“If the bad guys are out there committing crime we are going to put them in jail.”
B.C.’s new public safety minister is talking tough about crime as he takes his new post.
Mike Morris, a former Mountie, says he wants to crack down on criminals in the drug trade right across the province because it “affects everything.”
“These low life cowards, is how I refer to them, that are involved in the drug trade and taking advantage of the addicted and the mentally ill they are going to go to jail. I have no doubt in my mind and that is part of my focus not only in Surrey, but throughout British Columbia here to make sure that these individuals who are taking advantage of vulnerable folks that we have in our society they are going to go to jail.”
Morris says he met with Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy and is confident the force is doing all it can to deal with a rash of gang and gun violence.
The new minister also talked about municipalities now having to pay for processing DNA evidence from crime scene.
“DNA evidence is part of a police investigation so, to me, it is part of the policing costs for the province and for the municipalities and all the jurisdictions that work under that contract. Bt I want to have a good look at it before I offer to much more on that.”
His predecessor,Suzanne Anton, told municipalities to take the issue to Ottawa even though local governments have a contract with the province, which then bargains with the feds for the RCMP services.
The Union of BC Municipalities calls this a “made in BC” problem, that it only happens in this province and no other.
Morris also wants to figure out a solution to deal with the small number of criminals responsible for a significant number of crimes.
He says repeat offenders are the bane of every law enforcement officer and community, and that the revolving door in the court system can be a challenge.
“That is a frustration. In my era when I was still in the force and it is still a frustration today. I think it is something that we need to sit down with the judiciary and see what we can do about it. Whether or not the judicial system is addressing some of the concerns in the communities that we operate I am not sure it is there.”
A report from the province last year found 90-percent of inmates in BC prisons spend less than two months behind bars.
The newly minted minister also has a simple philosophy on marijuana while Canada waits for the Trudeau government to fulfill its promise to legalize.
He says for pot dispensaries the rules are the rules.
“The bottom line for me is they need to be abiding by the law.”
That said Morris plans to ask Ottawa for a little clarification.
“I am going to be meeting with our federal counterparts to see what we can do to clarifiy a lot of issues that are out there. The position I am taking is that, again, there is a law in place and we are going to be enforcing that law.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instructed his Ministers of Justice, Public Safety, and Emergency Preparedness to pave the way to legalize pot.