Asking tough questions during tough times

MLA Ron Orr's column looks at the needs of the riding.

This past week, Alberta lost former Premier Jim Prentice.

By all accounts, he was a decent man who dedicated his life to serving Alberta and Canada. I respect his dedication and we should honour him, even if you don’t agree with his party or politics.

On Oct. 31, MLAs will be returning to the legislature.

There is no shortage of important work to do. Albertans are worried about the economy, a new carbon tax and the state of the budget. I can promise you Wildrose MLAs will continue to present constructive solutions.

I hear from folks across the constituency that what they expect from all politicians today is not attacks on individuals but getting results for the people they serve.

In the Late 1700s, Thomas Payne wrote a now famous book, The Rights of Man. In it he articulated that we need to recognize the difference between the person who is our leader and the policies of government.

That’s the type of politics we will be focused on when we take our seats in the legislature. We will ask hard and pointed questions on government policies that are bringing further uncertainty to our economy, ensuring life becomes more expensive for families and making a tough situation much worse.

You will see Wildrose focus on the issues that matter most to you, provide clear solutions and be fierce advocates for making our province once again a leader in job growth, in keeping our communities safe and in taking care of the vulnerable.

In our Lacombe-Ponoka riding the top concern is related to the justice system and rural crime.

As was recently said by a local resident who stopped in my office, “The system we have is not working.”

This is an understatement.

On the Crime Severity Index recently released, Alberta scored among the worst of all the provinces. This is not acceptable.

It’s a complex issue. It requires all three levels of government doing their part to ensure our front-line officers have the resources they need, that we have the right laws in place to keep criminals off our streets and that we are always focused on treating those who suffer because of crime with incredible compassion.

For the past several years, we have had a shortage of judges, which has meant our courts have been too clogged up, leading to delays which sometimes let criminals get off scott free. Wildrose has consistently pushed the province and Ottawa to appoint new positions here in Alberta with a much greater sense of urgency.

In Central Alberta, the courthouse does not have enough court rooms to keep up with the number of cases.

I have been speaking with municipal leaders, the local RCMP Staff Sergeants and county Sheriffs about this.

The “revolving door” that continually turns criminals back on the street is troublesome to all.

At the core of the problem, too much of our system puts the rights of criminals above the rights of victims.

While I believe offenders should be helped I do not think it is reasonable to put vulnerable and innocent citizens at risk of violence or property loss in the process.

Our system is so afraid of a small statistical risk of improper conviction that it now accepts a large statistical risk of re-victimization of the citizenry. This is not right.

If you have thought or concerns please contact my Constituency Office by e-mail Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or by telephone 403-782-7725 or fax 403-782-3307 or mail 101, 4892 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4.

 

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