Dear Bow River constituents,
I hope everyone had a restful and joyous Christmas season with your family and friends. The topic of today’s column is the RCMP. In Bow River the RCMP is present all around the riding, and the work they do to protect residents is important. What I’m writing about today is the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was struck between a group representing the RCMP and the federal government.
This agreement was negotiated by the federal government without consultation from the provinces or municipalities and led to an arrangement of a six-year retroactive salary bump for RCMP officers. This retroactive salary coverage is to be covered by municipalities. I should be clear, this salary increase is rightfully deserved as RCMP officers were paid on average 20 per cent less
So you may be asking: ‘what’s the big deal?’ Well, because this retroactive agreement will be covered by municipalities, and the fact that municipalities were not at the negotiation table, means that homeowners will be on the hook yet again for a federal agreement. This could lead to an increase of property tax for homeowners and business owners by 5-10 per cent, compounding the record inflation we are seeing and adding to the cost of living crisis. This will leave municipalities with a difficult decision to make: cut services or raise taxes. All of this because the federal government insulted municipalities and homeowners by putting the burden on them.
Many municipalities were blindsided by this revelation and did not budget for this multi-million dollar burden. Now, if the federal government does not agree to cover these costs, homeowners and businesses will be directly responsible because municipalities will be left with no choice.
So I am writing to my constituents today first and foremost to inform you: please talk to your municipal council about this issue. Second, to encourage you to write to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and the President of the Treasury Board Mona Fortier at email@example.com, If you are concerned about this issue like I and many municipal leaders I’ve heard from are, make your voice heard. Municipalities across the country in BC, SK, and MB and the maritime provinces are being faced with these same concerns. I’ve spoken with my colleagues and they have been hearing the same complaints as I have from their municipal leaders. I, along with the Conservative Caucus are doing what we can to shine light on this issue, and we will be working towards pressuring the government to tack on this cost instead of downloading it to municipalities.
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Should you have a question or concern of a federal matter, please email my office at: Martin.Shields@parl.gc.ca
MP Bow River