Local politicians ponder RCMP contract

Talks over the future of RCMP service in B.C. have left local politicians with a bad taste in their mouth.

Talks over the future of RCMP service in B.C. have left local politicians with a bad taste in their mouth.

The province is working on a new contract to keep the policing intact after the federal government threatened to withdraw the service in 2014 if a 20-year policing contract is not signed by the end of November. Meanwhile, the province hesitates to ink a deal until more financial accountability is built into the new contract.

“I’m a little bit concerned about the inflexibility of the federal government,” said MP Alex Atamanenko.

“Basically, it’s my understanding, that they’re saying this is our offer and you can take it or leave it but I think there needs to be flexibility when looking at the needs of each province – that the criteria that may be OK for Alberta and Saskatchewan, may not be the same for British Columbia.”

The uncertainty around the contract was a hot topic at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference held in Vancouver last week.

“I don’t know if we can all of a sudden build the structure required for a provincial police force by 2014,” said Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom.

“I think there is some work to be done on the contract, I think that it will be successful and we will have RCMP in British Columbia.”

Premier Christy Clark and Solicitor General Shirley Bond raised the possibility of creating a provincial police force for the first time in about 60 years, stating it would be cheaper than the proposed open-ended contract dealt to taxpayers over two decades.

But some wonder whether such a goal is viable.

“It’s just impractical and illogical to replace a whole police force for the province of B.C.,” said Trail councillor Gord DeRosa.