Majority of Albertans opposed to provincial police force: survey

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Help for the proposed transition was highest in rural central Alberta. Approval charges for the Mounties sat at 79 per cent provincewide

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A majority of Albertans aren’t offered on the concept of changing the RCMP with a provincial police power, a current survey suggests.

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Fifty-five per cent of Albertans oppose Alberta ditching the Mounties for its personal police service, based on a Pollara survey commissioned by the Nationwide Police Federation, the union representing RCMP officers throughout the nation.

It’s the fourth time the polling agency has requested that query over the previous yr, with comparatively constant outcomes.

“(Albertans’) opinion has been roughly unchanged. They assist the Mounties in Alberta and so they need to hold them,” mentioned Kevin Halwa, the federation’s Prairie area director.

The survey discovered larger assist for shifting to a provincial power amongst individuals who stay in communities served by the RCMP, at 34 per cent in comparison with 28 per cent provincewide. Help for the proposed transition was highest in rural central Alberta. Approval charges for the Mounties sat at 79 per cent provincewide.

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Talking to Postmedia on Thursday, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro downplayed the survey outcomes.

“I don’t assume it’s stunning that a web-based ballot that’s commissioned by the union who has a monetary curiosity on this query would say to retain the established order,” Shandro mentioned.

“All Albertans, I hope, assist the RCMP, and we do as effectively. We thank the RCMP members who’re in our communities, preserving our communities protected. This isn’t an assault or criticism on them.

“This isn’t a query about RCMP or no RCMP. This can be a query of whether or not we proceed to contract out a policing that’s exempted from provincial laws . . . or whether or not we transfer ahead with modernizing our police governance on this province.”

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro in Calgary on Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Minister of Justice and Solicitor Basic Tyler Shandro in Calgary on Sunday, March 13, 2022. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Alberta’s United Conservative authorities started floating the concept of changing the RCMP with a provincial power in 2020 following a report from the Honest Deal Panel, which was tasked with learning how the province can finest assist itself inside Confederation.

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A report final yr by PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned by the province pegged estimated prices of the transition to be no less than $366 million, with the potential for a brand new provincial service to price roughly $200 million greater than what the provincial and municipal governments at the moment spend. A part of that hit would come from dropping the roughly $170 million the federal authorities contributes yearly to RCMP policing.

Final week, the province launched the futureofpolicing.ca web site, which particulars what a possible provincial police power would appear to be, claiming it might enhance service ranges, improve staffing and increase civilian oversight.

The location says there’s no timeline for a ultimate resolution on the matter, however provides that “Alberta’s authorities firmly believes that establishing an Alberta provincial police service isn’t a query of if, however when.” Halwa mentioned that line raised considerations.

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“It form of leads the reader to imagine they’ve decided,” Halwa mentioned, including he believes any selection shouldn’t be made till the UCP concludes its present management race.

FILE PHOTO: Kevin Halwa, National Police Federation (NPF) Regional Director, addresses community members at Stony Plain Inn & Suites on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.
FILE PHOTO: Kevin Halwa, Nationwide Police Federation (NPF) Regional Director, addresses neighborhood members at Stony Plain Inn & Suites on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. Rudy Howell/Postmedia Community

Shandro maintained the federal government hasn’t decided on provincial policing, and mentioned the if-not-when assertion displays an anticipated federal authorities shift away from funding contract policing in provinces.

He referenced a Public Security Canada report that acknowledges “systemic sustainability challenges” with the RCMP, and mentioned he expects the problem of funding Mounties will come to a head in 2032, on the finish of the provinces’ present 20-year take care of Ottawa.

“Even when we as a authorities mentioned we weren’t going to proceed with ending contract policing in Alberta, this dialog isn’t going away,” Shandro mentioned.

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“I believe contract policing has a shelf life . . . We’ve to ponder the truth that this can be a dialog we’re going to proceed to have on this province, even when we as a authorities finish it.”

Opposition to the proposed policing transition has additionally come from the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, which noticed members cross a decision at their spring conference saying they’d moderately see the province enhance present RCMP operations.

Innisfail Mayor Jean Barclay mentioned her council lately handed the same movement. She raised considerations in regards to the logistics of a transition, together with with hiring and coaching workers.

“However it’s additionally the scope of the RCMP and the experience they carry to the desk,” mentioned Barclay, the mayor of the city about 120 kilometres north of Calgary.

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“I believe there’s a whole lot of unanswered questions proper now. The residents of Alberta are actually very eager on preserving the RCMP, so we’ll see the place this goes, however we’re undoubtedly on board with the RCMP right here.”

Shandro careworn a policing transition wouldn’t end in any prices being downloaded to municipalities.

He mentioned he believes additional engagement may help construct public assist for a provincial police service.

“What we’ve got to do is ensure that we’re having conversations with folks the place we concentrate on what the important issues are with the (provincial police service settlement),” he mentioned.

“I might welcome alternatives to work with communities and work with police companies to have the ability to transfer ahead.”

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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