“Let’s face it. Some people’s ambitions exceed their abilities. I cannot lead a Force that accommodates and seeks to compensate people for (their) unachieved ambitions.” (Bob Paulson, Senate Committee Hearing, 2013)
I was gobsmacked when I heard this! There are some who say that Mr. Paulson doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader. Military and para-military (e.g. police agencies) leadership differs somewhat from leadership in other fields. Although leaders, like Mr. Paulson, must also earn the respect of their followers, military/para-military discipline is characterized by two additional aspects; respect for the rank as distinct from the person who has it, and obedience to orders.
Respect for the rank simply means that ranking officers can expect compliance with their orders, but not necessarily personal respect from followers; unless they have earned it. What do you think? Has Mr. Paulson earned your personal respect?
Obedience to orders directs that when an order is given, it is obeyed without question. This kind of obedience is critical to ensure the success of the “mission”, to preserve safety, and for the sake of maintaining unit and individual discipline. Well? Do you still have the discipline to obey?
Good leaders utilize their leadership skills to influence followers. They issue orders only when necessary and as a last resort. Executive training courses and military colleges emphasize the development of outstanding leadership skills. Does Mr. Paulson impress you with his leadership skills? Or is he all about giving orders?
I’m haunted by a dream. In this dream I’m behind a person at a podium. I can’t make out who it is because of all the lights. The person has just been introduced as the Commissioner of the RCMP; and he delivers a message to the membership. The message goes like this:
“I am here, in this position, to serve you as your Commissioner, mentor, and partner-in-law-enforcement. I want you to know that when you face danger, I will be in front of you. When danger lies behind you, I will be watching your backs. It is my expectation that each of you will be responsible to and for each other. I will be responsible to and for you all. I pledge to you my loyalty, integrity, and trust, for absolutely no cost; I will work ceaselessly to earn yours. Please remember that professionalism requires great discipline. Prepare yourselves to excel. Your job is to police; my job is to empower each of you to do the job to the best of your ability. When I ask you to do something, be assured that I do so because you are the best person I know for the job. As we work together any success will be your achievement; any failure will be mine alone, for it will have been me who has failed you. I believe strongly that you are this organization’s greatest asset. Your most valuable asset, is your family. When you are in distress, your family becomes my family. Finally, I wish to impress upon you, as we go forward, that your job is a profession; my job is a tremendous privilege, and I must earn it every day I have it.”
Like I said… it’s a dream.
Dr. Mike Webster, R. Psych.
In April, I held a Townhall session with employees in K Division.
At this meeting we talked about the importance of getting off-duty sick members the help they need, and getting them back to making a contribution to the organization.
An audio recording of part of that discussion was posted online last week.
After recently listening to my remarks, and hearing concerns raised by fellow employees,
I acknowledge that I made a sound and gesture that some have interpreted to mean that I was making light of psychological-related issues.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I know full-well the impact that work-related stress can have on an individual and their family.
I want to apologize to anyone who was in that audience — or who has since listened to that recording — and was offended. I’m truly sorry.
It was inappropriate and I sincerely regret it. Let me tell you, solemnly, that I meant no disrespect to anyone who has dealt with or is dealing with psychological-related issues.
I want to be clear: I do not take this issue lightly.
Post-traumatic stress disorder — and any work-related injury for that matter — is a real issue for our organization and we must — and we do — take it seriously.
We are continuously working to strengthen the support we can offer employees affected by operational stress injuries. I am committed to the implementation of our respectful workplace program to help reduce these occurrences.
If you get sick or injured on the job, we will look after you — and we will do it fairly.
We will also do it with the view of returning employees to being contributing, productive and healthy members of the Force. It’s in no one’s interest to have members on protracted medical leave.
Similarly we cannot have members using our generous medical leave provisions for reasons other than getting better and getting back to work.
Everyone has a part to play in this. We must all ensure that the workplace we come to every day is safe, free from harassment and responsive to the needs of our employees.
I need us all to be engaged on this — I commit to you that I am.
Once again, please accept my sincere apology for any harm arising from my remarks in Edmonton in April.
Thank you, and be safe.
(Document provided by MPPAC)
I have posted articles related to leadership on this blog before. I thought I had exhausted the topic before I was provided with this audio clip * of Bob Paulson Commissioner of the RCMP. MPPAC has provided the full audio of the town hall meeting April 9, 2013
You may recall that I used Vince Lombardi (former coach of the Green Bay Packers), Steve Jobs, the Dalai Lama, and Mohandas K. Ghandi as examples of transformative leaders. These individuals are inspirational visionaries for many. They are deeply passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic about their organizations, their plans, and their followers; people like and respond to that. They are charismatic, innovative and strategic thinkers who achieved great success and initiated large scale changes. Transformational leaders have a way of motivating people to “buy in” and dedicate themselves to the “cause”. Here are some excerpts from an email I received from a loyal, hardworking RCMP member:
“My anger is still an issue and this audio clip of the Commissioner triggered it big time. Unreal. He is skating on thin ice with his seemed made-up answers on the fly. This just doesn’t cut it in my book. He is not a leader…period. Does not even sound like one. He is in a sandbox that is too big for him. I have zero faith in what he says. He says that PTSD is overused?? Excuse me!! … It was like he kicked me in the gut when I heard that. It hurt…and I will not forget it, not just what he said…but how he said it… And then dismissively says… “I had it too” – Rrrright! Just disgusting, it shows exactly what he is thinking, that people who are ODS are just off for the hell of it.
Is this member ready to “buy in”? Is this member motivated and dedicated to the “cause”, after hearing this? Did Mr. Paulson communicate his deep passion for the organization and it’s members?
Most importantly, transformative leadership is characterized by an emotional connection between the leader and those lead. In a figurative sense, a transformational leader will not eat until those lead have eaten; will not rest until those lead have rested. Here are a couple of quotes from great military leaders:
“The test of a leader lies in the reaction and response of his followers… He must make his influence felt by example and the instilling of confidence in his followers”.
-General Omar Bradley
“Like carbon to the diamond, character is the basic quality of the leader…
-General Edward C. Mayer
So after listening to the audio clip of Mr. Paulson what do you think? What kind of example does he set? Do you have confidence in him? What do you think of his character?
Dr. Mike Webster, R. Psych.
* I was advised, by some who attended, that accompanying Mr. Paulson’s whistle was the universal hand signal for “insanity”.
About 100 uniformed members will take the metro as a sign of public protest over working conditions and strained labour relations
MONTREAL, May 14, 2013 — About 100 uniformed RCMP officers will board Montreal’s metro system today during a very public lunch-hour silent protest that will take them to an RCMP management forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Complexe Desjardins downtown. The members will protest working conditions, a failed internal representation system, and the force’s refusal to allow its 1,000 Quebec members to unionize.
The uniformed officers will leave the RCMP’s headquarters at 4225 Dorchester Street in Westmount at about noon, making their way to nearby Atwater metro station. They will disembark at Place des Arts station and walk to the Hyatt.
“We want to rebuild public confidence in the RCMP, but under the current system the RCMP leadership is failing to address the profound institutional and cultural challenges that undermine this proud institution,” said Gaétan Delisle, president of the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association. “The system is broken right now and the members are not well represented.”
Mr. Delisle will address the media at 11:45 a.m. today outside RCMP headquarters. He will also be speaking to journalists at the Hyatt.
The RCMP’s divisional representatives’ forum will be held at the Soprano Room, on the 4th floor of the Hyatt, starting at 1 p.m.
Last week, Delisle and two RCMP members from British Columbia were in Ottawa to speak before a Senate committee hearing that proposed several amendments to C-42, notably to act on Justice O’Connor’s recommendations, improve the standards of review for the RCMP and address systemic oversight issues.
Frederic Serre, Information Officer, Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association (438) 932-3887
Gaétan Delisle, President, Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association (514) 755-4458
For those of you familiar with my previous posts on this website (January 10 and 22, 2013) you’re likely wondering why I suddenly stopped blogging. Over the past few months, I have devoted considerable time and effort toward researching the “Whistle-blower” defense, and have sought legal advice whether it would be justifiable and sustainable. This because I suspect the RCMP may try at some point, to pursue formal discipline against me should I ultimately choose to make known the details of their illegal wrongdoing in connection to the Project EPREVAILS criminal and internal investigations undertaken against me. Moreover, in recent weeks I was dealt another blow from the RCMP in their attempt to strong arm and silence me. For the purposes of today’s blog, I will focus on these latest antics; a matter which my intuition tells me, is something you should know about.
Today I will offer you insight into the mysterious and controversial “Return to Work Accommodation” letters which were sent out to a few RCMP members in “E” Division during February 2013 by the OIC Integrated Resource Management Team. This is the same letter about which Dr. Webster wrote in his February 19, 2013, blog entitled, “RCMP Employee Relations: Really?” You should know, that only me and one other member (also accused with similar allegations in connection to Project EPREVAILS) were served with this letter in early to mid February 2013. I am unaware of any other members in “E” Division who might have received a similar letter during the same period.
As you know by now, I have been continuously away from work and seeking regular treatment from a clinical psychologist for a duty related medical condition since September 2004. My medical condition is a direct result of the actions undertaken against me by RCMP “E” Division (British Columbia) senior management. Moreover, in March 2009 the medical professionals at RCMP “E” Division Health Services deemed me “permanently disabled for any work within the RCMP” (Class O6).
Before I delve into the chain of events which lead to my receiving the letter, it’s contents, and events that followed thereafter, I want to assure you that unlike certain prominent individuals whose preemptive goal it has been to influence your perception and beliefs by attacking the credibility of their adversaries, it is not at all my intention toy with your intelligence. Rather, I will provide you with a factual and chronological account of how things with the RCMP have unfolded. From that, you can form opinions and draw your own conclusions.
The chronology of events surrounding the “Return to Work Accommodation” letter that I received from the RCMP is as follows:
The RTWF’s Desire to Meet:
On November 23, 2012, I learned from my Staff Relations Representative (“SRR”) that a Return to Work Facilitator (“RTWF”) working with “E” Division Human Resources and dealing with members on long term medical leave, wished to meet personally with me. The SRR inquired about my availability and indicated the meeting would be “…without prejudice…” and not related to my outstanding civil matter with the Force.
Two days later, I took initiative and contacted the RTWF. In doing so, I alerted him to the existence of his civil lawsuit against the RCMP and the identity of his civil counsel. As well, I asked that the RTWF provide me with an explanation outlining his specific duties and role with the RCMP, his purpose in wanting to meet with me, and the details of precisely what it was he wished to discuss. Finally, I advised the RTWF that upon receipt of his reply, I would discuss the matter with his civil counsel and thus, be better aligned to address the RTWF’s wishes for a personal meeting.
On November 27, 2012, the RTWF contacted me to inquire about my occupational health status. Specifically, he asked if my occupational health status had improved since March 2009 and if so, whether I was interested in having discussions about a possible return to work plan. The RTWF further suggested, that if my mental health had not substantially improved, he would like to discuss the medical discharge process in terms of both a consensual medical discharge and an Administrative Discharge on medical grounds. In saying that, the RTWF acknowledged the existence of my lawsuit but, suggested he was not privy to any of the details nor did he intend to interfere with that process. He clarified his purpose for contacting me was confined simply to his role as a Return to Work/Medical Discharge Facilitator. He concluded by suggesting he would be pleased to respond to any questions I might have, and hoped we would be able to meet at my convenience.
Seeking Clarification About the “Permanent” Restriction:
On December 03, 2012, I contacted the RTWF. In doing so, I explained to the RTFW that I was confused given the “permanent” nature of my medical profile and the restriction placed on me by the RCMP. Consequently, I posed a number of questions to the RTWF. Namely, I inquired whether a permanent restriction placed on one’s medical profile was merely temporary and if so, how one could reasonably be expected to trust the RCMP when what they had previous committed to paper was not truly the case. Second, I asked how the RCMP could possibly escape civil liability if they were to terminate a member’s employment because of an injury that they caused. Besides my questions, I informed the RTWF that, my caregiver as well as another clinical psychologist had each tendered professional reports during mid 2011 concerning their individual assessment of my medical condition, and that those reports were likely being held by the DOJ.
It took until January 23, 2013, for the RTWF to respond. When he did, he readily acknowledged that while the Health Services Officer (“HSO”) had assigned a permanent O6 restriction (“unfit for all duties in the RCMP”) to my medical profile on March 24, 2009, the possibility exists for my medical condition to have since improved. Moreover, the RTWF informed me that the administrative discharge process is based one’s medical profile and if I did not wish to participate in the accommodation process or, would not agree to a consensual medical retirement, then an administrative discharge would be sought.
Willing to Explore Accommodation:
On January 25, 2013, I contacted the RTWF. I subsequently advised the RTWF that I was more confused then ever. In that regard, I again posed questions to the RTWF similar to those asked on December 03, 2012. As well, I told the RTWF that I was unaware of any new medical evidence to suggest my medical condition had since improved. In saying that, I alerted the RTFW to the existence of the professional reports prepared by my caregiver and another clinical psychologist in August 2011, and advised that such reports were likely in DOJ’s possession.
Most importantly, I informed the RTWF that I was willing to meet him personally to hear whatever it was that the RCMP could do to bring resolution to the outstanding issues, and to then accommodate me. At the same time, I let the RTWF know that I was not prepared to accept a consensual medical retirement unless a mutually acceptable settlement which brought resolution to the litigation, could be reached between us.
The Return To Work Accommodation Letter:
On February 10, 2013, I was served at home by a civilian process server with a Return To Work Accommodation letter from the RCMP dated February 06, 2013. The letter afforded me two (2) options. In essence, it indicated I had to respond to the RTWF within thirty (30) days of receipt to engage either the Duty to Accommodate (return to work) process or, in the alternative accept a voluntary administrative discharge from the RCMP. Failing to do either within the time allotted, the letter indicated the Employee Management Relations Officer (“EMRO”) would conclude that I was not interested in pursuing a potential workplace accommodation and continue with his discharge from the Force. Of significant importance, the same letter indicated that I could obtain “…valuable assistance and guidance…” with the matter from an SRR.
Efforts to Obtain Valuable Assistance & Guidance:
On February 13, 2013, I contacted the “E” Division Member Representative lawyer (“MR”) and requested advice how best to respond to the RCMP’s accommodation letter.
Two days later, the MR forwarded a letter to me wherein, he indicated the mandate of the Member Representative Directorate was limited, and as such, it did not permit MR’s to become involved in an administrative discharge before the grievance stage. Consequently, the MR suggested I consult with an SRR for advice on how to respond to the Force’s letter, and inform and seek legal advice from my civil lawyer.
Between February 20 and 27, 2013, I contacted the SRR on several occasions and requested his assistance and guidance as to the proper manner in which to respond to the Return to Work Accommodation letter. For whatever reason, the SRR was either not willing or, not able to provide me with any meaningful help.
On February 28, 2013, I spoke to another SRR within a different district in “E” Division. This particular SRR advised he was unable to offer any assistance or guidance in this matter since I was stationed outside of his district area. Moreover, he told me that he had neither the required experience nor necessary training to ensure I was afforded procedural fairness in this matter. The SRR expressed concern that he could face potential personal liability in the event he offered me improper advice. Finally, the SRR indicated to the best of his knowledge, that an administrative discharge (on medical grounds) had not been undertaken in “E” Division for at least ten (10) years, and because of that, he was unaware of any SRR in “E’” Division to whom he could refer me, who might possess the requisite knowledge or expertise to actually help me.
Request for LFAPE – Grievance:
Later on February 28, 2013, I sent a formal request to the RCMP seeking approval for legal fees at public expense (“LFAPE”) to enable me to obtain professional advice and assistance from my civil counsel and properly respond to the Return to Work Accommodation letter. Included within the request was a thorough explanation detailing my unsuccessful efforts at finding, “…valuable assistance and guidance…” from within the RCMP.
On March 06, 2013, the RCMP denied my request. Upon learning of the decision, I informed the RCMP of my intention to file a grievance, and in so doing requested that a decision regarding my employment status be held in abeyance pending the outcome and resolution of the said grievance.
On March 07, 2013, I informed the RCMP that my current occupational heath status (Class O6) was not to be construed as my not being interested in the accommodation process. I simply explained that I had not yet been medically cleared by my caregiver for a return to work.
On March 08, 2013, the RCMP reminded my that they would carry out an administrative discharge action against me if, I chose not to participate in the accommodation process before the imposed thirty (30) day deadline.
As a result of the RCMP’s decision to deny my request for LFAPE, I filed an official grievance with the Office for the Coordination of Grievances on March 11, 2013.
Response to the RCMP’s Letter:
After exhausting efforts to obtain help from within the RCMP, I had little choice but, to resort to my civil counsel for assistance. Understandably, the fiasco surrounding the Return to Work Accommodation letter resulted in considerable financial expense to me for a matter that I was originally told was unrelated to my lawsuit against the RCMP.
On March 11, 2013, my civil counsel addressed the Return to Work Accommodation letter and responded directly to the RCMP. In that regard, my civil counsel advised the RCMP that my caregiver did not presently advocate my return to work, and believed I would be unable to do so until resolution of the litigation is achieved and necessary time for recovery is afforded afterward. My lawyer also informed the RCMP that my caregiver’s opinion was fully supported by another clinical psychologist, and that both medicals professionals agree there are certain preconditions necessary before I could consider a return to work. Perhaps most important though, my lawyer advised the RCMP that I was not yet medically cleared for a return to work, but that it should not be interpreted as my being uninterested in the accommodation process. Of equal interest, the RCMP also learned that I was unable to accept a voluntary administrative discharge on medical grounds at present. Finally, my lawyer invited the RCMP to meet with us, to try to reach a mutually acceptable settlement to the matter.
The Notice of Intention to Discharge:
Despite our extended invitation, on April 08, 2013, a civilian process server arrived at my home to personally serve me with a Notice of Intention to Discharge pursuant to section 20(1) and 28(1) of the RCMP Regulations. The notice itself indicates that the EMRO as the designated officer intends to seek my discharge from the Force for reason of “physical and/or mental disability”.
In response to the notice, I have since made written submissions to the RCMP which they received on April 18, 2013. It is my understanding that a medical board composed of three licensed practitioners will next be appointed by the “E” Division Commanding Officer and will convene to review the matter, following which the C.O. will make a decision to retain or discharge me from the Force.
Despite what the Commissioner told us in his February 28, 2013, email message, it now appears like the news media was spot on when it suggested the Return to Work Accommodation letter, was the RCMP’s first step in “firing” long-term ODS members. I have little doubt the RCMP is retaliating against me because of earlier posts I have made to this website. In any event, I intend to keep you informed of the developments. In the meantime, I encourage anyone interested to lawfully request materials pertaining to the “E” Division Major Crime Unit – Project EPREVAILS investigation (Files 2004-2016 and 2006-2530) from the RCMP – Access to Information & Privacy Branch in Ottawa by visiting
Justin P. Harris
Guess what? The R.C.M.P. tried to tarnish one of my dearest friends and yes you all guessed it right … they failed.
The sheer audacity of our National Police Force to find the time and at public expense, try to destroy an extremely credible opponent is yet another black mark on Mr. Paulson’s resume.
Oh my goodness, someone dares to speak out of turn on the upper management of a seriously ill Police force and they instead of pay attention and listen, challenge and it is overthrown by the College of Physicians to no-ones suprise.
GOOD ON YOU MIKE. WE ALL LOVE YOU AND HOPE THIS HAS NOT HURT YOU. WE KNOW YOU SPEAK FOR ALL OF US AND SUPPORT YOU 100 PERCENT.
WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE THE BRAVES LIKE DR. WEBSTER.
CONGRATS TAKE CARE
YOUR GOOD FRIEND AND ADMIRER: JOHN SMITH.
As you may know, the RCMP made a complaint about me to the BC College of Psychologists. They alleged that I was acting inappropriately by advocating for my RCMP patients, and that my public comments about the RCMP lacked objectivity and could be confusing and disturbing to my patients. This complaint was taken very seriously by the College, and they engaged in a nearly nine month investigation. As you will see below the College dismissed the RCMP’s complaint against me. The College disagreed with C/Supt. Brad Hartl’s complaint and asserted that my conduct fell within the realm of reasonable professional discretion and judgement. The RCMP’s response was to acknowledge receipt of the College’s disposition, and to characterize the outcome as “…an investigation into one of their own…”. In other words, the College was biased in it’s investigation as it was investigating a psychologist.
This statement made by the RCMP indicates just how far the Senior Executive is out of step with the world of health care. The BC College of Psychologists is not my college. It is the public’s college, and is there to protect the public from “the likes of me”. It is not there to serve psychologists in any way.
That said, Mr. Hartl has 30 days in which to decide if he wishes to appeal. The Health Professions Review Board (the body that would receive the appeal) will not conduct a new investigation. They will simply review the College’s investigation to ensure it was adequate. I am confident that the College conducted a more than adequate investigation. Moreover I encourage Mr. Hartl , should he wish to be publically embarrassed a second time, to pursue an appeal.
Be patient folks, I’m working out-of-country and have been unable to post any new articles.
Dr. Mike Webster, R.Psych.