The death of Colten Boushie on a farm northeast of Biggar, Sask. has sparked debate over security in rural Saskatchewan.
Last week, Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), said the organization would like a meeting with provincial and federal officials to discuss their needs.
“We know there are some budgetary restrictions,” he said. “But we need to ramp up the service out in those rural areas that are remote.”
Premier Brad Wall said if municipalities want more policing, they can pay for it.
“We’ve increased revenue sharing over 100 per cent,” he said. “Municipalities can work together to put more money into policing, it’s their responsibility.”
Wall said his government has increased policing in the province dramatically since taking office in 2007.
However, Orb said SARM has been actively lobbying the provincial and federal governments to provide additional policing services.
“We need to have another meeting,” he said. “I think some of the things that have happened as of late just amplifies the need to get the province and municipalities together to talk.”
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government is aware of the situation and wants to help out any way they can.
“Obviously, if there is a greater need we would be prepared to work with stakeholders to respond to the need for more police,” Goodale said.
He said he’ll be in contact with Christine Tell, the minister responsible for corrections and policing in Saskatchewan.
Goodale noted there is a problem keeping up with policing demand in Canada.
“New officers are being trained at a rapid rate,” he said. “A lot of officers are retiring, which means there is a greater demand for new RCMP members.”
– With files from Chris Vandenbreekel.