Letter: NDP action on rural crime lacks basic understanding of reality on the ground

Last week, Alberta’s NDP Justice Minister announced $10 million to fight rural crime. Our Official Opposition is glad to finally see some action on this file, after repeatedly raising the issue over the past two years.

The numbers are undeniable. Since 2011, crime rates in some rural communities have jumped by more than 250 per cent. Recently, Maclean’s magazine revealed that 12 of the top 50 most dangerous places in Canada are located in Alberta. Red Deer County, one of the most beautiful rural areas that I have the privilege to represent, ranks as number five on the list.

Unfortunately, the funding announced last week, while a good start, will not address all aspects of what has become a complex and emotional issue for Alberta families. The fact that the NDP thinks throwing money at the problem is an adequate response reveals a shocking lack of understanding. For example, the Minister announced funding for 39 new police officer positions. In theory, this is good news but if the Minister had bothered reaching out and talking to people on the ground in these communities, she would have learned that there simply are not enough RCMP trainees to fill current vacancies, let alone 39 more.

If the NDP wants to be taken seriously on this issue, its MLAs need to get out and actually visit rural Alberta. They need to meet with rural community leaders, victims, local crime watch volunteers, and the frontline police officers crying out for assistance.

For the past two years, this is exactly what MLAs from both United Conservative legacy parties have been doing. I have personally been to at least a dozen town hall meetings on rural crime, and it has given me a much better understanding of what we’re up against.

One common theme I’ve heard is deep frustration with our catch-and-release justice system. To begin with, far too few property crimes are fully investigated. Even when a criminal is caught, prosecuted, and convicted, all too often they are back on the street, victimizing another Alberta family, in short order. For these repeat offenders the criminal justice system is a joke. Simply hiring more prosecutors won’t solve the problem. Instead, the Justice Minister needs to get serious about working with her federal counterpart on meaningful changes to the Criminal Code.

We all know it’s time to get serious about addressing Alberta’s rising tide of rural crime.

Understanding the problem is the first step towards achieving lasting solutions. Unfortunately for the thousands of Albertans who have become victims of crime in recent years, this NDP government has yet to make an honest effort to truly understand what we’re up against.

Jason Nixon
United Conservative MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre

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10 Comments

  1. This coming from the guy who fired a woman for filing a sexual harassment complaint… Before Christmas. Kenney’s Clowns will find anything to complain about.

  2. More cops should not be the first response. EVER. How about dealing with the problems behind criminal activity like economic downturn, trauma, addictions, mental health issues, family dysfunction and so much MORE? Just my thoughts as a person who works in the system of which he speaks. Perhaps instead of badmouthing the suggestion without any real idea of what is needed to address the problem, you should make a suggestion based on some knowledge of what is behind criminal behavior and the answer is NOT a stricter code or a tough on crime outlook. It is helping people so that they find what they need elsewhere to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Prevention should ALWAYS be the focus.

  3. Well their basic understanding of policy and economics have us as the top province in growth, jobs, economic outlook… Looks to me that the ones who lacked understanding are the Conservatives like Ralph the Drunk Klein who ruined this province. The reason we’re paying for all of his ‘debt free’ bullshit all these years later. The NDP are basically governing like Peter Laugheed did. And he’s considered one 9f the best premiers we’ve ever had.

  4. Just an FYI – the growth in jobs is in Government (which we, the taxpayer, bear the burden). It’s easy to govern when you spend other people’s money. If you run the government like a business (as Ralph Klein did) you would have no debt, and more money to spend on programs. Not knowing the accurate current debt that we have I dare say that when the NDP are voted out (and they will be)we will find ourselves in a very deep hole. I, for one, am so sick of taxes and the NDP and I’m sure I’m not in the minority here. Just saying.

    • The last thing we want is a government run like a business. Governments job is to make decisions based on whats best for the public good. business makes their decisions based on how to make a profit. since the Conservatives posted 7 consecutive years of deficit budgets while oil was at $100 a barrel or better even their business acumen sucks. they shouldn’t be allow to run anything

      • Remember that if a business runs at a deficit, they go broke and the owner pays the bill. The province of Alberta is broke and we, the taxpayer, are the owners who will be paying the bill.
        So far, the NDP in three years of power have posted a record deficit already surpassing the conservatives 7 year deficit (who got voted out because they ran their government business poorly and shortly the NDP will face the same). Re $100./barrel: if the government was run like a business they would have adjusted their course to deal with the price of oil and not spend the taxpayers money like a drunken sailor.
        The worst is yet to come as we are not being told what the real deficit is. We will find that out in the next two years when a new provincial government is formed. Just saying.

  5. POSTED ON MAR 15, 2018

    UCP MLAs vote against funding rural crime-fighting RCMP officers
    For immediate release
    March 15, 2018

    EDMONTON – UCP MLAs voted against the funding that pays RCMP salaries in rural Alberta.

    The $37 million in funding includes salaries and additional supports for the RCMP officers in rural Alberta. It passed the Assembly’s Committee of Supply this morning. Every UCP MLA present voted against the funding during a voice vote.[1]

    As a federal politician, Kenney let the funding for ALERT, which targets organized crime, gang violence, fentanyl trafficking and child exploitation, lapse. The Alberta NDP restored ALERT funding in Alberta’s 2016 budget.[2]

    When they had the opportunity to fund RCMP salaries that fight rural crime, the UCP caucus voted no. Those are the wrong priorities for Albertans, especially in rural Alberta.

  6. There is more to this story. This is an NDP press release, which can be perceived as biased. But it doesn’t matter, the UCP will be elected. And as soon as that happens the truth will come out. Just saying.

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