With another report claiming that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is rife with workplace sexual harassment, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reportedly now committed to finding a woman to head the storied national police force.
The current commissioner, Bob Paulson, is retiring at the end of June.
According to the National Post and its sources, Trudeau believes a female commissioner will address some of the criticism that the force is too male-dominated, although he says that he still believes the selection process should be “merit-based.”
Monday’s report by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission — a civilian reviewer of the RCMP — said the the Mounties has a “dysfunctional culture” that has refused to reform except in “limited and ad hoc” ways.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, whose department oversees the RCMP, indicated that the report’s recommendations were under consideration while he and Trudeau were “committed to whatever action is necessary to help RCMP members, trainees and employees feel safe and respected.”
The Liberal government has promised to be less secretive about how it makes senior government appointments but so far has said little about how it plans to find a new RCMP commissioner who will satisfy both operational integrity and, now, political requirements.
On Monday, Goodale was testifying before a parliamentary committee when he referenced the RCMP file and mentioned a search committee “representing the full breadth of society” would soon to be ready to begin its work.
Conservative public safety critic Tony Clement says it appears that the Liberals don’t know how to proceed and are putting politics before policing, but he encouraged Trudeau to look hard for the right person to fill the job because “I’m sure there are many meritorious female and male (candidates).”
Trudeau routinely practices the politics of gender. When he became prime minister he assembled a cabinet was split evenly between male and female members — it was dubbed the “quota cabinet” by at least one Ottawa columnist.
Beverley Busson is the only woman to have ever led the RCMP and she only did it on an interim basis. There are currently several high-ranking female members in the police force.