Christy Clark says B.C. police force still an option
Federal minister denies Ottawa has made an ultimatum to B.C.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says the province may have to consider a provincial police force if it can't get an acceptable RCMP policing deal with Ottawa.
Clark told the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Friday that the any new RCMP deal with the federal government has to make financial sense.
"We cannot put property taxpayers on the hook for unchecked spending on things that don't put another police officer out on the street and don't put another criminal in jail," the premier said.
Clark told reporters after her speech that a provincial force might be more economical.
"Having our own provincial police force could be cheaper than the deal that's on the table from Service Canada today for the RCMP," she said.
Federal Heritage Minister James Moore told the same convention earlier that Ottawa wants to get back to the bargaining table, which the premier says she's pleased about.
B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond said earlier in the week that the province had received a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum from the federal government over a new 20-year contract with the RCMP.
The current RCMP agreement between Ottawa and Victoria ends in March 2012 and the federal government said a new deal must be signed by the end of November.
Bond has said it has sent its line-by-line contract concerns to the federal government, but that Ottawa has yet to come back with a response.
But Moore denied that the federal government was playing hardball on the issue with B.C.
"There is no ultimatum," said the minister, who is also the federal government's senior spokesman for B.C. "What there is, is a timeline. We are forcing all parties to come to clarity on what their positions are so we can all move forward."
With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies and The Canadian Press