RCMP between ‘two masters’ as Ottawa battles Prairie State over gun confiscation


The RCMP is caught between Ottawa’s desire to seize firearms and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which have contracts with the National Police but do not want to use them to seize guns. .

Two years ago, the federal government declared 1,500 previously legal guns illegal, then announced a buyback program that would compensate owners for their allotted value of confiscated guns.

That program, which includes RCMP officers to confiscate firearms, is currently underway, but Alberta’s Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro announced on Sept. 26 that the province would not participate. The governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba also followed suit two days later, saying they would not use local police resources to implement the initiative.

Retired RCMP’s Andrew Brooke said it was unclear at this time whether Ottawa or the state government would prevail.

“The state interpretation of the police contracts currently in place between the RCMP and the states does not appear to be consistent with the position adopted by the Hon. Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino. It looks like the stage is set for a potentially epic battle over it,” Brooke told the Epoch Times in an email.

Epoch Times photo
Alberta Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro in a file photo. (Canadian Press/Todd Corroll)

Shandro said on Sept. 26 that Alberta pays the RCMP more than $750 million a year and Section 23 of the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) empowers Alberta.article layout conflict mechanism When the state disagrees with how policing is conducted.

But Darryl Davis, a professor of criminology at Carleton University, said: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act It has traditionally kept states out.

“The PPSA has never addressed discipline and is not included in its contract with the RCMP. As a result, if the RCMP engages in questionable use of force or finds itself in a situation that exceeds its authority, the state will We couldn’t hold them accountable,” Davies said.

“All of these issues are subject to the RCMP Act, so they have always been one of the thorniest issues for the state. [which] There is no control and accountability over RCMP. While they provide police services, the quality of that police service, if it is terrible, cannot be effectively addressed through its contracting mechanism. ”

He adds that if state governments go through the PPSA resolution process and are still facing firearm confiscation, they “have the option of appealing to the Ombudsman for resolution.”

“If that fails, they’ll have a better ground to pursue it in court,” Davis says.

The RCMP seized guns in High River, Alberta during the 2013 floods. Residents returned to their homes to find their guns missing, and many expressed anger after learning what had been done by the police.

financial considerations

Alberta is considering creating a provincial police force, which could ease Ottawa and the RCMP’s national headquarters’ insistence on enforcing the law. According to Davies, the RCMP has had a “stigma” reputation in recent years, but financial reasons have led most states to keep the force.

Epoch Times photo
A restricted gun owner holds an AR-15 at his home in Langley, British Columbia, May 1, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

“The federal government pays 70 percent of the cost of policing, so it has always been economically advantageous for the state to maintain these PPSAs. States are responsible for the administration of justice, and that is their constitutional right,” Davis said.

He says it may not be a matter of the Mounties simply enforcing the law.

“Within the RCMP there will be many members who support the state. You don’t want to enforce laws that you know are going to happen.

Former RCMP officer Larry Comeau, who retired after serving 36 years, says he has “found the RCMP answering two masters” in a state-federal feud, but Ottawa and police are protecting him. There are also clashes between citizens who are being asked to do so. play.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has said Canadians do not need weapons for self-defense. , let them know that they can wait a long time to respond to a deadly emergency.People in these areas also need weapons to protect their livestock,” Comeau wrote in an email. increase.

The Epoch Times contacted the public security bureau, but did not hear back by the publication time.

Mendicino said in remarks to lawmakers at the House Public Safety Committee meeting on Oct. 4 that he remains committed to working with states for buyback programs. .

“Promoting a fair buyback program that compensates legally purchased assault rifles for law-abiding gun owners is consistent with keeping our communities safe, and we We will always work with our state and territory partners,” he said.

lack of financial resources

On September 27, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Police and Public Safety, Christine Tell, wrote to RCMP Vice-Chairman Rhonda Blackmore that the $200 million the state pays to the RCMP each year will be used to buy firearms for its residents. should not be used to seize .

On September 28, Shandro posted on Twitter:

Leland Keene, a former RCMP officer who retired in 2019, told the Epoch Times that a lack of police resources was the only reason seizure efforts didn’t work.

“They have been running empty for the last 10 to 15 years. They don’t have the people and the logistics to do it. It’s just pure politics,” Keane said.

Lee Harding


Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based journalist, think tank researcher, and contributor to The Epoch Times.