Mounties file complaint against RCMP critic and police psychologist Mike Webster

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      The RCMP has hit outspoken police psychologist Mike Webster with a double tap.

      First, it filed a formal complaint against Webster before the College of Psychologists of British Columbia.Secondly, the national police force terminated his counselling services.

      Insp. Maxine Schwartz, officer in charge of the RCMP’s Vancouver-based E Division Occupational Health & Safety, informed Webster about these actions in a letter dated August 1, 2012.

      Webster has spoken critically about the RCMP, calling it a "sick" organization needing major reforms before it destroys itself.

      In 2008, he testified before a commission of inquiry that looked into the deadly encounter between Robert Dziekanski and four RCMP officers at the Vancouver International Airport that saw the newly arrived Polish immigrant zapped repeatedly by a Taser.

      “I am embarrassed to be associated with organizations that taser sick old men in hospital beds and confused immigrants arriving to the country. Frankly I find it embarrassing,” Webster declared at the inquiry.

      In previous interviews, he highlighted the need to stop the RCMP from doing contract police work in provinces, territories, and municipalities. He wants the force to focus instead on federal law enforcement, just like the FBI in the U.S.

      Webster also favours the formation of a labour union in the RCMP. According to him, the force is a toxic workplace.

      The Victoria native has worked with and acted as a consultant to various police forces in Canada and abroad for over 30 years. He is a specialist in crisis management. He is also an expert on matters relating to the application of force.

      In Schwartz’s letter to Webster, the police inspector told the psychologist that the force filed a complaint against him before the College of Psychologists “based on our repeated observations you have not maintained a consistent focus on the clinical needs of your RCMP clients”.

      “Instead, your focus tends to be on the need for the RCMP to change organizationally,” Schwartz wrote.

      The police officer also told Webster’s “lack of objectivity in both your clinical work and public commentary towards the RCMP have weakened your effectiveness in treating your RCMP client base".

      Hence, the RCMP is “terminating funding for your services immediately”.

      According to the letter, Webster can continue treating some of his existing clients. However, Schwartz wrote that “all transitional treatment” must be completed by October 30, 2012. “The RCMP will not fund any treatment that you provide beyond this date,” the officer wrote.



      out at night

      Aug 11, 2012 at 9:51am

      Imagine what kinds of stories this guy has heard from his clients over the years. I think he probably has some valuable insights into what ails the RCMP; insights very few others would be in a position to obtain. They should hire him to help steer the force into the 21st century (they're clearly not there yet), instead of firing him. Talk about shooting the messenger.


      Aug 11, 2012 at 10:48am

      And to think we could have got rid of this abomination and returned to a Provincial Police force. But that would make sense!


      Aug 11, 2012 at 11:18am

      It's hard to tolerate critics, and it's especially galling if you're paying them.

      But listening to critics - no matter who they are - is precisely what the RCMP must do. They must do much more listening, not less.

      What is particularly alarming is the assertion by Insp. Maxine Schwartz that Webster has not "maintained a consistent focus on the clinical needs of your RCMP clients".

      Given the confidential nature of the relationship between patient and therapist, how did Insp. Schwartz arrive at that conclusion?

      Sadly, I think the force is done. I had hoped that a new, tough-talking commissioner might make a positive difference, but so far, it's "same old, same old".


      Aug 11, 2012 at 1:46pm

      @ Trapperjack: Sorry, but abandoning one bad model for another bad model doesn't make a lot of sense.

      There is zero indication that a provincial police force would be any better than the RCMP. If you don't believe me, look into the OPP and QPP.

      The problem is culture, and the same culture exists in police agencices around the world.

      Mark Fornataro

      Aug 11, 2012 at 3:58pm

      I wish someone would nominate Mike Webster for RCMP Commissioner.

      Richele Hootnick

      Aug 11, 2012 at 4:03pm

      I guess if you are not happy with the diagnosis you can just put off taking any real action by firing the doctor who gave it and finding one who will tell you what you want to hear. It is frightening to know that Canada's largest gang is its most powerful as well as corrupt and its most violent and likely to harm innocent people. That is not even the most concerning issue . Its the lack of accountability that is acceptable and the fact that we are ultimately powerless against them in any situation and under any circumstances. We need an entirely separate police force who's only duty is to actively police the police and hold the power to intervene only with the officers on duty. Having a higher authority who's sole purpose is to enforce not only the canadian law but also the policies that our rcmp have in place which set them apart from the rest of the population. These policies should be considered as important (if not more) as any law if they are what give an officer a higher power over the people they serve.


      Aug 11, 2012 at 6:01pm

      "Any given bureaucracy places self preservation (of the bureau) above all else." Markerbuoy

      This is what psychopathic organizations do - attack and try to destroy the reputation and livelihood of whistleblowers, who are usually ethical resisters and critics who denounce their cultures and the norms that perpetuate abuse of power. This is one of the reasons the RCMP has become what it is. It has become an amoral, unethical culture that overlooks, encourages and sometimes rewards deviant behaviour. And it punishes those who don't fall in line, or submit to the deviants in charge.

      As a taxpayer I would like to know what basis they decided "Webster’s “lack of objectivity in both your clinical work and public commentary towards the RCMP have weakened your effectiveness in treating your RCMP client base".

      Clearly the organization has little interest in the psychological well-being of its members to destroy their therapeutic relationship with their well-qualified clinician.

      As the various legal actions and class actions continue forward we will hear much, much more about the ways individuals and the organization have caused suffering and harm to their members over the years. It's really concerning that Paulsen says he's trying to create culture change when he must be aware this witch hunt is proceeding.


      Aug 12, 2012 at 6:56am

      Monkey sees monkey do is apt as Commissioner Paulson was muzzled by Harper and admonished for a proposed meeting with Senator Kenny now they're muzzling this doctor as being outspoken.
      What the RCMP officers have with UNLIMITED sick leave, not accumulative, is outrageous, and likely some have abused this such as number of women with their lawsuits and hence the top brass want to get officers back to work. Orginally this sick leave was not abused but sure appears to be now - one female officer spent more time on maternity and sick leave than at work. However if an officer is stressed due to the work place then yes he/she is entitled to counselling as he/she is of no benefit to the force if not in a healthy mental and physical state. A two sided issue here.


      Aug 12, 2012 at 1:28pm

      Unlimited paid sick leave was a situation where the RCMP could push harrassed, complaining members into and forget about them. When grievances are not resolved that go back years what choice does the member have? They are stressed and upset and want to work but have no process to allow that to happen. And the RCMP blame a psychologist for taking care of his patients rather than assisting them in forcing that person back to work? Wouldn't he be liable if the patient then has problems associated with going back to work too soon? This situation is indicitive of the failure of the RCMP senior management not the doctor.


      Aug 12, 2012 at 3:43pm

      To improve the mental health of his clients he has correctly stated the work place must change. If people are working in a toxic work place they will not recover. The best that will happen is, they recover some what, return to work, & become ill again.

      If the RCMP can not figure that out, there is no hope for the organization. Delisting Mike Webster simply is killing the messenger because you don't like the message.

      Dr. Webster is quite correct that if the RCMP should be able to unionize. It would go a long way to dealing with many of the problems. Union contracts provide for a grievance procedure & third party ajudication. Currently RCMP officers who have problems at work have no where to go to solve them & there is nothing there to force management to change. A few ruling from an adjudicator/arbitrator against an employer with a few large payouts will ensure the RCMP gets its act together.

      I agree that the RCMP should not be in the business of providing police services in many areas. The were established to provide a federal presence & to provide police services to rural areas.

      yes, Dr. Webster might be just the right person to oversee the RCMP & ensure change happens. Canada can not continue with the RCMP as it currently functions.