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 opinion editorial from Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Tyler Shandro:
“In a recent opinion editorial from Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Tyler Shandro, he attempts to make the case for creating an Alberta Provincial Police Service based on his speculation that ‘policing can be improved to meet the needs of all Albertans’. A revealing national survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights for the NPF in December 2021 shows that 82% of Albertans in RCMP-served communities are satisfied or very satisfied with the services they receive. The National Police Federation believes that Albertans deserve the highest standard and quality of policing, but that may be the only point we agree on with Minister Shandro.
According to his government’s own report from PwC, transitioning to a provincial police force would cost Albertans more than $550 million, based on initial estimates, and would provide fewer fully trained officers. Such a transition would create real risks to ongoing policing and public safety improvements, including successful crime-reduction strategies in rural and remote communities.
We know that Minister Shandro is relatively new to his ministry and to this file, so we wanted to take this opportunity to clarify some key inaccuracies. Albertans deserve more transparency and accountability and less politicking from their elected officials – especially from the province’s top lawyer – on the important issue of public safety.
Successive waves of research conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights show that Albertans want to keep the RCMP in Alberta. More specifically, in Fall 2021, an overwhelming majority of Albertans (84%) told us they want to keep the RCMP and only 9% support a transition. In addition, the members of the Rural Municipalities Association of Alberta passed a motion calling on the province to keep the RCMP and criticized the province’s proposal for a costly transition.
Since we launched our Keep Alberta RCMP campaign in January 2021, we have been speaking regularly with key groups and individuals about this proposed transition, and Albertans from across the province have sent in over 57,000 letters to their MLAs, ministers, and the Premier in support of the RCMP in Alberta. The Province, on the other hand, has not held public consultations to date.
In early 2022, we embarked on a three-month province wide Keep Alberta RCMP Engagement tour and heard from more than 1,000 Albertans—including Indigenous communities—on their views about policing. Minister Shandro did not attend, but he and Premier Kenney received a copy of that report, titled Your Police – Your Future: Listening to Albertans.
If he was listening to Albertans, the Minister would know that citizens and municipal leaders want to keep the RCMP in Alberta.
He would also know that, while some attendees expressed concerns about policing and public safety in their communities, they would prefer the Province invest hard-earned tax dollars to make immediate and longer-term improvements to policing and the criminal justice system to meet Albertans’ evolving needs in the areas of rural crime and response times, and delays and procedural issues within the provincial justice system.
We’re proud to carry that message to Government, and to represent our 3,500 Members serving Albertans across the province.”
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by focusing on increasing resources, equipment, training, and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
Fabrice de Dongo
Manager, Media Relations