RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson arrived before the start of the Public Safety committee appearance on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 31, 2012.
Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
In his unprecedented open letter to Canadians admitting his force now operated with a tarnished badge, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson confessed more ugly cases of disreputable behaviour by "rotten apples" in his storied outfit would soon be in the news.
After tipping his hand to this reality, Paulson should not wait for the media to sniff them out, or for more embarrassing leaks regarding sexual harassment, or worse, to make the headlines.
He should round up the internal case files of all those "rotten apples" -- whether historic or already underway -- and dump them en masse into the media's hands.
Get it out of the way.
Be proactive rather than reactive.
After admitting the antiquated RCMP Act prohibits him from outright firing those who bring the venerable red serge into disrepute, federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews got Paulson's back by promising new legislation to give him the disciplinary clout he needs to cull the force of bad seeds.
This is desperately needed.
When the Canadian public sees someone like RCMP Staff Sgt. Donald Ray getting docked one stripe in rank, and 10 day's pay, and then a transfer to another detachment for a long list of disgraceful conduct -- drinking on the job, sexual harassment, flashing his penis at a booze-addled female subordinate in an attempt to seduce her -- respect for the force takes another hit.
There is no win in letting it drag out.
Canadians do not need to hear Paulson say the "punishment" meted out to Ray -- to use the word loosely -- "just does not cut it." The fact he still has a job, and his pension is under no threat, says it all.
But what says more is the knowledge that, until the story leaked, Ray was literally smuggled out of his detachment in Edmonton and transferred to a detachment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
What makes this so telling and so disgraceful is Ray's Lower Mainland posting is where allegations of sexual misconduct have already led to lawsuits against the force by female officers.
And into this they insert Don Ray?
Take our advice, commissioner. Make all those upcoming cases public, and get it over with.
Short-term pain for long-term gain.