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RCMP Commissioner apologizes, pledges to pay for using on-duty officers at wedding

Bob Paulson apologized and will reimburse taxpayers for on-duty Mounties who performed honour guard at his Aug. 16 wedding to Erin O'Gorman at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Ottawa.

Betty Cooper/Sugarbush Studio

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has apologized and will reimburse the government for the wages paid to the eight RCMP officers who acted as an honour guard at his wedding.

"I would like to apologize to the members and to Canadians. I will reimburse $912 to the Receiver General as this amount represents the three hours of work of these eight constables," the commissioner said in a statement released by the RCMP.

The Globe first revealed Monday that members of the RCMP's iconic Musical Ride team spent an afternoon earlier this month acting as an honour guard at Commisioner Paulson's wedding – a part that normally isn't played by officers on duty. The RCMP, when first contacted by The Globe, said the officers were volunteers, but when pressed revealed they were on a paid shift.

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In an e-mail, an RCMP spokesman said that Commissioner Paulson had asked the Corps Sergeant Major to seek some volunteers to act as an honour guard and that this is not unusual for a member's wedding.

"He was not consulted on their duty status," said Corporal David Falls.

The commissioner is out of the country, but when reached by his office and informed that the honour guard was on duty at the time, he issued the apology.

Commissioner Paulson and Erin O'Gorman, a director-general in Transport Canada, were married at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Ottawa on Aug. 16. The low-key wedding was attended by about 80 guests – plus the full honour guard consisting of eight RCMP officers dressed in their red serge uniforms, who formed a bridal arch with their lances.

Commissioner Paulson has made it his mission to clean up the troubled organization. During an editorial board meeting with The Globe following his appointment, Commissioner Paulson stated that too many Mounties today believe that their authority entitles them to misuse power. He said his 30,000 employees need to better understand accountability and leadership or the Mounties will lose credibility.

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About the Author

Anne McIlroy has been a journalist for more than 25 years. She joined the Globe in 1996, and has been the science reporter as well as the parliamentary bureau chief. She studied journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. More

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