Saturday , 25 September 2021

Rural crime tour could come to Lakeland, MLA Hanson “disappointed” in previous reports about Justice Minister no-show

There will be a chance for Lakeland residents to voice their concerns about rural crime to the Minister of Justice.

Last Wednesday, the provincial government announced Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer would be meeting with Albertans to discuss their concerns about the rapid increase in rural crime.

The list of tour dates did not include any municipalities in the Lakeland region, leading to Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski and Reeve Greg Sawchuk expressing their disappointment about being skipped in a Bonnyville Nouvelle story yesterday.

MLA David Hanson responded the story saying he was disappointed he didn’t get a call on the issue because “it would’ve been clarified.”

The reason a stop in the Lakeland wasn’t included was because of scheduling issues, he said, adding a guarantee the Lakeland will not be left out.

“I wasn’t quoted in the article because no one bothered to phone to get my opinion or get information on it,” Hanson said on The Alberta Legislature.

“To be clear, I was selected by Minister Schweitzer to be on the rural crime special committee and I’ve sat on that committee since day 1. A simple phone call to me could’ve clarified this quite quickly.

“The reason we aren’t included in the current schedule is that we are unsure of the date when session goes back in. We didn’t want to schedule some dates and then have to cancel because session went in early,” he said.

“Once we get a finalized date on when session is starting it may happen as early as late September or early October, but until we know for sure I can’t really say. I can guarantee you the Lakeland will not be left out of those consultations.”

The Alberta Legislature with David Hanson


Minister Schweitzer’s tour began on Sept. 5 with the nearest stops this month being in Slave Lake, Athabasca and Whitecourt.

The minister will meet with individual residents, business owners, rural crime watch groups and local officials to hear first-hand their rural crime concerns.

To ensure a broad level of understanding of concerns, the stops include both rural and urban municipalities, the province said in a press release.

“I’m a little bit disappointed that – especially with front-page news  – without doing a little bit of fact-checking or at least making a call to your local MLA who sits on the committee. It’s a little disappointing.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.