‘Keep Alberta RCMP’ Community Engagement Tour Comes to Lethbridge

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –

Debate continues over a proposed provincial police force in Alberta.

On Wednesday, a group opposed to the idea held a town hall meeting in Lethbridge as part of a provincial tour.

The National Police Federation (NPF) has been touring the province and talking to Albertans since January 6 with the common goal of keeping the RCMP in Alberta.

“The reason for our community engagement sessions is to educate the public about some of the risks and costs associated with a potential move to a provincial police service,” said NPF Regional Director Kevin Halwa.

The ‘Keep Alberta RCMP’ tour follows the UCP government’s proposal to replace the force with a provincial police service.

The idea was launched in the fall following recommendations from an expert panel report on Fair Deal – suggesting it would improve rural policing issues and improve relations with First Nations peoples. Nations.

“The Government of Alberta is exploring the feasibility of establishing a provincial police service because we have a responsibility to explore whether a new model of policing can improve public safety and find innovative ways to deliver policing effective for everyone in Alberta, no matter where they live,” said Jason van Rassel, a representative from the Alberta Department of Justice and Solicitor General’s office.

“We believe that the independent feasibility study conducted by PwC Canada has provided compelling evidence to continue exploring this concept and to bring these ideas to Albertans for further discussion. As part of this process, we are conducting extensive stakeholder engagement and will launch a public inquiry soon.”

Van Rassel went on to say that the whole process was to answer the question of whether or not this was a worthwhile investment for Alberta.

“We believe that PwC Canada has ‘shown its work’ with innovative proposals and detailed cost estimates that make a realistic case for operating a provincial police service at the same overall cost, or less, than the cost of provincial contract police services. and Municipal RCMP in Alberta. “, he told CTV News.

ALBERTANS DO NOT SUPPORT IDEA

However, according to polls conducted by the FPN, most Albertans do not support the change.

However, according to polls conducted by the FPN, most Albertans do not support the change.

“Each of these surveys, unsurprisingly, produced very similar results,” Halwa said.

“According to the corner of the province that we are talking about, the support for the RCMP and the retention of the RCMP is around 80%, which is an incredible number.

Although the province said the move would save money, the NPF says bringing in a provincial police force would leave taxpayers on the hook for more than $550 million and that the province would lose $170 million in federal funds every year.

Halwa says there are also concerns about the training of these officers, and how many we would get.

“The arrival of a brand new provincial police service, with who knows what training, is a concern,” he said.

“The two proposals that have been put forward by PwC, the first actually calls for about half the number of fully trained police officers in the province. That should affect all of us.”

COMMUNITY CONCERNS

The communities and residents who came out for mayor are also very concerned about the potential change.

Lethbridge County Warden Tory Campbell says he is not in favor of the move and wants to see more consultation.

“For something that could really change the look of this province in quite a substantial way, I think it’s important that we start having a broader conversation, not just with municipalities, but also with the general public,” he told CTV News.

Campbell went on to say that the potential price tag a new police force would have in Lethbridge County is also of great concern.

“This cost to us as a municipality has increased significantly and we obviously have concerns about the sustainability of this development and the potential implications that transitioning to a different service could have on our municipality.”

The “Keep Alberta RCMP” community engagement tour continues Thursday in Medicine Hat and Brooks and will continue across the province, spreading their message and gathering feedback through March 4.

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