Talk­ing tough

Jean vows to crack down on crim­i­nals if he’s UCP leader

Calgary Sun - - NEWS - Emma GraNEy

For­mer Wil­drose leader Brian Jean pledged a se­ries of tough-on-crime poli­cies Thurs­day as he con­tin­ued his bid for the United Con­ser­va­tive Party lead­er­ship.

Jean was in Grande Prairie to un­veil his lat­est pol­icy planks, in­clud­ing tougher penal­ties for peo­ple who com­mit vi­o­lent crimes, more re­sources for sex­ual as­sault vic­tims and tack­ling the opi­oid crisis.

Jean said if his party formed govern­ment, he would in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion bar­ring dan­ger­ous of­fend­ers, mur­der­ers, rapists and oth­ers on the sex-of­fender reg­istry from chang­ing their names, im­prove pro­ba­tion mon­i­tor­ing and in­crease re­sources to stop hu­man traf­fick­ing in Al­berta.

“We must pro­tect the dig­nity of ev­ery man, woman and child in our prov­ince,” he said in a state­ment.

“That means treat­ing those harmed by the im­pacts of crime with in­cred­i­ble com­pas­sion, but keep­ing dan­ger­ous peo­ple off our streets.”

Point­ing to in­creased trial de­lays in Al­berta of late, Jean’s new poli­cies in­clude a com­mit­ment to re­al­lo­cate more re­sources to Crown prose­cu­tors and pres­sure the fed­eral govern­ment to hire more judges.

In June, more than 1,400 cases, in­clud­ing se­ri­ous and vi­o­lent crimes, were at risk of be­ing thrown out in Al­berta for vi­o­lat­ing new time guide­lines set out by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The is­sue was born out of the 2016 Jor­dan de­ci­sion, which set spe­cific time frames for rea­son­able lim­its on how long an ac­cused can wait for trial. The rul­ing has put tremen­dous pres­sure on courts across the coun­try.

Al­berta cre­ated nine ad­di­tional Court of Queen’s Bench po­si­tions in 2016, but there are still ju­di­cial va­can­cies across the prov­ince’s courts.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Kath­leen Gan­ley has called on Ot­tawa to ap­point more judges, and has said the case back­log and ju­di­ciary gaps were cre­ated by decades of po­si­tions not be­ing filled.

The Wil­drose has been crit­i­cal of the prov­ince’s han­dling of fall­out from the Jor­dan de­ci­sion, and Jean re­it­er­ated that Thurs­day.

He also pledged to tackle ris­ing ru­ral crime by work­ing with the RCMP and ALERT.

For­mer Wil­drose leader Brian Jean is vy­ing to lead Al­berta’s newly formed United Con­ser­va­tive Party.

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