Committee Calls for More Control over Mounted Police

December 11, 2007 ( - A Canadian House of Commons committee has called for the creation of an accountability board to keep an eye on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Press reports.

The committee also asked the House of Commons to denounce a lack of leadership by former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli revealed during an investigation of improper administration of the RCMP pension and insurance plans, the news report said. The public accounts committee heard allegations of fraud, abuse of authority, contracting irregularities, and harassment by senior members of the RCMP.

The committee also expressed disappointment in the leadership of former chief financial officer, Paul Gauvin.

In a report, the MPs recommended improving procedures for disclosure of malfeasance and tightening the rules for contracting. The report also recommended the government ask the Ontario provincial police to fully probe irregularities in the private outsourcing of administration of the RCMP insurance plan, according to the Canadian Press.

The Ontario force is already looking into other aspects of the scandal.

Also in the committee’s recommendations, the RCMP commissioner would continue to report to the public safety minister, but would also report to the new police accountability board. The new accountability board would report to the minister and issue a public annual statement on the RCMP’s performance.

In addition, the news report said, the MPs want the RCMP to provide more timely responses to formal requests for documents under the Access to Information Act. They noted extensive delays in answering applications that could have shed light on the issues much earlier.

Several investigations into the RCMP have been sparked. Toronto lawyer David Brown heads a federal task force due to report this month on RCMP management practices (See Investigator Calls for RCMP Pension Review ).