IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to declare, in each year, February 1, as “Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day”.
WHEREAS in 1873 the Parliament of Canada established a police force named the North-West Mounted Police to enforce law in Canada’s newly acquired territory in Western Canada;
WHEREAS in 1919 the Parliament of Canada voted to form a national police force by merging the North-West Mounted Police and the Dominion Police of Eastern Canada, and on February 1, 1920, the newly formed force was named the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
WHEREAS the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has continued to grow as a police force having jurisdiction in eight provinces and three territories and, through its national police services, offering resources to other Canadian law enforcement agencies;
WHEREAS today the scope of services and operations of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada has expanded and includes enforcement against organized crime, terrorism, illicit drugs, economic crimes, and offences that threaten the integrity of Canada’s national borders;
WHEREAS the men and women of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have given much to our communities in terms of service and sacrifice; and
WHEREAS there is a need to recognize and promote awareness of the important history and role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta.
The RCMP was founded in 1873 and was originally known as the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. It later merged in 1920 with the Dominion Police in eastern Canada to be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The service originally was started to bring law to western Canada in the 1870s.
The members of the RCMP should have a day that recognizes the work they do to provide security in our communities and acknowledge the dangerous situations the men and women of the RCMP deal with every day on our behalves.
Manitoba was the first province in 2017 to declare February 1 as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day.
In the provincial response to this resolution, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General notes that as the RCMP is a national police force, the type of recognition proposed by the resolution is being pursued at the federal level. He references Private Member’s Bill C-246 (note that the correct bill number is C-467), which passed first reading in the House of Commons on June 20, 2019.
Bill C-467, An Act to Establish Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day, was proposed by Honourable Mel Arnold, Conservative MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap. While Bill C-467 did pass first reading in June 2019, it died on the order paper following the close of the 42nd session of Parliament in September 2019. Given that this bill was not passed in session, and that the federal Conservative party did not form government following the federal election, it is unlikely that any future legislation to establish a RCMP Day will be passed under the current federal government.
Although the RCMP is a national police force, as noted by the Minister, other provinces including Manitoba and British Columbia have declared RCMP Day in their jurisdictions. However, the Government of Alberta may be reluctant to follow suit given the current political context:
- There is heightened sensitivity around the role that the RCMP is playing with respect to efforts by the Wet’suwet’en people to block construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline near Smithers, B.C. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called for Canada to stop construction of the pipeline until it obtains approval from affected First Nations.
- Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel is exploring the feasibility of establishing an Alberta provincial police force and terminating the Alberta’s PPSA with the RCMP.