Gerry Rogers Question Period (11.14.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Government cut the budget for RCMP policing in the Province by $4.3 million, negatively affecting rural communities. Due to these cuts, the Town of Victoria is facing a policing crisis. Residents are complaining the RCMP are only able to respond to serious crimes against persons. Meanwhile, ATVs are running amok; there is an increase in vandalism, speeding, drug-related crimes and criminal harassment.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: What is he going to do about this public safety issue?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, policing is something that is important to all of us in Newfoundland and Labrador, and we have to ensure that our policing services, the RNC and the RCMP, are fully supported. I think we all agree with that.

The Minister of Justice and our government have clearly indicated that we are always willing to sit down with the RCMP and the RNC to look at their resource needs and we will provide human resource and operational funding, if required.

We have done that in the past. This year the new joint combined RNC–RCMP task force in Central Newfoundland has started its operations, and this builds on over $920 million in investments in policing over the last nine years and over 140 police officers. That support will continue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, in the Conception Bay North area many of the towns are lucky if they see a patrol car even once a week.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: What is he going to do to bring the policing service up to an acceptable and safe level?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, let me say clearly we have confidence in both the RNC and the RCMP in this Province. We have confidence they know what they are doing. We have confidence that they will deploy their resources to where their greatest priorities are, and that will continue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, town councils in the Conception Bay North area are talking about the lack of police servicing in their areas. Their populations are quickly growing.

What is this government going to do about the issue of lack of appropriate policing services in these towns?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, I would say that if any town has any concerns about policing, they should sit down, contact their police force, sit down with the RCMP, sit down with RNC if it is applicable, and have proper discussions. The government will certainly be there to support that. We will ensure that we have and will continue to have more resources in policing in this Province than probably most places in the country.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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