A new NDP report revealed the UCP's proposed Provincial Police Service would cost Strathmore and area more than $30 million dollars.
NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir said in Strathmore, the provincial police would cost every Strathmore resident $667 in additional property taxes. With a population of 15,189 per the most recent data, that puts our total community cost at $10,131,603. Combined with the $21,346,923 it will cost Chestermere, Strathmore and area will be paying more than $30 million if the RCMP is replaced. That's not including other nearby communities like Langdon, Gleichen, Standard, and more.
Sabir believes these are unnecessary costs, as he says the need for a new police service does not exist given that the RCMP are already serving communities, and putting more costs on Albertans during the worst inflation in four decades would only make life harder during an already difficult time.
"Albertans are struggling to keep up with the cost of living crisis which this government has created, whether that's utilities, whether that insurance costs, whether that's higher tuition, these are the costs that have been piled on to Albertans. They're struggling to send their kids to universities because this government removed the cap on the tuition fees and increased the tuition fees two-fold, three-fold in some cases."
Rather than spend this money on a new police service, Sabir believes the government should instead focus on addressing the root causes of crime, which he said were things like mental health issues, gun control to lower gun violence, creating affordable housing, and more.
"We have seen many other issues that government can focus on and address, but they have not. Any social determinants of crime, that should be the focus of the government, not this political dance."
Sabir added there has been a lot of public outcry against a new police service, including rural communities, Strathmore's Mayor Pat Fule, the RCMP, and more.
As for how they got the numbers, Sabir explained they first took the predicted cost provided by the UCP, which is anywhere between $734-754 million, excluding the transaction cost of $366 million, and then calculated the cost for individual communities by looking at factors like population size and residential property assessments. Municipalities that already have their own police service, like the Calgary Police Service for example, were excluded, as the shift to a provincial police would impact communities like Strathmore that are currently served by the RCMP.
Sabir added if the NDP are elected, they "will not move ahead with this costly boondoggle," and listen to the many groups who are against creating a new police service.
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