Crime in our neighbourhoods is a common concern many constituents raise with me. This past spring, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-75, which would make massive changes to the Criminal Code.
Upon review of the bill, there are several concerns with aspects which would make a number of indictable offences eligible for a summary conviction. What exactly does that mean, you ask?
Turning indictable offences into summary convictions means that many crimes, such as leaving Canada to participate in a terrorist group, impaired driving causing bodily harm, abduction of a child or arson, would become punishable with a fine instead of a prison sentence. There is a long list of crimes that would become eligible for summary convictions under this bill. The interests of law abiding citizens and victims should always be at the forefront of our justice system, yet this bill does the opposite. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand up for victims and law abiding Canadians.
This spring, many of you came out to a town hall meeting to discuss the rise in crime, particularly in our rural areas. Since then, Canada’s Conservatives have been working hard to continue to identify the issues and gather ideas on how to tackle the problem. My Conservative colleague Shannon Stubbs, MP for Lakeland, introduced a Private Member’s Motion that would have a parliamentary committee study the issue of the rise in rural crime. The motion passed in the early summer and I was happy to support it as I know it is an issue that affects many in our constituency.
Common themes that I have heard from constituents include the need for the RCMP to have additional resources and provide stronger clarity around defense of property rights. There is also concern that sentencing for repeat offenders is far too lenient. These concerns have been highlighted as most frequently heard in a report that our Conservative Caucus commissioned based on ours and similar meetings across Canada regarding rural crime. The report also recommends more support for rural crime watch organizations and greater collaboration between police, municipal enforcement and crime watch groups.
We also need to ensure there is better information available on tools we all can use to assist in ensuring police apprehension of perpetrators. These tools could include video technology, combined with police use of facial recognition software. I have continued to follow up with our police, enforcement agencies and our crime watch groups to help ensure we are best coordinated and moving towards solutions. This also includes working with Canada Post locally to try to ensure better security of our postal boxes.
I am also fully committed to addressing this issue of our revolving door justice system. As long as offenders know the consequences will not match the crime, they will continue to have very little fear of being caught. This means other measures will not have the full effectiveness in deterring crime that they could have.
As always, if you have any additional ideas or concerns, please let me know.
Blake Richards is the MP for Banff-Airdrie