OTTAWA, ON – The nationally based Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE) — which represents over 17,000 federal public safety employees, including several thousand that work for the RCMP throughout the country — has launched a campaign in Alberta to oppose the provincial government’s potential plans to sever ties with the RCMP in favour of a proposed provincial police force.
The organization has developed a campaign website AlbertansForRCMP.ca, and has been airing radio ads in rural Alberta and major centres. They will also publish print ads in local and regional media throughout April. The goal is to raise awareness about the risks, uncertainty, and costs to Albertans to transition to a proposed provincial police force.
“Our primary concern is not just the loss of hundreds if not thousands of jobs, but the expertise and experience that the RCMP currently offers to many rural communities (and larger centres) in Alberta. We have heard loud and clear that Albertans want enhancements to policing services in the province, not the elimination of the RCMP,” said President David Neufeld.
USJE also echoes the concerns of the National Police Federation, and communities who are members of the Alberta Municipalities Association. They recently voted in opposition to the provincial government’s provincial police proposal.
“ As is the case with any police force, there is always the need to improve levels of service. I can say unequivocally that the value of the RCMP in Alberta is that we are part of a national policing service that brings significant capacity. Public safety depends on a nimble and confident police force, ” highlighted President Neufeld.
“A transition away from the RCMP will likely present real challenges when it comes to the retention of seasoned police officers. We have seen this challenge play out in other jurisdictions and it has been far from easy. Costs are not easily controlled when you are heavily competing with many other services to hire qualified police officers and support staff,” Neufeld added.
The campaign urges Albertans to join to voice their concerns about a transition to a proposed provincial police force. The website provides information one can share with their MLA or local municipal councils.
“Unfortunately, at this time, there’s simply too much uncertainty and risk to move to a provincial police force. Only one thing is certain: Albertans would lose the expertise of dedicated and experience staff who have been serving their local communities for decades.’’ added Valda Behrens, USJE Regional Vice President who lives in Alberta and supports public service employees who work for the RCMP throughout the province.
For further information, please contact
Sébastien Bezeau, Director of Policy, Projects, and Media Relations
902 240-2222, firstname.lastname@example.org