Campaign crime promises come up short, say municipal leaders

    EDMONTON, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Municipal leaders said today the
Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Bloc and Green parties have all come up short on
crime, as they assessed the parties' positions and the leaders' debates.
    Jean Perrault, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que., Stephen Mandel, Mayor of Edmonton, and
Lloyd Bertschi, President of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
(AUMA) and Mayor of Morinville, Alta., delivered the post-mortem at a news
conference in Edmonton.
    "The major parties have all made campaign promises to deal with crime,"
said Perrault. "But it's difficult to see how these promises will make a real
difference on the streets of our cities. In our 'Safer Streets Report Card',
the best we can give all the parties is an 'incomplete.'"
    Perrault said he wrote to the party leaders before the debates to ask
four key questions on policing:

    - What will you do to provide sustained, front-line funding support to
      local police?
    - Will you commit to a national policing strategy that stops the
      offloading of federal police duties and ensures that local police have
      adequate resources to meet their responsibilities?
    - What will you do to ensure that the RCMP has sufficient resources to
      perform its federal policing duties over the long term?
    - What will you do to stop crime before it happens?

    "Last night party leaders went around the table on crime and punishment
without pausing to set down any front-line solutions. Again Canadians heard a
lot about the need for new laws, but next to nothing about supporting the
local police we'll need to enforce them," said Perrault.
    "We are almost at the end of the campaign and we have yet to hear a
comprehensive vision for safer communities," said Mandel. "Election quick
fixes and sound bites won't solve the problems of crime and public safety. We
need a national strategy and the resources to make it work."
    Figures released by FCM show that between 1986 and 2006, municipal
spending on policing grew by 29 per cent, nearly three times the growth of
federal spending on policing and nearly twice that of provincial governments.
In 2006, municipalities paid 57 per cent of Canada's $9.9 billion policing
    "Municipal governments have stepped in to cover policing needs that other
governments aren't meeting," said Bertschi. "This diverts scarce police
resources away from community policing and into areas of federal jurisdiction,
such as cybercrime, anti-drug enforcement, and even counterterrorism. We need
to straighten this out and realign roles, responsibilities and resources."
    The mayors said all federal parties must spell out a comprehensive
long-term national strategy with adequate resources if they want to be taken
seriously on crime and public safety. As a first step, they are calling on all
parties to commit to a national safer streets summit and to make permanent the
existing five-year Police Officers Recruitment Fund.
    "Laws don't enforce themselves," said Perrault. "What we need is more
resources for policing. We're looking to the federal government to back up
legislation with resources, not create new laws that municipal governments
have to enforce with overstretched police budgets."

For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, FCM Media Relations, (613)
907-6395,; Jason Darrah, Communications Business Partner, City
of Edmonton, (780) 496-4114,; Blaire McCalla,
Communications Consultant, Office of the Mayor, (780) 496-8105, Cell: (780)
405-6946,; Loreen Lennon, Sr. Director of Corporate
Services, AUMA, (780) 288-4874 mobile,

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