribly toxic chemical (mercury) was the cure of choice for syphilis. The number of people who hold a belief doesn’t seem to be a “sure fire” guarantee of its’ veracity.

Science itself can go for decades without having its’ prevailing models challenged. And then all of a sudden there is a period of paradigm shift; and those who catalyzed these deviations from the norm were initially derided. A good example might be Copernicus, who first suggested that actually upon closer inspection it seemed that it was the Earth that was orbiting around the sun, rather than the other way ’round. The Catholic Church objected strongly to the Earth not being the centre of the universe. The prevailing geocentric model had held sway due to what is known as “consensus reality” i.e. it was valid because it was believed by so many. Do you think that “consensus reality” could be playing a role in why more RCMP members and the general public are unable to recognize just how dysfunctional the Force is today?

As employees working for an “outfit” with such a long history, you have come to embrace certain cultural beliefs (e.g. the RCMP is a policing model for democracies around the world). If in the course of your career you experience a flash of doubt you are likely to quickly put it out of mind; as you have a tendency to think that so many others think differently, you must be wrong. Moreover, as you are like most human beings motivated by the desire to be accepted, you want to avoid appearing contrary; you would prefer to be liked by others than not, and so you “go along to get along”. Like most, you ignore the advice of Socrates who suggested that to hold and defend an opinion, after thoroughly exploring it, is what makes you human. He was very big on the “thoroughly exploring” part; reflected in his statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

On the other hand when one has examined thoroughly an issue, and disagrees with the prevailing opinion, what is that individual to do? If it was you where would you fall along the continuum of “self interest” at one end and “community interest” at the other, on this issue? If you fall square on the community interest end of our continuum, you’re likely to be labelled a “whistle blower” and pay a great price (as some of your membership have). However, self interest ( usually related to your responsibility to family) enters the equation here and modulates your answer to the question.

Present day RCMP Executives are depending upon your self interest to keep their questionable and archaic practices hidden. If you were a full blown “whistle blower” you could pay a stiff price, especially under now existing legislation. You could lose your job, or perhaps have your work life made miserable; or forfeit friendships, status, home, family or health. In addition there could be a stream of lawsuits and the creation of an adversarial relationship between you and your employer. Even though to “blow the whistle” is the morally genuine thing to do, it may not result in your objective; rather with you discredited and financially bereft, unable to take on the massive resources of the “outfit”.

You don’t need to make such a sacrifice to make a difference. Allow me to explain. I will outline, in brief, three critical concepts, and then I will ask you to make a decision. Are you with me so far? OK here we go…..first concept is that the RCMP is not a “change ready” organization, by any measure you apply to it. And I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my “you know what”! If you want someone more credible that I, who will confirm these opinions, check out the work of Carleton University management scholar Professor Linda Duxbury. She will outline for you how RCMP culture does not support only change but also workplace health, and a competitive advantage with other police services around the globe.

Next point: The RCMP is caught in a downward “success spiral”. The organization has held on too long to the belief that what worked well in the past, works well today, and will continue to do so tomorrow. With no doubt, those at the helm of the RCMP are having a bout of “consensus reality” (remember this from earlier?).

Final point: The RCMP is in need of “Transformational Change”. This kind of change does not involve itself with “tinkering”. It doesn’t mean making alterations to personnel, adjusting existing budgets, or creating/eliminating new sections; this type of change involves sweeping change in culture, size, focus, and perhaps even core values. The RCMP has “too much to do with too little” and it is the rank and file that suffer for it. The “fly in the ointment” however is that this type of change typically triggers resistance from the top(where the power lives) and heightened political behaviour (isn’t the RCMP Commissioner a Deputy Minister in the government of the day?).

OK, now the pitch; if you have thoroughly examined the issue (recall what Socrates said about “the unexamined life”) and you agree with the points I have tried to make in the previous three paragraphs, you have a limited number of options to consider. One, you could do nothing, continuing to “bitch” as if it had a chance of bringing about change. Two, you could go “all radical” and become a “whistle blower” at yours’ and your families’ expense, or three; you could come out and support the union movement. The only cost here is your time and energy. It is your right to belong to The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada (MPPAC). You could join your “brothers and sisters” who have seen that it is on the “middle road” where you have the potential for the most gain with the least pain.

Here it is “brothers and sisters”; an all in one solution. Join the MPPAC and begin to pitch and sign others up; you will not only feel alive again, you’ll have a sense of a bigger picture than just your own situation. Your family will have Mom\Dad back again, and best of all you won’t be spinnin’ your wheels and goin’ nowhere!

“Be the changes you want in the world!!!!”

Dr. Mike Webster
Reg’d Psych.
#0655

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3 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Great post Dr. Webster. MPPAC is the solution. Any member that thinks they don’t need it is fooling themselves and selling themselves short. Join MPPAC now. Don’t wait until something happens because then it will be too late to qualify for help. If you want a good solid organization that will be on your side to back you up, join MPPAC. Want peace of mind, especially when the force is in it’s most unstable moments of all time??? Join MPPAC. Times have changed. There is no such thing as job stability within the RCMP anymore. Protect your rights, your career and your future. Join MPPAC!!!

  2. saumik901029 permalink

    With the unclear direction of our Div Reps Program, it is more important than ever for all members to be informed and get involved. The gag order that has been placed on all members not to speak up is no coincidence folks and the upper ranks do not want us talking about positive changes in our organization. I am not sure if a Union is the way to go but at least we must stand together and make sure that we are “One Voice” just like the crap that Ottawa is shoving down our throats on a monthly basis. It’s time to reverse this “One Voice” and send a strong message back to Ottawa to let them know that we are not going to stand for the status quo. Any new member with ten years or less should seriously be taking interest in the direction that the RCMP are headed and get informed with the latest decisions coming out of Ottawa.
    October is the federal election and all members should be aware of the restraining links that has been placed on the Commissioner’s Office by our current PMO. Our lack of ability to make the right decisions for the police force is killing us for the sake of political correctness and votes! A non-vote in the upcoming election means you agree with the current day structure of the RCMP and you are not willing to see any improvements in your pay, benefits and even in the promotion system which is seriously broken!
    Reverse The One Voice!
    Saumik

  3. Today I may add that I made it to 60 years old… Huray!
    What the enemy tried to do failed, I’m still here

    There’s two aniversaries coming up in a little over two weeks

    June 2, 1981; Shediac Town Police Officer shot in an Assassination Attempt that was covered up
    June 4, 2014; Five Mounties were shot 20 km away from Shediac in Moncton

    The CBC is covering the RCMP Moncton Shooting and the article today is saying that the RCMP have been charged. What they will do to get their way.

    RCMP faces Labour Code charges in Moncton Mountie shootings
    Force charged under Canada Labour Code after 3 officers died and 2 wounded

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/rcmp-faces-labour-code-charges-in-moncton-mountie-shootings-1.3075120

    In 1981 just after a threatening letter was intercepted by a Dorchester Prison Guard stating that I would be killed there was no investigations by anyone worth mentioning here and certainally no charges were ever laid when I was ordered to work a double shift or I would be fired and I wasn’t even provided a bullet proof vest.

    The guy who sent the letter was identified by a prison guard and guest what he wasn’t charged before I was shot or after the RCMP took over the case, after I was shot.

    I will be creating a post today to try and explain the difference between the RCMP and my unsolved 34 year old case which was apparently covered up to protect the identity of a police officver, I’m told.

    The Chief was pushed out, a new chief was hired and given the mandate to rid the force of all police officers working in 1981 when I was shot and the force was disbanded and the RCMP replaced not only Shediac but also Moncton, Dieppe, Sackville & Sussex.

    The case remains unsolved

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