Provincial Police Force
Res #: 29-01A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Justice Canada
Resolution No. 29-01A
WHEREAS, several provinces, including the province of Saskatchewan, have opted out of enforcement of gun registration; and
WHEREAS, the federal government will use the RCMP to enforce its gun registration legislation in spite of overwhelming opposition to this legislation; and
WHEREAS, police forces should reflect the values of the majority of the population they are policing;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the province of Saskatchewan end its agreement with the RCMP to provide policing which is paid for by the province and local governments and that a provincial police force, that is more accountable to the people of Saskatchewan, be formed.
Response from Hon. Chris Axthworthy:
The resolution appears to be based on the assumption that the Government of Saskatchewan cannot direct the RCMP not to enforce the unpopular federal gun laws because the RCMP is a federal police service, but the government could give such a directive to its own provincial police service. This is not the case. Federal laws, which include the Criminal Code of Canada, are applicable to every area and every person in Canada. Enforcing the criminal law is the primary responsibility of every police force, and the sworn duty of every police officer in the country. It does not matter whether the police service is federal, provincial or a municipal agency, government officials cannot tell the police what laws to enforce and what laws not to enforce.
Saskatchewan Justice has recommended that firearm charges should only be considered in more serious circumstances, such as when another criminal offence has occurred, but this is only a suggestion, not an enforceable order. A second assumption appears to be that RCMP could be replaced with little extra cost. This in not true. Start-up costs could exceed $200 million, to buy or replace 400 buildings, 600 vehicles, radio and computer networks and to hire and to train 1,200 officers. Operating costs would increase by at least $50 million a year, to make up for the immediate loss of $36 million a year in federal cost-sharing that comes with the RCMP contracts, and to assume the cost of replacing services currently paid for by Canada. There is also a strong possibility that such a move would lead to the RCMP training academy being moved out of Regina, which would mean the direct loss of over 100 jobs, and millions of dollars to the Saskatchewan economy.
The Government of Saskatchewan does not support the resolution to replace RCMP with a provincial police service.