Red Deer-Lacaombe MP Blaine Calkins. Black Press file photo

MP Blaine Calkins tables rural crime bill

Bill C-458 was tabled Friday, and proposes to amend the Criminal Code to account for rural residents

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons to protect rural residents from the increase in crime.

Bill C-458 was tabled in the House of Commons on June 14, and it proposed amending the Criminal Code to add evidence an offence was “directed at a property or person that was vulnerable because of their remoteness from emergency services as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes.”

Calkins says this would mean longer sentences for criminals who target people living in remote or rural areas.

“I’m tabling this bill now; because the Liberal dominated public safety committee didn’t offer any real solutions in their two page report on the study of rural crime. I find this to be an appalling lack of sensitivity, and victims in rural areas deserve better” said Calkins.

A task force was created in 2017 by the Alberta Conservative Members of Parliament representing rural areas.

The Members of Parliament worked with Albertans concerned about rural crime.

Through this collaboration, a 30-page report was created.

A key messages the Members of Parliament heard throughout the consultations was a need to stop the “revolving door” of repeat offenders in our justice system, Calkins said.

“I am very proud to have tabled Bill C-458 on behalf of the thousands of Albertans who have been victimized, sometimes repeatedly, by criminals who purposely target law-abiding citizens living in rural or remote areas.” said Calkins.

Earl Dreeshen, MP for Red Deer-Mountain View, who second the bill in the House of Commons, says criminals are getting smarter in who they pick to prey on.

He said criminals know the property being targeted in remote and away from emergency services, such as the police.

“Bill C-458 will require the courts to consider this intentional act during sentencing,” said Dreeshen.

The first reading of Bill C-458 was given in the House of Commons on June 14.

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