To the editor,
After the backlash the last time the UCP voted against rural crime, I couldn’t believe they did it again. On Thursday, I proudly voted to support the Justice department’s budget, along with my NDP colleagues, but the UCP voted against these funds – again.
The MLAs who voted no this week include Jason Kenney, Wayne Anderson, Drew Barnes, Dave Hanson, Todd Loewen, Jason Nixon, Ron Orr, Dave Schneider, Mike Ellis, Ric McIver, Mark Smith, Rick Strankman, Glenn van Dijken, Prab Gill and Tany Yao. Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt also voted against it, while the Alberta Party supported it.
Why did they vote against the new resources necessary to fight rural crime? We know that the problem has grown, and so it needs a growing response. I’ve personally seen the effects on neighbours, and it’s not welcome in our province. I voted to support the new Alberta budget that has more resources than ever to fight crime in our communities. That includes 59 additional RCMP officers who will be working in communities across Alberta. As well, there are now 40 new civilian personnel for the RCMP who help RCMP officers so they can spend more time on the streets instead of in front a keyboard. There are new court judges and crown prosecutors, ten of which are dedicated to prosecuting crimes in rural Alberta. To clear the backlog of administration and paperwork, we’ve added 55 new court clerks. We’re also funding 13 new bail clerks so that the courts can do more bail hearings every day.
I’ve heard from Albertans across the province that we need these officers and resources now. When I voted to support the Justice budget, I knew that is what rural Albertans need.
I don’t know why the UCP keeps putting politics ahead of the practical steps we’re taking to fight crime in Alberta. They should have stood up for rural Alberta instead of voting against their own constituents. It is beyond disappointing. I will keep working to stand up for rural Albertans, like all my colleagues do.
MLA for Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater