IN THE LEDGE – ‘When will the premier put an end to his soft on crime policies?’
Excerpt from debate in the B.C. Legislature on Thursday, April 27, 2023.
T. Stone: With all the words, all the rhetoric, all the bluster in the world from the Public Safety Minister, it doesn’t take away the fact that we have terrible results by every single measure in British Columbia. Let’s just take it back to results. We have more overdose deaths than ever before in the province’s history. We have more people on the streets, homeless, than ever before in the province’s history. We have more violent random attacks taking place in communities right across this province than ever before. We have 40 percent fewer people in jail, today, under this government than when they came to office. We have more vandalism and crime and social disorder taking place all over British Columbia. The reality is there is a huge disconnect between what…
Deputy Speaker: Members, Members.
T. Stone: …the minister and the government says is happening and what is actually being experienced by British Columbians. People have had enough. They’ve had enough with the soft on crime Premier’s catch-and-release policies. They’ve had enough of the Premier’s deliberate policy to warehouse people without support. British Columbians have had enough of the Premier careening British Columbia down the path of decriminalization without the guardrails that were promised. British Columbians have had enough.
Just yesterday, Victoria residents at the local Quadra Heights playground were accosted by two people who proceeded to dig out a crossbow that they had stashed under the merry-go-round at the playground. “We thought that they were looking for lost drugs but no, they pulled out a crossbow. I couldn’t believe it. I’m still shaken up by it. I went to work and I still couldn’t calm down, so I came home.”
This happened at a children’s playground. Parents and families expect this government to do way better than what is the current reality. My question to the Premier is this, how many more British Columbians need to be put at risk of violence, literally endangered in their neighbourhoods, in parks, in playgrounds and stores and transit buses? How many more have to face that reality before this soft on crime Premier puts an end to his failed policies, does his job and gets serious about prioritizing public safety?
Hon. M. Farnworth: I appreciate the question from the member. Everyone deserves to be safe and no one should have to deal with the situation that the member outlined. I can tell the honorable member that the two individuals, that dug up that weapon, were, in fact, arrested by the police. I hope that they are charged.
I’ve also outlined the actions that this government is taking by working with police, working with communities, working with the federal government. I want to remind that member, because he was a cabinet minister at one time, that the Criminal Code is not a policy. The Criminal Code of Canada is federal law. Rulings are made by the Supreme Court of Canada. That’s not a policy, that’s a fact. What I can tell you is that we’ve needed changes to that Criminal Code, and it is this side of the House that has pushed to get those changes and a commitment from the federal government to change it, so that those kinds of individuals can be held.
Deputy Speaker: Members. Members, we will have order in this chamber.
Hon. M. Farnworth: When it comes to the social side and looking at the impacts and recognizing that you make investments early on, what did that member and his colleagues think when they sat on this side of the House and cut $187½ million from child and family protection or $34½ million from youth justice, youth services and youth and child mental health? Those were cuts that had consequences down the road.
Deputy Speaker: Members.
Hon. M. Farnworth: This government is investing in mental health services, investing in health, in housing, and in criminal justice reform to ensure that we are able to deal with those problems and keep our communities safe.
[End of question period.]
Source: B.C. Hansard.
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