B.C. might have shot itself in the foot with Ottawa’s gun by threatening that municipalities were prepared to abandon the venerable RCMP and form a provincial force.
The remarks, made recently by Langley’s Peter Fassbender, the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ observer in contract negotiations between the province and Ottawa, came as a reaction to what many consider an unpalatable policing deal with the Mounties.
While the proposed 20-year contract for policing services throughout much of the province is indeed expensive and undesirable, the comments that we’ll take our gun and strike out on our own are somewhat premature.
For one, we don’t even own the gun.
In Nanaimo, taxpayers foot the bill for 90 per cent of all costs to have the RCMP police our community, yet all the city really owns is the building out of which the officers are based.
Everything else, from the guns and handcuffs to the cruisers and computers, ultimately belong to Ottawa.
Despite the threat to form our own force, it appears no one has really done the homework on how feasible that really is. No one is presenting any numbers that show what starting a provincial force would cost, nor how it would save us money and hassle in the long-term.
Solicitor General Shirley Bond called it a “very expensive, very challenging” prospect. In other words, we can’t afford it and probably can’t figure out how to do it.
It’s no surprise then that Ottawa called B.C.’s bluff this week, issuing an ‘ultimatum’ that we either sign the contract or the Mounties will march into the sunset.
Next time, before we go off making threats half-cocked, perhaps we should make sure we’re not taking aim at our own boots and the gun isn’t about to backfire.