While the City of Grande Prairie continues compiling a report on what a change to a potential provincial police force would look like, members of ABMunis overwhelmingly voted against any transition away from the RCMP as it’s currently modeled.
“They did give a pretty clear vote,” says ABMunis Director of Cities Over 500,000 and Grande Prairie City Councillor Dylan Bressey.
“Our membership was very clear that they’re open to conversations about an Alberta Provincial Police force, but the model that is currently being presented has too many big questions that they can’t support it as it’s written right now,” he adds.
A report commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada in October 2021 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, including what he believes would mean the loss of around $170 million in federal funding currently received for the RCMP in Alberta.
Bressey says while municipalities have been informed of what’s going on, there has been no real consultation between the two levels of government. He adds as the order of government that is responsible for safe communities, municipalities need to be involved in the conversation, and not just at a cursory level.
“There are no answers on how we are going to make up on the lack of federal funding, about what local civilian oversight looks like, no answers about a complaints process,” he says.
“I’m not at all surprised at all to see our members say no, this doesn’t work the way it’s being proposed right now.”
ABmuni members have also suggested that on top of political consultation if a change is made, there should be a referendum that involves all Albertans and has a crystal clear question to answer.