Canada is a country that captivates your soul.
It possesses European charm and manners while flaunting a spirit of innovation that definitely is American in the regional sense of the word.
And while the climate can be quite punishing, Canadians, including the Algonquin and the Inuit, are enterprising, and community and future oriented.
Everything in Canada seems to work like a Swiss watch. They are efficient but not workaholic; they care for their environment but are not spray carrying militants; they promoted gender equality way before the United Nations discovered its merits.
Jails in Canada have been created for the truly dangerous criminals or big time offenders — as a result the county lacks a prison system that trains inmates in crime.
Law enforcement is based more on intelligence than punitive strikes. Prevention therefore allows the country to boast low crime statistics.
Most municipalities are empowered by law to create their own police forces. Among urban police forces, the Toronto Police Service and the Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal are the most important.
All but two provinces resort to the provincial police services of the “Mounties’, as members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Service are popularly known.
Mounties were as revered by their fellow citizens as “Bobbies” were in Great Britain. But this just changed!!
Formed in 1920 by the merger of the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) (created in 1873) and the Dominion Police (established in 1868), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are entrusted with law enforcement throughout all of Canada except for the cities of Toronto and Montreal.
Ever since its inception, the RCMP have been a source of pride to the commonwealth.
But in 2011 Catherine Galliford, a former RCMP corporal, came forward with accusations of sexual harassment, misogynic culture and female dumping.
Soon after Ms Galliford’s epiphany, a host of other women came forward to reveal a history of mistreatment and gender oppression that led the victims to file a class action law suit which was recently settled entitling them to a compensation that surpassed CAN$100 million.
And in spite of the national security overtones of the suit — which led the judge to handle court proceedings with discretion — Canadians witnessed with horror that their beloved Mounties were no different when it comes to sexism and brutality against women than any other police force in the world.
Linda Gillis Davidson, one of the lead plaintiffs, said she had repeatedly received unwanted sexual advances and been harassed during her 27 years on duty.
This terrible disappointment comes as severe flaws of a decade of conservative government are beginning to surface. According to diverse parliamentary inquiry committees, the Harper mandate will always be remembered for its authoritarian penchant and its continuing obsession with restricting au lieu of enhancing civil rights.
And as with every problem that this country faces, the RCMP dishonor is being handled with democratic spirit and elegance. To begin, the RCMP Commissioner publicly apologized to the victims. “You came to the R.C.M.P. wanting to personally contribute to your community, and we failed you. We hurt you (..) For that, I am truly sorry. You can now take some comfort in knowing that you have made a difference. Because of you, your courage and your refusal to be silenced, the R.C.M.P. will never be the same.”
Indeed, the next step will be to promote a host of women who were carefully kept in a freezer. That will be the day that the Mounties begin to regain the love of their fellow citizens.