By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Edmonton – Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Alberta’s Solicitor General Frank Oberle announced Friday morning the federal government has agreed to extend RCMP contract services another two decades. The current contract, set to expire in 2012 has been extended to 2032, marking a full century of RCMP policing in the province.
“Today is a significant milestone for RCMP contract policing,” said Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews in a release Friday. “I am very pleased to announce that after almost four years of negotiations, the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta have reached an agreement that will continue the relationship between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the people of Alberta for the next two decades. The terms of the agreement reached with Alberta represent excellent value to Canadians and are available to all contract provinces and territories.”
Frank Oberle, Alberta’s Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security, said the new agreement was a critical step forward for both the province and the RCMP. “It establishes a modern relationship built on consultation, respect for each other’s roles and responsibilities, and an understanding of each other’s needs,” he said. “RCMP contract policing has been an effective model across Canada for many years, and this renewed relationship will help us address the rapidly evolving, cross-jurisdictional nature of crime.”
As with the current contract, the federal government will pay for 30 per cent of the province’s policing, while Alberta will fund the rest. The federal government also has approval to make arrangements with Alberta’s municipalities to allow the RCMP to provide local policing. Additionally, Alberta will set the objectives, priorities and goals of the RCMP in the province under the new agreement, and added emphasis will be given to information sharing, planning, and reporting.
Forty-three municipalities with populations of more than 5,000 will contract directly with the feds for local policing. RCMP also provides policing to all municipal districts and counties and Métis settlements regardless of population, and to towns, villages and summer villages with populations less than 5,000. Policing is also provided to First Nations communities where other policing arrangements have not been made.
Long history in the province
Although the North West Mounted Police made the march from Manitoba to southern Alberta in 1874 to combat American whisky traders, what would eventually come to be known as the RCMP were officially contracted by the newly-minted province in 1905. It would be an arrangement that would continue through to 1916.
In 1917 Alberta made the move to institute its own police force, provincial policing that continued until the Great Depression forced the province to resume using the RCMP in 1932 to save money.
That contract has been renewed every two decades ever since: 1952, 1972, 1992 and finally Friday’s joint provincial / federal announcement carrying the contract to the centenary mark. Friday’s announcement also puts to rest the idea Alberta might once again implement its own provincial police force, something Ontario and Quebec have had for some time.