B.C. Liberals’ reckless cuts to police will hurt communities


NDP Farnworth,_Mike offBY MIKE FARNWORTH

MLA for Port-Coquitlam and NDP Spokesperson for Public Safety


SAFE and secure communities are essential to happy and healthy families. No one wants to feel afraid to walk around their neighborhood or to let their kids play outside.

That’s why it’s unacceptable for the B.C. Liberals to cut more than 4 million dollars from critically important police services.

It’s hard to imagine a more short-sighted move than firing an entire squad of police officers tasked with gathering information about violent criminal gangs, but that’s just what the B.C. Liberals are doing.

You don’t take your foot off the throat of organized crime and say we’ll get back to it in two or three or four years or whenever the B.C. Liberals decide it’s the right time. Organized crime is a problem, and it needs to be dealt with in a serious, concerted effort. And that means funding law enforcement properly.

Just ask Eileen Mohan, whose son was one of the ‘Surrey Six’ murdered by gang members. Her son was killed for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She knows these violent criminals show no mercy, and if we let up the pressure on them for a single minute it will lead to more violence in our communities.

Making matters worse, the Liberals aren’t just firing an entire anti-gang unit – they are firing 13 full time investigators whose job it is to solve missing persons cases and crimes like the murder of Julie Paskall.

This reckless cut isn’t just bad for families and communities – it breaks the B.C. Liberals’ promise to create a ‘violence free B.C.’ – less than a year after the promise was made. We can all agree that the road to a violence free B.C. is not paved by unsolved crimes and cuts to police.

B.C. has the highest number of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the country. Many of those murders were along Highway 16 – a highway that has been the site of so many unsolved murders that locals have renamed it the Highway of Tears.

All last spring New Democrats pushed the B.C. Liberals to take action to improve the safety of women who travel the Highway of Tears. Over and over again the Liberals said they would take action. Yet as soon as they were out of the legislature – the B.C. Liberals cut the very police investigators who could solve those crimes.

It’s not enough to say, as the justice minister has, that “safe and secure communities are key building blocks for a strong and healthy province” – those words need to be backed up action. Yet, as we’ve seen so many times, the B.C. Liberals know what to say – but then they do what they want.

The B.C. Liberals say tackling gang violence is a priority – then they eliminate the unit investigating motorcycle gangs.

The B.C. Liberals say they want a violence-free B.C. – then they fire the police officers that solve major crimes.

As the New Democrat spokesperson for public safety, I will fight for these reckless cuts to be reversed. B.C. families and communities deserve better.