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The Government of Canada has been negotiating with provinces for the past four years to renew RCMP policing contracts. On April 2, 2012 the Province of Prince Edward Island announced their new agreement with Ottawa came into effect on April 1, 2012.
While some of us in the western provinces might think that is a sick and cruel joke, Prince Edward Islanders appear to be very happy about the contract renewal which splits the costs between Ottawa and the province 70-30.
“I look forward to renewing our partnership with the RCMP,” said P.E.I. Justice Minister Janice Sherry. “The RCMP and its members have always provided excellent policing service to the people of Prince Edward Island.”
I’m actually inclined to believe Minister Sherry on that count. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story about corrupt or thug RCMP members stationed in Prince Edward Island. Those stories seem be confined to BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The RCMP currently handles all policing in the province of PEI with the exception of the cities of Charlottetown and Summerside and the towns of Borden-Carleton and Kensington.
Commenters on a PEI news story were generally in favour of the renewed deal. For example, “Joanna” wrote
The RCMP are top notch. I don't think though the province gives them the money needed to do their job right. They are understaffed and often go short which brings a heavier work load on the ones on the front line, 2 men trying to to the job of 5 is a way to describe it.
The one problem with the Mounties is they work their best officers to a point [where] they break down.... either stress, alcoholism, mental health etc...and it has a negative impact on their well-being as a person. Mounties are a different breed given that on the island over 400 people apply each year and only 4-5 are successful. It is the top notch people who are selected for the job. Even the best people get worn out.... When is the top brass going to understand and give the front line member the amount of resources needed to do the job correct and safe?
Recent events in British Columbia seem to echo Joanna’s concerns.
I wrote yesterday about how RCMP Constable Michael Roe was arrested after firing his service pistol multiple times inside his residence while his wife and children were present. Very scary stuff, and as I wrote, it seems to speak to the RCMP’s need to deal with the stress levels of its members in a much more pro-active manner.
Another commenter wrote:
They have provided good professional service over the years and continue to do so.The policing environment is changing constantly and now is international in scope. The Mounties have the resources both internally and internationally to deal with the changes.
While that thought flies in the face of reports that tell of a police force stretched far too thin, the sentiment that the RCMP provides a good service in Prince Edward Island is clearly one that resonates across the province.
If only the RCMP could shine so brightly in the rest of the country…