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:
- Amending the Criminal Code provisions on possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
- Amending the Criminal Code provisions on the unauthorized possession of a firearm.
- 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.
- Introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for firearms offences.
- 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.”
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