Whistleblower’s brother ‘proud of her service’
Among first to reveal bullying, sex harassment
The brother of an RCMP whistleblower who died by suicide last week said Friday he hopes her death doesn’t overshadow the work she did to champion change within the beleaguered force. Former constable Krista Carle, 53, of Sooke, B.C., who was among the first RCMP members to go public several years ago about pervasive problems related to sexual harassment and bullying, took her life in a “peaceful” spot in her backyard on July 6, her family said. She was discovered by her partner. “Krista really did her bit and more to raise the spectre, to advocate not just for herself but for others,” her brother, Kevin Carle, a retired Royal Canadian Navy captain, told the National Post.
“Now it’s up for someone else to step up to the plate.” Carle’s death left family members shocked and bewildered. Just the night before, she had attended a community meeting to discuss a proposed road project through her neighbourhood. “We’re all wondering why. It was something we didn’t expect. For whatever reason, Krista got to the point she decided to end whatever suffering she experienced,” her brother said. Carle’s death sparked an outpouring of well wishes, including from fellow whistleblowers — former corporal Catherine Galliford and former constable Janet Merlo — who graduated in the same troop as Carle in 1991. “I remember Krista as being very quick to laugh. She was very strong but had a tremendous amount of empathy and compassion,” Galliford told the Post. “Krista developed PTSD due to workplace harassment. PTSD is difficult to explain to people who don’t have it. It’s an invisible injury. She did her best and I believe the PTSD demons got her.”
“I totally understand when you get to the point where you just can’t do one more day,” Merlo wrote in a Facebook post. “Rest easy, I am so blessed to have been on such a journey with you. My heart is broken.”
In earlier interviews with Postmedia, Carle described enduring years of harassment when she worked in Alberta, including having pornography stuffed into her desk drawers. She and other officers had also accused a sergeant of sexual assault. A lawsuit was later settled out of court.
In the fall of 2016, then- RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson issued a historic apology to current and former female officers who had been subjected to bullying and harassment. The apology coincided with the announcement that the government had agreed to earmark $100 million to settle two class-action lawsuits by female members who alleged they had been discriminated against based on gender or sexual orientation. On Twitter this week, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Carle’s courage and compassion would not be forgotten and that her “efforts to spur reform will succeed.”
The RCMP echoed that sentiment saying in a statement that “she will be remembered for her courage in speaking out against sexual harassment and as a force for change that helped improve our workplace.” But friends and family said recently appointed Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s repeated public remarks that the force is “not broken” has left many wondering how committed RCMP and government leaders are to change.
“For Commissioner Lucki to blow us off by saying the RCMP is not broken is appalling and it’s a slap in the face,” Galliford said.
At times, Carle’s advocacy work took all the energy out of her, her brother said. But he also stressed that the work wasn’t all-consuming and that she was still a caring mother to her teenage children.
Carle also doted over the chickens in her hobby farm and took great pleasure caring for her “pride and joy,” Shamus, a cairn terrier, her family said. She had also become an “unabashed car buff ” and could be seen puttering around town in her beloved Mini Cooper. Carle loved to cook and would host gatherings for family and friends, her brother added. She could also hold court around the dining table, unafraid to share her views on politics of the day.
“There is a whole other side of Krista that we remember and cherish,” Kevin Carle said.
And despite the torment she endured during her 19-year career with the RCMP, she still believed in the organization and, in her retirement, proudly distributed business cards emblazoned with the RCMP’s colours and describing her as a “veteran member.” “After all that she went through, she still had high regard for the RCMP,” her brother said. “She was proud of her service.”
A private memorial service is planned for Carle. Those wishing to do something in Carle’s memory are asked to make a donation to the Victoria Humane Society.
NOW IT’S UP FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE.
Krista Carle was among the first RCMP members to go public about sexual harassment and bullying issues.