January 15, 2020
WINNIPEG - Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface and Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, says the Pallister Government is shirking its responsibility on public safety by handing off responsibility for a promised "Crime Summit" to the Retail Council of Canada.
In November, business groups, labour groups, and all opposition parties called on the PCs to have "Crime Summit," to deal with an epidemic of organized thefts, the meth crisis, safety in downtown Winnipeg, and the worst-ever year for homicides in Winnipeg.
"The PCs are ignoring crime unless it happens to a business - so home break-ins, car thefts, smashed windows and murders are not going to be addressed," said Lamont. "No one wants a repeat of last year, but there's no indication this government is serious about changing course."
In Lamont's constituency of St. Boniface, which shares two bridges with downtown, property crime was up 300%. Last year, a man in his 70s was carjacked in broad daylight.
The Downtown Safety Report, prepared by David Asper, left out the Winnipeg Police, and only applied to "downtown" - ignoring affected neighbourhoods nearby. Once it was released, the government refused to commit to funding any of it.
Lamont said a larger crime summit that brings together elected officials and communities is still required.
"We need a public meeting where citizens have an opportunity to raise issues with elected officials and decision makers, not just consultants," said Lamont. "We need to talk about prevention, policing, and how to pay for it. We're getting none of that."