Ms McPherson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can’t imagine how frightening it must feel to be a mom at home with preschoolers, alone without neighbours around for miles, and have someone drive into your yard, look in your shed and your barn, and watch them take your equipment and drive away. I listened to a woman describe this experience last night, and I wondered why the government has not delivered a plan to deal with the realities of rural crime. To the Minister of Justice: how many of the seven stages of the rural crime reduction strategy announced in March have been executed?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

Ms Ganley: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It’s precisely because we have been out there listening to stories exactly like the one the member described that we’ve taken action to ensure that Albertans can feel safe in their homes. Many of those employees are already in place. Obviously, the RCMP has direct jurisdiction over deployment. When it comes to this strategy, we’re already starting to see the effects of those rural crime reduction units, and that will have the effect of making Albertans feel safe in their homes.

Ms McPherson: I also heard reports of farmers going to great lengths to prevent their property from being stolen, triple-locking tools in Sea-Cans and installing gates in places they never needed to fence off before, and it’s clear that a determined thief with an angle grinder can get through pretty much anything. Farmers are often told that their security camera footage cannot be used in court, so cameras aren’t deterring thieves either. To the same minister: when will you expand education to address crimes in progress rather than just prevention? How are you improving prosecutors’ understanding of the impacts and constraints rural Albertans are facing?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms Ganley: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I’ve said many times, the impacts of Alberta’s geography on policing mean that sometimes RCMP have to travel longer distances. We can’t change Alberta’s geography, but what we can do is work with our RCMP partners to ensure that we’re putting in place effective strategies to deal with these issues. That’s why we’ve rolled out a crime prevention strategy that focuses on proactive policing, targeting those offenders that offend over and over again to ensure that we can get them behind bars where they belong.

Ms McPherson: Another woman I spoke to described how a recently approved cannabis production facility near Fort Saskatchewan, which hasn’t been built yet, meant that her family had to install gates to prevent people from crossing their property to get to the cannabis facility site and how farmers adjacent to the Cremona cannabis plant are dealing with employees from that facility trespassing on their land to smoke pot during their breaks. To the Minister of Justice: have you worked with rural municipalities, property owners, and cannabis producers to plan and ensure that new facilities do not generate or attract crime?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms Ganley: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker and to the member for the question. Again, as we move forward in ensuring that we’re addressing not only current crime but potentially future trends, I think it’s important to continue to invest in those proactive policing strategies, and our police partners absolutely agree with us. When it comes specifically to the location of facilities in terms of production of cannabis, that’s in the jurisdiction of the federal government and municipal governments. Our government has been working to ensure that we’re providing support to municipalities so that they understand their roles and what their powers are, and we will continue to do that going forward.

 


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