Private member’s bill introduced by Western MP would target crime in rural areas

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A western Member of Parliament has introduced a private member’s bill that would more severely punish those accused of targeting remote and vulnerable people or properties.

Blaine Calkins is the MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, and on April 20th, brought Bill C-289 before parliamentarians that would allow sentencing to include quote-“evidence that an offence was directed at property or persons that were vulnerable because of their remoteness from emergency services”.

The proposal follows a study on rural crime in Canada that found crime in rural areas was a growing concern, although most of the study was conducted in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The bill also makes the existing aggravating factor for home invasion more applicable for rural crime by including outbuildings, such as barns and shops, as well as allowing the aggravating factor to be triggered by the presence of a weapon.

Calkins says many of his rural constituents continue to tell him that they don’t feel safe in their own homes, and that many have been victimized so often that they have given up reporting property crime.