Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Google obviously doesn't understand Canada.

Evidently some graphic artist that works for Google in Mountain View, California thought it would be a cute idea to acknowledge Canada Day by incorporating an image of a saluting RCMP officer in their logo today.

While the thought is nice, the association is most disappointing as the RCMP has come to represent some of the worst things about Canada these days. In the last three years the RCMP has completely discredited itself, at least in the mind of this Canadian. Some top of mind examples of this wholly discredited police organization are:

(1) As Commissioner of the RCMP, Giuliano Zaccardelli, acted in a way that significantly influenced the outcome of the 2006 Canadian Federal election by acting in a manner completely inconsistent with proper police practice by announcing a criminal investigation into the alleged income trust leak and named Rlaph Goodale ( who was later exonerated) in that Press Release. You never name people in matters of this open ended sort, unless of course you wanted to throw the election in favour of the "tough on crime" Conservatives.

(2) The tasering of Robert Dziekansk and the associated cover up. Thank god for the citizen journalist who took the incriminating video of this wretched affair, otherwise this incident would never have seen the light of day and tasers would still be in widespread misuse by the RCMP.

(3) RCMP detachments that do not respond to repeated citizen's reports that they observed SOS signals in the snow, which the RCMP failed to investigate and which led to the death of a stranded skier in the back country

(4) The RCMP pension scandal under Giuliano Zaccardelli, who thinks pension money can be taken provided it is returned in due course once the news becomes public. Does the RCMP accord bank robbers with the same remedies?

(5) The RCMP was responsible for overall security at the 2007 Montebello Summit, where members of the police force under the RCMP's command had infiltrated a group of peaceful protestors in an attempt to falsely portray them as non peaceful, with the obvious intention to falsely implicate them and malign their intentions and discredit them.

(6) The appointment of politically linked individuals, ie William Elliot, with ties to the Conservative Party to head the RCMP.

(7) The inability of the RCMP to properly investigate the attempted bribery of MP Chuch Cadmen and to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators. including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who admitted knowledge of the affair on a tape.

Happy Canada Day!

Perhaps that RCMP Officer in the Google logo would be more representative of today's realities, if he were giving Canadians a single digit salute, rather than the open handed salute?


Dr Mike said...

Say , whatever happened to the RCMP anyway??

In 1995 the exclusive rights to the Mounties likeness was sold to the Disney company to aid in the sale of the RCMP image to tourists world-wide.


RCMP ...... Mickey Mouse.


Dr Mike

Bruce Benson said...

Brent, I too have lost my respect for the RCMP (actually any police) and I don't believe a damn word they say. They are damaged goods just like Harper/Flaherty and the rest of the CON's.

Torybaiter said...

Our current concerns regarding the RCMP are internal. The rest of the world still sees then as a proud symbol of Canada. Honestly, our internal politcal and social affairs just aren't that intersting to the good folks in Mountain view, California. That's normal. Can you tell me the current hot issue in Montana? Do you care?

liberalminute said...

The RCMP still holds a prestigious reputation abroad and I would wager that a vast Canadian survey would show the same positive results.

That being said some of the points you raised especially the Dziekanski death are tragic and disappointing.

CAITI said...


Public opinion you ask?

RCMP needs rebuilding -- in public view

June 18, 2007
James Travers
Toronto Star

Stockwell Day is a politician of curious beliefs. Famously confused about evolution and the Niagara River's northerly flow, the federal public safety minister is currently convinced a public inquiry isn't needed to put the RCMP back on its horse after nasty falls.

Of those three assumptions, the third, predictably endorsed last week by David Brown's fast study of the pension mess, is most wrong-headed. One of the country's few remaining icons is broken and can be painstakingly repaired only in the full glare of daylight.

A replacement for former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli -- superficially wounded by Brown as a weak and arrogant manager -- is a start.

But that and the closed-doors task force Brown recommends are no substitute for full scrutiny followed by a boots-to-brim overhaul of a force now sharing little with its postcard image and illustrious past.

That would be necessary if the RCMP problems stopped at pension abuses, its mystery intervention in the last election, the affair or bizarre and deadly operational failures. Sadly, those are only parts of a repeating pattern.

With depressing regularity, the RCMP wanders to the dark side. It has burned barns, dipped into federal sponsorships funds, spied on political parties and blinked at internal wrongs.

Connect those dots and find two common denominators. One is an unstable relationship with politicians; the other is a cultish, xenophobic cohesiveness that thwarts oversight and reform.

At times the RCMP bows to political pressure, more frequently hiding its tracks from its elected masters. Asia-Pacific protesters got the rough 1997 ride Jean Chretien's handlers wanted, and both the Arar inquiry and the 1981 McDonald commission inquiry measured the distance between truth and what ministers were told.

The result is a poisonous mix of pragmatism and fear. Sensitive to its power and usefulness as well as keenly aware that the RCMP still commands more public esteem than politicians, parties default to its defence until the weight of evidence makes criticism safe.

So Liberals appointed the weak, very political Zaccardelli rather than search outside for leadership strong enough to challenge the status quo. And now Conservatives are perpetuating the comforting myth that all that's really needed is a quick fix at the top.

It's not that easy. A new perspective is as vital to RCMP recovery as it is certain that its us-against-them culture will try to reject a transplant.

Even that might be manageable if tarnished brass was the only problem. Instead, competence, structure and purpose are all in doubt.

Mountie and prisoner deaths in Alberta and British Columbia suggest systemic training failure. Serving as a contract police force in every province except Ontario and Quebec creates organizational conflict and a dual personality. And it's far from clear that the real RCMP lionized by the fictional Sergeant Preston is ready to cope with 21st-century organized crime and security threats.

There's appeal in Brown's remedy of a timely task force focusing on modernizing a paramilitary organization out of step with its time, mandate and $3-billion budget.

Swift and cost-efficient, it would skirt public inquiry pitfalls while protecting politicians from the potential embarrassments of unscripted testimony.

More compelling is his argument that further deconstruction of the pension scandal, beyond an OPP review, won't uncover anything new or startling. After seven probes of varied length and depth, enough is enough.

But Brown and Day shortchange the RCMP and the Canadians it serves by not seizing the opportunity to publicly reconstruct an icon, piece by jagged piece.

James Travers writes on national affairs.

Anonymous said...

My (late) father was in the RCMP, and despite the inevitable frustration with the bureaucracy and occasional, sometimes serious, misconduct of some members, his service was always a source of pride for him and the extended family. Atypically he was liberal (CCF/NDP actually) and abolitionist, but he always stood up for "the force". Well, perhaps one caveat. He never explicitly said so, but I suspect he felt the organization was too much concerned about image and not enough about effective policing. He was decidedly against them contracting with Disney.

I miss my Dad, but it's definitely a mercy he missed what's happened since his passing. I haven't the slightest doubt he would concur with every one of Brent's judgments, an acknowledgment at which he would have been appalled and ashamed.

On a less sombre note, as iconic as it is I think it's time the dress uniform was seriously changed. The stetson and scarlet tunic look terrific on the young men for whom it was designed. Now of course there are many women serving, and it makes them look like dorks.



crf said...

Also this:

Paying for "studies" to advance the RCMP's (and most Reform-Conservatives') political views on drug harm-reduction policy.

Fake studies are given the same weight by the RCMP and the Conservatives as scientific studies by academics.