I would first like to give a huge shout out to Origin Brewery, Langdon AM, Cheadle Hall, Justice Minister Schweitzer, Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely, and my amazing staffers (Peter Tindall, Vicki Welsh, and Joyce Bazant). We had a fabulous week of town halls, meetings, and thank-you tours and it has been such a privilege to see folks attend our meetings and to get such tremendous, thoughtful advice from you on some of the legislation we are working on.
We will be having another town hall on October 3 to chat about immigration. The town hall will be held in Langdon at the Firehouse grill. Watch my Facebook page for details and we look forward to seeing you there. I would also like to clarify that there have been some very misleading claims about our consultations around police funding so let me clear up some of the inaccuracy. We made a commitment in our platform to consult with municipal leadership on the Provincial formula for funding police services.
At this time as you know, we are in need of officers throughout rural Alberta, and fixing this is a key priority. It has been made very clear to us, and not just recently, by municipalities and citizens of Alberta that the funding of police is a priority for them and they are looking to government to figure out a better model to help with distribution of costs for policing. This needs to be equitable and transparent. This is not new information as consultations happened in different formats with rural municipalities across Alberta around 2011. Rural municipalities, districts, and Metis settlements are provided policing regardless of population with no direct costs as are towns, villages, and hamlets with less than 5,000 people (Carseland, for example).
Municipalities over the 5,000 mark are responsible for providing their own policing either through establishing their own police force (think Calgary or Edmonton) or contracting with the RCMP (think Chestermere and Strathmore). Right now most Albertans pay some share of the policing costs in their taxes at the municipal level. We are one of the only provinces that subsidizes policing for rural communities at such a high level. This is why we must have meetings with rural communities to understand what a new funding model would look like, so we are just getting started by doing our consultations and public engagements.
Our first responsibility and our duty is to protect Albertans. Rural crime in some of our areas has risen dramatically especially in break and enters. We need to address this as soon as possible, and we need to review what is working and what is not. We need to invest in more police services and enhance public safety. When the model for funding is completed, after consultations, the dollars collected from municipalities will be reinvested in policing on the frontline. This is an increase to funding for policing. We are honoured to have had the opportunity to speak with constituents about this and to have received such fantastic feedback. As always we love to hear from you.