Today, in Question Period, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, asked the Prime Minister to explain the rationale for discontinuing the RCMP and other police presence in four of Canada’s medium-sized airports.
Since 2006, Transport Canada has provided funding under the Airport Policing Contribution Program to the Victoria, Kelowna, Hamilton, and London airports. The Program was established four years earlier under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), but transferred to Transport Canada in 2007. It was designed to assist certain airports in financing the rising cost of policing in order to increase public confidence in the aviation system and provide a “consistent police response.”
This valuable federal contribution to the safety and security of Canadian workers and travellers will end on March 31.
“When I was travelling through Kelowna recently, staff at the airport were concerned about the imminent removal of RCMP officers assigned to the airport,” Ms. May stated. “Despite the fact the airport is relatively small, there are concerns that it serves as a conduit for drugs headed into northern Alberta.
Ms. Candice Bergen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, CPC) replied to Ms. May’s question.
“I am concerned that the decision to remove the RCMP and other police presence at the airports, including the Victoria airport in my own riding, was taken without full consultation with local officials and local communities,” Ms. May said. “I am afraid Ms. Bergen’s response does nothing to alleviate my concerns.”