Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Spending promises

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Manitoba's NDP government can be counted on to keep its spending promises, even as it breaks its revenue promises by increasing taxes. And so Premier Greg Selinger proudly announced funding for 10 new police positions with the Winnipeg Police Service Wednesday, as well as money for 10 more cadets.

Mr. Selinger had promised in the last election to provide money for a total of 50 new police personnel. If he pays to hire another 30 before the end of this term, his government will have fulfilled that spending promise with deficit dollars.

The city has roughly 1,400 police officers, one of the largest forces on a per capita basis in Canada, but Winnipeg also has a high violent crime index and a variety of serious social problems, so the high number might be warranted.

The problem is the police force is being rapidly expanded at the very time a consulting firm is conducting an analysis that could determine the city is over-policed, or poorly policed, or something that might point to a new solution for the city's crime problems.

It could also be the city needs more civilian specialists to handle evidence or analyze crime information, rather than more men and women with guns and badges.

It would have been prudent to delay new spending pending the results of the study, but promises are promises for the NDP, at least when it comes to spending.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2013 A14

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