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BC submitted revised RCMP contract proposal

British Columbia has submitted a revised proposal on the province's contract with the RCMP, Solicitor General Shirley Bond said today.

"The good news is our newly formatted proposal has been sent to Minister Toews office," she said, adding it was sent at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon and she expects staff in the federal public safety minister's office would have seen it this morning.

"We've done the homework necessary now in the format Minister Toews prefers. Hopefully we're going to come to what's really important, let's get down to business and try to find an answer here," she said.

A little over two weeks ago Bond said the federal government had told the province to sign the current version of the contract or it would begin withdrawing RCMP officers from B.C. in 2014. On Oct. 6 she said Toews had requested a shorter version of the proposal B.C. had sent in July.

The revised proposal goes through the contract line by line and identifies issues, she said. It summarizes the issues the provinces and territories still negotiating with the federal government agree on, she said.

The contract has to include management tools so the province and municipalities can have a role in controlling costs, she said. She's hopeful the issues will be worked out, she said. "I think there's a willingness to sit down and talk about the issues."

Some 6,000 RCMP officers are working in B.C., the most of any jurisdiction in Canada. Each year the province spends about $300 million and municipalities another $500 million on the RCMP.

Premier Christy Clark has mused that a provincial police force might be cheaper, though Bond has said the work on an estimate has just begun and she expects it will be more expensive than contracting with the RCMP.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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