Candidates for Premier spar over crime

Sparks are flying between two candidates running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta..

Earlier this month Gary Mar — a former cabinet minister and an ex-Alberta ambassador to Washington D.C. — announced he is disgusted because Edmonton has the highest murder rate in the country (33 so far this year) and that if he were premier he would make “Alberta’s streets safer.” Later he diplomatically condemned the Safe Communities initiative stating that the provincial government had failed to adequately implement it.

Mar was poking a stick at Alison Redford — another leadership candidate and former provincial minister of justice and attorney general for the province. She responded by denouncing Mar’s lack of factual accuracy. She accused him of politicizing the murder rate and ignoring key statistics that suggested the initiative was successful.

“It’s a simplistic approach to say that all of the work that community stakeholders volunteer groups and police have done in the past three years hasn’t worked” says Redford who chaired the Safe Communities Secretariat. “I think it’s wrong to play politics with issues that are this important.”

The Safe Communities Secretariat was formed in 2008 to carry out recommendations formed by the Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force. Since then $468 million has been directed to a variety of programs focusing on prevention enforcement and treatment.

Mar’s campaign office did not return phone calls.