School shoot­ing shows lead­er­ship lack­ing in public safety cri­sis

Asian Journal - - Editorial -

Vic­to­ria: A Sur­rey ele­men­tary school was rid­dled with bul­lets at six in the evening, a time when chil­dren could easily have been play­ing on the grounds. This latest vi­o­lent shoot­ing in­ci­dent on Tues­day has shocked and out­raged all Bri­tish Columbians. Gun vi­o­lence isn’t just hap­pen­ing in Sur­rey - ear­lier this month a 74-year-old grand­fa­ther and in­no­cent by­stander was killed in in Ab­botts­ford, while a Van­cou­ver city worker was killed in broad day­light in Burn­aby in July. How­ever, the level of gun and gan­gre­lated vi­o­lence in Sur­rey this year has reached epi­demic pro­por­tions. This Straw­berry Hill school in­ci­dent was the third shoot­ing in as many days in Sur­rey and is part of a public safety cri­sis that has been go­ing on for months and has jus­ti­fi­ably spread fear among Sur­rey res­i­dents. Peo­ple have died, one de­fend­ing his home, and res­i­dents are right to be con­cerned that these deaths won’t be the last. This is un­ac­cept­able and Sur­rey and the Lower Main­land de­serve bet­ter than what they’re get­ting from both se­nior lev­els of gov­ern­ment. Af­ter months of be­ing promised 100 new RCMP of­fi­cers, there has been scant progress. The most re­cent public re­ports show that only six new of­fi­cers from the promised 100 have been de­ployed. The B.C. Lib­eral gov­ern­ment sim­ply isn’t there for Sur­rey. Premier Christy Clark and her jus­tice min­is­ter are sit­ting on their hands say­ing they’ve done all they can. That isn’t good enough. Jus­tice Min­is­ter Suzanne An­ton of­ten claims that her gov­ern­ment has in­creased the bud­get for the RCMP but ear­lier this year she was forced to ad­mit

John Hor­gan B.C. New Demo­crat

Leader that there was, in fact, no money for ac­tual new po­lice ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties this year. No new money for Sur­rey, no new money for any com­mu­nity in need. We also need a re­newed ef­fort on gangs, and a tar­geted ef­fort in spe­cific com­mu­ni­ties to tackle the cul­ture of si­lence. There is good work be­ing done, but we aren’t do­ing enough of it. The anti-gang unit has its in­no­va­tive End Gang Life pro­gram, and the school-based Wrap­around pro­gram has been very suc­cess­ful - but the B.C. gov­ern­ment pledged only enough fund­ing to re­duce this preven­tion pro­gram waitlist by half. Sur­rey also only has 10 school li­ai­son of­fi­cers for its 120 schools while Van­cou­ver has 16 ded­i­cated of­fi­cers for fewer schools. These are the kind of ini­tia­tives we need to see ex­panded. But in­stead of ex­pand­ing this vi­tally im­por­tant work, last year the B.C. Lib­eral gov­ern­ment cut the pro­vin­cial polic­ing bud­get. This forced the RCMP to cut $2.8 mil­lion from the anti-gang task force as a re­sult, and at a time when Sur­rey al­ready had a grow­ing crime rate and one of the low­est ra­tios of po­lice of­fi­cers in the province. This has only got­ten worse be­cause the com­mu­nity’s pop­u­la­tion has con­tin­ued to grow far faster than the pro­vin­cial av­er­age. This fail­ure of B.C. Lib­eral pri­or­i­ties is un­ac­cept­able. Our New Demo­crat Sur­rey MLAs have been propos­ing so­lu­tions to the cri­sis of not only gang-re­lated and prop­erty crime but also home­less­ness, men­tal health and ad­dic­tions is­sues through the Sur­rey Ac­cord. The B.C. Lib­eral gov­ern­ment could be do­ing more to pro­tect fam­i­lies in Sur­rey, but they are ne­glect­ing the things that mat­ter. Sur­rey par­ents shouldn’t have to worry that if they let their chil­dren play at the park they will be caught in cross­fire. New Democrats will con­tinue to fight for the things that mat­ter and stand up on the is­sues that fam­i­lies face in their daily lives. Sur­rey de­serves bet­ter than what they have been get­ting from the B.C. Lib­eral gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.