MLP commits to Anti-Gang Programs, Cracking Down on Illicit Drug Sales & Creating Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Teams
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -
Manitoba Liberals announced further planks from the justice and community safety platform today: a plan to reduce Manitoba’s soaring crime rate by protecting youth from gangs and recruiters, cracking down on illicit drug sales, and freeing up police resources by creating mental health and addictions crisis teams who are trained to de-escalate situations, assist in wellness checks, and deal with people in crisis.
“The PCs cut and froze everything from prevention through to police, prosecution, prisons, while cutting funding to programs designed to keep people who’ve done their time on the straight and narrow. This is a crime wave directly caused by seven years of PC cuts and freezes to every single part of the system designed to keep Manitobans safe,” said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party. “We need to put money into keeping people safe, preventing people from getting hurt and into breaking up criminal gangs. That’s what the Manitoba Liberals are offering – a real choice, and real change on community safety.”
Manitoba Liberals Will:
Increase funding to community safety organizations like Bear Clan and create non-police mental health and addictions crisis teams to work in tandem with law enforcement agencies across the province, with a focus on de-escalation. People in a mental health or addictions crisis who are not breaking the law need treatment, not a jail cell.
Divert people away from gangs towards a better path, especially by treating outbreaks of violence in the community on a public health model.
Protect children and youth from recruiters and gangs by funding safe places and with enhanced community recreation programs where young people can gather to work and play together.
Restore youth justice committees province-wide.
Crack down on illicit drug sales in the community as well as online. We will strengthen the legislative authority of the Liquor Gaming, and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba to ensure they are inspecting and prosecuting illicit sales of cannabis to protect the legal market. The PC Government has made no effort whatsoever to enforce or inspect storefronts and online vendors engaged in illicit cannabis sales.
Statistics Canada has reported in 2023 that Northern Manitoba has one of the highest rural crime rates in all of Canada. Winnipeg continues to have one of the highest urban crime rates across the country.
The total crime rate in Winnipeg has risen by more than 25%, while the violent crime rate has gone up nearly 20%. Furthermore, property crimes have increased to over 32% since 2021.
While Manitobans have seen crime rates rise across the province, both Brian Pallister’s and Heather Stefanson’s governments cut or froze funding to every aspect of justice – prevention, police, prosecutors and jails. Even support programs for former inmates were cut. Budgets to municipalities, which fund police, were frozen for seven years straight. More than two dozen crown prosecutors have resigned in the last three years.
Crime was also out of control under the NDP, who spent 17 years ignoring requests from community and activists to lift people out of poverty. The NDP left EIA rates at 1986 levels, and for their entire time in office, Manitoba had the worst child and family poverty in Canada. In 2012, after three Indigenous women were murdered, the NDP Government was asked to call a provincial inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and refused.
“People have the right to feel safe in their communities,” said Cindy Lamoureux, Manitoba Liberal Candidate for Tyndall Park. “We need to do more with respect to making our communities safer, including restoring community policing and reinstating youth justice committees.”
“As the chapter founder of NorthWest Bear Clan Patrol, I have seen firsthand the issues on our streets have gotten worse in Winnipeg and across the province,” said Garry Alejo, Manitoba Liberal Candidate for Burrows. “We have a chance to make our communities and our streets safe with these initiatives announced today.” The Manitoba Liberals were the first party to announce they will build provincial half-way houses, emergency shelters for women and children escaping domestic violence in Thompson, Brandon and Winnipeg, and fund 50% of the search of the Prairie Green Landfill.