In a lead up to the Alberta provincial election, Cochrane Now has asked candidates in the Airdrie-Cochrane constituency a series of five questions on topics impacting our ridings. They'll appear weekdays with the last one being posted on Monday, Apr. 15, the day prior to the election.
It's Question Four in the series and today's topic centres upon the battle against rural crime.
The order in which the candidates' answer rotate each day.
A link is provided with each response taking you back to the party’s website for more information on their platforms and policies.
Friday, Apr. 12 - Question Four
Rural crime continues to be an issue many residents in our ridings are concerned about. What actions do you believe need to be taken to deal with it?
Danielle Cameron - Alberta Independence Party
We will implement an Alberta Police National police force, saving 2.2 times the current costs.
Rural Security and the Transition to the Alberta Federation of Police.
The Alberta Independence Party recognizes the current issues facing rural ridings with respect to individual’s security and privacy, the need to protect our rural constituents and the need to create our own independent Alberta police force.
We will do all this without reducing a single service. The Alberta Federation of Police will work with the Finance Minister and Justice Minister to implement a complete take-over of all federal, provincial and municipal police forces.
Vern Raincock - Alberta Party
This is a complex issue. We need to address the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) for all municipalities and counties. At this time municipalities with fewer than 5,000 residents are fully funded by the provincial government (70 per cent) and by the Federal Government (30 per cent). Communities like Cochrane and Airdrie pay 90 per cent of policing costs and receive 10 per cent funding from the federal government.
The Airdrie Cochrane Riding is diverse and the majority of the riding is rural and served by the RCMP. Alberta RCMP has developed an action plan that will enable the force to address rural crime by adding new officer positions and civilian employees in areas that will ultimately lead to more RCMP officers on the road. I am aware that AUMA has established the Alberta Police Act Working Group. I look forward to discussing AUMA's preferred funding model and its recommendations for amendments to improve policing services and community safety.
Our officers need support from our communities. Programs including the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention, Auxiliary Constable Program, Victim Services, and Rural Crime Watch are very important in addressing issues within the riding.
We also need to ensure that the provincial courts in Cochrane and Airdrie have adequate resources. I was surprised to hear that provincial courts in Cochrane and Airdrie operate on a two day per week judicial schedule. From discussions with local leaders, this schedule is leading to unreasonable judicial delays. These bottlenecks affect the community and need to be addressed.
Steve Durrell - Alberta NDP
Rachel committed funding to fight rural crime and the results are showing. the RCMP indicate that rural property crime is down, but we need to keep supporting the RCMP so they can continue this work.
It shocks me that the UCP, led by Jason Kenney voted against the measures we now have in place. They voted against it, and yet, it's clear now that our plan works.
Matthew Morrisey - Freedom Conservative Party
The FCP will enshrine the fundamental right to defend self, property, and family in a new charter. We will also consult with the RCMP on ways to lessen response times in rural communities.
Peter Guthrie - United Conservative Party
The first duty of government is to protect public safety.
Crime is up substantially in Alberta over the past four years for many reasons but primarily because our economy has been so terrible. When you have a poor economy you have more desperation, more depression, and more crime. To deal with this issue the first thing, as mentioned previously, is to get our economy turned around and get people back to work.
But beyond that, a UCP government will spend $10 million to hire 50 new prosecutors and staff. We will also implement the United Conservative Rural Crime Strategy. The strategy makes a number of recommendations to improve rural crime fighting. This includes implementing specific policies but also reviewing those policies in real time and adjust quickly and efficiently to ensure they are the best policies for rural Alberta. It includes creating a provincially regulated police response system that would link all enforcement agencies to expedite assistance for rural citizens and facilitate inter-jurisdictional cooperation
These are just a few of the recommendations within the report. The key is it would start immediately when the UCP form government.
Advance Polls Open Until Saturday
Advance Polls remain open Saturday and operate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can vote at any advance polling station in Alberta but on election day you must vote at your assigned location.
Here in Cochrane, you can vote in advance at the office of the returning officer, 215 100 Grande Boulevard.
Elsewhere in the area, you can vote at the Bearspaw Lions Club Hall, 25240 Nagway, adjacent to Hwy. 1A in Bearspaw.
Those 18 and older who reside in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen can vote. If you are not already on the voters' list you can register at the polling station. You must bring acceptable identification. Details can be found at www.elections.ab.ca.
Candidate Question of the Day - Day Three