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Letter to the Editor – Supporting Victims of Crime

May 18, 2023 – Ottawa, ON

May 14 to 20 is National Survivors and Victims of Crime week. It is well reported that violent
crime across Canada has drastically gone up 32% over the past eight years. Violent crime in
cities makes the headlines. However similar increases of crime in rural communities often go

Being a victim of any type of crime in rural areas can have harmful impacts on one’s
psychological, mental and physical health. Break-ins and property theft can be devastating to
one’s sense of safety and protecting one’s family. Particularly when you know that access to
justice and help in rural areas is far more difficult to access.

A few years ago, I surveyed constituents in our riding and the results were jarring. Fifty percent
of households had experienced a property crime in the past two years and 80% had neighbours
who had been the victim in the same time period.

The perpetrators committing these crimes make up a small portion of the population, but
because of the Liberal government’s catch-and-release bail policies in Bill C-75, these repeat
offenders are continually released back onto the street with no accountability. Recently
Barrhead RCMP Detachment commander Sgt. Bob Dodds shared the challenges they face with
local repeat offenders and the need to fix the bail system.

The Liberals have also encouraged the erosion of trust in our law enforcement who work hard
everyday to keep us safe. This needs to change and we need to restore confidence in the rule
of law and encourage all crimes to be reported.

I am committed to working with my Conservative colleagues to stand up for victims of crime and
undue the terrible policies of the Trudeau government.

A Conservative government will bring home safe communities with a focus on jail, not bail, for
repeat violent offenders, ending the catch-and-release approach, banning taxpayer-funded hard
drugs, and funding treatment and recover programs.

To victims of crime, know that we stand with you and will always put your rights and safety first.

Arnold Viersen, MP
Peace River – Westlock