Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Sets Aside RCMP Commissioner's 'Unreasonable' Decision in Grievance Case

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Sets Aside RCMP Commissioner's 'Unreasonable' Decision in Grievance Case

Article excerpt

RCMP boss's 'unreasonable' decision set aside

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OTTAWA - A federal judge has overruled the RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson's "unreasonable" decision to deny a staff sergeant's bid for promotion because of long-discounted misconduct allegations.

In a decision made public Wednesday, Federal Court Justice John O'Keefe directs Paulson "to do as much as he can" to ensure Staff Sgt. Walter Boogaard is elevated to the rank of inspector.

The Mountie's lawyer, Paul Champ, said Wednesday the drawn-out case illustrates there is persistent bitterness and dysfunction within the national police force despite promises of change.

Boogaard has twice successfully completed the force's officer candidate program and has many positive job appraisals. But he has been unable to win promotion to inspector due to an incident 14 years ago in which his gun was stolen by two women.

The women said Boogaard had picked them up and was trying to buy sex from one when the other pinched the firearm -- a version of events the officer denies.

Boogaard's account -- that the gun was stolen from his vehicle -- was accepted when the matter was addressed by the police force at the time. He was reprimanded and ordered to forfeit five days' pay.

He was promoted twice through the non-commissioned ranks but then passed over for inspector. Boogaard later learned the chair of the board that disciplined him had told his career development adviser "there may have been more to the disciplinary matter."

The revelation prompted Boogaard to file a harassment complaint, which he later grieved and took to the courts.

Meanwhile, Boogaard was selected for an officer's posting in Saskatchewan and his file was forwarded to the RCMP commissioner for approval.

The commissioner examined a copy of the investigation report underlying the firearm incident and his concerns -- which he shared with Boogaard's commanding officer -- effectively led to denial of the promotion. …

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