Moncton council votes to keep RCMP

Moncton city councilors vote to keep the RCMP and vow to continue fighting for a federal subsidy to help defray the costs.

Mayor vows to fight for federal subsidy offered to other cities

Moncton city councillors voted to keep the RCMP on Monday night and vowed to continue fighting for a federal subsidy to help defray the costs.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said the city still wants the federal government to ante up a 10 per cent subsidy to operate the Codiac Regional RCMP.
Eight city councillors voted to keep the federal police force instead of adopting a proposal that would have established a municipal police force.

The city had threatened to ditch the Codiac Regional RCMP in a fight over cost concerns with both Ottawa and Moncton's neighbouring communities, Dieppe and Riverview.

The three local councils struck a new cost-sharing deal in November, but the federal government has not agreed to ante up the 10 per cent subsidy that is offered to other municipalities and would be worth almost $2 million.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said he expects to hear in the spring whether the federal government will provide the additional funding.

However, he wouldn't speculate on what would happen if Ottawa continues to balk at paying the subsidy. And the council resolution that passed on Monday night didn't say what would happen if the city didn't get that money.

Coun. Brian Hicks said that council's threat to get rid of the RCMP is rather hollow.

"This recommendation before us tonight is like a Seinfeld episode, a story about nothing, nothing being resolved," Hicks said.

Under the new cost-sharing deal between the three councils, each community's cost will be based on a formula that includes population, assessment and calls for service.

By 2012, Moncton's share of the Codiac RCMP budget will drop to 70 per cent from 74 per cent, which would save an estimated $1.2 million.

Municipal force panned

The city held a series of public meetings to get input from citizens on the police force's future.

Coun. Merrill Henderson said many members of the public told him that they want to keep the RCMP.
The other two options included ditching the regional RCMP force and setting up a Moncton-only RCMP detachment or returning to a municipal force.

The New Brunswick Police Association had argued the city would have saved roughly $5 million by switching to a municipal police force.

However, the city's mayor said the proposal to set up a municipal force lacked credibility.

When the city force was disbanded in 1998 Moncton had 137 officers and the proposal was to reduce the number of officers to 113.

LeBlanc said the proposal to set up a municipal force with fewer officers would take the city back 20 years.

"I believe that there would be turmoil and upheaval many unanticipated problems, obstacles and cost and heightened risk, and uncertainty," LeBlanc said.

Coun. Merrill Henderson said the public has told him they feel safer with the RCMP.

"In my opinion there is a greater risk if we decide to go forward with a municipal force," Henderson said.