UCP must back down from cut-a-cop funding formula: Notley

From the sound of it, Premier Jason Kenney’s cut-a-cop approach to trimming the provincial budget isn’t going over well in rural Alberta.

“It’s a money grab,” says Brooks Councillor Bill Prentice.

“This could be a problem for rural communities,” says Sundre Councillor Charlene Preston.

“There will be a number of counties that feel this is a pretty big cost to take on,” says Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk.

Right now, the United Conservatives are looking for ways to accommodate their $4.5 billion dollar tax giveaway to corporations ahead of a bad news budget. Their latest bright idea? Make people living in rural communities pay for policing. What’s more, while you could be stuck with a huge hike in your property taxes, you won’t see any additional services, or more boots on the ground.

This comes from documents presented by the Alberta Government and presented to municipalities last week. These documents show officials are proposing to offload up to 70 per cent of policing costs onto these municipalities, and also provided estimates outlining how these changes could cost rural Albertans up to $406 per year in tax increases.

These are estimates coming from the Justice Ministry and the Minister responsible hasn’t denied or refuted these facts. Instead, he has chosen to engage in name calling in an attempt to distract from the real concerns of rural Albertans and municipal leaders.

This is a complete 180-degree turn from what the UCP promised during the provincial campaign. When they campaigned on standing up for rural communities and fighting rural crime, they forgot to tell us that rural folks would have to pay for it themselves.

Plain and simple, Jason Kenney and the UCP are breaking a promise. To them, fighting to reduce crime is just a talking point. A play for votes. Nothing made that more clear than the hypocrisy of voting against the Rural Crime Strategy our NDP government introduced 2018 The $10-million investment in the safety of rural Alberta resulted in property crimes falling by nine per cent, 648 fewer motor vehicle thefts and 366 fewer break ins. In fact the RCMP directly attributed the reduction in crime to the initiatives enacted under our Government.

With smaller municipalities left to figure out how to pick up the tab, there aren’t many options. Albertans will pay higher taxes, receive less in services or possibly lose an officer in their community.

It’s a pretty lousy deal for local leaders, law enforcement and the Albertans who choose to settle in small communities and raise their families. They deserve to be safe in their homes and their communities. They deserve a government that is serious about working with municipalities in partnerships to tackle the problem of rural crime.

While he is on his tour of rural Alberta, Minister Schweitzer has two options. He can either drop his plan to slash police funding by 70 per cent or he can start being honest about his plans with Albertans.

Rachel Notley is Alberta’s opposition leader.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Three patients dead: Edmonton hospital declares full COVID-19 outbreak

EDMONTON — A hospital in Edmonton is no longer admitting patients due… Continue reading

CMHC reports annual pace of housing starts in Canada increased in June

OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of… Continue reading

Trump forgoes insults of past, calls Mexico cherished friend

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who has denigrated Mexican migrants and threatened… Continue reading

Federal website advertising hundreds of non-existent student-volunteer positions

OTTAWA — The federal website advertising volunteer positions for students hoping to… Continue reading

Westerner Park gets up to $2 million from city

By then, city officials hopes more revenue-generating events will be allowed to run

Opinion: Restart our economic engine by supporting oil and gas

“The country isn’t going to recover unless the oil and gas sector… Continue reading

Opinion: COVID costs need restraining

Bill Morneau muttered it best himself on Wednesday as he tabled documents… Continue reading

UPDATE: Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit investigating suspicious death in Leduc

Death of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19, ruled a homicide; RCMP seek video of house party altercation.

Fateful meeting has Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald on Korn Ferry Tour

Stuart Macdonald wasn’t quite sure what Golf Canada’s Derek Ingram wanted to… Continue reading

Oprah, Lionsgate to help adapt The 1619 Project for film, TV

Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate are partnering with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones… Continue reading

Sheriff: ‘Glee’ actor Naya Rivera missing in California lake

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California lake will be closed while they… Continue reading

Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study

Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study

Most Read