Liberals Dismiss Rural Crime Crisis in Motion 167 Rural Crime Report

EDMONTON, AB – Shannon Stubbs, the Member of Parliament for Lakeland, spoke to her motion on rural crime, M-167, following the release of the final report by the Public Safety Committee.

“It is outrageous that the Liberals do not take the issue of rural crime seriously – even after hearing directly from affected Canadians,” said MP Stubbs. “My Private Members Motion M-167 is a call to action on rural crime. The final report – which contains zero formal recommendations for action – is an affront to every rural Canadian who lives in fear of being victimized.”

After delaying hearing from witnesses until the fall, the Liberal-controlled Public Safety Committee blew through the November 30th deadline to report back to the House of Commons. After hearing from witnesses for only six meetings, the committee took over six months to finalize the report. That final report was a two page summary of minimal witness testimony with no formal recommendations for action.

“Clearly, the dramatic increase in rural crime is not a priority to the Liberals,” added MP Stubbs. “After initially supporting this motion, it is unconscionable that the Liberals would dismiss the opportunity to take action on this pressing public safety crisis.”

Jessica and Eddie Maurice commented, saying “We are incredibly disappointed at both the process and report of the Rural Crime Study by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is clear that the Committee does not truly comprehend how far the public confidence in the justice system has eroded, at least in rural areas. We feel this report doesn’t have any actionable suggestions or resolve the rural crime problems we are having.”

The Rural Municipalities Association of Alberta, also provided comment, stating, “Rural crime is a Canada-wide issue, and all levels of government have a role to play in supporting safe rural communities. RMA is concerned that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security’s recently-released rural crime report does not adequately respond to the seriousness of rural crime in many areas of the country, including Alberta, and the impact that high crime rates have had in community safety and quality of life in rural areas. Additionally, the report does not address potential federal actions to help address high rural crime rates, including reviewing sentencing guidelines to better address the disproportionate role of repeat offenders in committing crimes in rural areas.”

Farmers, ranchers and rural Canadians continue to face unprecedented levels of property crimes. Statistics Canada confirmed on May 7th that rural crime is 23% higher than in urban areas. This problem is most acute in the Prairie provinces, where rural crime was 36% to 42% higher than in urban areas (based on the most recent data from 2017).i The Liberals’ hug-a-thug changes to the Criminal Code, and their revolving door approach to prison sentencing has left rural Canadians vulnerable in their own homes, and having to bear enormous costs in their residences and businesses.

Cor De Wit, the President of the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association said, “We at Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch, continue to look forward to working together on any initiatives that may help to further reduce, the property crime statistics in Alberta. Our organization is disappointed in the lack of recommendations for action in the report.”

MP Stubbs stated, “An Andrew Scheer government will ensure that those who live in rural areas can feel safe in their own homes, put the rights of law-abiding citizens first, and support victims of crime. Conservatives will crack down on the criminal gangs that profit from rural crime, revoke parole for criminals who are committing crimes on behalf of a gang, and crack down on the criminal enterprises that are fueling the drug epidemic, one of the factors driving this spike in rural crime.”