PC government not actually tough on crime
While the Progressive Conservatives like to talk tough on crime, it’s clear their outdated approach to community safety has not worked, as violent crime, in Fort Garry, the city at large, and throughout the province, has increased on their watch. Even when they do make promises to increase community safety, it is all talk and no action and, in some cases, blatant contradictions of past decisions.
When Premier Heather Stefanson was justice minister in 2017, she cut services and programs established by the previous NDP government that made our communities safer. She cut the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, the Manitoba Warrant Task Force, and the restorative resolutions program that provided alternatives to incarceration for offenders and more. Now, rather than investing in addressing the root causes of crime such as poverty and lack of affordable housing, the PCs are putting forward Band-Aid solutions that won’t solve our community safety issue.
Another example of how this government has mismanaged community safety is how they have treated crown attorneys in this province. High vacancy rates have led to widespread burnout and unsustainable workloads, which in turn has led to more staff leaving for other work. Crown attorneys are being forced to work excessive hours, which critics have said could lead to more mistakes and a negative impact on our justice system. As of last month, there were 17 vacant full-time crown attorney positions, a vacancy rate so large that it threatens the functionality of the criminal justice system, particularly in remote and northern parts of the province.
Despite the government putting out press releases and buzzwords claiming to be tough on crime, Manitobans don’t trust them to fix our community safety problem. That’s because the PCs have failed to address the root causes of crime, by selling off affordable housing units, cutting programs and more. And when the PCs do announce ‘new initiatives’ to keep our communities safe, they’re just programs they previously cut. Whether as justice minister or premier, Heather Stefanson’s ‘tough on crime’ message conflicts with the actions of her government, who continue to ignore the root causes of crime and work against restoring much needed confidence in our justice system.
I hope everyone in Fort Garry has a safe and happy holiday. My office will still be open and can be reached at 204-421-4241 or by email email@example.com
Fort Garry constituency report
Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.