NDP pledges more officers teamed with support workers if it wins Alberta election
April 16, 2023 By The Canadian Press
Apr. 16, 2023, Calgary, Alta. – Alberta’s Opposition NDP says it will fight crime by hiring police and support workers, as well as keep the RCMP, if it wins next month’s provincial election.
Justice Critic Irfan Sabir and Municipal Affairs Critic Joe Ceci released a public safety plan on Sunday that promises an NDP government would hire 150 officers along with 150 social workers, mental health workers, addictions counsellors and community outreach workers who would work with the police in integrated teams.
They say it would cost about $40 million, and would be paid for by giving municipalities back approximately $32 million they lost when they say the current provincial government increased its take in revenues that municipalities collect from fines.
The NDP say they’re also committed to keeping the RCMP in communities.
The governing United Conservatives previously floated the idea of creating a provincial police force, but Deputy Premier Kaycee Madu said last week there’s no intention to pursue one at this point.
Grande Prairie’s city council voted last month to replace the RCMP with its own municipal police service, and Sabir and Ceci say that option would always remain for municipalities, if they choose, under the NDP.
“We need to invest in frontline policing and not changing the name of the force and repainting police cars,” Ceci said Sunday.
The writ is scheduled to be dropped on May 1 for a May 29 polling day.
The NDP also said Sunday it would invest an initial $10 million in specialized Rural Crime Reduction Units to fight rural crime, and said it would hire more probation officers and invest in post-release programs to stop repeat and prolific offenders.
Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis responded in a news release that the NDP supports defunding the police, “insulting law enforcement with hateful comments, and championing extreme leftist policies that would flood our streets with taxpayer-funded drugs.”
Ellis also noted NDP leader Rachel Notley wasn’t present for the policy announcement.
“At their core, the NDP do not believe in this issue,” Ellis said in the release.
Sabir, when asked at the news conference about UCP criticism that the NDP opposes police, noted the premier spoke with street pastor Artur Pawlowski about his criminal trial related to a COVID-19 protest in 2022 at the Coutts border crossing.
The NDP has said Premier Danielle Smith owes Albertans an explanation about why she would speak to such an extreme individual who’s facing criminal charges.
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