Nova Scotia justice minister dismisses RCMP assertion of chronic underfunding
Brad John says inquiry shows RCMP have an 'internal issue' that doesn't involve the province
Nova Scotia's justice minister isn't buying assertions by senior Mounties at the inquiry into the 2020 mass shooting that his province chronically underfunds the RCMP for policing services.
Brad Johns told reporters Wednesday that problems within the RCMP that are surfacing in testimony at the inquiry don't involve the province.
"I think any issues that are there are more around staffing with the RCMP," the minister said. "It's an internal issue."
Johns said that any time the RCMP has come forward with concerns around resourcing the province has "stepped up."
"The province is funding the RCMP according to the provincial agreement and what the RCMP does with those funds is somewhat up to the RCMP," he said.
Johns pointed out that Commissioner Brenda Lucki told the inquiry that staffing and recruitment is a challenge for the force across the country. Those RCMP staffing problems, he said, have led to vacancies in Nova Scotia.
Past complaints about resources
"If they are not filling them (positions) my question is, why?"
Johns said he didn't know how many positions are unfilled in the province but added he didn't believe the shortage is "significant."
"There's nothing there that's setting off an alarm for me," he said.
This week, Lucki and retired commander of the Nova Scotia RCMP, Lee Bergerman, told the inquiry that the force will require more resources because the costs of policing continue to rise.
During her testimony, Bergerman noted that the RCMP has long complained of not having enough staff or equipment to adequately police Nova Scotia. She said there needs to be a conversation with the provincial government and the public about expectations for policing.
Meanwhile, Johns said new provincial standards for policing should be ready by late fall.
RCMP officials have told the inquiry that they have been waiting for new updated standards before engaging with the Nova Scotia Justice Department's process for auditing the performance of police services in the province.
"We don't anticipate that there would be anything there that would be onerous to municipal policing or the RCMP," the minister said.