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RCMP leadership in question 

[PoliticsWatch updated 5:00 p.m, August 9, 2007]

The RCMP's rank and file have publicly accused senior Mounties of orchestrating a cover up of a scandal within the force.

OTTAWA -- The problems at the RCMP continued this year when several former and current officers told a Commons committee about fraud and cover up at the highest ranks of the force related to mismanagement of the force's pension fund.

During an appearance before the Commons public accounts committee, retired staff sergeant Ron Lewis specifically fingered former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli as "the person who orchestrated most of this cover up."  Zaccardelli launched a criminal investigation into the scandal but quickly cancelled it and ordered an internal audit instead. 

The former commissioner has since called Lewis' allegations baseless, but the former officers noted that many of the original whistleblowers were transferred or place on sick leave after coming forward. Zaccardelli resigned late in 2006 after he gave contradictory testimony to another Commons committee about the RCMP's role in the Maher Arar affair. 

The RCMP's leadership has been in a downward spiral for years. Many link the beginning of the problems to the 1997 APEC Summit where student demonstrators were pepper sprayed and strip searched and the force was accused of following orders of political masters.  A 2001 report on the APEC incident blamed RCMP leadership and said Jean Carle, director of operations for then prime minister Jean Chretien, interfered with the security operations. 

The problems at the senior levels of the force are so concerning for the Conservative government that they recently appointed a public servant, William Elliott, as the first civilian commissioner in the history of the RCMP. 

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