Brampton - Over the years, it has been an honour and pleasure to call Brampton my home. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country there are few other places in Canada with neighbourhoods that boast so many hard working families and such a rich multicultural dynamic. Our city has become the symbol of hope for so many. However, the recent deaths of youth in Brampton have caused fear, angst, and anguish amongst those living in our community. These senseless acts of violence across Brampton have left many residents shocked, dismayed and with a feeling of profound sadness. From youths being killed by gangs to people dying as a result of drunk drivers, families and community members are suffering.
To remedy this situation, Bramptonians must come together with heir elected officials at all levels of government, community leaders, and Peel police to take a stand against violence in our city.
What we need, is a comprehensive crime strategy that is committed to putting more police officers on our streets, more prosecutors in the courts, and protecting the most vulnerable, including children and seniors.
We must ensure our police officers have the resources and tools they need to do their job and must demand government bring forward legislation which will make people think twice about their actions.
But more importantly, to ensure the safety of Bramptonians, we need an effective program to fight crime that has the input and involvement of youth. Spending money today on skills-training to provide youth with more opportunities and involving them in strategies to fight crime, is money that will not have to be spent in later years on prisons.
To help jump-start this process, I have created a Youth Advisory Council, which gives student representatives from every school in Brampton-Springdale, the opportunity to speak openly and directly to their elected officials and community organizations on issues such as violence, gangs and drugs in our schools and neighbourhoods.
It is my hope that the Brampton-Springdale Youth Advisory Council will empower students, community members and elected officials to stand up against violence in Brampton. The Youth Advisory Council will work closely with all stakeholders and organizations to discuss strategies for the prevention of crime, initiatives for creating a safe city, and rehabilitation of criminals.
As we continue work with youth, we must also ensure our government is acting on important legislation to protect our communities.
Currently the Liberal Party is trying to put an end to violence in our neighbourhoods by fast-tracking Justice Legislation. Unfortunately, many of these bills have not moved forward because of the refusal of the Conservatives to move quickly.
Last week Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale and Justice Critic Marlene Jennings renewed calls for the government to accept the Liberal offer to pass Criminal Justice Legislation as quickly as possible to protect Canadian communities. I along with my Liberal colleagues have been asking the Conservative government to fast track legislation which would raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16, increase penalties for impaired driving and reverse onus for bail hearings. However, despite continued persistence these bills have yet to be put into law. As every day goes by we are losing time.
In fact, last fall we offered our support to the government to pass six criminal justice bills as quickly as possible, but rather than accept our offer, the Conservatives chose to fast track only one of the bills. The result of these delay tactics is that Canadians are without effective legislation. Political gamenship and partisanship need to be put aside so we can do what's in the best interest of hard working Canadian families. We need effective legislation which will get results immediately. Bramptonians and all Canadians deserve better.
Bramptonians need better leadership from the current government when it comes to fighting crime. We need a government that will listen to the needs of Canadians and act quickly. Please know that I am committed to continue fighting on behalf of the residents of Brampton-Springdale to ensure our concerns in Parliament are recognized. On behalf of my constituents and the victims I continue to speak and raise these issues in Parliament. While this fight continues, I need the help of all Bramptonians to help reach out to our young people.
I need the support of parents, teachers and community members, to encourage students to become active citizens of Brampton. I am personally challenging youth and residents across Brampton to become engaged and empowered citizens. The first step you can take in doing this: log on to my website (www.rubydhalla.ca), fill out a volunteer form and join the Youth Advisory Council.
I am committed to working with the residents of Brampton to address the issue of violence and speak up in Parliament for the safety of our community, an issue the Conservative government has chosen to ignore. I hope you will join me in taking a stand against violence and help us all realize our vision of a safer and stronger Brampton community.