The Liberal MLA for Cariboo North says the provincial government isn’t doing enough to protect downtown businesses in Quesnel.
Coralee Oakes, speaking in the legislature, blamed what she called the Premier’s soft on crime policies for an increase in violence, shoplifting and attacks on staff.
Oakes also quoted a letter she received from the Quesnel Downtown Business Association.
“Criminals are no longer hiding in the shadows, they operate in plain site as there is little or no consequences for their actions. The added cost of theft, vandalism, security and loss of production is both crippling our ability and will to survive.”
Oakes went on to ask the Premier if he was going to give these businesses financial support to offset their losses from his soft on crime policies.
Mike Farnworth, the Minister of Public Safety, rejected the premise that they were soft on crime.
“The initiatives that I’ve outlined over the last number of weeks have demonstrated beyond a doubt that this government is committed to keeping our communities safe, wherever they are in British Columbia. We have done a range of initiatives based on what police and policing agencies have asked for us to put in place. Whether it is changing the criminal code, whether it is putting in place peer assisted care teams to deal with those mental health calls, whether it is the expansion of the car program for example.”
Farnworth noted that all of those things are designed to help the police keep our communities safe.
He also vowed to continue to do that work, and coupled with the programs on mental health and addictions and housing, he said it was a multi-pronged approach to deal with the situation that communities such as Quesnel are facing.