So let it be written…
I thought I’d have a proper look at our four local MPs’ websites the other day, seeing as the two Tory MPs have been deathly quiet about this never-ending stream of shootings here in Surrey and North Delta.
This snapshot look was done the day after there were two more shootings in Surrey, making for the 24th and 25th since the beginning of March.
The Tory MPs’ silence is ironic, really, considering their roots. The Conservative Party’s ancestor, the Reform party, was all about slamming the federal Liberal governments of the time for not doing enough to fight crime.
Anyway, here’s what I found.
The New Democrat MPs have been going gangbusters on the matter, no pun intended.
The first item on New Democrat Jinny Sims’ site was "Conservative budget ignores gang violence in Surrey." This is what you’d expect from a member of the Official Opposition. Sims is the MP for Newton-North Delta, where the lion’s share of shootings has been.
Jasbir Sandhu, New Democrat MP for Surrey North, dedicated the first three items on his website to the shootings: "MP questions government on Surrey shootings," and "In the House – Question on Surrey shootings," and "Conservative Budget ignores gang violence in Surrey."
They’ve also been pelting me with emails on the subject, saying they’ve been advocating for Surrey residents in the House of Commons. In Sims’ press release, entitled "NDP demands immediate action on Surrey gang crisis," she charges, verbatim, that the Conservative government’s silence on the issue of escalating gang violence in Surrey continues to put communities at risk.
She points to the government’s obligation.
"Why bother having a Minister for Public Safety if they have no intention of prioritizing public safety?" Sims asked. "People are scared and the community is devastated."
While this column might read like an election advertisement for the NDP, it’s not. I am not a member of any political party, nor do I want to be. But I do know what an Opposition politician’s function is, and in this case Sims and Sandhu are clearly doing what they’re supposed to do by holding the government’s feet to the fire.
Now, let’s have a look-see at the Tories’ websites.
To her credit, the foremost item on Nina Grewal’s website was her private member’s statement on crime. In it, the Conservative MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells notes her constituents are "concerned about the crime epidemic in Surrey."
She says the Tories have passed more than 30 new measures to fight crime, and then takes a shot at the Liberals and NDP for having "opposed and obstructed" her government "every step of the way." Which, of course, is the opposition’s role.
Grewal concluded that British Columbians "know that it is only this Prime Minister and this Conservative Government who can be trusted to protect them from violent crime."
Hmmm, is that so? Better get at it, then.
Next, we turn to Russ Hiebert’s website. No mention of crime. Instead, we see some budget stuff, a thing on the Prime Minister’s volunteer awards, and he’s also posted a news story about his private member’s bill calling for full disclosure of union spending. Because, as we know, keeping those diabolical unions under scrutiny is much more important than preventing more shoot-em-ups on Surrey’s streets.
Oh, as we head down the page there’s also a thing about the Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale meeting Bill Gates in Ottawa, accompanied by a fine handshake photo.
Stop the presses. At least he spared us postcard pictures from all those international trips he’s taken on our dime.
Hopefully our local Tory MPs will get in the game here, before someone else is shot.
…So let it be done.
Tom Zytaruk can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org