By Hilary White

OTTAWA, January 17, 2006 ( – The Ottawa Citizen reports that the RCMP has demoted an officer for his political affiliation and support of marriage. When Constable Peter Merrifield sought and lost the Conservative nomination in Barrie, Ontario, his superiors removed him from his position as a counter-terrorism agent. The RCMP said it “would be in the best interest of the RCMP … if he was assigned to other duties, not related to politics.”

Merrifield told colleagues that his superiors had alleged that his campaign brochure, because it expressed a defence of traditional marriage, constituted “hate literature.”

In October Merrifield was told that his defence of marriage placed him in conflict of interest for his job with the RCMP’s threat assessment unit. The unit tracks threats to foreign and domestic government officials, visiting dignitaries, VIPs, federal politicians and the Prime Minister.

“His political aspirations,” wrote his superior, Superintendant Marc Proulx, “have been made very public and any incident with a VIP could bring questions to the TA (threat assessment) and ultimately place the RCMP … in a position of potential or perceived conflict of interest.”

The Citizen says that although Merrifield had declined to comment, that he had told colleagues that he wanted to run for office to expose “what’s really happening on the street.”

Merrfield, a former businessman who gave up a lucrative career for public service in the RCMP, distinguished himself in his RCMP service by improving the system in which he worked in the threat assessment unit. Merrifield received a commendation for having caught a man who threatened US President Bush and Paul Martin. The Citizen says he was praised for his “tireless ambition.”

Merrifield’s performance evaluation said that he had mentored fellow officers and displayed natural leadership qualities. “Const. Merrifield is a forward thinking individual who seeks innovation and solutions to resolve operational requirements.”

Merrifield will be transferred to the customs unit, which mainly tracks illegal cigarettes and alcohol.

Contact RCMP to express your concerns:
  RCMP Headquarters
  1200 Vanier Parkway
  Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2
  General Inquiries: 613-993-7267