B.C. reaches deal for RCMP contract

B.C. has reached a new 20-year deal for RCMP services on the day a deadline was set by Ottawa.

It’s still an “agreement in principle” that requires cabinet approval, but B.C. has reached a new 20-year deal for RCMP services on the day a deadline was set by Ottawa.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond said Wednesday the federal government has agreed to B.C.’s key demand, a contract management committee where B.C. and other provinces can have their say about new RCMP programs or costs.

“The Union of B.C. Municipalities made it very clear that they no longer wanted to have costs passed on to them without the ability to have a say in what those costs are,” Bond said. “That is a major step forward and in my view redefines the relationship, which was certainly one of our objectives.”

Bond added that the new deal will retain the ability for B.C. to give two years’ notice and withdraw, and require a review of the terms every five years. She declined to go into further specifics until the contract is approved by the provincial cabinet.

There are 150 communities in B.C. served by the RCMP, making it the home of one third of all RCMP officers. That position led B.C. to become the lead negotiator of the nine provinces and territories still negotiating for a policing contract.

B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins promised this week that if he forms a government, he will commission an independent review of RCMP services to see if they still serve the province adequately.

Cummins said the RCMP management structure has become “inept and outdated,” and questioned how a federal police force can tackle international terrorism and also provide community policing in dozens of small and large B.C. communities.