The RCMP is cutting back on organized-crime investigations, border security, drug enforcement and money-laundering probes as it struggles to manage its ever-rising costs.
A review of Canada’s national police force by the Auditor-General found that even with rising funding from Parliament, in each of the last five years the RCMP overspent its original annual budget for policing support services.
At first, the RCMP made up this shortfall by using money originally set aside to hire new recruits – a hiring push that was a central pledge of the Conservative government when it was first elected in 2006.
As new hiring started to pick up, the RCMP had to look elsewhere internally to find cash.
In 2009-10, the force brought in an across-the-board 5-per-cent cut to its programs – with exemptions for its contract policing on behalf of provinces and its security duties for the Vancouver Olympics.
For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the RCMP brought in a further 10.4-per-cent across-the-board cut to its programs.
In practice, the Auditor-General’s report said, that meant a $47.7-million cut to the Federal and International Operations Directorate, “which has responsibility for organized crime investigations, border integrity, drug enforcement, and money laundering.”
“The RCMP finds that it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue funding the rising costs of providing national police services through internal reallocation,” the audit report said.
While the Harper government has put law-and-order issues at the heart of its agenda, the audit confirms the widespread feeling among RCMP brass that crucial projects are underfunded and jeopardized by a lack of support.
Another area that is suffering is the updating of criminal records. The audit found that the backlog for updating criminal records has more than quadrupled since the 2005-06 fiscal year.
The report said the average time to update an existing criminal record with new information is 334 working days.
At the heart of the problem is the very role of the RCMP. Under the Constitution, policing is a shared responsibility of Ottawa and the provinces. In practice, the RCMP provides national services like forensics, training, a national DNA data bank and national sex-offender registry. However, in all provinces except Quebec and Ontario, and in many aboriginal communities, the RCMP also serves as the provincial or municipal police force on a contract basis.
The Auditor-General’s report warns that this relationship has never been clearly spelled out and the RCMP is not properly tracking whether it is charging enough for services.
The RCMP’s response is included in the report. It agrees with the Auditor-General’s recommendations.
“In order to sustain national police services in the future, agreement needs to be reached with partners on what services are required, and that issues related to governance, accountability and funding need to be addressed,” the RCMP said.
» National Defence “dropped the ball” in planning a new pension plan for members of the Canadian Forces reserves, according to a statement from interim Auditor-General John Wiersema. “As a result, many reservists could face delays of seven years or longer to find out what their pension benefits will be.”
» A message from former auditor-general Sheila Fraser says Ottawa needs to do a better job of tackling long-term policy issues, such as climate change, Canada’s aging population and outdated infrastructure. She also called on Ottaw to address the worsening conditions on First Nation reserves.
» A follow-up audit report on the government’s information-technology issues found “unsatisfactory” progress in managing large IT projects.
» The government wins praise for its efforts to improve internal audits. The report found that the 24 largest departments and agencies “have established independent departmental audit committees that include individuals with impressive qualifications from outside government.”
» The audit found “unsatisfactory” progress from Ottawa in terms of delivering on past pledges to improve conditions on first-nation reserves. The report calls on Ottawa to bring in legislation that clearly spells out its legal responsibilities in terms of providing services to first nations.
» Health Canada is criticized in a follow-up audit for not approving new medical devices as quickly as other countries.
“Health Canada needs to improve its on-time performance, use foreign reviews to reduce delays, and ensure that it adequately monitors the safety and effectiveness of medical devices available in Canada,” Mr. Wiersema said in a statement.
No one questions the fact that the RCMP is a bottomless pit in which the
government throws money with little accountability.
The fact is, of all police services in Canada, the RCMP have the least rate of successful convictions, they make the greatest number of mistakes in investigations that results in charter challenges etc.
After the RCMP, its the OPP, and the most successful police forces in terms of making the least mistakes are the local city police forces who perhaps have more accountability.
That means, there is a dire need for an all party committee to take a very close look at the RCMP, to seek information and suggestions on how changes need to be made.
As for the money, there needs to be an appropriate principles of funding. In many areas, RCMP is responsible for local policing, as are the OPP, there needs to be a blending of all the police forces to achieve the goals of providing police services with the least duplication and inefficiencies of scale.
There are however many very positive aspects of the RCMP, large provincial police forces such as the OPP, provide opportunities for transfer and promotion while avoiding the breeding of corruption that comes from local police forces gaining total control for their own corrupt purposes.
What is disturbing is the lack of interest by the OPP and the RCMP in taking an investigating role into corruption by smaller police forces. It appears that there is a code of silence that makes it next to impossible to expect any investigation of police by police without extremely good judicial oversight and management with an authority to act that instills sufficient fear for compliance.
AS for funding?
There is 100 Billion dollars available when Canada brings in
a) A legal presumption of Equal Parenting
b) A reform of Family Law including support guidelines
c) A real authority to deal with the scum underbelly of the judiciary who operate with impunity and total immunity from any discipline whatsoever.
d) A promotion of marriage and marriage contracts between men and women to promote and insure a positive birth rate without which Canada faces a titantical economic time bomb.