‘Our own Prime Minister, our supposed national leader, is attacking our world-renowned national police force for what I see only as political gain’: Alix councillor

The Village of Alix council voiced their support of the RCMP amid tough times for police forces across North America and the world.

At their regular council meeting June 17, Alix village council read a letter drafted by Coun. Ed Cole – a retired RCMP officer – who wanted to give a vote of confidence to the Bashaw RCMP detachment and the RCMP in general.

Village of Alix Coun. Ed Cole – a retired RCMP officer – wanted to give a vote of confidence to the Bashaw RCMP detachment and the RCMP in general. (Contributed photo)

Police across North America have been heavily criticized over the past few weeks after several recent high-profile deaths, including African-American man Floyd George, who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota as police were arresting him.

There’s also been a “Defund the police” movement that seeks to reroute government police funding to various social justice programs.

Cole said he would like council to pass a resolution worded as his letter was, and he would like a recorded vote.

The Village of Alix gave the RCMP a vote of support at their most recent council meeting. ECA Review/Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cole’s letter said, “In Canada, presently, the RCMP and other police services are coming under attack and there are calls for defunding.

“Our own Prime Minister, our supposed national leader, is attacking our world-renowned national police force for what I see only as political gain.

“The RCMP is quickly becoming the unwanted, being underpaid, who will go unappreciated, doing the unimaginable, for the ungrateful.

“No political leaders, especially on the national stage, are offering any support for the RCMP, or any other police service for that matter, and are calling for defunding police services.

“As the majority of police budgets are for salaries, defunding would simply reduce police officers on the streets.

“It is now an urgent time for politicians to make a stand.

“I, therefore, call for your support for the following resolution: That the Village of Alix council fully supports our local RCMP detachment at Bashaw, and we have no intention of defunding them.”

Cole stated he knows police funding isn’t necessarily controlled by local councils, but feels a symbolic gesture is important.

“I realize that our village does not have the power to defund, but I offer this as symbolic support,” he stated in his letter.

“I hope you will support me in this resolution. I would request a recorded vote, and if passed, correspondence of this motion be sent to the detachment commander at Bashaw and that the resolution form a general release to the media.”

Coun. Vicki Soltermann said the village doesn’t have jurisdiction over defunding and suggested the motion actually note this is purely a symbolic gesture.

Village Chief Administrative Officer Michelle White said council can’t pass a resolution or bylaw outside municipal authority because it would be automatically invalid.

Cole agreed to change the wording of his resolution to read “The village council fully supports the RCMP… and the village does not agree with police defunding.”

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review

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