February 27, 2009

Last Wednesday, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled the latest piece of our new anti-crime legislation.  In response to an increase in the severity and frequency of gang crime we have tabled a new bill which will make murders connected to organized crime automatically first-degree, regardless of intent. 

First-degree murder is subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years.  The bill will target drive-by and other reckless shootings that involve the disregard for the life or safety of others.  Drive by shootings would come with a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum of 14 years in jail.   

The bill will better address assaults against police and peace officers. If someone assaults a police officer with a weapon or causes bodily harm, the maximum jail term would be 10 years.  In an aggravated assault case, the maximum jail term would be 14 years.

The safety and security of Canadians is one of the Government’s most serious responsibilities. As such, we are continuing to move forward on our crime agenda. This bill will certainly not be the last piece of anti-crime legislation put before the House. We will soon introduce further measures that target gang violence and organized crime.

In speaking with many of you during the last election campaign and since I have become your Member of Parliament I have been told time and time again that crime is one of your biggest concerns in the Red Deer constituency. Many of us have been touched in some way by either property crimes or even violent crime.  I have brought those concerns to Ottawa and I hope the tabling of this bill proves our government is listening to you.  I am also heartened by the fact at least one of the opposition parties will be supporting this bill in the House.  I hope that support extends to the Committee rooms and the Senate too.

Canadians want action on crime now and that is what we intend to deliver.

Until next time. . .

Earl Dreeshen, MP
Red Deer