Our future is under attack, thanks to the cancellation of the police college in Fort Macleod. And the only one to see it is the Mayor of Fort Macleod.The Alberta Liberals were the first to lambast the PCs. Oddly enough, it was in defense of another party, the Wildrose. At first I thought how nice it was that the Liberal party could show respect for another party regardless of how wildly different their ideologies were. Then I realized that the Liberals missed the point.
The Wildrose are having a difficult time sticking to their tune, asking the PCs to cut excess spending, and in the same breath crying foul when they do. Even so, they are still missing the point.
The PCs are missing the point most by cancelling the building of the police college. They did it saying we had no need right now, and so rather than spend more, save the budget by cutting it. While the police chiefs of the area might say there is no need right now, they aren't looking at the big picture the province's future, which is what we need to expect the PCs to do on our behalf.
This police college could become an incredible export for our province. Law enforcement agencies from across the western provinces, or even further, should be looking to Alberta for models of great enforcement. This college would be the key to making that happen. With the creation of this college, suddenly we have diversified our market even further, easily making up for the $122 million the PCs hope to save right now.
Imagine officers of the Lethbridge police, the RCMP, the Vancouver police, and the Toronto police getting upgrades on their training in Fort Macleod. They bring business to Alberta with them. The standardized curriculum Jonathan Denis is hoping for would be so easily implemented at a centralized location. Peace officers such as the late Rod Lazenby could get the professional development they need right in our own back yard. American police officers could learn how to diffuse situations without the use of firearms.
Less reliance on oil and gas revenue means more stability in the budget. Therefore, diversifying into the field of law enforcement couldn't possibly be a bad idea.
The mayor of Fort Macleod knows this. It's why his community has injected over $4 million into the project, over twice what the Alberta government has put in so far. $4 million which the Alberta government now expects Fort Macleod to eat. This is no drop in the bucket for the town. It staked its entire future on it. Now the PC government is killing this future.
Sure, police chiefs said it's not a police-driven initiative, and seem to have supported the government's decision. I would too, if all I was concerned about was my own jurisdiction. But it's the government's responsibility to consider more.
We should demand this project be plugged back in. It's for our future's safety and economic health. Forget the optics of the PCs maligning the Livingstone-Macleod constituency twice in 1 month. Forget the optics of the PCs cutting less than a third of a percentage of the budget to make up for lost unstable revenues. Forget the optics of police chiefs supporting the Alberta government when their primary focus is their own jurisdictions.
Instead, look at what the Fort Macleod mayor saw up until a few hours ago; a future with promise.