Local candidates answer question on crime

One of the two apprehended on Patrick Street, June 21, 2021 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

Earlier this week before the multiple drug calls, gun call and barricaded person, drove home the issues, we reached out with a question to all our local candidates running in the upcoming federal election.

If you were elected representative of this community, what is your and your parties’ plan to deal with the increased crime here and in other communities across the country?

The only candidate to return an answer within the 24 hours was Conservative Sonny Spina, his response is below:

“Hi Dan, thanks for the question.

According to the annual report from the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, violent crime has gone up from 621 incidents in 2016 to 885 incidents in 2019. That represents a 42% increase. Terry Sheehan and the Liberals refuse to believe that their policies have anything to do with this.

I have seen the increase in crime in Sault Ste. Marie firsthand. Crime is becoming more violent, more frequent and we are consistently seeing violent offenders who should have been in jail, released and free on the street.

I hear concerns about this every few doors while door knocking.

Residents of Sault Ste. Marie have the right to be free from crime. We have a plan to take action against criminal use of firearms and violent crime by:

  1. Amending the Criminal Code provisions on possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
  2. Amending the Criminal Code provisions on the unauthorized possession of a firearm.
  3. Partnering with the Ontario Provincial Police to expand the Firearms Tracing and Enforcement database nationally and taking steps to ensure that all crime guns are submitted for testing and analysis and inclusion in this database.
  4. Introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for firearms offences.
  5. We will conduct a review of the Catch and Release provisions of bill C-75 because I want to understand how it is contributing to the increase in crime here in Sault Ste. Marie.

As the only candidate who has served as a first responder in Sault Ste. Marie, protecting our community and keeping our residents safe will always be at top of my mind. It’s unfortunate Terry and the Liberals have done nothing to address the increase in crime in our community.”

Liberal Candidate and current MP, Terry Sheehan, reached out a couple of days later with his response:

“My top priority is to keep people in this community safe and healthy. Our plan to reduce crime in the Sault and across Canada is to keep assault-style weapons off our streets with enhanced gun laws, continue to fight back against Conservative Party job cuts to law enforcement, and improve our criminal justice system to keep you safe.

Liberals have already invested millions of dollars to stop violent criminal activity before it starts, keep guns and drugs off our streets, and support people facing addiction. In contrast, the last time Conservatives were in government, they cut $500 million from the RCMP and $390 million from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). These cuts cost people a tonne of jobs and made us less safe.

In 2019, we passed a Bill to make it harder for domestic abusers to make bail. When we talk about rising crime, a big missing part of the conversation is the rise in violent crimes against women during the pandemic. This is a huge problem, and I will support enhanced laws and legislation to prosecute violent abusers and support survivors of intimate partner violence in our community.”

We did not receive any communication from either the People Party of Canada or the New Democratic Party.

Nationally, you can find the NDP commitment to safer communities on page 92 of their full list of commitments.

Nationally, the PPC party has no direct commitment to reducing crime but under their firearms platform it states, “Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.”

What question would you like us to ask next? Feel free to use our comment section below…


  1. Inept Sheehan has been living high off the hog on our dime far past his expiry date already, what he has done is underwhelming to say the least. He might just as well step down now and save the embarrassment later.

  2. If people care about a balanced budget and crime, it’s time to start going after white collar crime.
    The courts are filled with the oppressed. Shoplifting or paying employees under the table?
    A landlord for not claiming rental income or selling A gram of cocaine?
    Or how bout money laundering?
    If you are the white collar criminal, the shoplifter knows. The landlords taking cash , we tenants take note. When you pay the poor under the table , guess what …we have a list.

    Build your community and create opportunity. If you’re commiting crimes that leave the blood of the poor on your hands….

    You finish the sentence

  3. C 75
    If a person has more than one conviction in a six month period, should they not lose the right to be released?
    This could be a start to amending this bill and we don’t need to wait for a review either.

  4. Spina has a conflict of interest when it comes to reducing crime. Any reduction will lead to reduced revenue at his security company.

    Also ‘conducting a review of C75’ means nothing when they didn’t bother to put it in their election platform. The Conservatives contributed to the writing of bill C75, along with the NDP.

  5. ….and the NDP have nothing to say? wow…Also… we should disregard anything Sheehan says as he and his leader have already had plenty of time to work on crime control.

  6. Sheehan has been very clear where he stood on this issue, this is just one of the reasons why the Fiberals are going to be kicked to the curb, I don’t know how Mr. Dressup thinks he even has a chance after all of his colossal screw ups. It’s the PC’s turn, at least for a while. Hopefully they will do much better.
    We can stop talking about the election now that we know who is going to win.

  7. Seeing as Sheehan voted AGAINST automatic minimum sentences and greater sentences for crimes committed with illegally obtained guns I think his voting record speaks for itself.
    A year after Trudeau took office and the impact of his crime changes could be felt there was a huge increase in crime & violent crime and since then gun crime has increased

  8. Military-style assault rifles don’t seem to be a problem here in the Sault, yet. What Sonny Spina opined to was exactly what the Sault needs. Change the catch and release to catch and lock up until the case is over in court. If we need a larger jail, then build one or change one of the many empty buildings we have in our city into temporary housing for the criminals. That will reduce the crime rate greatly because it seems to be the same criminals that are doing the crimes. Domestic abuse has always been a problem in our city and that has to change to harsher sentences also.
    The Liberals have had to put more into our city so as to hire more Police on the streets and also Forensics work but have failed to do so and probably won’t if they win another term. The presents of more officers will deter these criminals from committing their crimes.
    I whole heartedly back Mr. Spina because he has the experience in these matters and will not cower to party line. Mr. Sheehan, although being a nice gentleman, has not been aggressive enough to earn a 2nd term.

    Mike Caruso

  9. According to Spina, Conservatives “will conduct a review of the Catch and Release provisions of bill C-75 because I want to understand how it is contributing to the increase in crime here in Sault Ste. Marie.” We see first hand the results of C-75 every day in our community. Eliminate “catch and release,” and don’t waste time and money reviewing obviously flawed provisions. I want my city to be safe, clean and inviting — safe communities should be the priority of all political parties.

    • Don’t fall for that media nonsense about how they define “military style assault rifles ”
      Automatic weapons and high capacity magazines have been banned since the 1970s and that won’t change.
      “Military style” verbiage is simple fear mongering – the 1960s SKS is a “military style assault rifle” and is semi-automatic and low capacity.
      The problem is Canadian ignorance, and seemingly yours, about Canadian firearms laws.

    • Hey Jeff,
      How many legal ‘assault style’ rifles have been used in criminal acts in Algoma…?
      The same as the chances your candidate has to win this riding!
      Democrat fearmongering at its worst!
      The electorate is smarter than you give them credit for… I thought you were better than that Jeff, so sad how far you have fallen!

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