Last week, I was very pleased to support a motion by my Conservative colleague, MP Shannon Stubbs, calling for a study of the growing problem of rural crime. I was even more pleased to see the motion pass with unanimous, all-party support.
I seconded Motion 167, which calls for an in-depth study of rural crime rates and trends as well as the current resources available for rural policing and whether they are sufficient.
Far too often I hear from Provencher residents who have been victims of rural crime. Whenever I read the news it seems as though there is always an incident of crime somewhere in southeast Manitoba.
Many residents tell me about their particular experiences including home invasions, theft from farms or stolen tools and equipment from construction sites.
Sadly, this is a trend that is growing across Canada, leaving many rural Canadians feeling unsafe.
The members of the RCMP do great work in our riding and in rural areas across Canada but I suspect the study will show that part of the problem is a lack of staffing for rural detachments. In too many cases rural Canadians are left waiting for RCMP to arrive due simply to physical distance between them and a detachment.
Many rural detachments cover huge areas and do not have a sufficient number of officers to adequately deal with incidents. If it’s a busy night or if there are more serious crimes, or if a dispatcher cannot guarantee the officer’s safety, rural Canadians will sometimes wait hours for help to arrive: Help that comes too late to protect them or their property. This is a concern that has been expressed to me by several RCMP detachments as well as by many constituents.
A national study is the first step towards understanding the full scope of the problem and working together to find a real and tangible solution to improve crime prevention in rural areas.
I am thankful to the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and to the majority of RM’s in our riding who endorsed the call for a study.
It is my hope that the Public Safety and National Security Committee will get to work on this important issue before the end of this session. For my part, I will continue to advocate for the interests of the people of Provencher.