M.D.s leery about provincial police force costs

Officially neutral, but opinionated

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

M.D.s and counties in Alberta are officially neutral on the quesiton of a provincial police force. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion.

“Municipalities should not face increased costs,” is what the Rural Municipalities Association (RMA) says. Service must be the same or better as it has been under the RCMP.

Sharing this news at the M.D. of Lesser Slave River council meeting on Feb. 24, was councillor Sandra Melzer. She had taken part in an RMA discussion on the pros and cons of replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force.
Apparently the government is forging ahead with its review, having hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to look into it and produce a report with recommendations.

“If the government decides to go ahead with it, it could be a question in the fall election,” Melzer said.

It won’t be cheap. Melzer heard at the meeting the current cost of RCMP in Alberta is covered 30 per cent by the federal government. That would be lost if the transition happens, to the tune of $112 million annually.

Councillor Robert Esau’s comment on the situation: He’s got no beef with the RCMP; it’s the courts that are the problem.

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