THe power that Brown had versus an inquiry were extremely limited. A most important point is that an inquiry was denied. The last thing the Government wants is more revelations about incompetence, coverups, and wrongdoings in the RCMP. It remains to be seen what the Task Force will amount to.
RCMP needs major shakeup: federal report
Last Updated: Friday, June 15, 2007 | 7:00 AM ET
The RCMP needs major changes in its governance and culture, a government-appointed investigator said Friday.
David Brown, the former head of the Ontario Securities Commission, was appointed by the government in April to investigate allegations that senior RCMP officers covered up abuse of the force's pension and insurance fund.
Brown recommended appointing a task force to look into the RCMP culture and governance to deal with a situation where RCMP members were punished for challenging the prevailing management.
"We need fundamental cultural, structural and governance changes throughout the RCMP," he told reporters Friday. The lower-ranking force members who complained about problems "were treated very unfairly," he said.
The proposed task force should report by Dec. 14. A decision about appointing a task force is up to the government.
"This is of the utmost urgency and importance" because the current RCMP culture is undermining the confidence in the force of lower-ranking officers and the public, he said.
But Brown also said he found no signs of a coverup on the pension issue, just mismanagement. He singled out the management style of former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli for particular criticism.
Brown reviewed repeated previous investigations and inquiries into RCMP management, and as expected, rejected the idea of a public inquiry. Such an inquiry "will uncover nothing new," he asserted.
But he did recommend the Ontario Provincial Police review a criminal investigation of the pension issues to determine if the investigation was done properly.
He did not conclude that the investigation was flawed, only that the lack of independence in the investigation may be a problem.
Testified to pension abuse
Earlier this spring, RCMP officers and staff told a parliamentary committee they had unearthed abuse of the pension fund. They claimed that senior managers responded to their concerns either by punishing whistleblowers, or blocking investigations into the accounting irregularities.
Brown's report was given to Vic Toews, the president of the Treasury Board.
"I'm very pleased that we're moving as quickly as we are, and all I can say at this point is I'm looking forward to seeing a copy of the report and ensuring any recommendations that are made are closely examined," Toews said before it was released.
Some MPs on the parliamentary committee who first heard the allegations in February raised concerns about how much the report could truly uncover, given that Brown's investigation only began in mid-April.
"If we [the committee] are still asking questions at this point, don't tell me — and we're a committee — that he was able to find out all this information so quickly," committee member and Liberal MP Judy Sgro said. "Frankly, I think it's probably a whitewash of a document."
NDP MP David Christopherson was also skeptical. He pointed out that Brown didn't have the same powers as the committee.
"You're going to tell me that every person that we had to squeeze every answer out of, merrily walked in and voluntarily told him all the things that we wanted to hear but they wouldn't tell us? I don't buy it," he said.