Mr. Speaker, violent crime is rising in big cities and rural regions alike. Rhonda owns a country store in a community of 10 people. Since 2019, she has been the victim of three armed robberies: one with a knife, one with a machete, and one with a gun. She says, “I live alone and my house and store are attached. My fear is always with me. I can't go home and forget. I see a therapist to help me get through it all and just as I start to get my life back, I get robbed again.”
Rhonda wants tougher sentences to stop repeat offences and better enforcement of court ordered restitution, instead of victims being forced to relive their trauma and chase cases through civil courts. Rhonda is in a wheelchair now because she fell and broke several bones during one attack. She says, “I live in fear every day, but I won't sell my store. If I give up, the criminals will have won. I can't let that happen.”
It is appalling that her experiences are becoming common in Lakeland. The NDP and Liberals should have her back, but instead they are reducing penalties for the very crimes against her. At least Conservatives stand with brave, innocent victims and all law-abiding Canadians like Rhonda. We will keep fighting for them.