Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Vancouver Thursday where he announced a proposal to crack down on gang crime by, among other things, instituting mandatory prison terms of four to 14 years for drive-by shootings.
He also suggested mandatory first-degree murder charges for gang murders and creating new offences for assaulting a police officer.
NDP MLA Don Davies said while the bill is a move in the right direction, it needs to be fast-tracked.
Dawn Black, NDP MLA for New Westminster-Coquitlam, added that Vancouverites are also in dire need of more police.
“We want tougher legislation to go after the proceeds of crime … and a comprehensive plan for preventing kids from joining gangs,” she said.
Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu, who was at the meeting, agreed the proposals will help, but echoed Black’s suggestion that legislators explore the path of early intervention.
“By the time a vulnerable youth has been recruited into the gangs, he’s long past caring about the threat of jail,” Chu said.