Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Alberta

Alberta Justice Minister to meet with municipal leaders about forming Alberta Provincial Police

Published

3 minute read

Submitted by Minister Tyler Shandro

Alberta Provincial Police and the RCMP

To keep our communities safe and to protect our way of life, Alberta needs police services that are well managed, properly resourced, and accountable to local communities.

The national model that we have right now does not meet these expectations. The RCMP is stretched far and wide, dealing with everything from national threats to traffic stops in small-town Alberta.

We believe policing can be improved to meet the needs of all Albertans. That’s why our government has developed a proposal to create a provincial police service.

I want to be clear: this proposal is not a criticism of the RCMP. Our frontline officers do amazing work. Our concerns are with a national policing model that is bureaucratic and unaccountable.

Over the years, Alberta, other Canadian provinces, and even the federal government have repeatedly identified problems with this national policing model. This national model does a poor job of recruiting police officers. It fails to properly staff rural detachments. It trains police officers outside of Alberta. It uses a lab system that fails to process evidence fast enough. And it excludes municipalities from collective bargaining for the RCMP while offloading increased costs onto municipalities.

The provincial model that Alberta has proposed will increase the number of frontline police officers and civilian specialists in every detachment. It will expand the use of mental health nurses. It will reduce the transfer of officers in and out of communities. And, importantly, it will increase the ability for municipal governments to have a say in local policing, and be more cost-effective.

Alberta is not the only province interested in establishing a provincial police service. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan are all looking at the same issue. This spring, an all-party committee in British Columbia unanimously recommended replacing the RCMP with a provincial police service. And last year, a federal report recommended that the federal government explore ending the use of the RCMP for local policing and help provinces interested in setting up their own police service.

If a new provincial police service is created, it would not replace municipal or First Nation police services.  In fact, Alberta’s government will actively support municipalities and First Nations that are interested in creating their own police service.

Under the proposed provincial model, no municipality will face increased costs. Municipalities would pay the same or less for a provincial police service compared to what they pay for the RCMP. This is a far better bargain than the federal model, which will require municipalities to pay a larger share of policing costs in the coming years.

We believe that policing can be improved in our province. Over the summer, I will be meeting with municipalities, stakeholders and Albertans to continue this important and long overdue conversation.

Tyler Shandro

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

Follow Author

Alberta

Alberta premier defends new rules on in-person learning, no mask mandates in schools

Published on

By Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is defending new rules ordering schools to provide in-person learning during the current wave of viral illnesses, saying a clear, measured response is crucial for students and parents.

“We need a normal school environment for our children, and we need to make sure that the classrooms stay open to be able to support our parents,” Smith said at a news conference in Medicine Hat on Friday.

“That’s why we made the decision that we did — to give that clear direction.”

Her comments came a day after she announced regulatory changes saying school boards must provide in-person learning. Schools also can’t require students to wear masks in school or be forced to take classes online.

The changes take effect immediately.

“Anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel that that is the right choice for them, but we should not be forcing parents to mask their kids, and we shouldn’t be denying education to kids who turn up without a mask,” Smith said.

She has said mask rules and toggling from online to in-person learning adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic and strained parents scrambling to make child-care arrangements when schools shut down.

That’s over, Smith said.

“We’re just not going to normalize these kind of extreme measures every single respiratory virus season,” she said.

School boards have been asking for more direction as a slew of seasonal respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, along with some COVID-19 cases, have led to high classroom absentee rates and have jammed children’s hospitals.

In Edmonton, Trisha Estabrooks, board chair for Edmonton Public Schools, said the decision provided the clarity that the board was seeking.

“All Albertans now understand that it’s not within the jurisdiction, and nor should it ever have been within the jurisdiction of individual school boards, to make decisions that belong to health officials,” said Estabrooks.

She said the province has made it clear that any future public health order would supersede the new rules.

The in-person learning change applies to grades 1-12 in all school settings, including public, separate, francophone, public charter and independent schools.

The masking change applies to those same grades and schools, but also to early childhood services.

The Opposition NDP criticized the new rules, saying it’s unrealistic to force schools to be all things to all students while also handling a wave of viral illnesses and not providing additional supports to do it.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the government needs to work with school boards to figure out how to make this work.

“You have schools that are struggling to staff the building, (they) can’t get substitute teachers, teachers are sick, they’re covering each other’s classes, principals are covering the classes,” Schilling said in an interview.

“And then to say if you go online, you are to still offer the same programming in person — we just don’t have the people to do that.”

Wing Li, communications director for public education advocacy organization, Support our Students, said it will be difficult for schools to offer hybrid learning without any additional resources.

“There are no teachers,” Li said in an interview. “Pivoting online was mostly due to staffing shortages, which is worse now three years in.”

Li said online learning is challenging for students but, when temporary and supported, can keep schools and communities safe from spreading illness.

“This is a quite aggressive use of the Education Act to enshrine an ideology,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022

Continue Reading

Alberta

Don’t have a cow: Senator’s legen-dairy speech draws metaphor from bovine caper

Published on

OTTAWA — Haven’t you herd? A dramatic tale of 20 escaped cows, nine cowboys and a drone recently unfolded in St-Sévère, Que., and it behooved a Canadian senator to milk it for all it was worth.

Prompting priceless reactions of surprise from her colleagues, Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted the story of the bovine fugitives in the Senate chamber this week — and attempted to make a moo-ving point about politics.

“Honourable senators, usually, when we do tributes here, it is to recognize the achievements of our fellow citizens,” Miville-Dechêne began in French, having chosen to wear a white blouse with black spots for the occasion.

“However, today, I want to express my amused admiration for a remarkably determined herd of cows.”

On a day when senators paid tribute to a late Alberta pastor, the crash of a luxury steamer off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918 and environmental negotiators at the recent climate talks in Egypt, senators seated near Miville-Dechêne seemed udderly taken aback by the lighter fare — but there are no reports that they had beef with what she was saying.

Miville-Dechêne’s storytelling touched on the highlights of the cows’ evasion of authorities after a summer jailbreak — from their wont to jump fences like deer to a local official’s entreaty that she would not go running after cattle in a dress and high heels.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivières, and nearly nabbed the vagabonds before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechêne, with a note of pride and perhaps a hint of fromage. 

She neglected to mention the reported costs of the twilight vandalism, which locals say has cost at least $20,000.

But Miville-Dechêne did save some of her praise for the humans in the story, congratulating the municipal general manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and commending the would-be wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do. 

“There is a political lesson in there somewhere,” said the former journalist.

Miville-Dechêne ended on what could perhaps be interpreted as a butchered metaphor about non-partisanship: “Finally, I would like to confess my unbridled admiration for these cows that have found freedom and are still out there, frolicking about. While we overcomplicate things, these cows are learning to jump fences.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Trending

X