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E-petition before Parliament calls for a police presence in Canada’s ports

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough says port policing is a priority issue for her
A report released last fall by Peter German and Associates for the City of Delta said that port police are needed. File Photo

An NDP MP is helping to lead the charge in Parliament for the re-establishment of police at Canada’s ports.

Freya Keddie, of Victoria, initiated the e-petition that’s being authorized by Esquimalt NDP MP Randall Garrison, for it to appear on the House of Commons website.

The petition calls for the Canadian government to restore a dedicated police service to reduce the flow of street drugs and to ensure that policing is always adequate, “to assess and deter criminal activity, including corruption and importation of contraband.”

It also calls for the same police to be set up at every deep-sea port in Canada that connects to the railway and highway system.

Metro Vancouver mayors agreed last November to write to provincial and federal governments on the issue.

A report released last fall by Peter German and Associates for the City of Delta said that port police are needed.

Delta Liberal MP Carla Qualtrough said in a statement to the Optimist that port safety and security is of the upmost importance, particularly given the strategic location of Deltaport and its important role in international trade for Canada.

“Our ports need to be properly resourced with dedicated police with expertise in port security, intelligence, investigation, and the specific criminal activities that happen in port environments, in particular organized crime,” she said. “Regardless of the specific delivery model, it needs specialized training, the appropriate authorities, adequate funding, and proper governance and oversight. There also must be an integrated and coordinated approach across police forces and jurisdictions.”

Qualtrough added that port security is a priority file that she continues to work on.

“I have spoken with the federal Minister of Public Safety about the need for port policing and provided him a copy of the Policing our Ports report commissioned by the City of Delta,” she said. “I will continue to advocate for this expertise within the broader Vancouver Port Authority to ensure that criminal activity is addressed, and citizens are kept safe.”

In Delta last year, 22 people died from illicit drug overdoses. The B.C. Coroner’s Service unregulated death report for 2023, shows a record number of deaths in the province with toxic drugs killing 2,511 people, five percent more than last year, with most caused by fentanyl.

“So here we are talking about a fentanyl crisis and everything that the provincial government is trying to do, yet the federal government is ignoring the fact that it’s an open season for the cartels and others to take advantage of lack of policing at the port to have their products put through and then supplied through the Lower Mainland and throughout the country,” said Mayor George Harvie said in an interview in December.

-With files from Ian Jacques