Alberta Premier Jason Kenney made a case for his plan to introduce a provincial police force while at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention over the weekend. 

According to Kenney, any added costs to policing would not be the responsibility of municipalities to bear. 

“We won’t make any changes without careful consultation with municipalities because it affects you so much, and more broadly with Albertans,” said Kenney during his keynote address.

“And if we propose any model, any incremental costs would be adopted exclusively by the province and not by municipalities.”

Advocates of the provincial model claim that the plan will help reduce slow response times in rural communities and better equip those municipalities to handle things like high rural crime rates. 

“We should at least look at the possible benefits of rural Alberta experiencing the same kind of local community policing that Edmonton and Calgary and some of the mid-sized cities in Alberta,” said Kenney.

Kenney’s speech comes at a time when the UCP government continues consultations with rural residents and community leaders on issues such as policing and the economy.

In October, Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu completed a marathon tour consulting Albertans on rural crime in over 60 town hall events. Participants included both local residents and law enforcement officers. 

“I want to thank the many Albertans who shared their concerns about rural crime. What you told us will help inform our ongoing work to ensure Albertans feel safe and protected in their homes, no matter where they live,” said Madu. 

“We know the federal government must step up by enacting laws that put a stop to the revolving door justice system that allows repeat offenders to victimize law-abiding citizens over and over again, and we echo the call of Albertans for them to act quickly on this.”

A separate consultation on the economy is ongoing and is expected to wrap up in December. 

“Supporting local businesses and attracting new investment to Alberta is key to the success of our economic recovery after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global collapse of energy prices and the worst economic downturn in almost 100 years,” said Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development Nate Horner. “All Albertans, urban and rural, should benefit from Alberta’s Recovery Plan.” 

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