Dozens of community members from the Cardston and Blood Tribe area attended Thursday’s town hall with Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu.
Much of the discussion at the meeting was surrounding the creation of a provincial police force, which the province of Alberta is currently considering.
“The reason why we put forward a new policing model was because of complaints from rural communities that they don’t have enough police presence on the ground, we would not be here if that problem is not real,” added Madu.
Some participants voiced concern about the justice system and the lack of punishment for repeat offenders. Many said once officers have laid charges, the issues get bogged down in the courts, something Madu said is being addressed as the province looks at a new framework. He also said he is calling on the federal government to make provisions to the Criminal Code.
“I’m hearing about the lack of police presence, the lack and delay of response time, and the fact that many of these criminals and bandits have been strengthened because they know they can go to communities time and time again without consequences,” said Madu.
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Many questions were asked about the possible provincial police service including what it would look like, how it would work with Indigenous communities and their police force, and how will it be funded. Madu told the crowed the provincial option would be cheaper.
Magrath councillor Gerry Baril feels there are too many unknowns with the cost of a provincial police force and is worried it will be an increase to the taxpayer.
“We are a small community that’s taxed pretty heavily and this is like another school tax that just adds up very drastically.”
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The minister said the government’s study on the feasibility of establishing a provincial police service to replace the RCMP in Alberta will be made public as soon as it’s available.
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