Homicide police investigate shooting at a gas station in September. There have been 16 homicides in Surrey in 2019. (Shane MacKichan photo)

Surrey MLA says EHT tax causing police funding cuts

Marvin Hunt says Employer Health Tax is ‘hammering’ schools, hospitals, law enforcement

Surrey Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt charges that the NDP government’s Employer Health Tax is resulting in deep funding cuts to policing services while this city and others experience “escalating” gang crime and shootings.

“These cuts run contrary to the responsibility of government to ensure public safety,” the Surrey-Cloverdale MLA said. “It is clearly laid out in the Police Act that the minister must uphold adequate and effective policing levels throughout British Columbia. How are these cuts acceptable?”

homelessphoto

Marvin Hunt

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the provincial government is working with the RCMP “to address the pressure and to find solutions that do not affect public safety.”

Farnworth was speaking to news of a projected $10 million cut from the RCMP’s provincial budget.

“Just to be clear, the projected deficit has been communicated to government by the RCMP,” Farnworth told the Now-Leader, in an emailed statement Thursday. “Budgetary constraints and inflationary impacts have been managed by the RCMP for a number of years through various financial management controls.”

Hunt said that in June the Victoria Police Department axed its crime reduction unit to afford the NDP’s Employer Health Tax. According to a BC Liberal press release, the RCMP cuts will “limit funding” for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

But Farnworth doesn’t accept that. “The impacts are now becoming increasingly difficult for RCMP to manage and we are working with them to address the pressure and to find solutions that do not affect public safety. This has not impacted significant and continued provincial and federal investments into gangs and organized crime initiatives over several years to bolster the response to guns and gangs and enhance the safety of our communities.”

homelessphoto

Mike Farnworth

Hunt said the EHT tax is “hammering” schools, hospitals and law enforcement organizations.

“As crime rates rise and communities become less safe,” he said, “it seems that all the NDP can do is shrug their shoulders and rake in more taxes.”

Farnworth noted there is “no quick fix” to gun and gang violence.

“It has deep roots requiring a multi-pronged strategy over the long term. Government will build upon successes and work to address current challenges in disrupting gang and gun violence in our communities,” the minister said. “The comprehensive strategy involves focused and sustained initiatives over several years to bolster the response to guns and gangs and enhance the safety of our communities.”

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP doesn’t expect big hit in light of projected $10M cut in B.C. budget

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey firefighters battle truck, trailer fires in Brownsville

One man was take to Surrey Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Volunteers sought for Delta food security program

Earthwise Society looking for help as Shared Harvest program expands to serve North Delta

PHOTOS: B.C. Day long weekend on White Rock beach

Hundreds of families gathered at the beach Sunday

Seeds of Change Surrey to launch two new programs

United Way of the Lower Mainland donated $77,000

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs fire ‘out of control’

Blaze grew from 1.5 hectares to 10 hectares overnight

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read

l -->