An ongoing concern in Alberta for some time, particularly since the economic crash of 2014, has been rural crime. Those who live outside urban areas are faced with little options when rural police forces are overstretched and slow to respond, and with property crimes on the rise, the United Conservative Party (UCP) has seen an opportunity to advocate for their traditional constituent base in an area the government has been too slow to respond.
But this week, a selfish need to be partisan and try to grasp power put the UCP in an odd position where they voted against helping their constituents, with the government offering tangible resources that would address their needs.
In the NDP’s Justice Budget were provisions that would have seen financial support for rural crime measures which include:
- 59 additional RCMP officers
- 20 new crown prosecutors, of which 10 dedicated to rural Alberta
- 40 new RCMP civilian personnel
- 4 new provincial court judges
- $9 million increase in the Legal Aid budget
- 55 new court clerks to help clear administrative backlog
Now, it’s hard to argue with any of these provisions being a good idea.
So, what are the motivations for the UCP? The Alberta Party, which have been outspoken about the NDP budgets were happy to support these provisions, because it was the right thing to do for rural Albertans (despite having three Calgary based MLAs.)
This case is a clear demonstration of what is wrong with the UCP under Jason Kenney.
They are so focused on power, and so against the NDP, that even when the NDP takes a line that would enrich the lives of the UCP represented constituents, they can’t bring themselves to collaborate. And that’s bad for Alberta, and for Albertans. It’s a symptom of party-based politics gone sour.
The UCP has failed in their role of providing constructive opposition. This is just another example of that. But what’s worse is that if they form government, are they going to be willing to collaborate with opposition to ensure the best legislation and policy are put forward?
In my corporate career, I’ve always held the belief that the best indicator of future performance will be past performance. And on that front, the UCP just isn’t up to the task of governing in the best interests of Albertans.