Arnold Viersen, Member of Parliament for Peace River – Westlock joined colleagues to highlight Justin Trudeau’s failure to tackle the issue of rural crime in Alberta.
In March of 2018, Conservative Member of Parliament Shannon Stubbs put forward a motion to study the issue of rural crime in Canada and its effects on rural communities and families. This motion passed with 287 yes votes on May 30, 2018 and included a six-month deadline for the final report. The Liberal-controlled House of Commons Public Safety Committee tabled its report on May 16, 2019 – almost six months late – with zero recommendations for action. The Speaker of the House of Commons ruled this delay was “unparliamentary.”
“The safety and security of all Canadians must be a priority for any Prime Minister,” said MP Viersen. “It is shameful that the Liberals on the Public Safety Committee refused to take this issue seriously – even after hearing directly from affected Canadians. M-167’s call to address rural crime received 101 endorsements across seven provinces, from provincial and municipal government representatives, municipal associations, and local crime watch associations. The final report from the Liberal-controlled committee – with zero formal recommendations for action – is an affront to every rural Canadian who lives in fear of being victimized.”
The evidence presented during the committee’s study showed critical gaps that are clearly within the mandate and scope of the federal government:
- A lack of police resources in RCMP detachments leading to response times delayed by hours – sometimes days.
- Ambiguity in the Criminal Code surrounding property rights and self-defence.
- The absence of Emergency dispatch (9-1-1) in rural and remote areas.
- Significant financial hardships, mental and physical health challenges, and lack of services for victims of physical and sexual violence.
“Instead of taking increasing crime rates seriously, the Liberals have watered down the Criminal Code and taken a revolving-door approach to prison sentencing,” added MP Viersen. “It is time for Justin Trudeau to stop ignoring rural Canadians and take action to combat this growing public safety emergency. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that those who live in rural areas can feel safe in their own homes, by putting the rights of law-abiding Canadians ahead of the rights of criminals.”
Conservatives submitted a dissenting report to the Liberals’ watered-down report on rural crime. Click the link here to download the report. Because the Liberals limited the final report to two pages, the Conservative dissenting report was also limited to two pages.
In 2015, when the Liberals were elected, the crime rate in Canada increased for the first time in 12 years. Statistics Canada confirmed on May 7, 2019, that rural crime is 23% higher than in urban areas. This problem is most acute in the Prairie provinces, where rural crime was 36% to 42% higher than in urban areas (based on the most recent data from 2017).