Oh, dear. Is there no end to the sexual blowback in the ranks of the RCMP?
Readers will recall the Horsemen are already fending off allegations of sexual misconduct and gender discrimination involving 375 female employees in nine provinces.
Janet Merlo, a former RCMP constable in Nanaimo, has been leading the charge on a class action lawsuit in the BC Supreme Court, claiming RCMP misconduct by “multiple perpetrators” that was ignored by the brass.
Another former Mountie, Catherine Galliford, for years the face of the B.C. RCMP on high profile cases like the Robert Pickton and Air India investigations, claims she faced constant sexual advances from several senior officers from the moment she graduated from the RCMP Academy in 1991.
“If I had a dime for every time one of my bosses asked me to sit on his knee, I’d be on a yacht in the Bahamas right now,” Galliford told CBC News last fall.
And then, just before Christmas, another little-noticed legal setback for the too-sexy-for-my-serge national police force.
Government lawyers failed to squelch one more class action application, this one brought before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Linda Gillis Davidson, a former member of President Steve’s security detail.
Davidson, who alleges her mistreatment began in 1986 during her first assignment to Grand Falls, Newfoundland, and continued (with a reprieve in 2004-05) until she went on extended medical leave in 2009. She never returned to active duty and retired in 2012.
She’s seeking $500 million in general damages and $100 million in punies on behalf of her sister officers, for whom the RCMP allegedly failed to provide a workplace safe from harassment and discrimination, amen:
“Due to the systemic harassment, bullying and discrimination, Ms. Davidson experienced, and in some cases continues to experience, a range of health effects, including but not limited to: post-traumatic stress disorder; irritable bowel syndrome; stress; anxiety; depression; trouble sleeping; difficulty concentrating; difficulty comprehending written text; suicidal ideation; alcohol abuse; bouts of crying; obsessive behaviour; lack of energy; and, reclusiveness.”
Worse, Davidson spent her last years of active service, from 2006 to 2009, on the PM’s protective detail, under the sizeable baton of Superintendent Bruno Saccomani.
Bruno’s troubled tenure as President Steve’s head goon was famously the subject of an RCMP management review, which involved interviews with 41 per cent of the 116-member unit, the majority of whom reported intimidation, favouritism, discrimination and harassment from their bullyboy commander.
Bruno was not disciplined, but found himself placed under the supervision of a coach and a mentor and forced to apologize to his underlings. Another officer of his rank was brought in to “improve communication.”
By the time Harper had elevated his loyal bodyguard with a patronage kiss-off as ambassador to Jordan in 2013, Davidson was already off the force, and sharing nothing but happy memories of her jet-setting years with the Harpers.
Contrary to the sentiments she expressed in her claim (see above), she told the Huntsville Forrester, “I loved every second of being on that detail,” making no mention of the circumstances around her departure in 2009. “I loved the excitement, I loved the travel, I loved the life that went on around it, the meeting of new people and visits to new countries.”
Linda was also most sympathetic to the pressures public life put on President Steve, Laureen and the kids:
“You have to be considerate of the fact that they’re in a fishbowl and they have us around 24 hours a day, seven days a week. How would you like it to have five people on you and everywhere you went, including the washroom, someone had to stand there with you. It’s not comforting. So, we try to be as unobtrusive as we can be.”
Indeed, in 2008, concurrent with Davidson’s service and abrupt departure, the Harpers were the subject of much risible talk, for example, that their marriage was over, that Laureen had saddled up with a female Mountie from her protective detail (Franks passim, ad iffium).
Frank Fact: Among Davidson’s allegations, which have not been tested in court and blah, blah, blah, is that “demeaning comments about sexual orientation and lesbian relationships were made by male employees, without consequence.”
How many more licks to get to the centre of this vexing case? Superior Court Justice Paul Perrell, rejecting practically all the Attorney’s General’s arguments to have Davidson’s suit dismissed apart from some contract law and other technicalities, has given her leave to file an amended statement of claim and proceed to her class action certification hearing.
Meanwhile, Davidson’s lawyers are urging her to shut her cake hole until the court reaches a decision.