Thursday, April 27, 2023

Community Safety, Repeat Offenders among themes of Legislature debate this week for MLA Ellis Ross

The BC United Opposition has been making this week Crime week of sorts at the BC Legislature, with many of the MLA's rising to take on the NDP government's handling of Justice and Public Safety issues.

Among those taking the lead for the BC United Party has been Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who used his time in the Tuesday morning Question period to raise some concerns from the Northwest, in particular the Terrace region towards the issue of repeat offenders.

"Violent repeat offenders keep causing havoc and getting released back on the street, and no amount of NDP protocol spin is going to change that. 

It was over a year ago that I asked the Premier about his catch-and-release justice system and the chaos and crime and Terrace. 

He dismissed the issue as mere anecdotes. 

Those were his words. 

Then we had this government claim the system isn't broken. Well, now British Columbians are saying that the system is broken. 

My question is to the Premier: if a prolific offender in Terrace commits a violent crime while out on bail, why doesn't the government prioritize public safety by, at least, making an effort to keep them detained instead of releasing them half the time?" 

The question while addressed to Premier Eby, was handled by Attorney General Niki Sharma, who observed that BC has the strictest bail policy in all of Canada, noting that Federal reforms are required to further address the issue. 

 Mr. Ross offered up a reply  that noted of a past solution offered up by the opposition that had been rejected. The Skeena MLA then returned to the theme  of some of the havoc being found in communities across the province. 

"Prolific offenders in communities like Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace continue to be put back into community to attack people and businesses. 

The George Little House in Terrace has experienced multiple break-ins, with the most recent just occurring last month. During three of these break-ins, thieves brazenly stole artwork from local artists and badly damaged this beautiful heritage building. 

And this was all captured on video. 

Debbie Letawski from George Little House says: "These incidents have caused considerable financial hardship and loss as well as taking an emotional and physical toll on my health and well-being." 

This is what British Columbians are feeling. 

Boarded-up storefronts, violence and sleepless nights are not what the residents of B.C. deserve. My question is for the Premier. 

What will it take for the Premier to abandon his catch-and-release justice system and finally deliver the public safety that he promised? "

The Attorney General observed of some progress by the province to the issues, noting of the recent plan to create 12 hubs across the provinvce, including one in Terrace to ensure that the tools are in place towards repeat offenders. 

You can review the full back and forth between the MLA and the Minister from the Legislautre Video page starting at the 10:45 AM minute mark

More notes from the Legislature can be reviewed here.

Further items of interest on provincial political themes can be reviewed through our D'Arcy McGee blog and our Victoria Viewpoints feature.

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