UCP unveil plans for new provincial police force, NDP say cost to Albertans is major red flag

The Alberta government is hoping to move forward in its plan to create a provincial police force, which would replace the RCMP. Taylor Braat has more on it, and its implications to Albertans.

The United Conservative Party is moving ahead in its mission to create a new police force only serving Alberta.

On Wednesday, a new website was released to offer Albertans more information about this provincial force which would replace the RCMP.

But it faces scrutiny specifically over its cost to Albertans and especially as taxpayers already have the RCMP paid for by the federal government as well as municipal forces across the province.

The NDP laid out the cost Wednesday and says it would likely mean higher property taxes.

An additional government study found $200 million dollars in lost funding from the federal government for the RCMP as well as up to $386 million in new up-front costs, according to an NDP release.

The NDP said 72 communities and organizations have co-signed a letter to the UCP to scrap all plans for this force.

Minister of Justice and Solicitor general, Tyler Shandro, says transitioning to a provincial police service would improve governance and give municipalities more say in setting their own policing priorities.

He says this model would also provide greater coverage, reduce response times, and lower case loads per officer.

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A professor in justice studies at Mount Royal University, Doug King, says on top of all of the extra cost to Albertans, even ones who won’t use it, this push to get Albertans on board comes at a time when the UCP’s leadership hangs in the balance.

“We’re almost two months away from the leadership deciding who the new premier of the province is going to be. Why would you put this out now and not wait until you had the new leadership in place and the new cabinet in place?” said King.

“It’s quite clear that a significant majority of Albertans are not interested,” said Lori Williams, professor of political sciences at Mount Royal University.

“They are interested in more effective justice systems and to that end, the government should really be looking more closely at funding defense lawyers and prosecutors more fairly and comparably with other provinces than they currently are, cause that has much to do with managing crime as putting more officers in the field,” said Williams.

Despite concerns, the UCP seems ready to move forward and the website says it’s not a question of if this force is created, but when.

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