South Peace News
Letting the Alberta government know they are opposed to the creation of a provincial police force is at the top of Northern Sunrise County councillors’ minds.
Council agreed at its Jan. 11 meeting to prepare and send a resolution to the Rural Municipalities of Alberta District 4 zone meeting Feb. 11.
If approved, the resolution will be presented at the RMA Spring Conference convention March 14-16 in Edmonton in an attempt to garner even more support to stop the proposal.
Council was pleased with the resolution drafted by administration and made few changes. One was by Marie Reine – Judah Councillor Dan Boisvert, who wanted the fact the Alberta Provincial Police Service Transition Study ordered by the provincial government by PricewaterhouseCoopers [PwC] cost $3 million.
Boisvert was also quite critical of one of the sessions held around Alberta asking for input, when only five of 17 people attending were allowed to speak. He called it a “dog and pony show”.
“They [government] really didn’t want to engage with us,” added Three Creeks – Wesley Creek Councillor Corinna Williams.
“It was mainly Calgary and Edmonton. They really didn’t want any input. . .from rural municipalities.”
Williams wanted to send their draft resolution to all rural municipalities so they could choose to support Northern Sunrise’s or create their own.
“Just a suggestion,” he said.
Normally, the RMA takes all resolutions of a similar stance and merges them into one.
Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba said council was running short of time given the Feb. 11 meeting.
“I’m saying we should share with our neighbours,” added Boisvert.
“Whatever the process, I want to encourage sharing,” he added.
Northern Sunrise is not alone in their opposition to the creation of a provincial police force. Many municipal governments have written Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu citing several reasons.
The government’s own Fair Deal Panel polls and surveys rated creating a provincial police force as second lowest priority.
The PwC study showed creating a provincial police force will cost Albertans more than $188.3 million per year in lost federal contributions with a transition cost of over $366 million while getting less fully trained RCMP officers than the RCMP.
Northern Sunrise cites several concerns in its resolution including:
- Alberta’s previous provincial police force was replaced by the RCMP contract due to economic hardships experienced in the province resulting in the provincial force becoming unsustainable;
- lack of a detailed funding model to account who will pay for the service;
- creating a force remains a low priority for Albertans. One survey indicated 70 per cent opposition to the creation of a provincial force.
- the PwC report did not include statistics, surveys conducted, or an evidence of engagement with local governments.
Northern Sunrise adds the RCMP is well-respected across Alberta and local governments should not bear the increased cost of a provincial force.