July 19th, 2024

Federal minister tells B.C. Ottawa continues to back RCMP contract policing

By The Canadian Press on June 13, 2024.

Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc arrives to appear before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs in Ottawa, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. Leblanc has told the British Columbia government Ottawa will continue to back the RCMP as the province's contract police force serving many cities and rural and remote areas amid an ongoing force transition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

VICTORIA – Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Ottawa will continue to back the RCMP as British Columbia’s contract police force that serves many communities as it moves towards a national force for federal-level crimes.

Premier David Eby says the letter provides short-term certainty for contract policing in B.C., but indicates the federal government wants to reform how the Mounties operate.

Eby says the critical piece for the province is that someone answers the 911 calls, and the big challenge the government has with the RCMP is the high number of vacancies, especially in rural communities.

LeBlanc’s letter, sent to B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, says he wants to assure the province that the federal government is committed to honour its contract policing obligations.

LeBlanc says his mandate is to transform the RCMP, which he envisions will become a federal police agency separate and distinct from the RCMP’s front-line contract policing operations.

Farnworth says he’s pleased with LeBlanc’s letter, particularly since provinces, including B.C., have called for more police resources and the greater need for increased federal attention to policing issues.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024.

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