CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) –– Amid a crime wave which has seen violent stabbings and the shooting death of a teenage girl, Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek recently walked away from the podium after being asked by an independent journalist why she voted to defund the police just two years ago.
During a press conference put on by the province of Alberta on Tuesday to announce more funding for police in response to surging crime, The Counter Signal’s Keean Bexte asked Gondek to answer why in 2021, while serving as a city councilor, she voted in favor of cutting the city’s police budget by $20 million.
“Just a handful of months ago you were fighting tooth and nail against increasing the police budget and you were actively supporting defund the police rhetoric. I’m just wondering when you realized that police forces were not optional? Did it take the random stabbings, police officers getting killed to realize it was important to fund police departments?” railed Bexte.
“How can Calgarians trust you when you flip-flop on basic issues like public safety?” added the journalist.
Instead of replying, Gondek opted to silently walk away from the podium and refused to answer.
Crime on the rise
In the last two weeks Canada has seen a wave of stabbings and murders among the general population.
Recently making headlines, a 16-year-old teen was stabbed to death in an unprovoked, random attack on a Toronto subway platform.
Since September 2022, Canada has also seen an unprecedented nine police officers killed in the line of duty.
At the news conference, Gondek said there would be increased security at the city’s transit stations, which many Calgarians have noticed have been taken over by the homeless and drug-addicted.
On hand at the press conference was Alberta premier Danielle Smith, who has been under pressure to take action over rising crime in the province, largely due to inaction by municipal governments.
Smith announced that 100 street cops would be hired through funding from the province to Alberta’s biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton. The stipulation for the funding is that the money must be used for street cops only.
Smith blamed some of the rising crime affecting Alberta cities on the federal government’s “catch and release” bail system, in which violent offenders are often released back onto the streets shortly after being apprehended.
“This starts with the federal government reforming its broken catch-and-release bail system and includes us working with cities and police services to fight back against criminals,” she said.
Crime at both Calgary and Edmonton transit centers has skyrocketed. In Edmonton, there has been a 75 percent increase in violent crime incidents at the stations, with Calgary seeing a 46 percent increase, from 2021 to 2022.
Extensive police resources were used to go after COVID violators, drag objectors
Instead of addressing the rise in violent crime, Gondek, along with Calgary City Council, recently passed a bylaw going after those who want to protest drag queen story hours targeting children.
Calgary’s new “Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw” disallows “specified protests” both inside and outside all city-owned and affiliated public buildings. Gondek put her full support behind the buffer zone bylaw.
The bylaw means pastors or concerned parents desiring to protest against pro-LGBT events at public buildings will be barred from getting within 100 meters of any such location.
Those who are found guilty of breaking the new rules, which went into effect immediately, could face fines of up to $10,000 and one year in jail.
Even prior to the passing of the bylaw, LifeSiteNews reported about Christian pastor Derek Reimer, who in March was forcibly removed from a public library for protesting a drag queen story time, and for preaching that “homosexuality is a sin.” He was later jailed and has been re-arrested on more than one occasion.
It should also be noted that in Calgary, extensive police resources were used to target those flouting the province’s harsh COVID rules during the so-called pandemic, including the consistent arresting and re-arresting of Christian pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Thus far, protests against drag queen story times at Calgary public libraries have seen a heavy police presence.