One can understand Harper's desire to have someone as commissioner who is outside the force and has close ties to the government. Elliott will be outside the RCMP culture and somewhat immune to any attempts to deflect him from necessary changes.
It is understandable that top RCMP officials are aghast and offended but for the lower ranks it will probably make no difference. In fact they may be relieved that there is someone not part of the hierarchy that was causing many problems in the top position.
However, there will no doubt be a lot of criticism concerning the politicisation of the post by this appointment. But it is really replacement of one type of politics, insider cronyism, by another!
PM to name bureaucrat as new RCMP commissioner
Updated Fri. Jul. 6 2007 7:34 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
The new full-time commissioner for the RCMP will be William Elliott, a civilian and top bureaucrat with the Public Safety Department, CTV News has learned.
The government is expected to make the announcement Friday.
Elliott, who has never served as a police officer, will take the reins of a force troubled by a pension scandal and a special investigator's report that called its governance "horribly broken."
"The prime minister felt he needed an outsider, somebody to sweep in with a new broom, and with no loyalties within the RCMP," reported CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
Bev Busson, who filled in as the force's acting commissioner after Giuliano Zaccardelli stepped down last December, had called for a Mountie to lead the RCMP.
"I've spoken to a lot of senior RCMP officers tonight, and they feel this is a demoralizing blow, a slap in their face," said Fife.
"They feel they're being punished for the mistakes and scandal that happened under former commissioner Zaccardelli and a few people who worked under him."
He added that some officers view Elliott as a "political operator" who got his start under the government of Brian Mulroney.
In 1989, Elliott worked as an executive assistant to the office of the deputy prime minister. One year later, he became chief of staff in the same office.
Elliott also served as national security advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from April 2005 until last spring.
David Brown, former head of the Ontario Securities Commission, laid most of the blame for the RCMP's troubles at the feet of Zaccardelli.
Brown cast Zaccardelli as an authoritarian bully whose mishandling of complaints over management of the $12-billion RCMP pension fund destroyed morale within the agency.
Zaccardelli has denied any wrongdoing.