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McFayden challenges NDP to get behind federal crime bill

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Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen today challenged the provincial NDP to get their federal brethren to support a massive crime bill introduced this week by the Harper government.

McFadyen said the federal NDP opposition are poised to not support the bill which would bring in tougher penalties for drug crimes and sex offences against children, reduce the use of conditional sentences or house arrest and extend the time to apply for a pardon.

"The question is, where is Greg Selinger now?" McFadyen said at campaign event in Elmwood. "Will he tell his NDP counterparts in Ottawa to support the bill? Will he stand up for the interests of Manitobans, and urge Pat Martin and Nikki Ashton to vote for the tougher laws he’s been asking for?"

McFadyen also took a shot at NDP Elmwood candidate Jim Maloway for voting against federal crime bills when he was an MP. Maloway lost his federal seat in the May federal election and is now running for provincial office. Before going to Ottawa in 2008, Maloway was the area’s MLA since 1986.

The provincial NDP has long lobbied Ottawa for tougher sanctions against young offenders in the battle against auto theft.

Most recently, provincial Attorney General Andrew Swan wrote federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to say Ottawa’s changes didn’t go far enough.

Swan said changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act will make it more difficult to hold dangerous young offenders in pre-trial custody.

"Being unable to keep out-of-control youth in custody not only creates a public safety risk, but also undermines public confidence in the justice system as the public sees it as a revolving door, catch and release exercise," Swan said in the Sept. 1 letter.

The Selinger government also wanted new stand-alone offences for home invasions and carjackings.

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