The Saskatchewan RCMP have been busier than usual, as their detachments have been holding meetings that are letting locals speak their mind and ask questions about issues like rural crime and response times.
These meetings were among a list of topics that both Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed when they met last week in Regina.
Both leaders discussed the issues around rural Saskatchewan and about safety, crime rates, and the need for reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Ralph Goodale, the public safety minister, said that the topic is very sensitive and important in Saskatchewan currently and both leaders were aware of that.
"The two leaders had a very good discussion about how both sides of the equation can be properly and effectively addressed," he said. "How we can ensure a better sense of safety and security, in rural areas and how we can restore the faith and confidence of Indigenous people in the integrity of the justice system."
Goodale added that both the premier and prime minister shared the view that they need to work effectively on both sides of the equation so that rural people have a greater sense of safety and security in their homes and that indigenous people can have a greater sense of confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system.
Moe said that there are very difficult conversations and discussions happening across the province.
"We should be able to have those and continue to have those all the time," he said. "We need to respect our justice system which is the very foundation of our nation, and of our province, and our communities and we do need to respect that. We do need to respect the independence of our public prosecutions but in no way should that preclude the communication of difficult discussions that we have with the government."
Moe commended the RCMP for reaching out to communities and hearing their concerns.
"To have these very discussions, so the RCMP is aware of what is on people's minds, and that people are aware and can ask their law enforcement agency of how to move forward and what they can and can't do," he said. "Some of the discussions that we are having at the provincial government level and will continue to have are a direct relation to crime and even more especially rural crime."
Goodale shared Moe's thought, thinking the meetings the RCMP held are a good first step in a solution as they have generated a high degree of interest.
"If we are going to build a greater sense of safety, and security, and trust and confidence in the process and in the system, then people need to talk to each other," he said. "If you have two different bodies of concern that don't communicate then at some point, there is going to be a collision, and it's potentially quite a damaging situation that might result. I think that the RCMP are taking the initiative in most of their detachments across the province to invite people to come together to air their concerns to hear the other side of the equation to establish a dialogue and a discussion with one another is a positive step."
Goodale adds that the meetings aren't a total solution, but they are the beginning towards a solution.