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Poilievre proposed mandatory prison terms for extortion PiPa News

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Poilievre proposed mandatory prison terms for extortion


Pierre Poilievre says a Conservative government would establish mandatory minimum prison sentences for anyone convicted of extortion.

The opposition leader said on Friday that extortion-related crime was on the rise, with police in several provinces dealing with organized crime threats against businesses.

Poilievre’s comments were made at a shopping center in Surrey, BC, where police say a business was shot up in November last year.

He said small businesses in communities like Surrey face increasing threats of violence, kidnapping, arson and shootings.

“This is crazy and it shouldn’t be happening in Canada,” he said.

The opposition leader favored the Liberal government’s changes to the Criminal Code in 2022 that scrapped some mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes, including the four-year minimum for extortion with a firearm.

However, there remains a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for first-time extortionists who use a prohibited or prohibited firearm, or who use any type of firearm for a criminal organization.

Poilievre said the Conservatives would impose mandatory minimum sentences of three years on anyone convicted of extortion, and five years for anyone found to be “acting for gangs or organized crime.”

He said his party’s plan would give police and prosecutors another tool to target “ringleaders” of criminal gangs, and restore the four-year mandatory minimum sentence for all extortionists. use a weapon, regardless of the type or situation.

Poilievre also said arson would be considered an “aggravating factor” in extortion cases, and there would be a change in what he called “catch and release” policing.

His comments come amid a wave of extortion, shooting and arson threats that police in the three provinces say have primarily targeted South Asian-owned businesses.

Poilievre said Canada needs a “stronger crackdown” on gangs that target vulnerable youth “whose families are under incredible pressure because their parents can’t make it.” to feed them.”

He said the rising cost of living has parents working multiple jobs, leaving their children vulnerable to recruitment from gangs who say “you join our gang, we will help your family in pay the bills.”

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down mandatory minimum sentences in the past for many drug and firearms offences, but Poilievre said his “proposals are Charter proof.”

“They respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we want laws that respect the rights of all Canadians, including and especially victims of crime,” he said.

Poilievre rejected the use of any constitutional clause, saying it was unnecessary.

“Everything I’m proposing is constitutional,” he said.

Police in at least three provinces are investigating extortion schemes targeting business owners in South Asian communities, a tactic investigators say is often used by organized crime groups. crime in the Indian state of Punjab.

In January, Edmonton police announced a series of arrests in connection with 18 extortion incidents in the region that they believe are tied to a series of arsons and drive-by shootings.

BC RCMP say extortionists looking for “protection money” have recently targeted businesses in Surrey, West Vancouver and White Rock.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 9, 2024.

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