BC government to provide an additional $36 million to controversial RCMP C-IRG unit starting on April 1

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by Gidimt’en Checkpoint, November 2021.

The Tyee reports: “A portion of the $230 million promised last fall by the BC NDP to bolster rural police detachments and make communities safer is earmarked for a controversial RCMP unit tasked with policing resource industry protests.”

“[Ministry of Public Safety] documents provided to The Tyee through freedom of information laws show the promised $230 million was divided into two streams, with $36 million — roughly 15 per cent — designated for ‘police response to unlawful protests’.”

Tyee image of an internal BC government briefing note.

“When asked this week to confirm the $36 million would go to C-IRG and provide more details about where remaining funds would be spent, an RCMP spokesperson said it was too soon to comment.”

The Tyee further notes: “The Public Safety Ministry did not immediately respond to The Tyee’s questions about whether the $36 million would go exclusively to C-IRG and if they would be provided up front or administered over three years, like the rest of the funding.”

The article adds funds would begin flowing to the RCMP on April 1.

Additional funding to the C-IRG

In early January, Ottawa-based CBC journalist Brett Forester reported: “An RCMP squad charged with policing resistance to resource extraction in British Columbia spent nearly $50 million enforcing injunctions obtained by the petroleum and forestry sectors in its first five years, an internal accounting shows.”

CBC has previously reported: “Provinces and territories pay 70 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s operations in their jurisdictions, with the federal government contributing the remaining 30 per cent.”

This suggests the BC government could have spent about $35 million on the C-IRG since 2017-18 (while the  Canadian government may have provided $15 million).

C-IRG under investigation

On March 9, APTN reported: “The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP says it is launching a ‘systemic investigation’ into the activities and operations of the Community-Industry Response Group or C-IRG as it’s known.”

This follows the CRCC receiving nearly 500 formal complaints about the C-IRG.

An APTN investigation of the C-IRG last year “uncovered allegations against the unit that includes ‘intimidation, torture, brutality, harassment, racism, theft, destruction of property, arbitrary detention, inhumanity, lying and deceit.’”

It further found evidence of “vast spying — including casual surveillance of law-abiding groups engaged in the democratic process — collusion with private security, collaboration with industry lawyers and wilful violations of RCMP policy.”

Will the BC government begin to provide an additional $36 million to the C-IRG while it is under investigation?

For more, please see Documents Reveal ‘Rural Policing’ Money Is Going to the C-IRG (by Amanda Follett Hosgood, The Tyee, March 10, 2023).

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