Thursday, December 07, 2006

Well, it's a start

Guiliano Zaccardelli has resigned as RCMP commissioner.

The Mounties have been an increasingly unaccountable and dysfunctional organization over the last few years, and while the Maher Arar case showed the RCMP at its worst, it was far from the only problem they've had recently-the force's stonewalling over the Ian Bush shooting leaps to mind. Zaccardelli had to go regardless of what he said before the Commons Public Safety committee, and his evasiveness on Tuesday seemed to me to put him in a damned-either-way sort of position-either he'd been lying the first time around, or he wasn;t sufficiently on the ball to be trusted with running the country's police force.

As to what happens now, I'm not quite sure. What problems the Mounties have seem to me to be more systemic than a product of a specific governance style. The most shameful aspect of the whole Arar affair, it seemed to me, was not so much the initial screw-ups but the attempts later to smear Arar as a terrorist sympathizer they just couldn't get the goods on. Similarly, while the death of Ian Bush was terrible in its own right, the part of that story that indicated wider problems was the force's steadfast refusal to accept public scrutiny. I'm not sure, exactly, how one changes this sort of thing, but it has to happen if the RCMP is going to rebuild its reputation.


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