I would like to take a moment to respond to Wayne Underhill’s letter to the editor regarding the open letters shared by myself and Alayna Weiss.
I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Weiss and her mother in my office last week, and I was happy to speak with her at length about her concerns regarding crime in Chilliwack. Ms. Weiss was not trying to become famous or to get her name in the newspaper; she just wanted an honest conversation about keeping her and her friends safe in their community and I was happy to have that conversation with her, as I am with all my constituents. Ms. Weiss is a bright and impressive young woman with many ideas for improving our community. I am thankful that she was willing to share these with me and look forward to continuing to work with her and other community partners to keep our community safe.
Mr. Underhill seems surprised that I am disappointed by the Supreme Court of Canada striking down mandatory prison sentences in Canada, so allow me to clear this up. Mandatory prison time was a way to keep dangerous and repeat offenders off of our streets where they are a danger to our community. People always complain about Canada’s “revolving door justice system,” and mandatory prison sentences were the best way to change that by giving society’s most dangerous criminals minimum prison sentences for violent and egregious offences.
Justin Trudeau has been vocally against mandatory prison time, even for the most prolific and dangerous offenders. In an interview with The West Block in September 2015, he said that mandatory prison sentences are “clogging up our jails;” when asked specifically about child sex predators, he even said, “I wouldn’t rule out repealing mandatory minimums for anyone.”
Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government have made it clear that mandatory prison time for serious criminals is yet another Conservative policy that they will overturn, so it’s up to them to share an alternative plan to deal with prolific and repeat offenders with Canadians. I’ll keep pushing them to do more, not less, to keep our communities safe.
Mark Strahl, MP