The number one issue currently in British Columbia is ‘crime and gangs’. However, during the Liberal Leadership Convention in Vancouver last week, not once did anyone put forward their position on addressing this critical issue.
Our government has four former police officers in our caucus that understand the need to get tough on crime and take back our streets. Our Minister of Justice, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, has listened to our caucus and Canadians. Here are some of the actions our government has taken on `cracking down on crime’.
On February 27th our Government introduced amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, originally tabled in November 2007. This legislation provides mandatory jail time for producing and selling illegal drugs, and will allow special penalties to be imposed when offences are carried out for organized crime purposes, or if they involve youth. This legislation supports the efforts under the National Anti-Drug Strategy to combat illicit drug production and distribution.
New legislation to crack down on auto theft and property theft was also introduced by the Minister of Justice. Anyone convicted of motor vehicle theft could face a 10 year prison term. For third or subsequent indictable convictions, an offender would face a mandatory minimum penalty of six months imprisonment. Approximately 146,000 vehicles are stolen in Canada each year, resulting in more than $1 billion in losses annually. This legislation is long overdue!
The Minister of Justice also introduced legislation to clearly limit the amount of credit that the courts may grant to convicted criminals for the time they served in custody prior to their sentencing. Nova Scotia’s Minister of Justice stated: “This change would stop criminals attempting to manipulate the justice system by extending their time in pre-trial custody. Ultimately, this change will ensure that an individual serves the amount of time in a correctional institution appropriate to the crime that has been committed.”
Adding to these initiatives is: a) our new Bail Act; b) minimum sentencing for crimes with guns or violent crimes, and c) identity theft and money laundering legislation.
These are all testaments to our government’s willingness to make our streets safer by putting those who threaten our safety in jail.
Colin Mayes, MP – Okanagan-Shuswap