Thursday, March 20, 2008

RCMP Under Criminal Investigation

The Ontario Provincial Police will investigate whether crimes were committed in the controversial handling of the RCMP insurance plan... News of the OPP investigation comes after provincial police concluded a separate review of an Ottawa City Police probe into allegations of mismanagement of the Mounties $12 billion pension and insurance plans.

It concludes the Ottawa police investigation was adequate and there were no deliberate attempts by the RCMP to derail or jeopardize it.

The pension fiasco erupted in 2003 with allegations of mismanagement, nepotism, questionable expense claims and payments to consultants who did little or no work.

At a news conference slated for this morning, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day is expected to appoint a group that will focus on overhauling the battered federal police force, sources say.

The transitional group will look at making the RCMP a truly separate entity with civilian oversight, something recommended in a task force report late last year.

Led by Toronto lawyer David Brown, it recommended a stand-alone RCMP with supervised control over hiring and spending decisions.

That was in Brown's sweeping package of suggested changes to the structure and oversight of the beleaguered Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He found the Mounties were mired in bureaucracy and must have more authority to manage their own staff and finances."

Our national police force has taken a beating in the past few years, with good reason. The other day, I posted this here on the blog:

"Coming to the US is always interesting for me. Most people don't think there are a lot of differences between Canada and the US. And the long-standing source of pride on my side of the border has been how gosh-darned nice we are. (I'll admit to groaning when I saw this post. Cute. Right. Do people even think they're real cops? 'Cos you don't see them in red serge day to day, you know. Last time I was in the RCMP station, well...)"

The antiquated and romanticized view of the RCMP drives me nuts.

And for the record, I'm not taking the charity link down. I guess the new rule is for me not to post links to crime-fiction-related charities until I do a thorough investigation. While I can appreciate that there are issues here (and I've heard similar sentiments expressed over Calgary's autism center) there is no doubt in my mind that there are autistic people who can and will benefit from those funds. The issue isn't accusations of mismanagement of money or anything like that - it's an issue of public perception.

So, it may mark the last time I post a link to a charity, unfortunately, but I don't have time for such research investments - particularly for charities outside of my own country. I can only say that I hope the people who have issues with the organization have contacted every author participating in the charity with their concerns.

I would be lying if I said every autistic child I've worked with was non-verbal. I also worked with children with asperger's syndrome, and those children were doing well in school and had friends and "normal" lives.

In college, when I studied what I'll generally call special needs, I did my report on autism. We can go back to the old saying, about three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

The wording on yesterday's post did make it sound inclusive, that the costs associated to caring for someone with autism applies to all autistic people. My apologies for that - those costs obviously apply to autistic people who require 24-hour care.

And for the sake of those who do need more assistance, I would still encourage those inclined to do so to find a charity they feel comfortable supporting and contribute.


John McFetridge said...

I'm glad you're keeping the charity link, Sandra. We're really at the very beginning of understanding autism and so there will be missteps and mistakes and all kinds of problems and differing of opinions and debate and that's all part of the process. If we're afraid of making mistakes then we'll never do anything.

I spent two years working in a group home for autistic kids and another three in a workshop for adults with autism and, as you might expect with something so complicated, no two people were anywhere near the same.

Autism may be the most compliacted thing we've ever faced - it's the human brain after all. And, again, we're really just in the very beginning with this - we're going to make mistakes.

But people want to help. That's good. They want to understand. They want to do the right thing, and we didn't always feel that way about people who were "different" so we're headed in the right direction. It'll just take a while.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I really think you missed your call to be an investigative journalist, Sandra. Interesting story. Lots of copy and video on autism right now. Autism-The Musical? It sounds so sinister despite being a good thing.