Madam Speaker, in Lakeland this summer, the top concern was rural crime.
In 2015, Canada's crime index rose for the first time in 12 years. The biggest increase was in Alberta. It is getting worse. Small towns and rural areas are being hit especially hard with break-ins and robberies.
Rural Albertans are scared and angry. A constituent told me he has been robbed not once or even twice, but five times in the last three and half years in a town of 300. He says, “My concern is all the stealing. ... The RCMP do a fantastic job, but then these guys get to a judge and they are free soon after. I am just tired of being robbed and wonder what can be done. ... I know that we aren't the only place.”
This is happening to vulnerable families and businesses everywhere in Lakeland, at all hours of the night and in broad daylight. People are organizing crime watches and trying to protect themselves and their property.
Front-line officers do their best but are stretched thin. For instance, a four-member detachment in one part of Lakeland covers 1,800 square kilometres and 7,600 residents, rarely with two on duty at once.
I hope the Liberals will act to protect innocent residents, crack down on—