Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Debate: Leaders avoid question on crime

During today’s televised debate, each party leader was asked whether they’d support a big increase in Lower Mainland police officers. Nobody answered the question.

The proposal was put forward by Keith Roy, spokesperson for a citizens group that’s advocated for 900 new officers across the Greater Vancouver region. The increase would bring per-capita policing there in line with Montreal, Enough is Enough argues.

New Democratic Party leader Carole James used the opportunity to nitpick the BC Liberals record on public safety.

“How does cutting $10 million out of your budget for courts and crown prosecutors, and reducing 100 positions in corrections fight crime?” she asked Gordon Campbell, in reference to measures in the February budget.

The NDP’s crime plan has twice as many new police officers as the Liberals platform, she added. Some analysts have pointed out both parties have nearly identical crime strategies. And both call for 168 additional officers.

Campbell reiterated his boast that the ruling party has added 1100 officers across the province since 2001. Though budget 2009 cut 15 crown prosecutors, the premier said his party has added ten new prosecutors to fight organized crime.

“Gangs are not welcome in British Columbia,” he said. “We’re going after them with additional police officers. We’re going after them with additional prosecutors.”

Enough is Enough gave lacklustre grades to both major parties’ crime strategies last week. The Liberals got a ‘C+’ for public safety budget cuts while the NDP landed a ‘D’ for not supporting tougher sentencing.

“Crime is a crucial issue right now, and both parties had the opportunity to take a tough stance on crime with their platforms, but failed,” Roy said in a press release.

The Green Party’s Jane Sterk said neither Campbell or James are addressing the root causes of the current gang violence. Her party advocates for marijuana legalization and regulation to take drugs out of criminal hands.

“If more police, more prisons and more prosecutors was a solution to safer streets, the United States and China would be the safest countries on the planet and they’re not,” she said.

Apart from the economy, crime is the most important issue for B.C. voters, a recent Angus Reid poll suggested.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus