OTTAWA, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement from FCM
President Jean Perrault, Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.:
"On the eve of the first national debate, FCM is issuing a challenge to
all party leaders: Tell Canadians you're ready to back up your crime and
punishment platforms with concrete commitments to the front-line policing
and prevention programs needed for safer streets in our cities and
In an election short on defining issues, crime and safety stand apart
from the rest. Few issues matter more to voters than the security of
their families and communities. Not surprisingly, federal party leaders
have all raised this issue on the campaign trail.
While crime rates are down in communities across the country, too many
Canadians continue to experience violence and insecurity in the places
they call home. While targeted announcements have grabbed headlines, so
far the federal campaign has produced no comprehensive vision for safer
communities or a strategy for crime prevention, enforcement and
Overwhelmingly, the party platforms focus on limited measures aimed at
hot-button issues, such as street gangs or youth crime. Federal leaders
have been quick to serve up legislative solutions to combat crime, but
this only feeds a decades-long trend of more legislative talk and too
little front-line action. Meanwhile, federal policing responsibilities
continue to be offloaded to local authorities.
Canada's policing system has shifted an inordinate burden onto local
forces without a matching transfer of resources. Over the last 20 years,
municipal policing expenditures grew five per cent a year-close to the
6.5 per cent for health care costs. Today municipalities pay 57 per cent
of policing costs, yet they continue to receive just eight cents of every
tax dollar collected. Meanwhile, federal policing duties-for issues like
cyber crime, port security and border patrol-continue to be offloaded to
This week's national debates will give party leaders one more opportunity
to tell Canadians how they'll fix this broken system and implement real
and comprehensive solutions to make our cities and communities safer.
As they prepare to address the country, we are calling on all party
leaders to answer four key questions:
1. What will you do to guarantee sustained funding for front-line
policing? While welcome, the Police Officers Recruitment Fund will
expire in five years, leaving cities and communities without the money
to keep new officers on the street. Crime won't disappear in five
years-sustained federal investments are required.
2. 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?
3. What will you do to ensure that the RCMP has sufficient resources to
perform federal policing duties over the long term? When the federal
police force is incapable of carrying out federal policing duties,
local forces inevitably end up assuming additional responsibilities.
4. What will you do to stop crime before it happens? Front-line
experience shows that crime prevention programs are a cost-effective
way to reduce criminal behaviour. In addition to criminal law, local
police need the support of social, recreational and youth programs to
fight the root causes of crime.
On Friday, I will be in Edmonton with Mayor Stephen Mandel and Mayor
Lloyd Bertschi, President of the Alberta Urban Municipalities
Association, to unveil a post-debate Crime and Safety Report Card that
measures how effectively each party platform would turn campaign promises
into front-line results.
As they prepare to address Canadians this week, party leaders must be
ready to explain how their words will translate into safer streets, safer
communities, and safer cities. They must explain how their proposals will
get to the root of the problem and they must explain how their proposals
will give the men and women of our police forces the tools they need to
do their jobs."
Additional background information on crime, public safety and local
policing, is available at www.fcm.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395,