RCMP investigation of Senate expenses must be 'unfettered' says former top Mountie

OTTAWA - A former RCMP superintendent says he's never seen the degree of political control over the Mounties that exists now, and says it "does not bode well" for an objective police investigation of the Senate expense scandal.

Gary Clement, a 30-year veteran of the force who spent 18 of those years working in the national capital region, told CTV's Question Period that the thrust of the RCMP investigation will likely centre around breach of trust.

And based on Clement's reading of the Criminal Code and allegations raised in the media, the former top cop says he sees "pretty strong grounds" for a full-fledged criminal investigation.

The Mounties are taking a preliminary look at the expenses of three senators, Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.

Clement says he knows the investigating officer involved has the "utmost credibility" and hopes RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson allows an "unfettered investigation."

But with all RCMP communications now mandated to go through the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Clement told CTV "let's be honest ... does not bode well for objectivity."