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432-00534 (Public safety)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the following:

Whereas, Under Section 92 (14) of the Constitution, provinces have responsibility for law enforcement including policing. However, only three provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have provincial police forces.

Whereas, the Fair Deal Panel which consulted tens of thousands of Albertans found that many Albertans, especially rural Albertans, felt that the RCMP had become too bureaucratic and inflexible to the needs of small communities. The RCMP is often unable to adequately staff local communities. Rural crime in the prairie provinces was 36 to 42% higher than in urban areas. In 2017, the RCMP had a vacancy rate of 6.4% in Alberta, despite Alberta paying the full contract price.

Whereas, to combat this, in 2006, the Government of Alberta created the Alberta Sheriffs to help mitigate the lack of RCMP officers; however, rather than providing basic assistance as was their original function, they have formed the backbone of rural policing in most communities. In 2011, Alberta renewed its contract with the RCMP for 20 years until 2032. The contract contains a termination clause which allows either party to terminate the agreement with 24 months notice.

Whereas, an Alberta Police Service would enable local control over policing and improve employment conditions for personnel. Regional policing districts could pool resources to tackle crime depending on when and where criminals operate. This could happen without waiting for prior approval from Ottawa every time a new initiative is needed to tackle crime. This would also encourage Albertans to become police officers and to support their own local communities.

Whereas, a provincial police force would not stop the RCMP from continuing to provide Alberta with services befitting a national police service such as counter-terrorism, antimoney laundering, and organized crime units.

Whereas. Alberta had its own police service until 1932. The Fair Deal Panel recommends creating an Alberta Police Service to replace the RCMP.

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to make a public statement that should the Alberta government decide to terminate the community policing agreement with the RCMP as per the recommendation of the Fair Deal Panel there should be no penalty levied against the Province of Alberta from the Government of Canada and that the Government of Canada would support the transition towards a province-wide community police force as is Alberta's constitutional right.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Joël Lightbound, M.P

The administration of justice — including policing — falls under the constitutional responsibility of provinces.

The RCMP delivers front-line policing services pursuant to Police Service Agreements (PSA) negotiated between the Government of Canada and provinces, territories, and municipalities (contract jurisdictions). In 2012, the PSAs were renewed for a 20-year period. 

Should any contract jurisdiction — such as the Province of Alberta — elect to terminate or to not renew its PSA, the Government of Canada would fully cooperate with that jurisdiction to facilitate an efficient and orderly transition of police services from the RCMP to a new independent police service in a manner that would prioritize public and officer safety.

As our national police agency, the RCMP delivers core federal and specialized policing services across Canada to target serious and organized crime and national security, including in jurisdictions that have their own independent provincial (Quebec and Ontario) or municipal police services.

To combat rural crime, the RCMP in Alberta have implemented a comprehensive Crime Reduction Strategy, as the foundational basis for the delivery of policing services to the people of Alberta. Built on proven methodologies, and using evidence and intelligence, the Strategy focusses policing resources to proactively target the small percentage of people involved in criminal activity, as well as on community partner engagement to address the root causes of crime so the cycle of crime with the most prolific criminals can be broken.

The strategy is data-driven and built on four pillars: apprehension, offender management, targeted prevention, and suppression. The Alberta RCMP has set up four dedicated Crime Reduction Teams in rural areas. These teams are spread out across Alberta and are focussing on prominent rural crime concerns, such as cases of breaking and entering, and property theft.

As a result of this Crime Reduction Strategy, RCMP Crime Reduction Units made over 700 arrests and recovered stolen property valued at over $1 million in 2018 and 2019. This has generated a 6% reduction in reported property crime between 2018 and 2019.

Presented to the House of Commons
Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard)
February 23, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00534)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Tom Kmiec
Calgary Shepard
Conservative Caucus
Alberta

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