Posted on Jun 29, 2021
NEW DOCUMENTS REVEAL TENS OF MILLIONS IN UCP CUTS TO LOCAL POLICE BUDGETS
CALGARY - The UCP’s clawback of police fine revenue will lead to tens of millions of dollars being cut from local police budgets, according to the government’s own analysis.
In documents provided through written responses following questioning by the NDP Official Opposition at the April 6 Public Accounts Committee meeting, $31.8 million will be cut each year from police funding, across 61 municipalities.
“Albertans must be able to feel safe in their communities, which is increasingly not the case for many both in rural communities and our cities. But as crime continues to increase, the UCP are cutting tens of millions of dollars from police budgets to fill the holes in their own budget after giving away billions to profitable corporations,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
In the 2019 budget, the UCP increased the government share of municipal fine revenue from 27 per cent to 40 per cent, despite crime severity rising by 4.82 per cent that year.
Both current Justice Minister Kaycee Madu and former Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer have repeatedly claimed that no cuts were made to police funding. At the time, Schweitzer said Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi was “out to lunch” for being critical of the changes.
But according to the analysis conducted by the UCP government, the changes would lead to a $10.5-million cut to Calgary police funding based on 2018-19 fine revenue. Meanwhile, Edmonton will face an $11.1-million cut.
Based on the average police officer’s salary, the total $31.8 million cut amounts to 297 fewer officers across the province.
This cash grab comes on top of new costs for policing imposed on small communities by the UCP.
“The Town of Gibbons is now paying $65,000 for policing that we never had to pay before,” said Coun. Lorraine Berry. “The town was forced to increase taxes just to make up the additional cost. Simply put, the people of Gibbons are paying more, just to hold onto the same level of service.”
“Alberta municipalities need more supports, not less, as they deal with crime and increasing racialized attacks and violence,” said NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir. “The UCP promised more boots on the ground. Instead, they’ve made massive cuts to police budgets, downloaded new costs onto municipalities, and then tried to mislead Albertans about it. Now we can see exactly how much they’re cutting from police that could pull hundreds of police off the streets and risk public safety.”