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Minister wants 'more compact' RCMP proposal from BC, says Bond

Canada's public safety minister Vic Toews has asked for a shorter version of British Columbia's proposals for changes to a 20-year RCMP contract, Solicitor General Shirley Bond said today.

"We sent a proposal to the federal government as you know in the middle of the summer," said Bond. "It was 68-pages long and it went through the proposal and pointed out the provinces' and the territories' views."

Bond said she spoke with Toews this week. "After our phone call Mr. Toews has made it clear that he would like to have that in a more compact version. We're absolutely happy to do that."

Last week Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said it's "not quite true" that British Columbia had sent a proposal to the federal government during the summer. "We're open to looking at those proposals when they write them down and when they present them to us," he said.

Earlier in the week Bond had said the federal government had given the province an ultimatum, saying if it doesn't sign the contract by the end of November the RCMP would be withdrawn from the province starting in 2014.

Spokespeople for the public safety minister did not respond to questions by deadline. Toews was quoted yesterday saying he's been waiting for a proposal from B.C. since Sept. 9.

"I don't think we could characterize British Columbia as dragging the ball," said Bond. "There is certainly an effort being made on both sides to try to bring this contract to resolution and I am encouraged by that."

She said she sent Toews a letter last Friday. "He responded to that saying he was looking forward to a different format of our proposal. That is being worked on as we speak. I am happy to put the information in whatever format works most appropriately for Minister Toews. My goal is to get that to him early next week."

The province wants a contract management committee to be created, giving municipalities some control over costs. B.C. has some 6,000 RCMP officers, at a cost of $300 million to the province and $500 million to municipalities each year.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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