Galloping off in all directions: An analysis of the new federal–provincial agreement for RCMP contract police services and some implications for the future of Canadian policing


  • Robert F. Lunney

  • The author is an internationally recognized expert on police and public safety. A former RCMP superintendent, he also served as chief of police in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1974 to 1987 and in Peel Region, Ontario, from 1990 to 1997. He would like to thank long-time colleague Paul McKenna for his encouragement during the writing of this critique and his assistance with annotation; William J. Brown, for his contribution to the analysis of the provincial contract; and retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Robert Head, for background on policing in Alberta.


In 1874, the original 275-officer contingent of North-West Mounted Police left Manitoba for what is now Alberta, to bring law and order to a frontier suffering the depredations of American whiskey traders preying on Aboriginal people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, now 28,000 strong, has since become world renowned. It deals with organized crime, terrorism, illicit drugs, economic crimes and offences threatening the integrity of Canada's national borders. It also protects VIPs, supports other Canadian law enforcement agencies through its National Police Services, and carries out provincial and municipal policing under contract in eight provinces and three territories. This article reviews the history, outlines the benefits, and examines some of the implications of these policing contracts, using the 2012 Alberta agreement as the template.


En 1874, le premier contingent de 275 agents du corps de la police montée du Nord-Ouest quittait le Manitoba pour se rendre là où se trouve aujourd'hui l'Alberta afin d'instaurer l'ordre public à une frontière où les négociants en whisky faisaient des ravages en s'attaquant aux Autochtones. La Gendarmerie royale du Canada, qui compte actuellement plus de 28 000 personnes, a acquis depuis lors une renommée internationale. Elle lutte contre le crime organisé, le terrorisme, les drogues illicites, les infractions et crimes économiques qui menacent l'intégrité des frontières nationales du Canada. Elle protège également les dignitaires, soutient d'autres organismes canadiens d'application de la loi par le biais de ses Services nationaux de police, et accomplit sous contrat le travail de police provincial et municipal dans huit provinces et trois territoires. Cet article passe en revue l'historique, souligne les avantages et examine certaines des implications de ces contrats de police, en se servant de l'entente 2012 avec l'Alberta comme modèle.