New UCP legislation may see rural Albertans pay hundreds for police
EDMONTON -- The provincial government is contemplating making rural Albertans pay for policing costs—legislation that could increase their taxes as much as $400.
In a news release, Lac Ste. Anne County said the UCP, led by Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer, introduced its possible plan to offload policing costs onto municipalities on Sept. 6.
Under this model, communities would pay between 15 to 70 per cent in policing costs, Lac Ste. Anne said.
"If implemented, the proposed model would place a considerable financial burden on resource-strapped municipalities," the release read.
The county is also concerned about whether it would receive more police resources and the government's "noncommittal" and "ever-shifting" position when it asks for more information.
"What we have heard from municipal leaders from all over the province is that they have not heard anything," Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said in Question Period Wednesday.
Moments later, Premier Jason Kenney said, "On the question of rural crime, the government will be investing more, not less, in rural crime to fight the wave of property crime under NDP management."
When Notley pressed Kenney on why the UCP is planning to offload taxes onto rural Albertans, the premier did not answer.
On Sept. 20, the province told municipalities that consultations were ongoing and no decisions had been made, Lac Ste. Anne County said.
Two weeks later, in a webinar with municipal leaders, Schweitzer gave "no new or substantive information."
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, Schweitzer said, "Any new funds that may be collected under a new model would be reinvested directly in additional frontline policing, leading to an overall increase in funding for police services in Alberta," and that "no costs would be 'downloaded.'"
The UCP is supposed to decide by Oct. 15, Lac Ste. Anne County said.