While some of the Smith government’s plans and proposals outlined in the 2023 Throne Speech have, not surprisingly, met with mixed reviews, including in the areas of education and health, the call for increased public safety measures is good news for the community-at-large.
With many challenges facing Alberta these days, the task of leading the province forward will be anything but easy or clear-cut.
Hopefully, residents in communities large and small, urban and rural, will see concrete results come out of the newly announced plans in the coming weeks and months.
When it comes specifically to public safety, many Albertans want to see more done to address the troubling rise of illicit drug-driven crime.
As the Throne Speech contends “Life in Alberta must be safe” and that can only be accomplished by vigorous and comprehensive provincial government action, in cooperation with its stakeholder partners.
“Albertans are done with allowing further deterioration of public safety on our streets,” the speech reads. “They are done with open-air drug use and unsafe tent cities and criminals being repeatedly released on bail to re-offend.
“Albertans are tired of the excuses and tolerance for criminal behaviour by those who seem to think that what we see on our streets is acceptable in any way.”
As far as concrete plans, the government says it will be “providing additional funding to support the hiring of hundreds of new police officers and introduce multiple justice system reforms to do all that is possible as a province to arrest and put criminals behind bars.”
The government also plans to introduce legislation to create a “compassionate intervention program” for individuals who have “lost the capacity to make life-saving decisions and are a danger to themselves or others.”
Whether that new intervention program will lead to positive, long-term success remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, the commitment to provide additional support to the police and the justice system is welcome and needed – and for that the Smith government should be applauded.
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.