An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHY B.C.’S MAYORS, including the mayor of Kamloops, are waxing enthusiastic about Attorney-General David Eby’s offer to study prolific offenders isn’t hard to figure out.
They simply don’t want to appear ungrateful. It was the mayors, via the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus, who complained to Eby for months about the high number of crimes being committed by a small number of repeat offenders who keep getting away with ripping off the rest of society.
So Eby finally promised to come up with “creative” solutions. Those creative solutions turned out to be a not-so-creative study by a couple of experts. They have four months to look at the problem and come up with some ideas on how to fix it.
Needless to say, it wasn’t what most people were hoping for. But the mayors, having lobbied so loudly, didn’t want to criticize Eby for his so-called creative solution. It is, at least, something.
Still, do we really need another expensive study to get something done about this problem?
The panel certainly doesn’t need to spend time gathering statistics. The mayors have already done that, pointing out the exact numbers of offenders who have been especially active, some of them committing hundreds of crimes and consistently being released back to the street to offend again.
The Opposition Liberals like to refer to the situation as “Eby’s catch-and-release program.” That’s not fair, because Eby didn’t make the justice system that’s allowing it to happen. It is, however, his responsibility to unmake it.
And, “catch and release” is a catchy way of describing the problem. It pinpoints the justice end of the equation, and that’s the immediate assignment. Not housing and complex care and rehab and other social-program solutions — all necessary but a different part of the issue.
No, we don’t need another expensive study, just an attorney-general who will roll up his sleeves. But the mayors are enabling more stalling instead.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.