The 'Keep Alberta RCMP' tour has been making the rounds, having come to Okotoks on Jan. 18.

The tour is headed up by the National Police Federation (NPF), a police union that intends to educate Albertans on the implications of implementing a provincial police force, particularly the downsides they foresee.

They've been well-attended, according to NPF regional director Kevin Halwa.

A few new dates have been added across the province, including some virtual events for those who weren't able to secure a spot at their in-person events.

Halwa says many in attendance have already been in the know.

"There's some that come having all the details, clearly have done some research and have all the facts. Others have attended only knowing what the government has given them so far and we've been able to give those people some more information, and they leave, often, with a different opinion than they came in with."

The NPF has heard some criticism at these events from Albertans who see the RCMP as a federal entity that takes direct orders from Ottawa.

According to Halwa, that's an unfounded concern.

"Article No. 6 of the Provincial Policing Agreement allows the provincial minister to identify the provincial policing priorities for the province. Those priorities come from the minister and those are the priorities that are then obligated by the officer in Article 7 to address. So the misnomer and confusion that Ottawa has a great deal of influence over what happens in the streets of Alberta as far as the mounties go and their daily activities is nonsense, to be quite frank."

He understands why Albertans might have that apprehension.

"I'm a lifelong Alberta, a fifth-generation Albertan and proud of it. I get that Ottawa has a lot, maybe too much influence in many portions of life, but provincial policing isn't one of them. We get a smoking deal as a province on our provincial policing bill having the feds pick up 30 percent of it. That's a good thing."

As for the future of the tour, Halwa says the schedule is fluid, with dates being added constantly.


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