It should be one of the most efficient and effective teams in the country, but the RCMP unit protecting the prime minister and his family is reportedly fractured and dysfunctional.
According to reports from The Star, RCMP Supt. Bruno Saccomani, Stephen Harper’s bodyguard since 2006, is under investigation for workplace harassment.
However, Saccomani’s allies are shifting the focus to other officers and managers in the unit and RCMP, accusing them of conniving to get rid of the officer. One Mountie, Insp. Alain Petit, claims it has put the entire unit as well as Harper and his family at risk.
Saccomani is popular with the prime minister and his starr, but has allegedly alienated his colleagues, who describe him as a bully who plays favourites. has beefed up the protective detail, boosting resources, fitness and vigilance. Last year, Radio-Canada reported Saccomani had undergone a review of his management style and was required to get coaching from a workplace mentor.
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“It’s not a discipline case. The underlying need here is to correct behaviour, not to punish people,” RCMP Comm. Bob Paulson said when the internal report was leaked to the station in June 2012. He called the leak “unlawful” and said the RCMP was working with Saccomani to resolve the issues.
But sources told The Star the problems did give rise to formal complaints, and that Saccomani now faces an investigation under the Canada Labour Code into harassment in the workplace. The RCMP has appointed an outside company, Quintet Consulting Corp., to investigate that complaint.
Saccomani denies he has acted improperly, and his lawyer Peter Mantas suggested there is a “witch hunt” or a “vendetta by certain members of the RCMP leadership (or brass)” against him.
Insp. Alain Petit told The Star it is the leak of the management review itself that has created the biggest problem. He said the problems were due to the intense training and discipline required for those on this elite team.
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Petit also said the leaked document contained information that put the prime minister’s family in jeopardy.
“The members of PMPD must trust and rely on each other to work as a team. We must also rely on the rest of the RCMP for support. That trust has been broken. Someone from within the ranks of the RCMP has knowingly endangered all the PMPD members and the people we are dedicated to serve,” Petit wrote in a formal request for an investigation.
The story goes beyond the standard workplace conflicts because Saccomani was expected to become the ambassador to Jordan.