Mayor calls sup­port for cost of polic­ing cannabis a ‘pit­tance’

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - CLAIRE THEOBALD Full story at thes­tar.com/ed­mon­ton

City coun­cil­lors will have to bal­ance pro­tect­ing pub­lic safety and the pub­lic purse as they de­bate the next fouryear bud­get for Ed­mon­ton Po­lice.

“It’s the big­gest cost, it’s the hard­est one to con­trol, it’s the most po­lit­i­cally com­pli­cated be­cause lives are at stake and pub­lic safety is at stake,” said Mayor Don Ive­son, speak­ing after coun­cil ques­tioned mem­bers of the Ed­mon­ton Po­lice Ser­vice and Ed­mon­ton Po­lice Com­mis­sion at a coun­cil meet­ing Thurs­day to re­view the pro­posed polic­ing bud­get al­lo­cat­ing funds for 2019 to 2022. The four-year bud­get would see the con­tin­ued use of a fund­ing model that ties in­creases to the po­lice op­er­at­ing bud­get to pop­u­la­tion in­creases and in­fla­tion.

In­terim po­lice chief Kevin Brezin­ski praised the fund­ing model for pro­vid­ing “stable, pre­dictable fund­ing,” so they can plan for the fu­ture, how­ever un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the im­pact of cannabis leg­is­la­tion could bring ex­tra costs. Ive­son slammed the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment for pro­vid­ing an in­ad­e­quate share of fed­eral funds given to prov­inces through a larger share of fed­eral ex­cise taxes. That money, Ive­son said, was sup­posed to trickle down to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to cover ad­di­tional polic­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis, but Ive­son said the ac­tual amount paid out by the prov­ince to Ed­mon­ton is a “pit­tance.”

KEVIN TUONG FOR STARMETRO

The prov­ince has of­fered the city $1.1 mil­lion this year for ad­di­tional polic­ing costs.

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