I was designated the “Independent Assessor” in the Merlo Davidson class action suit. I was chosen by the parties who reached an agreement relating to female members or ex members of the RCMP who were victims, in the context of their work, of harassment, intimidation or discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation.

Over the course of my career, I was previously tasked with developing a process of reconciliation for victims of pedophile priests in the dioceses of Bathurst and Moncton. This intense human experience allowed me to better understand the victims, their injuries and their fears. It also permitted me to develop a claims process that makes respect for the victims paramount, all the while being equitable to the parties involved.

In order to respect the victims who are part of the Merlo Davidson Settlement, I have committed myself to acting entirely autonomously in the fulfilment of my mandate. I am completely independent of the RCMP and the Government of Canada. In my position, I and I alone am responsible for evaluating each of the claims and determining the amount of the indemnity to award under the terms of the agreement.

I know from experience how emotionally difficult it can be to relive events that have been extremely painful. That is the reason why the parties involved in the Merlo Davidson settlement designed a reconciliation process that excludes any confrontation whatsoever and guarantees anonymity. You will neither need to lay charges nor defend yourself.

I am confident that the process established as part of the Settlement provides the necessary guarantees of confidentiality to female members of the RCMP who wish to continue their careers in peace, without fear of reprisal of any kind, as the impenetrable firewalls between the RCMP, the Government of Canada and the Office of the Merlo Davidson Settlement are an integral part of the agreement itself.

If you are a female victim having filed a claim, no one including myself can repair the damage that has been done. But your testimony will be evaluated in complete respect and consideration under the terms of the Merlo Davidson Settlement agreement.

Michel Bastarache

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