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The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General toured all regions of the province, attending more than 60 events and meetings with citizens, police services, victims services organizations and more. He heard rural Albertans’ thoughts and concerns on topics ranging from rural crime, inadequate police response time, victims services, a potential Alberta Provincial Police Service and the need for a better system to deal with repeat offenders.
“I want to thank the many Albertans who shared their concerns about rural crime. What you told us will help inform our ongoing work to ensure Albertans feel safe and protected in their homes, no matter where they live. We know the federal government must step up by enacting laws that put a stop to the revolving door justice system that allows repeat offenders to victimize law-abiding citizens over and over again, and we echo the call of Albertans for them to act quickly on this.”
During his tour, the Minister held town halls in Barrhead, Cardston, Claresholm, Grande Prairie, High Level, Millarville, Munson and Redcliff, but also spoke to Albertans in La Crete, Olds, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Taber, Vermilion and Wabasca, among other places.
Rural participants throughout the province took the opportunity to have their say on government efforts to stand up for Albertans regardless of where they call home. With the provincial police service transition study underway and the results of the Police Act engagement under review, their conversations with Minister Madu came at an important time.
Standing up for rural Albertans
The Government of Alberta has already taken action on a number of fronts as part of its commitment to reduce rural crime:
- The Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response system makes sheriffs and Fish and Wildlife officers available to respond to a wider range of calls to reduce response times in rural areas.
- The new, independent Alberta Parole Board aims to provide a fairer, faster, more responsive and responsible justice system that protects all Albertans from repeat offenders, including parolees.
- The appointment of Alberta’s first-ever chief firearms officer to ensure the appropriate enforcement of firearms legislation in a manner that respects Alberta’s traditions and law-abiding gun owners.
- The Trespass Statutes (Protecting Law-Abiding Property Owners) Amendment Act, 2019 protects property owners with strengthened deterrents to trespassing, such as five-fold increases to maximum fines and possible prison time. It also protects law-abiding property owners from civil liability for injuries to criminal trespassers.
- The Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Identification Act and regulation makes it difficult for criminals to sell stolen metal for scrap and deters targeted thefts in rural communities.
- An investment in new Crown prosecutors and support staff improves the prosecution service’s capacity to ensure rural Albertans are better protected from criminals by the justice system regardless of where crimes take place.
- The appointment of more judges to the provincial court, the commitment of two additional resident justices of the Court of Queen’s Bench for Grande Prairie and an additional two justices for Red Deer.
- The Justice Transformation Initiative is helping to modernize justice services with technology and processes in every area of Alberta so services can be delivered more efficiently and every community receives suitable services.