North Okanagan – Shuswap MP Mel Arnold introduced a federal bill in Parliament Thursday that proposes to recognize Feb. 1 as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day.
Arnold’s bill aligns with a provincial bill introduced in the British Columbia Legislature by Vernon – Monashee MLA Eric Foster on May 1 and a 2016 provincial bill passed in the Manitoba legislature that established Feb. 1 as Royal Canadian Mounted Police day in Manitoba.
“As we prepare to mark a century of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police defending the law and keeping Canadians safe, it is fitting to recognize the RCMP’s service with an annual day of recognition,” said MP Arnold. “I am honoured to introduce this bill to establish recognition of the RCMP in federal legislation and I thank everyone who has contributed to this important initiative.”
The RCMP was established on Feb. 1, 1920 when the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, founded in 1873, and the Dominion Police, founded in 1868, were merged. The RCMP of today is made up of almost 30,000 individuals – 18,000 frontline members and 12,000 support personnel.
“The men and women of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from coast-to-coast-to-coast have served Canada with distinction for nearly a century,” said Foster. “I am proud to see this campaign of appreciation for the RCMP continue to build momentum from grassroots volunteers in Vernon to the legislative assembly in Victoria to the House of Commons in Ottawa.”
Efforts to establish Feb. 1 as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day to recognize and promote appreciation of Canada’s national police force has been driven by Vernon’s RCMP Appreciation Day in B.C. Committee. This organization expanded in May to form the RCMP Day in Canada Committee to build support for a national RCMP Day.
“As a grassroots group, we want to recognize the commitment that the men and women of the RCMP have made and continue to make each and every day,” said Martin von Holst, chairperson of the RCMP Appreciation Day Committee. “RCMP members leave their homes and families to put their lives on the line to serve and protect us and our communities across Canada and for that we are deeply grateful.”