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Editorial: Prolific offenders low priority in Victoria

David Eby's plan? Spend $50,000 to hire a retired Vancouver cop and a criminologist from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby to whip up a report in four months.
David Eby
B.C. Attorney General David Eby. File photo

Boy, B.C. Attorney General David Eby sure has a plan to deal with prolific offenders and restore some semblance of peace and order to downtown streets in Prince George, Terrace and elsewhere.

His plan? Spend $50,000 to hire a retired Vancouver cop and a criminologist from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby to whip up a report in four months. Travel to northern communities to see the problem for themselves? There’s no time or money for that!

Yet the problem is “solvable,” Eby insists. If it’s so easy to fix, why appoint these Lower Mainland experts to whip up this report? Why delay dealing with a problem he’s known about for years?

He’s not even convinced there’s a problem, noting there is a decline in property crime and that police around B.C. are bringing fewer cases forward to Crown Counsel to prosecute. He admitted the numbers might not tell the whole story but spent more time defending Crown prosecutors.

Eby has already tipped his hand what he wants the report to say.

Get ready for “we can’t do much, it’s the federal government’s fault” report.

“We know that there’s an issue of this group of people who are committing repeated offences and that the criminal justice system under the rules established by the federal government is not working to address these behaviours,” he said. “What we don’t know is within provincial authority, the best way to deal with that problem and that is the core question that I am asking these two individuals to answer.”

“Within provincial authority” are the three key words there. Put another way, Victoria’s response will be the equivalent of the Safe Streets Bylaw, the City of Prince George’s “within municipal authority” response last year. Just what we need – more policies and laws that look good on the books but aren’t enforced on the streets, which is where the problem is.

Victoria will throw some more money into mental health and addiction treatment programs but won’t have the nerve to make them mandatory and under lock and key until successful completion, if necessary. Forced medical treatment? Indefinite incarceration and institutionalization? Sounds like a constitutional and human rights challenge waiting to happen but it might wake up the woke Justin Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa, especially if several other provinces were to join the battle.

But let’s be real. Eby and Victoria aren’t really interested in addressing this problem and have shown 50,000 reasons why they’re just going to keep showing concern, looking busy and doing nothing.