Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has stated his intention to potentially transition Alberta from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to a provincial police force instead and is expected to make a final decision by this Spring.
If Premier Kenney chooses to go down this path, this could result in a major disruption to policing services in Alberta in the short term and potential job losses for over 700 members of USJE who work in public service jobs with the RCMP throughout the province.
The government’s main argument is that a provincial police force would be most efficient and cost effective. However, an independent report completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers doesn’t share the same conclusion on costing. In addition, it remains unclear if the federal government would continue providing the current $170 million in funding to the province if it severed its relationship with the RCMP.
Further, it is not at all obvious that Albertans want to sever their ties with the RCMP. A recent survey from National Police Federation, the union representing RCMP members, released a survey highlighting that 80 per cent of respondents living in areas policed by the RCMP were very or somewhat satisfied with the service they received.
The president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta has recently said that their primary concern is “not the colour of the badge” but immediately responding to the lack of EMS coverage in more remote areas of the province.
Of course, it is important to discuss improvements to policing. We encourage you to take a moment to send a letter to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to tell them that you value the role of the RCMP in Alberta and would like to see service improvements, not the abandonment of the force.
Send a letter now!