Re. Editorial by John Stewart in the Aug. 15 edition of the Red Deer Advocate:
The current debate about whether special constables in Alberta should or should not be equipped with firearms is nothing new.
If you review Alberta’s recent past history, you will (re)discover that county constables and other municipal constables in Alberta were indeed armed with sidearms, but had this equipment taken from them by the provincial government sometime in the 1980s, I believe, under the auspices of the solicitor-general at the time, the late Helen Hunley.
They have subsequently operated sans lethal weapons ever since.
The question begging answer here is this: what was the rationale for disarming the special constables? Was there an incident or incidents that caused the province to feel uneasy about having special constables armed? What was the reason?
There is more investigation to be done on this story before the current public debate on the issue can begin in earnest.
Special constables carried firearms in the past in Alberta. Today they do not. We have now witnessed the death of an experienced special constable under mysterious circumstances. Had this officer been armed or accompanied by another officer, perhaps he might still be alive today.
Albertans need more information, especially about the recent past, before any meaningful debate about arming (or re-arming) special constables can occur.