VICTORIA— Premier Christy Clark’s empty response to the growing gun violence problem in Surrey shows she’s just not there for the people of the lower mainland, say the New Democrats.
“We called on the premier to take immediate action to deal with the threat of violent crime in Surrey, and the fear it’s invoking in residents across metro Vancouver,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan. “Her response was to say she appointed a new minister.
“All British Columbians agree that Justice Minister Suzanne Anton has been ineffective at curbing the spread of violence, but a new minister is not the same as real action.”
Horgan, New Democrat spokesperson for public safety Mike Farnworth, and New Democrat Surrey MLAs Harry Bains, Sue Hammell and Bruce Ralston sent the premier a letter in December, demanding an additional 100 officers on Surrey streets immediately, even if it means redeploying RCMP resources from other areas. The letter also demanded that a dedicated internal RCMP task force work full time to end this epidemic of gun violence. Violent crime is up by 40 per cent over the past year, and attempted murder has nearly doubled.
“The premier’s response is not good enough,” said Farnworth. “Saying that all is well because she has a new minister means nothing, when she could be requesting redeployment of experienced officers now.
“In the past year, we’ve seen the Christy Clark government under-fund gang-prevention. And now this empty response with vague platitudes about supporting outreach programs. The truth is clear – she’s not there for the people affected by this crime wave.”
In 2014, B.C.’s New Democrats launched discussions on the Surrey Accord, a wide-reaching plan to address the root causes of the violence – including a mental health action plan and better housing – along with tough policing measures to crack down on violent crime. Since launching the plan, the caucus and its Surrey MLAs have repeatedly raised the issue and called on the premier to take measurable action to combat the violence. Horgan’s December letter was the latest, with the call for more RCMP members.
“Her response, which my office received this week, shows Premier Clark doesn’t get just how scared the people in Surrey are,” said Horgan. “British Columbians deserve better from their government.”