If he had lived in any province other than British Columbia, Ed Schellenberg would still be alive, his family says.
The 55-year-old repairman and another innocent victim were killed with four gang associates who – given their criminal history – should have been in prison when they were gunned down, says Steve Brown, Schellenberg’s brother-in-law.
“There’s a major flaw in the way the provincial government administers the justice system here,” and people are dying because of it, Brown said Wednesday.
Thursday in Vancouver, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to propose tougher measures to crack down on gang violence here.
The proposed legislation, which includes mandatory prison terms for drive-by shootings and drug crimes, will help make sure people – like those with whom Schellenberg was killed – are kept off the streets.
Two of the men killed in the Surrey apartment with Schellenberg had what Brown called “shocking” criminal records, including beating a teenager to death and 48 other federal charges.
“Every day (in B.C.) there are instances of people who have been charged with serious federal offences who have not gone through federal court,” he said. “So many (sentences) are being rubber-stamped behind close doors.”
Brown said he supports any move to impose tougher sentences, but is frustrated there’s been no impetus to change the system until now.
“This (slow process) has outraged (victims’) families. Four innocent people have been taken out because of this gang war and we have had to just scream bloody murder to get any kind of movement from the government,” he said.
“We feel we have to put our lives on hold to be this catalyst for change. (Victims) should be the last people who should be standing up (calling for change). Other people should be coming and helping us.”