Whistle­blower’s brother ‘proud of her ser­vice’

Among first to re­veal bul­ly­ing, sex ha­rass­ment

Windsor Star - - NEWS - Dou­glas Quan

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.

CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Krista Carle was among the first RCMP mem­bers to go pub­lic about sex­ual ha­rass­ment and bul­ly­ing is­sues.

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