Voters alarmed by rising crime offered few solutions, lots of blame

With violent crime escalating across Alberta, public safety is shooting up as an issue demanding the attention of candidates vying for seats in the Legislature.

But the two leading parties offer contrasting views on how to deal with it. While the UCP is advocating tough-on-crime initiatives, the opposition NDP is focusing on the UCP record, such as funding cuts that contributed to homelessness, and UCP Premier Danielle Smith’s handling of a criminal matter involving street pastor Artur Pawlowski.

Smith pledged to do “whatever it takes” to restore safety in cities and announced funding for another 100 police officers between Calgary and Edmonton. The UCP also pledged funding to create more teams that pair officers with mental-health therapists to respond to certain 911 calls.

Noting that the crime severity index in Edmonton’s downtown increased 29 per cent in the second half of 2022, and that in Calgary criminal occurrences at LRT stations increased 46 per cent between 2021 and 2022, Smith said she refuses to let the situation stand.

“When you see violence showing its face so frequently on a daily basis, when something as essential as public transit becomes a no-go zone and when entire communities live in fear, a red line has been crossed,” she said.

The UCP is also studying the establishment of an Alberta Police Service (APS) to replace the RCMP, which provides policing services to some Alberta municipalities on contract; is blaming federal bail reforms it says lead to a revolving door for violent criminals; and is criticizing the defund-the-police views of some NDP candidates.

The comments “show resentment toward law enforcement and the justice system,” said UCP candidate Rebecca Schulz.

But Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley said the UCP’s police funding increases simply restore revenue from fines used to fund policing that it previously clawed back.

“Crime and social disorder in our downtown cores have also grown due to the steep UCP cuts to affordable housing and rent supplements, which have literally pushed people out of housing and onto the streets,” Notley said.

Meanwhile, the NDP is denouncing Smith for engaging in a phone conversation with Pawlowski over charges related to last year’s Coutts border blockade. Smith is now being investigated by Alberta’s ethics commissioner over whether she interfered in the administration of justice in relation to a COVID-19 prosecution.

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This Issue deals with the following Policy Cards

Policy Cards are policy action items that voters want the candidates to support if they’re elected. Tell the candidates which policies you support by voting on the Policy Cards!


Focus on Safety

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Defund the Police

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Support for Mental Health & Addiction

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Support for Young people

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Support for the Homeless

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  1. Anonymous Voter

    May 26, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    Who is going to help those on Canada pension, AISH, disability pension benefits and be concerned about those getting older

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