Harper set to announce major gang crime changes
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is heading to B.C. on Wednesday to propose tough new anti-gang laws -- and CTV News has the details in advance.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Harper will be in Vancouver announcing several key changes to toughen those laws and crackdown on gangs.
The first change will be an automatic charge of first-degree murder for any gang-related killing.
The next is a new criminal code offence for drive-by shootings.
And the third -- perhaps the most important -- mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes. That includes drug trafficking and running large scale drug labs and grow ops.
There is no denying the gang bloodshed happening on Vancouver streets in recent weeks.
Whether you live in Langley or Vancouver, Abbotsford or Coquitlam gangland bloodshed has become an all too familiar scene.
Last week, the federal public safety minister, Peter Van Loan, dubbed the Lower Mainland "the gang capital of Canada."
Up until this point, police and the courts have appeared powerless to do anything about it, handcuffed by what many consider lax laws from the federal government.
The federal government has decided it's time for that to end, leading to Harper's upcoming announcement.
On Monday, Van Loan set the stage for the announcement.
"The wave of gang killings in British Columbia right now is driven by criminal organizations that all function on the drug trade. It is the drug trade that's at the core of that violence, that's making those communities unsafe and that's why we need to give police the tools they need in the form of mandatory prison sentences for drug crimes," he said.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart.