The BC NDP’s official opposition has called out much of their policies and tactics when it comes to crime and policing in the province.
The recently rebranded BC United Party holds 27 seats compared to the NDPs 57 seats in the BC Legislature, and since changing their name, they have been quiet until now.
On Tuesday, September 12th, BC United leader Kevin Falcon announced his “Safer BC” plan which he believes would bring about enhanced public safety by undoing much of the work the NDPs have done and providing police in BC with more funding.
“After six years on the job, the NDP has continuously failed in fulfilling one of its fundamental duties — keeping people safe,” Falcon said.
“The endless cycle of chronic repeat offenders, arrested and released without consequences, has emboldened criminals and left British Columbians living in fear.”
“Our streets and public places belong to the public, not criminals. BC United will get back to putting British Columbians’ rights to safety ahead of the rights of violent criminals to reoffend,” he continued.
The BC United Party claims that BC has seen a 75% increase in “no-charge assessments” and that in Vancouver, 40 individuals have been responsible for over 6,300 police interactions in one year.
These figures are unsubstantiated by Falcon and the BC United Party.
They believe the NDP’s methods of catching and releasing people leads to a lack of support and treatment they believe they could enhance.
Falcon’s plan under the BC United Party would include:
- Aggressively hiring 500 police officers province-wide to fill vacancies
- Funding a province-wide body camera program for all police
- Ending decriminalization of possession of some illicit drugs
- Treating all crimes with the same gravity, be it petty theft or murder
- Providing treatment facilities as an option for incarcerated criminals
- Allowing civil litigation against drug dealers whose product kills individuals
When Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and NDP MLA for Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain was asked about his take on Falcon’s announcement, he implied the announcement flew in the face of policy and actions that Falcon had made in the past.
“It’s hard to take Kevin Falcon seriously on what he announced today for a number of reasons,” said Farnworth.
“One day, he and his party are in favour of decrim, now they’re saying they are not in favour of decrim, at the same time he said that he’s in favour of overdose prevention sites now his caucus said that they’re not in favour of that.”
“One of his star MLAs was out praising harm reduction initiatives that are underway so it’s kind of hard to take Kevin Falcon seriously,” he continued.
Farnworth also noted that when Falcon was a minister, he cut health programs and initiatives and his government cut a repeat violent offender program that the NDP has reinstated in the name of public safety.
While the NDP have stated before that public safety is a priority for their government, the current health care crisis, housing crisis and toxic drug death public health emergency are all also high up on their list.
If the government were to put mass amounts of funding toward the policing initiatives suggested by Falcon, it is likely that other important programs and initiatives would suffer.