The Royal Canadian Mounted Police

During the mid 1800s’, Canada was a wild frontier.  A continuous stream of settlers and miners flowed into Canada following “Free Land” Promises, and the numerous gold strikes in the Yukon.  Constant Struggles with the Native Americans were an everyday occurrence, as well as the rowdy miners causing a ruckus in their tiny mining communities.  Law and order in Canada were mere words to its citizens.  Something had to be done; however, with no real standing army, and without the means to make one, Canada went down a different path.

According to the Centennial Anniversary Book, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in its earliest years were a group of 200 men given the difficult task of bringing law and order to the whole of Canada.  Not only this, but they were also given the duty of keeping good relations with the dozens of Canada’s native tribes, according to the song, “The RCMP Always Chasing After Me” by Rick Stoneback.  In many parts of Canada, especially the Yukon, the RCMP officer was the highest authority.  Over time, the force grew and so did their reputation.  What was once a small group of men trying to bring justice to the wilds, soon became a force to be reckoned with.  One that stood for duty, justice and loyalty.

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Tales of their exploits soon reached mythical level.  Stories of “Mounties” saving entire towns soon gained them the reputation of being “Do Rights”.  Popular radio shows such as “The Yukon” and the movie, “Dudley DoRight” reinforced this.  Although their reputation is only over-powered by their dedication to service, and their ability to do their jobs better than many others.  The RCMP are able to place themselves higher on a pedestal than other police forces because of their lack of jurisdiction restrictions, their superior training, and the tradition of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

Most local and national police forces such as the NYPD or the CIA do have some jurisdiction on some specific cases in the United States, whereas the RCMP have automatic authority over any crime scene in Canada or dealing with a Canadian citizen cited from Parliament of Canada Law 81A section 22-3.  The Mounted Police, on a couple of occasions, have ventured into the United States to solve cases that happen in Canada and the Criminals try to flee Canada in hopes that the Mounties will not be able to follow.  Once specific case from the Niagara Gazette reported a murder in 1982 and the RCMP joining forces with the U.S. Coast Guard from the article, “Mounties Team Up With Coast Guard to Nab Murderer.”  Another example is during the 1920’ druing Prohibition in the United States, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on a few occasions raided sites just across the boarder that had been distributing illegal Canadian whiskey.  Dozens of times the RCMP joined forces with the United States State Department to bring down criminal rings illegally smuggling Canadian whiskey into the United States according to the book, “20th century Mounties”.  While the RCMP and the United States have not teamed up recently, the RCMP, because of its status as a national police force, is able to in certain cases have international jurisdiction.  The RCMP would not be able to conduct these raids however if it were not for long, unique, and special training periods.

8 Comments

  • They’re not nearly as corrupt as some police forces, and being officers, they deal with a lot of harassment, and have to see some disturbing things. It’s a high stress job, and emotions do get out of hand.

  • Thanks! great article! I couldn’t find the philip morgan article that you referenced though. Could you post a link to it?

  • There is a LOT wrong with this article. Most RCMP, for example, do not wear the red tunic and the cap which are both so commonly associated with them, but instead a regular blue police uniform with gold.

    They are the most controversial police agency in Canada, as well, so much so that an entirely new oversight board has just had to be created. For example, when a young man named Ian Bush was killed while in RCMP custody in 2005 (one bullet to the back of his head), the RCMP called it “self defense” and Const. John Ward stated “The public doesn’t have a right to know anything.”

    Not to mention the questionable death of Robert Dziekański who died after being tasered 5 times at Vancouver airport a year or two ago. Four RCMP officers are now being subject to a public inquiry.

    Here’s a pretty good list of the major scandals of the RCMP, the 1970’s are especially offputting.

  • “the RCMP have automatic authority over any crime scene in Canada or dealing with a Canadian citizen cited from Parliament of Canada Law 81A section 22-3.”

    There is no such thing as “Parliament of Canada Law 81A” and you won’t find a dash in a section number of any piece of Canadian federal legislation, and I am pretty certain that the quoted statement is untrue.

  • jesus christ. learn some goddamned grammar.

    In comparison to most police forces who have easily obtainable physical requirements, shorter training periods, and lower academic standards.

    is that what passes for a sentence in canadia?

  • Wow. This article is so wrong. Clearly you just made things up, given that the sources you cite say different things or just don’t exist.

    – The RCMP don’t have automatic jurisdiction over all crimes, criminal investigation and law enforcement are provincial responsibilities in Canada’s constitution.

    While the RCMP operates in all parts of the country, most of this is through agreements between the federal government and the provinces, many Canadian municipalities and most provinces contract the RCMP (that is they pay them) to provide police services in their territory.

    Canada’s two most populated provinces (Quebec and Ontario) have their own provincial police forces so while the RCMP has jurisdiction they’re more like the FBI in the states, only investigating things like counterfeiting, large scale drug operations, organized crime and national security.

    They also have a national crime lab and maintain national registries, like the one for sex offenders.

    They’re also responsible for protecting parliament and VIPs, like the prime minister.

    Due to the way Canadian law works, all police officers in the country are sworn by their provincial governments and therefore have jurisdiction throughout their province, since all criminal law is federal (yes, law enforcement is provincial but law creation is federal) so any police officer could make a criminal arrest anywhere in the country.

    – The RCMP don’t have international jurisdiction, however the United States and Canada, along with various US states have agreements that allow their police forces to work together, especially along the boarders. There are currently programs that place RCMP officers on US Coast Guard and boarder patrol ships and vice versa, so that arrests can be made in Canadian or US waters. Beyond that, there is a great deal of cooperation between various US agencies and the RCMP as well as Canadian municipal and provincial police forces. They also have liaison officers around the world who coordinate with local police forces but don’t have jurisdiction.

    – The RCMP conduct all training in Regina Sask, that’s in Southern Canada, an hour or two from the North Dakota border. There is some on the job training, but that can take place anywhere in the country.

    – It’s not always cold in the Yukon. Sure, it’s not known for hot summers but there are summers, they’re warm. Some days it can get hot. There aren’t many evenings where you don’t have to put on a sweater but still that’s hardly “cold.”

    – You don’t have to have a minor in Native Studies, while I’m sure that would help, you only need to graduate high school to apply for the RCMP.

    – You don’t have to be bilingual to join the RCMP, though there is training available to members of the force. There’s a bill before the Canadian Senate right now that would require all officers patrolling the Trans Canada Highway to be bilingual but it hasn’t been voted on yet.

    – According to the RCMP website, recruits are trained in the use of 9mm pistols and 12-gauge shotguns, not the weapons of the past.

    – They don’t wear the traditional uniforms other than on special occasions (academy graduation, parades etc.). Most of the time RCMP officers wear uniforms similar to other modern police forces: tan shirts, blue jackets, black pants.

    – The Ottawa Times does not exist.

    – The RCMP may have a proud history but lately they’ve become something of a national joke.

  • While there happens to be a Parliament of Canada ACT, it has absolutely nothing to do with granting so called international jurisdiction (International jurisdiction refers to the fact that the courts of a given country will be the most appropriate to hear and determine a case that has an international dimension) to the RCMP. Even Interpol doesn’t possess this absurdly titled power of “international jurisdiction”. No self-respecting nation would allow an external, foreign police force to exercise jurisdiction on its soil. Least of all, Canadians.

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