Tory MP outlines his party's plan to tackle auto thefts

Stopping auto theft

Unless you've been a victim of auto theft, it's likely not something you've given much thought to.

However, for those who have experienced this, it's a deeply invasive crime that often results in serious inconvenience and significant financial loss.

Unfortunately, as many large insurance companies have noted, rising vehicle theft costs lead to higher insurance premiums. This is especially relevant to British Columbians, as we have a Crown corporation, ICBC, which holds a monopoly over auto insurance and rampant auto thefts negatively affect all drivers in our province.

Since the Trudeau government took office in 2015, vehicle theft has risen by 34% across Canada. In 2022, the cost of car theft to the Canadian insurance industry was estimated to exceed $1 billion annually.

A recent National Post column critiqued the government's implementation of Bill C-75, stating: “Bill C-75, passed in 2019, legislated a ‘principle of restraint” for police and courts to ensure that release at the earliest opportunity is favoured over detention. In essence, it made bail and community sentencing more accessible, including for car thieves. Thus, connecting (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau to an uptick in crime isn't incorrect — repeat offenders might not have been out in the community committing more crimes if not for these policies.”

The primary role of the official Opposition is to hold the government accountable for the consequences of its legislation and actions.

However, I believe that beyond this challenge function, Canadians also expect us, whenever possible, to provide solutions as we critique government bills and decisions.

This week, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, introduced a common sense plan detailing the measures a Conservative government would take against auto theft.

Here's what the plan proposes:

• Increase the mandatory minimum penalty for a third offence of motor vehicle theft from six months to three years.

• Eliminate the option for house arrest if convicted of motor vehicle theft via indictment.

• Establish a new, specific aggravating factor when motor vehicle theft is committed to benefit organized crime.

• Revoke the catch-and-release rules in Bill C-75 to ensure repeat offenders receive jail time instead of bail.

Additionally, the plan proposes investing in state-of-the-art x-ray equipment for rapid container scanning at our four major federal ports in Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert, and Halifax. We plan to purchase 24 scanners in total.

We also propose the establishment of a dedicated team of CBSA officers to operate these scanners, aiming to intercept stolen cars before they leave Canada. Under our plan, we aim to hire 75 border agents to enhance the security of our federal ports against crime.

In contrast, the government has promised to host an upcoming "summit". It reportedly plans to meet with industry executives, police and members of the Canada Border Services Agency to devise a strategy.

However, one might question why, after eight years in power, it has only now decided to host a meeting to formulate a plan.

That brings me to my three questions for this week:

Have you, or anyone you know, been affected by auto theft? Do you believe it warrants more attention from the federal government? Why or why not?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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