Safe Streets Act Political Ploy, says Downtown MLA
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
"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