Province Considering Fair Deal Panel Recommendations on Equalization Referendum, Alberta Police Service

The provincial government will potentially hold a referendum on equalization next year.

This was one of 25 recommendations from Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel which were made public on Wednesday.

They traveled across the province in December and January and held an online survey where they gathered feedback from 40,000 Albertans.

MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Tany Yao, who was part of the panel, tells Mix News this was the biggest issue they heard across the province.

“We contribute more to our confederation and we receive less back from the federal government and that money gets distributed to all the other provinces and when we need support we haven’t received our fair share.”

Another recommendation encourages the province to press hard for the removal of the current constraints on the Fiscal Stabilization Program, which they note prevents Albertans from receiving a $2.4 billion equalization rebate.

The Fair Deal Panel also proposes to replace the RCMP with an Alberta Police Service.

The Department of Justice and Solicitor General is planning to look into the costs, benefits, and structure of a provincial police service. They are expected to share the information they gathered in 2021.

Yao says this was an issue many in rural communities wanted to see dealt with.

“This wasn’t an issue in Edmonton or Calgary which have their own police forces and reflective of the current environment, it is a very real issue and a very real thought that could happen.

Curtis Zablocki, Commanding Officer of the Alberta RCMP, has released a statement in response.

“The safety and security of citizens has always been the number one priority of the Alberta RCMP, and it will continue to be as long as we have the privilege of being Alberta’s Provincial Police Service. We will continue to modernize policing services and processes in the province, and we know the needs and concerns of Albertans play a large role in shaping how those services and processes will evolve.”

An additional recommendation focuses on creating an Alberta Pension Plan and withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan. Included is holding a referendum to determine whether the majority of Albertans support this move.

The Treasury Board is also planning on developing a detailed plan of the costs, benefits, and structure of a potential provincial Pension Plan. Results would also be released next year.

You can get more information about the Fair Deal Panel’s recommendations by visiting the GoA’s website.

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