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Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP]
Gendarmerie Royale du Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] is Canada's federal police force. It is also contracted to serve as the police force for all provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), the two territories, and nearly 200 municipalities. About 50 percent of its members are engaged in provincial and municipal policing.

The Dominion Police, with Canada's developing security intelligence function, was amalgamated with the 2,500 members of the Royal North West Mounted Police in 1920 to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Between the wars, the security intelligence function remained small and inconspicuous. At the headquarters in 1939, it employed only three members and two stenographers, with field units in the larger cities investigating threats such as the fascist movement. The espionage activity related to the Second World War, and the subsequent defection of Soviet cypher clerk Igor Gouzenko in September 1945, removed any thoughts the government might have had about reducing the security intelligence function to pre-war levels. Gouzenko's revelations of a number of elaborate Soviet espionage networks operating in Canada ushered in the modern era of Canadian security intelligence.

It was necessary to identify potential threats, but in order to fully maintain the democratic way of life of Canadians, it was also necessary to scrupulously protect the right to exercise legitimate political dissent. These tasks were made all the more complex by the conflicting combination of priorities and responsibilities of security intelligence investigations as compared to police work. The 120-year old interlocking of Canada's security intelligence service with the federal police force was brought to a close with the establishment of the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the disbanding of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service by an Act of Parliament in 1984, which recognized the differences between security intelligence activities and law enforcement work.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:52:04 ZULU