RCMP tab for royal visit tops $2 million

VICTORIA -The RCMP says it spent about $2 million on policing costs during last year's eight-day visit to British Columbia and Yukon by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two young children.

The total bill was released following a federal Access to Information request for RCMP costs during the visit that began Sept. 24. But the total could still change if additional expenditures are added later this year, the documents say.

The records show the largest expenses were connected to pay, overtime and travel costs, which totalled about $1.9 million.

RCMP pay and overtime was pegged at $1.37 million. But the amounts for regular pay and overtime pay are not separated. The documents also do not provide the number of RCMP officers assigned to the tour.

The documents also report almost $73,000 in pay and overtime for other police costs. Municipal police departments in the Victoria and Vancouver areas were involved in the royal visit.

The RCMP's travel bill was $532,097, the documents say.

Prince William and Kate visited several communities in B.C. and Yukon, with one of the highlights coming when they attended a garden party at Government House in Victoria with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The B.C. government is expected to release its final costs for the tour on Jan. 13, while the federal government has yet to release its final tally. Ottawa released a budget estimate of $855,600 last October for the tour.

Yukon's Department of Tourism and Culture reported costs of $11,754.76 for the time the Duke and Duchess spent in Whitehorse and Carcross. Yukon is expected to release further costs related to other government departments.

The most costly item reported in the Yukon documents was related to an event at the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse where a former telegraph operator helped Prince William and Kate tweet a royal welcome message to the world using Second World War technology. There was a bill of $4,250 to implement Morse code translation software.

The federal tour cost estimates from last October included a total hospitality estimate of $54,590 and a travel forecast of $305,350.