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Crime bill needed, Findlay says

Conservative MP tells chamber of commerce luncheon that Ottawa is responding to what's happening on streets

Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay praised the federal government's new crime legislation at a Delta Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday in Ladner.

"Despite what our critics say, we believe in a balanced and comprehensive approach to justice, an approach that is responsive to what is actually happening on the streets," Findlay said.

The rookie Conservative MP, who has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, was the guest speaker at the business group's luncheon at the Delta Town & Country Inn.

She gave a breakdown of the nine different bills that are a part of the government's Safe Streets and Communities Act, which is now before the Senate.

"We hear a lot in the news that crime is down in overall statistics in Canada and why are you even looking at this," she said.

"Well, the fact of the matter is, that it's not down in all geographic areas and it's not down in all areas of crime," she said, noting child pornography and drug trafficking as examples.

"This bill, in particular, targets those two areas," she said.

Findlay said she's confident the steps the government is taking will lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness in the criminal justice system.

Findlay also discussed dredging during her speech and addressed the topic again in the question and answer period after local businessman Mike Owen brought it up.

"Those of us who live and work on the river are seeing a tremendous amount of strain on small and medium sized businesses and in residences having to deal with sediment," said Owen, who runs Ladner Reach Marina.

Findlay said dredging is a serious issue, but one that has been neglected.

She said she's had talks with the port about dredging and also discussed the topic with decision makers in Ottawa.

Dredging needs a joint focus from federal, provincial and municipal governments along with the port, she said.

"I think we need to come together and find the resources to do what absolutely has to be done."

Mayor Lois Jackson, who was in the audience, said there would be report coming to Delta council on Monday about the dredging situation.

Jackson, also in the question and answer session, brought up the topic of policing costs. She noted that communities served by the RCMP get a 10 per cent break in costs through Ottawa whereas communities like Delta, which has its own police department, don't get that break.

"We want to feel like we're all being dealt with the same and that the rules surrounding our police forces ... are all the same," Jackson said.

Findlay said she would take the message back to Ottawa.

dwillis@delta-optimist.com