Grande Prairie City Councillor and Alberta Municipalities Director Dylan Bressey says the continued consultation over the viability of transitioning the Alberta RCMP to a provincial police force continues to raise positives and potential negatives about any sweeping changes.
Released in October 2021, a report commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada studied the operational needs and transition costs of replacing the RCMP in this province. The report found that it is, “realistic, cost-effective and worth serious further consideration.” However, Bressey says questions certainly remain from the perspective of municipalities.
“We definitely do have a lot of questions, and one of those questions is a transition would mean a lot of upfront capital costs, and a loss of around $170 million a year in federal funding,” he says.
“So a big question we have is where is that money going to come from, and how do we make sure it’s not having a negative impact on our ratepayers.”
Bressey while he has reservations on certain aspects of the changes, he readily admits the study does highlight a lot of positive changes to policing in Alberta, suggesting a lot of the changes should happen. However, he remains unsure as to the need for wholesale changes to law enforcement in Alberta.
“What’s not clear is why we need to spend years, and hundreds of millions of dollars to form an Alberta Provincial Police when all of those changes are obtainable, and within the province’s control, under the current RCMP model,” he adds.
Officials with Alberta Municipalities anticipate the consultation will continue as part of its Municipal Leaders Caucus in March.