Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day and the RCMP scandals

Wow! If I were Day I would be a bit paranoid about the media after reading articles like this. I think maybe Day has caused our rainy weather out here too and the tornadoes that touched down near Winnipeg! Of course Day must bear some responsibility for the mess in the RCMP but it is successive governments not just the Tories or Day who have not cleaned things up. Maybe I have low expectations of Day! Day did after all refuse to tag along with the US when it came to agreeing that Arar should be on the US no fly list. He even said that the secret evidence he saw did not change his mind clearly implying that there was nothing of significance that the US had on Arar. Surely Day deserves some credit for his stand on Arar.
Having said on this it certainly would be a better idea to have a full inquiry into the RCMP than to follow the Day policy.

POLITICS AND POLICE - comment - Day the one inescapable constant in RCMP mess
Day the one inescapable constant in RCMP mess
Jun 21, 2007 04:30 AM
Andrew Mitrovica

Stockwell Day is a fortunate man. He has so far escaped being held to even a semblance of account over a cascading series of scandals that have debilitated this nation's federal police force. The outrages are fuelled by deceit, incompetence and rot deep inside the RCMP.

Here is a synopsis of the force's recent travails:

A damning verdict by Ontario's former associate chief justice detailed the central and disastrous role the RCMP played in Maher Arar's illegal deportation and torture.

Charges from within the force's ranks pointed to corruption, cronyism and cover-up by top Mounties in connection to millions of dollars in an employee pension fund.

A disgraced commissioner resigned after offering contradictory accounts of his role in the Arar affair and a deputy commissioner was suspended after allegations of perjury before a parliamentary committee.

And now a report that lays bare the dictatorial character of the RCMP's most senior officers and their petty, vindictive response to internal dissent.

It is a portrait of a police force nearing implosion. The RCMP's dysfunctional state is an indictment of a government that routinely warns us that we are vulnerable to attacks from amorphous enemies at home and abroad. The implications of this disaster for Canadians' safety and security are incalculable. The one inescapable constant throughout this mess has been Day.

But the only thing Canada's public safety minister seems to be busy safeguarding these days is his refurbished reputation with much of the Ottawa press corps. If you are inclined to believe Day's recent press clippings, you would likely surmise that the minister is a quietly competent action man who is determined to rapidly right the sinking ship called the RCMP.

Day promoted this disingenuous image by commissioning David Brown, the former head of the notoriously limp Ontario Securities Commission, to produce a report containing a conclusion that anyone with a functioning pair of eyes and even a mild interest in our national security infrastructure knew long ago – the RCMP is dangerously adrift.

In the aftermath of Brown's headline grabbing finding that the RCMP is "broken," the minister has, once again, apparently seized the day. He has opted to strike a task force of eminent persons, rather than a full-fledged public inquiry, to determine how best to repair the RCMP because, Day says, "we've got to take action now."

This Pablum masquerading as "action" is, of course, classic crisis management. Day and his advisers have plucked the ready and predictable tricks from their public relations grab bag to get out "in front" of a damaging story.

They have constructed an exculpatory narrative of a minister who is in command, marshalling the resources of his department and government to quickly rehabilitate the RCMP's tarnished reputation in a belated effort to reassure you and me.

For the most part, the media have parroted the story line tailored by Day and company. He has, as a result, avoided uncomfortable questions concerning his whereabouts while the RCMP has been disintegrating so publicly.

There are other questions that demand answers. Why did Day turn to a Bay Street investigator to do his job? Isn't it the public safety minister's responsibility to probe the causes of the malignancy inside the RCMP? Why is the impatient minister content to wait until the end of the year, when the task force is expected to issue its findings, before overhauling the RCMP?

It is has been quite a metamorphosis for the former leader of the now deceased Canadian Alliance. During his tumultuous tenure as Opposition leader, he earned a reputation as a barely competent politician, who often exercised questionable judgment.

He was dethroned by a caucus mutiny triggered by a string of embarrassing faux pas, culminating in his party's hiring (and firing) of a former undercover agent linked to the Hells Angels biker club to "get the goods" on Jean Chr├ętien's Liberal government.

At the time, Day was described by one columnist as "a disaster waiting to happen."

She was right.

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