A Convenient Truth

The following quotes, seen on a web site this past week, are very strong indicators of what’s happening in Manitoba.

The first quote, which is from PC justice critic Kelvin Goertzen, shows he is very frustrated by the government’s lack of action on gang related killings in Winnipeg. “How many more innocent people have to be killed?” said Goertzen. His quote expresses not only his own sentiments but that of the majority of Manitbans.

Justice minister Dave Chomiak said the province is working on a strategy similar to a project that has helped crack down on auto thieves, however the details are still in the works. “You can’t take a strategy that applies to 150 auto theft people, and overnight make it apply to gang members,” Chomiak said. Chomiak’s answer to gangs is to convert the car theft unit to gang fighting.

The car thieves will be happy to hear that.

The second quote shows that once again the Manitoba government either doesn’t know what it’s doing or is willfully ignoring the severity of the situation. It is my long standing belief that the Manitoba government knows exactly what it’s doing. It was only after Manitoba and Winnipeg became the long standing car theft capital of Canada that the auto theft unit was brought into action and car thefts went down. Car thefts went down because of a very simple process. Car thieves were put in jail. Some thieves were stealing multiple cars per day. In fact, the biggest drop in car thefts can be attributed to taking a very few chronic thieves off the streets. The NDP government will claim that anti-theft devices and education brought great benefits. They may have helped, but the basic fact is car thieves can’t steal cars when they are in jail. Period.

The government could do the same thing with gangs. It’s called arrest, hold, put on trial, convict and keep them in jail. It’s a very simple process. So why does it take so long for the government to act on car thefts or on gang related activity?

The answer may be astonishingly simple. If the NDP government doesn’t clamp down on gangs, is it because the gangs, the criminal element in Manitoba, have an unspoken understanding with the government. Perhaps the government goes easy on gangs and only acts on some severe cases like murder. In turn, the gangs make sure that their support, the support of everybody they touch, goes to the government.

I have no doubt that both with and without the NDP government’s knowledge the gangs, the criminal element, do everything they can to keep governments soft on crime. I have been personally told of a heavy gang and criminal involvement in many parts of government. Sometimes the involvement is very direct in influence.

However there is a greater security blanket wrapped around our criminal element, a second wrap of insulation. That security blanket is the “soft” approach that we have all come to condone and implement in legislation. That includes the very soft and ineffective youth justice systems and the “catch and release” adult justice system. Our whole approach to crime and immorality is soft, fuzzy and ill-defined. We laugh at crime, at drugs, at prostitution. Yes, we even treat murder lightly. We excuse it by saying victims were in the wrong places at the wrong time. Or perhaps the victim was “just some poor aboriginal girl” who went astray.

Shame on us. Shame and shame again. Murder is never excusable, ever. It doesn’t matter who it is, whose kid is victimized or what mistakes they may have made, murder is never excusable. And it’s definitely never a matter of humour.

The basic problem is that in Manitoba we have soft leadership on crime prevention and punishment. The NDP have had 10 years to do a better job. The areas that elect NDP members have the highest crime rates. Across the province, you can take the crime stats maps and overlay them on the election map with a high degree of accuracy. Is it only a coincidence? Could it be that the criminal element knows how to support the NDP and could it be that the NDP leadership knows not to go too hard on crime? It would be a convenient arrangement for both sides. The NDP get to stay in power and the criminal element stays in control of the streets.

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kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247