Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Conservatives Continue to Underfund Vital Canadian Institutions

The RCMP are being neglected by the Conservative "government" (and we use that term loosely). Perhaps our proud national stalwarts of justice are just not as "sexy" (in the words of one Con MP) as special forces in camo fatigues brandishing AR15s.

Perhaps the force is being punished for it's pro-gun control stance (and pro-registry, we should add)?

Here is Ralph Goodale's take on this:


Earlier this spring, I met a group of Regina cab-drivers who were concerned about the City of Regina not promptly renewing their taxi licences – because the necessary security checks had not come through.

If one or two drivers had such complaints, you might think the problem was the drivers themselves – i.e., something in their background set-off alarm bells. But when 40 or 50 licence renewals are being held up all at once, there’s something else going on.

In Ottawa, I found M.P.’s from across the country were receiving exactly the same complaints – from all sorts of people working in jobs that involve trusting relationships, ranging from my taxi drivers to people handling funds for charities to volunteers coaching little league sports.

The problem seems to be a massive backlog of security checks swamping the RCMP. The Force doesn’t have the financial resources necessary to handle this workload.

So vast numbers of people in many walks of life who need security clearances are seriously inconvenienced, or sometimes put out of work.

We’ve seen trouble in the financing of the RCMP before.

There are questions about the security of their pension plan. A couple of years ago, a promised and much-deserved wage increase was summarily rolled back. When they’re handed extraordinary assignments like policing the Olympics or dealing with the G-8 summit, they’re never fully reimbursed. The RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina has been steadily under-funded.

This is no way to treat our national police force. Yes, the RCMP has had administrative and leadership difficulties in recent years – but that’s the fault of their political masters.

Canada must not allow the Mounties’ distinguished reputation to be damaged by neglect, confusion and chronic under-funding. But judging by the Harper government’s past performances, these risks are running high.

The RCMP deserve better. So does Canada.

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