November 15, 2011
Mounties get a new chief
By QMI Agency
The Mounties have their man.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announced Wednesday the country's next leader of the RCMP is Bob Paulson, QMI Agency has learned.
Paulson has spent more than 25 years in the red serge, serving most recently as the force's deputy commissioner.
"His reputation is good," said Leo Knight, a Vancouver-based security expert and former RCMP officer.
Paulson is fluently bilingual, was born in Lachute, Que., near Montreal, spent much of his career in British Columbia chasing down biker gangs, and even tried his hand as a fighter jet pilot before signing on as a Mountie.
"I think that's part of the attraction for the guy," Knight said.
Harper's decision to pick a cop steeped in the same kind of front-line police work most members of the 30,000-strong police force engage in is in sharp contrast to the prime minister's choice to go outside the force the last time he picked the top cop.
Harper picked William Elliott to lead the RCMP in 2007. But Elliott, a life-long bureaucrat, was never a beat cop, an issue that appeared to rankle the rank-and-file.
Partly as a result of that, Elliott's tenure as the head of the RCMP has been marked by turmoil and internal strife.
Elliott announced his intention to resign in February, though the federal election delayed the search for his successor.
Knight said Paulson's first big task will be to deal with a growing sexual harassment scandal on the force. Within the last months two female RCMP officers have come forward with detail allegations of years of sexual harassment from male colleagues.
Knight said Paulson will have to tackle that issue right off the top.
"That's long been systemic in the RCMP," Knight said. "It's a 135-year-old institution that's been unhampered by progress."