File photo by ADVOCATE STAFF Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley provided some details about the Red Deer Justice Centre at a press conference outside the Red Deer Courthouse with Premier Rachel Notley, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and other dignitaries.

Let’s Talk: Courthouse

Thank you for the opportunity to submit a monthly column for the Red Deer Advocate. Over the course of the year, I hope to address various issues the citizens of Red Deer raise with city council throughout our conversations in the community.

You will have likely heard by now that the provincial government publicly committed to move forward on a new Justice Centre for Red Deer in the 2017 provincial budget. Courthouse infrastructure is the decision-making jurisdiction of the provincial government, and their plan is twelve courtrooms and it will be approximately three to four years before construction is complete.

There were many in our community who welcomed the news, but there were also many in our community who challenged the province’s decision by questioning why they were investing in courthouse and not hospital infrastructure. In response to this community sentiment, I thought I would address from the municipality’s perspective strong reasons for why this decision is critical for the safety of all Red Deerians.

In 2016, there was a Supreme Court ruling called the “Jordan Decision,” which established precedent definition for what constitutes “timely” access to justice under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The importance of this Supreme Court ruling cannot be underestimated. Essentially, Jordan means that if cases are not heard within the prescribed timeline, a “Jordan application” could come forward and the charges would be “stayed,” or in general terms, the case would be “thrown out” of court.

Red Deerians have consistently identified crime and public safety as a high priority for leaders to address, and “Jordan” has proven to be a game changer. For all of our local police efforts in enforcing illegal activity, it would be counterproductive to have strong cases thrown out of court because of delays to justice. Expanded courthouse capacity is therefore in the public safety interests of: victims of crime, the general public by upholding the integrity of the justice system, law enforcement morale in ensuring that charges are upheld in court, and ensuring the kids and families awaiting court decision do not experience potentially traumatic delays.

The community of Red Deer began formal advocacy for expanded courthouse about 10 years ago (a report identified the need 25 years ago), so this announcement is a long-awaited victory for the safety of all in our community.

The city realizes that this victory for our region was coupled with strong support for the need for expanded health infrastructure for Red Deer. The city has identified for the Premier, Minister of Health and our local MLAs our community’s expressed need for investment in the Red Deer Regional Hospital. I have no doubt that the next focus for our community in pursuing provincial investment in Red Deer will be expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. It was our community’s democratic insistence that we become a community of justice that secured this critical investment and it will be democratic insistence that will secure infrastructure and service expansion at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre as well.

I hope this helps to answer some of your questions until next month. As always, council thanks you for the ongoing opportunity to represent you. We look forward to seeing you all in the near future and hearing about what is important to citizens in our community.

Until next time …

Mayor Tara Veer

Just Posted

Accused murderer’s story questioned

Jason Klaus spends day being cross-examined by lawyer for co-accused Joshua Frank

Red Deer Royals extend fundraising deadline for St. Joseph fieldhouse project

Fundraising chair says it’s a tough slog raising money in this economy

Red Deer seeks public input on coming changes to sign bylaw

A half-kilometre buffer zone could separate billboards in Red Deer under proposed… Continue reading

Innisfail man injured in home invasion

Police say the injury was non life-threatening

Credentials questioned man at Remembrance Day services

Veterans are crying foul after an alleged faker posed as a former… Continue reading

VIDEO: Red Deerians taste what the city has to offer

Red Deerians sampled some of the finest foods Central Alberta restaurants have… Continue reading

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month