The Friday Focus is a weekly blog post from Interim Leader John Roggeveen. It covers some of the pressing political issues of the week.\
Pooh-Poohing Provincial Police Force
This week the Rural Municipalities of Alberta shot down the idea of an Alberta provincial police force. The RMA adds their voice to the growing chorus of almost universal opposition to this idea. The transition from the RCMP to a provincial police force would cost Albertans around $370 million alone. That’s on top of the $170 million Alberta would lose in annual funding from the federal government to the RCMP. It makes no economic sense.
The UCP has failed to outline any tangible benefits to Albertans to justify these high costs. Instead, this supposedly fiscally responsible government is willing to waste hundreds of millions more on anti-Ottawa stunt policies. Instead of cutting services, the UCP needs to cut back on bad ideas like this.
Law and Disorder
For years, Alberta Liberals have warned that our court system is under too much strain. We’ve proposed solutions such as new case management systems, more resources, and forming a task force to identify the next steps forward. But unfortunately, we were ignored by both the NDP and UCP governments.
Now, these issues are coming to a head as Alberta’s crown prosecutors plan to go on strike. They’re citing chronic underfunding that fundamentally undermines the administration of justice as the reason for the strike. In four years, this is the second time lawyers have threatened to strike over Alberta’s failing justice system.
Forward-thinking isn’t just a slogan. It is a necessary component of governance and leadership for any political party. The UCP and NDP ignored systemic problems, and now we’re reaching a boiling point for justice in Alberta.
Unhealthy Vital Signs
The sudden and unexpected departure of Dr. Verna Yui, Alberta's top public health official, reeks of political motivation. Dr. Yiu’s exit comes one-year earlier than the end of her contract, less than one year after receiving a contract extension and in the face of a possible 6th wave of COVID.
This move may simply be “red meat” for Jason Kenney’s base ahead of his leadership review, or it could be more troubling: a precursor to appointing someone more aligned with the UCP’s healthcare cuts and backdoor privatization goals. As always, the Alberta Liberals and I will push back against any attempts to undermine our critically important public healthcare system.