Thursday, March 31, 2022

Terrace Social Issues, Crime among themes for Terrace delegation and MLA Ellis Ross at Legislature

Mayor Carol Leclerc led a delegation from
Terrace to Victoria to raise community
concerns on crime and social issues
(from MLA Ross FB page)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross provided some formal introductions for a delegation from Terrace on Wednesday in the BC Legislature, speaking at the start of the Wednesday session to introduce Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc and Councillor Sean Bujtas to the Assembly.

The MLA making note of their time in the provincial capital to seek the help of the Provincial Government on a pair of issues of concern for the Northwest's largest community.

The municipal delegation has been in Victoria this week to speak to the concerns   and seek the assistance of the NDP government towards social issues and an increasingly worrisome crime situation in the Skeena Valley City.

Those two topics made for a Legislature presentation from the MLA Ross later in the afternoon on Wednesday as he outlined the concerns of his constituents for Attorney General David Eby.

"Talking about the law being enforced, it's quite timely, quite relevant, because the people of Terrace are worried — so much so that the mayor and council have flown down here to be with us today to meet with government over the level of violence in town that's not only affecting Terrace but the constituents of Skeena, because Terrace is a hub of our region. 

Council has also dropped their resolution that reads: "In Terrace, as well as other communities across the province, individuals are often arrested for crimes like theft and property damage, but the Crown does not lay charges, citing it is not in the public interest to prosecute. Offenders of these crimes repeat their actions, and businesses, workers and the public are victimized as a result."

The council, the Terrace community, the residents of Skeena, the residents of B.C., everyone wants to know why it's not in the public interest to charge these repeat offenders. 

So, the question is simple. To the minister, why not?"

Towards a reply, Attorney General Eby, noted that he had asked Regional Crown Counsel For Stevens to meet with the mayor to review the statitsics and offer reassurance  to the community. He also outlined some of the statistics from the Terrace Crown Counsel office when it comes to situation  in the region.

"I'm happy to read into the record some of this. But suffice it to say that the vast majority of charge assessments are completed within 30 days. On reports to Crown counsel received by Crown counsel over the last two years, 1,716 were received from police; 1,257 were approved to court. 

Only 339 of those were no-charge decisions. The rest were either alternative measures, returned to police for more investigation or are currently in progress."

The reply was not one that eased the concerns for the Skeena MLA who observed how the problem seems to be one of a provincial government that doesn't see a problem.

"That answer that was just given by the Attorney General doesn't give any comfort to the people in Terrace or in our communities across B.C. who are facing this violence, every day, who are being attacked. 

I have a letter from the chief councillor at Kitsumkalum saying that he is concerned about his community becoming a lawless land and that it's unsafe to go downtown at night, especially for women. 

The Terrace Downtown Improvement Area Society is also concerned. "Why are there no consequences of substance for people who attack businesses? The answer is that the Crown counsel will not support the RCMP with charges." 

Our communities are doing their part to assist those who are struggling with mental health, addiction and homelessness. But my constituents, and dare I say the people of British Columbia, need to know that the government is going to do their part too."

The Attorney General responded by way of noting that some of the issues could be related to Federal crimes and Supreme Court Decisions of the past, as well he observed as to the need to address homelessness in the community which he admitted still required some work.

I'm not saying there's not an issue, potentially, with violence in the streets of Terrace. I'm not saying that at all. 

What I'm saying that when those charges…. When those investigations are completed by police, they're brought to Crown counsel, they're being approved, and they're going to court. There may be issues with the criminal law being applied by the court. 

As I say, that's federal jurisdiction. That's an important issue. Let's talk about that with the federal government. But to blame Crown counsel for the state of the federal law and Supreme Court of Canada decisions — that's a different story. 

We're also working on mental health and addiction issues that are often conflated with these problems. With our complex care housing, with supportive housing, in fact, I'm happy to say we've actually reduced the number of people who are street homeless in Terrace. 

The last count was 96; the current count was 74. So we're seeing progress on these kinds of issues in the community. We've got more work to do. I'm happy to work with the member and the mayor on that.

You can review the back and forth of the debate in the Legislature from the Hansard minutes here starting at 3:25 PM

The House video of the exchange can be reviewed as well from the MLAs social media feed.

More notes from the Legislature can be reviewed from our archive page here.

A wider overview of the concerns from Terrace can be explored through our Terrace archive page here.


  1. Terrace City councilors and their provincial MLA, working together? Taking a photo together? In Victoria?

    That is the type of leadership we need here in Prince Rupert the North Coast riding.

    Our council can't even get our provincial MLA into City Hall or on a Zoom call after offering up land for Housing.

    1. Well for the record, the Provincial government has been fairly proactive in the provision of land for housing in the past. But it's clear that the need remains urgent, so some kind of discussion between Council and Province would seem a worthwhile adventure. As would be inviting the MLA to be a regular participant in Council Sessions. NCR

    2. just because they dont degrade themselves to photo opps in Victoria (at taxpayer expense) doesnt mean the MLA and City arent working together.

      see new emergency shelter + new transition house as proof

      also Lee is a card carrying member of the NDP and his mayoral campaign manager was the MLA's former

    3. Appreciate your enthusiasm as to how you view the work of the mayor on our behalf and the review of his political track so far ...

      However, not sure I would use the word "degrading' when referencing municipal officials who are taking serious concerns to the provincial gov't on behalf of their community, It is kind of why they have been elected NCR

    4. 68% increase in homelessness in the past four years
      72% of our homeless population access our Emergency Room services.
      Prince Rupert rocketed from being Canada’s 223rd most dangerous city in 2018 to No. 11 in 2019

      Perhaps it is time for MLA Rice to visit the hallowed halls of Prince Rupert City Hall.

    5. Well my understanding of such things is that someone needs to be invited to attend a Council session by the Council members.

      From my many notes on Council over the last few years, I don't remember too many invites for her, or many others with some knowledge on the topics you've mentioned.


  2. Oh please. This is all just a publicity stunt by Terrace council and Ellis Ross to distract from the horrible job they have all done. Funny how it comes during a municipal election year. The very worst of partisan politics. Sabotage your own community so you can blame it on the NDP. The Kool aid man would have made a better Mayor.