April 08, 2015 - 5:00 AM
KAMLOOPS - A retired RCMP officer is asking for Mounties to take the time to educate themselves on collective bargaining before voting to make a decision that could change the future of the force’s relationship with its employees.
“First and foremost, members have to be educated about what choice they can make,” spokesperson for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Rob Creasser says. “Ultimately it’s going to be the membership that chooses, but it needs to be an informed choice. Every other canadian police agency has done what we finally have the right to seek.”
Previous laws that prevented the RCMP from unionizing were declared unconstitutional and struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada last January. Now the federal government has a one-year timeline to create legislation which will permit members to vote on collective bargaining. But Creasser says education has to start now before the eve of the vote.
"Members need to be told what collective bargaining is. I know lots of members that don’t even have a clue about that and yet the organization itself isn’t doing anything to educate them. Ultimately it’s going to be the membership that chooses but it needs to be an informed choice,” he says.
Creasser, who worked in the Kamloops area before his retirement, has publicly voiced his concerns and criticisms of the organization. He calls it underfunded, understaffed and works its employees too hard.
"The Harper government, which is supposedly being tough on crime, I think they’re equally tough on the RCMP. They’ve dramatically underfunded. Obviously there’s been tragedy that could have possibly been averted if we’d been properly trained and equipped to do our job,” he says.
Drawing on his 28-year career, Creasser notes that he was working alone when a man took a shot at him with a sawed-off rifle, ran down the road and committed suicide. Creasser says recommendations from a coroner’s inquest promoted two officers to ride together in one car to prevent similar instances, but adds nothing changed.
"If it hadn’t been for the grace of God I wouldn’t even be here. Yet my employer took those recommendations as quick as they got them and pretty much threw them in the garbage can, which I think spoke volumes about how much they care about their front line people,” he says. “You never see two-man cars in the RCMP; if you do it might be an auxiliary constable. But what happened in St. Albert has probably put a damper on volunteers riding in a police car."
Creasser says he believes not much has changed for officers now, and knows the struggles many can face with a lack of transparency and accountability. He says many retract from calling for a change out of fear of reprimand or dismissal.
Officers are set to meet this Sunday at the Legion on Lansdowne. The event is not open to the public.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015