Minister demands RCMP plan on female recruits as harassment tales linger

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The public safety minister is giving the RCMP three weeks to come up with a detailed plan to bolster the ranks of women in the force amid simmering concerns about sexism and harassment.

A clearly frustrated Vic Toews made the demand for concrete goals on recruitment, promotion and retention of female members in a letter Thursday to Mountie commissioner Bob Paulson.

The letter says Paulson recently gave Toews a report indicating the number of female cadets at the RCMP training depot had dropped by 52 per cent since 2008-09.

The letter says each element of the plan should have specific milestones with target dates, as that's the only way to determine whether progress is being made.

Several female RCMP officers have come forward with complaints since Cpl. Catherine Galliford went public last year with allegations of harassment within the force in British Columbia.

Men have also complained of abusive behaviour and intimidation.