The RCMP wants to remain in Alberta.
Mounties are embarking on a Community Engagement Tour throughout January as part of their KeepAlbertaRCMP campaign. The Alberta government is considering dropping the RCMP and will decide whether it will introduce a provincial police force in its place in the spring.
“Our main goal with this engagement tour is to provide some clear and fact-based information to the people of Alberta; the taxpayers that would be footing the bill,” said Kevin Halwa, prairie/north regional director of the National Police Federation (NPF), a union which represents members of the RCMP.
A November survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the NPF found that 80 percent of Albertans in RCMP-served communities are satisfied with RCMP policing. The survey also found ongoing, steady support for the RCMP.
In addition, Halwa says the cost of transitioning to a provincial police force is something Albertans should consider. Moving to a provincial force would mean foregoing a 30 percent funding subsidy from the federal government and an estimated $161-million bill in transition costs. However, Halwa noted the costs could be much higher.
“The City of Surrey is a great example because they’re going through a transition. In that case, the transition costs were originally estimated at $19-million. They are now at around $80-million,” he continued.
Last Thursday (Jan.6), the NPF kicked off the Community Engagement Tour in Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park, which Halwa said “went fantastically.” Both sessions filled up quickly with lots of engagement from residents.
Halwa said the most frequent question they’ve received is people wondering why the province is even considering the transition in the first place.
Since the beginning of the KeepAlbertaRCMP campaign, Albertans have sent more than 45,000 letters to the government opposing the transition. Anyone interested in sending a letter, or would like to attend a meeting, can find more information here.