Ontario RCMP gets new leader

    TORONTO, Aug. 18 /CNW/ - Today, the "O" Division (Ontario) RCMP held a
Change of Command Ceremony to welcome their incoming Commanding Officer,
Mike McDonell.
    The ceremony, based on military tradition, provided the division's
employees with an opportunity to say goodbye to their outgoing Commanding
Officer, Assistant Commissioner Michel Séguin, and gave his successor a chance
to meet some of the RCMP's law enforcement and government partners in the

                       "O" DIVISION CHANGE OF COMMAND

    Role of an RCMP Divisional Commanding Officer

    The title of Commanding Officer is reserved specifically for the regular
member in charge of an RCMP division. The individual's rank does not
necessarily reflect his or her status as Commanding Officer - the RCMP has
Commanding Officers who are Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners and
Chief Superintendents. The Commanding Officer's rank is determined by the
individual's level of responsibility, the territory covered by the division
and the number of employees under his or her command.
    A divisional Change of Command ceremony is significant for all employees
in a division because it signifies a change in leadership. A new Commanding
Officer may initiate new policies, directions and management practices. Each
Commanding Officer has individual priorities and a management style different
from his or her predecessor. However, the overall goals and objectives of the
division, and of the RCMP in general, are unlikely to change because of the
arrival of a new Commanding Officer.

    Change of Command Parade

    The RCMP is a para-military organization and many of its customs and
traditions are based on British military traditions. A Change of Command
ceremony is a solemn event that provides the men and women of an RCMP division
with an opportunity to bid farewell to their departing Commanding Officer. It
also gives them a chance to formally recognize and welcome their new
Commanding Officer.
    In the military, the entire regiment would be reviewed by both the
outgoing and incoming Commanding Officers. For practical reasons, only a
portion of the RCMP's divisional membership can be present for review at a
Change of Command ceremony, represented by the ceremonial troop.

    "O" Division Ensign

    An Ensign is a regiment's distinguishing flag. In April 1991, the Chief
Herald of Canada assigned an Ensign to the RCMP, as well as separate Ensigns
for each RCMP division. In 1992, then Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn
officially presented them to the RCMP. The "O" Division Ensign consists of a
sprig of three maple leaves conjoined on one stem from a trillium. The two
primary symbols of the province of Ontario, the sprig of maple leaves drawn
from the Arms of that province, and the Trillium, official flower of Ontario,
have been combined to form a uniquely attractive badge.
    The transfer of command is symbolized by the passing of the divisional
Ensign. The departing Commanding Officer, Michel Séguin, will hand the Ensign
to the Commissioner, thereby returning command of "O" Division to him. The
Commissioner will then offer the Ensign to the incoming Commanding Officer,
Mike McDonell. Upon receiving it, he symbolically accepts the responsibility
of command bestowed upon him by the Commissioner.
    A parchment will also be signed and witnessed, thereby completing the
Change of Command.

For further information:

For further information: RCMP "O" Division Media Relations, Sgt. Marc
LaPorte, Office: (519) 740-7302, Cell: (416) 992-4409

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