Edmonton, AB — Following is a statement from National Police Federation Regional Directors Kevin Halwa and Jeff McGowan, and Vice President Michelle Boutin, in response to a recent statement from Joseph Dow, Press Secretary for the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
“In a statement issued late last week, the office of the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta continued to double down on misleading promises and claims that a transition to a provincial police force will not result in additional costs, alongside other incorrect information related to RCMP policing in the province.
The Government of Alberta’s own Transition Study clearly shows that a provincial police service will cost Albertans more than $550 million in transition fees, including $370 million in hard transition costs and the loss of annual federal contributions of $188 million. Without a magical money tree to shake down for funds, these costs will be borne by the one taxpayer in the province – Albertans – either in the form of new fees or through the loss of other Government-funded services that are already stretched to the breaking point.
Further, the Province’s latest deployment model shows that a provincial police service would cost Albertans $759 million in operating expenses each year – an increase of $164 million from the current provincial policing costs of $595 million – and would only add 56 net new police officers. The Government so far has failed to explain that increased rural policing positions under their proposed police service would be sourced primarily from moving officers from urban centres, not through directly adding more total law enforcement personnel. This reallocation will leave these urban municipalities with less available resources to respond to crime in their communities.
Rather than play shell games with Alberta’s law enforcement, the Government of Alberta could use that same $164 million to add more than 600 Mounties – over 10 times the amount of new officers provided through the proposal for the same cost – and make a real impact on rural community’s priorities for addressing crime.
It’s also critical to note that there are no current plans for the Government of Canada to end contract policing agreements, and thus no reason for the Province to start preparing for this fictional scenario now. Ongoing reviews of policing services are welcomed to ensure all provinces and communities benefit from the best possible policing services, but reviews do not equal ending RCMP policing agreements, and often result in highlighting their effectiveness instead.
Alberta’s RCMP Members are proud to live and serve Alberta’s communities. They are proud Albertans, as well as proud Mounties. The Alberta RCMP has close ties to their communities, and this is reflected in the high levels of satisfaction amongst RCMP-served communities and support for retaining the Alberta RCMP. In July 2022, an overwhelming majority of Albertans (84%) told us they want to keep the RCMP while only 9% support a transition. Last week, we also released an updated Call to Action to the Government to abandon this proposal, which was signed by 94 municipalities and stakeholders throughout the province.
We continue to encourage the Province to abandon this unwanted proposal, listen to Albertans, and address their real concerns: fixing the justice system, investing in existing policing resources, and expanding critical social services Albertans care about most.”