Public Safety Minister Bill Blair‘s office said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will no longer provide assistance to the couple when they officially scale back their duties as Duke and Duchess of Sussex on March 31, “in keeping with their change of status.”
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to relocate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances,” Blair said. “The RCMP has been engaged with officials in the U.K. from the very beginning regarding security. As the Duke and Duchess are currently recognized as Internationally Protected Persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as-needed basis.”
Harry and Meghan reached an agreement last month to give up their royal titles and public funding in Britain in exchange for living independently in North America with their eight-month-old son, Archie.
At the time Blair said the Canadian government was “not engaged” in providing security services to the couple, but on Thursday said that was a misunderstanding based on the information he had at the time.
“The RCMP were advised that those two individuals still had International Protected Persons status and therefore the RCMP have been intermittently assisting the [London Metropolitan Police] in providing security,” he said.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation sent a petition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s Office with 80,000 signatures calling for him to prevent taxpayer money from being diverted to the couple.
The federal director of the organization, Aaron Wudrick said Thursday the announcement was “a tremendous victory” for Canadian taxpayers.
“The Trudeau government is doing the right thing,” he said. “Canadians were unequivocal that the duke and duchess are welcome her, but that they need to pay their own way.”