OTTAWA—Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is promising more money for police to combat gun and gang violence and says he will audit Canadian jail programs to make sure inmates are ready to rejoin society when their sentences are up.
Scheer released the third and final part of his public-safety policy yesterday.
He said he has heard from Canadians who are concerned about a surge in gun violence this year and believes the best way to address these concerns is to better equip police with the tools they need to do their jobs.
“Canadians are more and more worried about the safety of their streets. My plan for a safer Canada will restore Canadians' faith in the system once again,” Scheer said in Winnipeg.
Scheer is promising new funding and grants for police, stronger background checks for people seeking gun licences and a 25 percent boost to the youth gang-prevention fund.
The Conservative leader says he will also audit the $60 million spent every year on prisoner job- and skills-training programs to measure their effectiveness.
Scheer announced the first two parts of his public-safety plan last month, in which he outlined more punitive measures for members of gangs and crime organizations. He has also taken a strong stance against the push for a handgun ban coming from some of Canada's largest cities, including Toronto, which is having its deadliest year for shootings since 1991.
Banning handguns would penalize law-abiding gun owners, Scheer has said, and instead he's promoting policy ideas that target criminals who use weapons illegally.
But the Liberals say the Conservative “guns and gangs” policies duplicate many initiatives already announced by the Trudeau government as part of its own $327-million plan, which is also aimed at combating gun smuggling into Canada.
The Conservative proposals try to sound tough but won't make a dent in gun violence on Canadian streets, said Scott Bardsley, press secretary for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
“Most of (Scheer's) policies propose penalties for activities that are already serious criminal offences, like gun smuggling, diverting legal guns to the black market and ordering gang crimes. All are already illegal and carry serious penalties,” Bardsley said.