One of the UCP’s campaign promises before forming government was to implement a 16-point plan to crack down on rural crime and on Thursday, Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer will begin a nearly four-week stretch of consultations with Albertans on the issue.
“This government is committed to helping keep Albertans safe, secure and protected, wherever they call home,” Schewitzer said in a news release issued Wednesday. “This includes spending time outside the province’s big cities to hear directly from people about their experiences with rural crime and their insights into it.
“That is why I’m hitting the road to meet with Albertans to ensure we have a faster, fairer and more responsive justice system to meet their concerns.”
In July 2018, Statistics Canada released data showing the rural crime rate continues to increase in the Prairie provinces. Alberta saw a 38 per cent higher rural crime rate when compared to urban crime rates.
Watch below (From November 2018): Conservative MP John Barlow is saying not enough is being done to protect rural residents in Alberta, citing a study from the Rural Crime Task Force. Michael King reports.
Schweitzer said over the month of September, he’s hoping to meet with rural residents, business owners, rural crime watch groups and local officials in rural municipalities to hear what their concerns are.
“We recognize the unique vulnerability of Albertans in rural areas,” Schweitzer said. “We want to work with them to ensure our justice system reflects the realities of rural Alberta and has the tools and resources necessary to ensure rural Albertans feel their justice system protects them, their loved ones and their property.”
As part of the consultations, Schweitzer will also visit some larger cities in the province.
Schweitzer’s first stops will be in Bragg Creek and Springbank on Thursday.
Click here for a full list of the minister’s planned visits for talking about rural crime.
Watch below (From November 2018): Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley joined RCMP members Tuesday for a tour of a new data-entry office at RCMP headquarters in Calgary. As Sarah Offin reports, the new system is allowing officers to spend more time in the community, rather than behind a desk.