The thing about dysfunctional relationships is that one side or another frequently decides to hang on in the often mistaken belief that things will — eventually — get better.
Sadly, in too many cases, it never does.
Such is the status of the relationship between municipal governments and the RCMP, with one side expressing serious misgivings about the way things have been and the other promising that this time, things will truly be different.
Kamloops joined Prince George and Nanaimo as the latest B.C. cities to approve new 20-year service agreements with the RCMP this week, with some City councillors expressing serious reservations about the deal.
Coun. Donovan Cavers even went so far as to suggest a delay in a vote on the pact so the City could have time to consider setting up a municipal police force of its own. Problem is, the idea has been looked at before and considered to be cost-prohibitive.
Historically, one of the major problems with the City-RCMP relationship is the fact that too many municipal politicians felt as though they had little or no control over policing costs, methods and priorities, even though municipal taxpayers were the ones footing the bill for the service. Heading into the new 20-year agreement, RCMP brass promised more municipal control and the type of back and forth any good partnership should have.
The good faith didn’t last long.
Last week, it was learned that — unbeknownst to municipal governments — a planned round of pay raises would add millions to the overall cost of policing in B.C. Once again, nobody was consulted. Once again, municipal councillors felt like they were on the outside looking in. Once again, municipal taxpayers would have to foot the bill.
So civic politicians are right to be nervous heading into any kind of new agreement with Canada’s national police force, especially when a supposed kinder, gentler policing deal starts off with such a potentially costly surprise.
Now that the deal is done, it will be up to RCMP brass to walk the walk when it comes to living up to the promises of a new relationship. Clearly, they’ve got a long way to go in this regard.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.