Councillor candidate Ted Johnson wishes to make Red Deer a safe place to live, tackling the issue of crime in the City.
Two summers ago, he was assaulted in downtown Red Deer a little after 7 p.m.
“A police man was not dispatched until after 9 p.m. so it was at that time I realized that crime was not a priority in this City,” said Johnson.
He made reference to a Maclean’s magazine article, which stated that Red Deer was among Canada’s most dangerous cities.
“This did not occur in a vacuum. It’s been a work in progress. The rate of increase in crime in Red Deer has gone up year after year after year, and it wasn’t until the article appeared that it seemed to provide some sort of embarrassment for the City council, so they then did some tweaking.”
He said a partial response was the motion put forward at City council which was a hybrid municipal police force with the RCMP, which he believed failed.
Johnson said if he were voted in he would aim for a new system with a municipal police force.
“If you look at Canada, the 10 safest cities, each one of them has its own municipal police force, not a contract service, their own. There’s a big difference between having your own or contracting the job out.”
He said he doesn’t believe fighting crime or crime reduction is part of the current council’s policies, as he said they’re more intent on social issues like affordable housing.
“Since when is affordable housing a municipal issue that can be dealt with at a municipal level? It isn’t,” said Johnson.
He also weighed in on a drug safe injection site.
“Red Deer has had for years a methadone clinic, and at the time that was going to be the be all and end all regarding Red Deer’s drug problem.
“Well, that didn’t happen did it? As far as a safe injection site, since when is giving an addict their addictions or making it permissible solving the problem? You don’t give a smoker cigarettes to cure their smoking habit.”
He said one of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the municipality is to provide policing service.
“If you cannot provide safety of people and security of their property you fail, and Red Deer is now known across Canada as an unsafe city, so my vision is to make Red Deer a safe city, and to do that we need a new direction,” he said.
Although Johnson doesn’t have a background in politics, he has been in Red Deer and Central Alberta for roughly 25 years.
He used to farm in the Rimbey area and was a co-owner for years of a pharmacy in Bentley, so his background is mainly in business and retail.
He said people should vote for him because of his direction and accomplishments.
“When I was in business I partnered with a pharmacist and we built a new facility from the ground up, and at the time we built it which was in a downturn in the economy, we rejuvenated the business district of Bentley because prior to that there had been nothing built for years,” he said.
People will be heading to the polls Oct. 16th to cast their votes.