“News of the Management Advisory Board stating that federal policing is ’stretched thin’ and putting Canadians at risk is of great concern. The report points out the RCMP’s inability to fulfil its contractual obligations, not only on a national level, but also on a local policing level. This is unacceptable and another signal check from Public Safety Canada that it plans to move away from contract policing.

“Ottawa is making Canadians and Albertans less safe through its failure to adequately support policing services. That’s why Alberta’s government is working on several fronts to enhance the current policing model to ensure it’s meeting the needs of our communities.

“This includes introducing the Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 to help augment provincial policing. If passed, the tabled legislation will support policing efforts by enabling the creation of an independent police agency that would be able to carry out police-like functions currently performed by Alberta’s sheriffs.

“As I have said before, I do not care what the uniform is: When someone calls 911, I expect an officer to show up to that call in a timely manner. Alberta is feeling the effects of the issues identified in this report, including vacancy rates. In Alberta, our current vacancy rate of RCMP positions is 21.6 per cent. This leaves many communities across Alberta vulnerable to criminal activity, especially if they lack 24/7 RCMP coverage.

“The independent report finds the RCMP has struggled in recent years to recruit and retain regular members, a problem that's particularly acute in federal policing. This is not about the hard-working men and women on the frontline. They are doing everything they can. The reality is the RCMP do not have enough officers to police communities in Canada effectively.

“As the minister responsible for public safety, I remain committed to working with the federal government, the RCMP and local municipalities to address concerns about the future of contract policing. However, independent reports that identify the RCMP at a critical juncture and on the brink of not being able to perform their duties require the immediate attention of the federal government.

“Alberta’s government continues to call on Public Safety Canada to provide clarity on the future of contract policing in Canada and how they will address these serious shortfalls outlined by the Management Advisory Board.”