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Provinces can decide on RCMP contract offer, say feds

It's up to the provinces to decide whether or not they want to continue contracting with the Canadian government for the RCMP's provision of policing, a federal spokesperson said.

"Our government is willing to renew contract policing agreements with the provinces," said Julie Carmichael, a spokesperson in public safety minister Vic Toews office, in an email.

"However, it is up to provinces to decide whether or not to come on board. The same fundamental terms and conditions will apply to all provinces," she said.

Yesterday British Columbia's Solicitor General Shirley Bond said she is frustrated with an ultimatum the federal government gave for the province to sign a 20-year contract by the end of November or have RCMP services withdrawn starting in 2014.

Bond said the provincial government, which along with municipalities spend a total of $800 million a year on 6,000 RCMP officers in the province, would like a renewed contract to include more opportunities for the province to influence how the force is managed. Talks stopped in March and the federal government has been unwilling to come back to the table, she said.

"We have been negotiating in good faith for four years and we still hope we’ll come to an agreement," said Carmichael. "The proposed Contract Policing agreements strike an appropriate balance between giving our police forces the tools necessary to do their job and ensuring fairness for Canadian taxpayers."

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

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