A B.C. Conservative provincial government wants to get tough on gang crime.
Party leader John Cummins was in Kelowna this morning to unveil an election platform promise to voters, spending $4 million to hire 10 prosecutors who will make up a Northern and Interior B.C. Gang Crime Prosecutors Unit.
Cummins said complex gang trials have placed a “tremendous strain” on an already overburdened justice system, driving up the cost of seeing charges against gang members being dealt with in court.
“We must do a better job of putting gang criminals in prison, and that’s exactly what our Gang Crime Prosecutors Unit will do,” Cummins said at a press conference, flanked by local Conservative MLA candidates Graeme James (Kelowna-Lake Country), Brian Guillou (Westside-Kelowna) and Mike McLoughlin (Kelowna-Mission).
Cummins said the Conservative Party belief that gang crime and violence is not limited to only the Lower Mainland.
Cummins also promised a Conservative government in Victoria would encourage more sentencing options for addicts in the criminal justice system, saying he would pledge $4 million and more resources to enhance successful programs like drug court, which assists addicts in breaking the cycle of addiction.
Cummins said the cost of the initiative will be covered by the previously announced $700 million to increase justice funding that was laid out in the B.C. Conservative’s Budget and Fiscal Framework.
Cummins also had some unpleasant words for former federal Conservative MP Stockwell Day, who is making a number of appearances this week at various Liberal campaign offices across the Okanagan.
Asked why Day was supporting the Liberals rather than his Conservatives, Cummins said that has raised some eybrows among his party supporters.
“It seems a bit out of character to do that (support the Liberals) but he is involved in government relations now so I guess he figures that is the right side to be on, to be where the money is,” Cummins said.
“There is some controversy about what he’s doing but in the end we all have the right to choose our own friends.”