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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342
ISSN 1712-3763
Web: www.columbiajournal.ca

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Public Affairs

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Columbia Journal logoVolume Ten, Number One   January 2005   www.columbiajournal.ca

    Safe Streets Act Political Ploy, says Downtown MLA

    Marco Procaccini

    The "safe" streets legislation introduced by the BC Liberal government today does nothing to address the real concerns of the public about crime and safety, NDP MLA Jenny Kwan said. 

    Kwan said that the poorly drafted legislation contains no enforcement provisions or penalties, and is just another attempt by the Liberals to play politics with people's real safety concerns.
    "This is yet another example of the BC Liberals trying to position themselves as 'tough on crime' while failing to address the real issue of public safety. We need to deal with the whole problem from a balanced and reasonable angle, not just play the blame game with the poorest citizens," said Kwan. "The successful and already established Four Pillars approach in Vancouver addresses the issues of street safety, homelessness, drug addiction and enforcement in a fair and equitable manner.
    "Employment programs, housing, mental health services, community policing are all positive solutions that have been decimated by the government," said Kwan. "Current legislation on harassment and assault, if properly enforced, should do the job, and the addition of this act just doesn't make sense.
    "Crime rates are rising, organized crime is on the rise, and more women are being added to the Missing Women's list, but the government's solution is to cut resources for police and community safety and now coming down hard on panhandlers and pedestrians.  The priorities of this government are completely wrong."

    The new law, introduced by West End BC Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt, who says police need “razor-sharp” laws to help them “get tough with street crime,” such as panhandlers, squeegee kids, prostitutes and other street activity that he says constitutes harassment.

    The new act was endorsed at the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention in Kelowna, although the vote was far from unanimous. There were deep divisions between various municipal representatives on how to deal with street issues, which many see as closely tied with the rapidly worsening poverty and unemployment in communities all across the province.

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