I want to update Nova Scotians about the ongoing negotiations with the federal government for a new RCMP policing contract. First, I want to thank all RCMP officers in this province. The RCMP provide quality service to the people of Nova Scotia; our residents, municipalities, and province appreciate their dedication and service. Where are we now? The existing 20-year contract with the RCMP expires March 31, 2012. Nova Scotia, together with most provinces and territories in Canada, is negotiating a new 20-year contract on behalf of most of our municipalities. These discussions have been rocky at times, which is not surprising. RCMP negotiations are historically complex and time-consuming. These current negotiations are no different. What are Nova Scotia’s contract issues? We have concerns around cost containment and accountability. The current contract talks do not cover wage increases, but they do cover almost all other areas of RCMP life. This includes costs of new construction for detachments and housing, costs for recruit training and transfers, costs for dog units, et cetera. There are many parties involved in these discussions, federal, provincial and municipal. There are about 820 RCMP officers in Nova Scotia. Of these, 200 work for the province and provide traffic and specialized crime services. The remaining officers are paid by municipalities. Eleven municipalities in Nova Scotia have their own police forces and HRM uses a municipal force and RCMP officers to police its boundaries. The provinces and municipalities pay 70 per cent of the costs for these officers — more than $100 million this year — and the federal government pays 30 per cent. In exchange, Ottawa gets the benefit of a national police force able to assist with national priorities. An example is the security provided by Nova Scotia’s RCMP officers during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Municipalities are a key player and so they have a seat as an observer on the provincial bargaining team. In addition, municipalities are updated through a policing committee of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. So what happens next? The provinces and territories, minus Alberta and Saskatchewan, are continuing to negotiate with one voice. To ensure consistency at the negotiating table, the provinces and territories asked B.C. to act as the lead in discussions with Ottawa. Negotiations continue. However, it is also important for Nova Scotians to remember that there will be no immediate change in RCMP service no matter what happens at the negotiating table. The current contract, and any future contract, allows for a two-year transition if the province decides it wants to create a provincial police force. At this time, however, our focus is on negotiating a new 20-year agreement for RCMP services. I remain confident an agreement will be reached with Ottawa. -30-
The sixth annual Brock Cares Day of Service is scheduled for Sept. 20. Hosted by Student Life and Community Experience, faculty and staff are invited to join hundreds of students who will register for the opportunity to show that Brock cares by volunteering and giving back to the Niagara community.Additionally, anyone who is part of, or has ties with any community agency or organization that has a project happening or would benefit from having a group of volunteers for a few hours is asked to contact organizers.Contributing agencies from the September 2013 event included Lincoln County Humane Society, United Way, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Niagara Wine Festival, Canadian Blood Services and many more. Community organizations have come forward with both indoor and outdoor projects including tasks such as serving food and refreshments, painting, gardening, administrative tasks, marketing and event assistance.Invitations to Brock Cares Day of Service 2014 can be filled out online. For more information, contact Taylor.