Residents gathered in front of Quesnel City Hall for a Quesnel in Action rally at the end of August to show their concern about crime in the community. Another rally is taking place in front of the provincial court building Monday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Lindsay Chung photo

Quesnel in Action courthouse rally planned for Sept. 23

Public Safety Opposition Critic MLA Mike Morris says community rallies like this make a difference

A second Quesnel in Action rally will take place Monday, Sept. 23 in front of the provincial court building.

Citizens are planning to gather at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the need for tougher sentences for repeat offenders as well as the need for more resources for Crown Counsel. This will be the second Quesnel in Action rally in a month, following a gathering to raise concerns about increasing crime Aug. 27 in front of City Hall that attracted about 150 people.

Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris, the Opposition Public Safety and Solicitor General Critic, was in Quesnel Wednesday, Sept. 18, and he says rallies like this “definitely” do make a difference because he believes any solutions are going to come from the community itself.

“Anything that happens needs to be community-led,” he said. “The community has a duty to be informed, and the politicians are involved to remove any barriers that are in the way. We have a lot of smart people. There are folks out there who, all they need is to start working with other people, and that synergy will start producing good results.”

Morris says it has been proven in the past that citizens getting together and spreading a message can make a difference, as we wouldn’t have Northern Health or University of Northern B.C. if we hadn’t had community rallies.

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes has noticed the Quesnel in Action movement is bringing forward new people who are wanting to create change.

“We are seeing new faces emerge out of these rallies,” she said. “I think there’s a real opportunity for them to feel re-connected to their community.”

Morris says that society has defaulted to the police and court system to look after people who are mentally ill and addicted, and while people may look at somebody’s sentence and feel it doesn’t fit the crime, the courts are saying that person shouldn’t have been in court in the first place.

“I think we need to take that message and look at implementing a restorative justice system tailored for the community utilizing all these services … and keep them out of the courts because we are not going to be happy with the decisions out of the courts,” he said. “There’s no magic wand. I think as we move forward in the next decade or so, I think communities need to take a more collaborative approach to public safety and perhaps change the structure of public safety provincially as well. There’s a lot of support to move toward an integrated approach to public safety where we integrate resources with B.C. Housing, police, Mental Health, community groups. That provides more opportunity to tailor responses to individual needs.”

Morris thinks an inventory of what is available and what services are missing and then working to fill those gaps is needed.

“But we need to work with what’s in our basket,” he said. “Just because we don’t’ have the resources isn’t an excuse to do nothing.”

While Morris was in Quesnel, he and Oakes met with concerned citizens about rising concerns around crime and met with the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce. Morris, who is also the Critic for Emergency Management, also met with local residents who were impacted by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires and floods.

Oakes says when it comes to gaps in services, recovery beds and long-term recovery beds are desperately needed in the north.

“It is very difficult to find somebody to get them in a facility,” she said. “There are a lot of barriers right now.”

READ MORE: ‘We want to feel safe in our community again’

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Quesnel women to recap Mont Blanc trip at Cariboo Ski Touring Club AGM

Cook and Turlet took a 10-day, 175-kilometre hike through France, Italy and Switzerland

Free transit in Quesnel on election day

There is free transit on all routes for Monday, Oct. 21

Quesnel Prospectors Car Club donates money to worthy causes

Special Olympics and school lunch programs receive $750 each

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read