I write in support of Barbara George in the hope that her unjustly tarnished image — made possible by parliamentarians of Canada — will soon be restored. Since she has twice spoken publicly about her plight over the past month (first on Global’s “The West Block” and then on NTV), I have decided to push my soapbox into the centre of the ring of public opinion and state unequivocally that she deserves an apology from the Canadian Parliament.
Some background: Ms. George, a former RCMP deputy commissioner from Newfoundland, was found in contempt of Parliament in 2007 based on recommendation by the Commons public accounts committee. This all-party committee was the catalyst that led to her being railroaded.
The charge was led by former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who said she lied during testimony in a high-profile inquiry that centred on RCMP pensions and insurance funds. The RCMP commissioner suspended her, and although an internal investigation cleared her of any wrongdoing and she was reinstated, Parliament eventually ruled her in contempt. The RCMP could not (or would not) stand by her. She was toxic. She had been labelled a perjurer. (Incidentally, a further OPP investigation also cleared her.)
As the RCMP brass juggles the egregious sexual improprieties of its own high-ranking members against numerous female subordinate officers both past and present (as laid out in a July 30 Canadian Press story regarding a possible class-action lawsuit involving hundreds of women), it is easy to see how an environment of due diligence and true leadership had cratered regarding the truth of the allegations surrounding Ms. George.
The RCMP sent Ms. George adrift — zero support.
As I write this, the only MP who has apologized is Mr. Wrzesnewskyj. He did so in September. And apologize he should. He led the charge that ruined her career and smeared her name. As she waits to get her named cleared, I hope that Canadians will reach out to Ms. George in Trinity and offer their support. For someone who had an exemplary 30-year record, she deserves vindication. If and when that will come from Parliament remains to be seen.
As pointed out by Thomas Hall (a former committee clerk of the House of Commons) on “The West Block,” what happened to Ms. George could happen to any Canadian. Imagine that.
I encourage Canadians to contact the Prime Minister’s Office and their MP and lend their voices to righting this wrong.