Alberta's NDP government didn't make themselves a lot of friends in rural Alberta this week when they refused to hold an emergency debate on what is seen as an epidemic of crime outside of the major urban centres.
"The (Legislature) gallery was overflowing with these people and the NDP government didn't endorse the request for the emergency debate," reported Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman. " Therefore, the Speaker as well didn't endorse the need."
The request from a United Conservative Party MLA followed a rash of crimes all across rural Alberta where criminals are coming out from the city to ply their trade in a less supervised area.
"There's a gentleman at Alix, just outside the western boundary of Drumheller-Stettler, had a home invasion where the people were going after him with a machete: he lost some toes and an ear," recounted Strankman. "The poor people over at Innisfail, Spruceview and places like that, where they have multiple attacks on their farmyards; it's like they're out there shopping."
RCMP in Beisker, Acme and Linden have also reported an increase in crime, and the Carbon Grocery has been hit so often that residents were fundraising or a protective roll down shutter.
The Alberta Government claims it's doing all it can to fight rural crime: Strankman thinks they could do more.
"In Saskatchewan for example, they've used the Fish and Wildlife officers, I forget exactly what they're called over there, and allowed those guys to arrest and detain people. There's 140 guys right there and there could be lots of them in Alberta."
He's encouraging anyone upset with the government's response to rural crime to contact the Solicitor-General's office at 780-638-9556.