Letter from Mayor Handley to Premier Smith
28th November, 2022
Honourable Danielle Smith, Premier
Office of the Premier
307 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6
RE: Town of Nanton Support for the RCMP
Nanton’s Council once again would like to repeat its strong opposition to the creation of an Alberta police force to replace the RCMP.
While our community struggled for some years with under-resourced staffing at the Nanton RCMP detachment, the dramatic improvements to service levels since 2021, with a fully staffed detachment and capable leadership, have demonstrated that there is little wrong with the current policing model if it is appropriately resourced and staffed. As the Town has stated before to previous Ministers of Justice, the ‘hub model’ of service delivery deserves a chance to prove itself for regions of the province where recruitment is struggling on an ongoing basis. Municipalities hold a responsibility to advocate for the level of RCMP services they require, while maintaining strong relationships with local detachments.
Municipalities likely anticipate the annual ‘Police Chargeback’ remaining whether or not the RCMP is the provider of police services in rural Alberta in future, but there will likely be a much greater download of such charges to the local property tax base if Alberta must finance the creation and maintenance of a new police service without federal support. Small towns like Nanton cannot sustain such downloads.
A provincial referendum to settle the question would likely be wise if the province continues on its current stated course. The recent police transition experience and costs of the City of Surrey, B.C. show the inherent dangers of such a reform being a partisan political wedge issue at any level of government.
We continue to call upon the province to improve current rural and small town law enforcement services, as well as dedicating more attention to reforming and investing in ambulance services, social services, mental health support, the court system and supporting infrastructure.
Town of Nanton