A candidate for the leadership of the United Conservative Party is promising a tough approach to crime if he ever becomes premier.
Brian Jean says he would target dangerous offenders.
“Well, first of all, we need to make sure that we identify the dangerous offenders at every step of the trial. We already have a dangerous offender designation for judges, but what we need to do is to make sure that when these people are sent to jail, they’re either re-trained and able to come back into society, prepared to take a job and to contribute to society or they are left in jail to complete their sentence.”
Jean says such offenders could be followed though the probation and parole process, one-on-one counselling and digital tracking devices could also be used, if necessary.
He adds he is very concerned about increasing use of opioids.
“We’re seeing about a death a day now in Alberta and it’s very, very troubling. What we need to do is make sure we have an education process because this isn’t about taking a needle, this is about a product that is available everywhere in Alberta and we need to make sure we educate young people, because most of the time, they don’t even know that they’re actually taking fentanyl or other drugs that are laced with fentanyl.”
Jean says there needs to be an education process in schools, that convicted traffickers should stay in jail as long as possible and that addicts need to be provided with support to get off drugs.
He also thinks Alberta needs more crown prosecutors, who need better training and pay.
“We need more judges at both the Queen’s Bench level and the provincial level and we need to make sure we have enough to take care of the backlog. We’ve just seen over 200 cases in Alberta be thrown as a result of not enough resources made available to them and that’s unacceptable.”
Jean says violent and property crimes are up in rural Alberta by about 23 per cent. The recent Crime Severity Index numbers from Statistics Canada showed decreases in most communities in the Peace in 2016 compared to 2015.