By KERRY DIOTTE
Member of Parliament
If you look up the definition in a dictionary of “giving back to the community” it should be accompanied by a picture of the Northlands organization beside the entry.
The not-for-profit agricultural society, located in my federal riding of Edmonton Griesbach, has been giving back to our community for longer than Edmonton has been a city.
There’s hardly a better example of the good work this organization does than Monday Morning Magic whereby children with special needs (and their friends and parents) get the run of the K-Days fair midway for free along with snacks, entertainment and more. It’s in cooperation with the rides company, North American Midway.
This year’s Monday Morning Magic was hampered by a downpour but Northlands officials and volunteers simply adapted and worked a little magic indoors where kids were treated to performances by the top dogs of Canine Stars.
There were mascots galore along with princesses, cartoon characters members of the Edmonton Eskimos football team and lots of men and women in uniform — all there to bring smiles to the faces of the excited kids on the 40th anniversary of this annual event.
A big tip of the hat to everyone who made this event a success that brought on so many smiles. A special thanks to Northlands and the volunteers who came out to help this year. They’re part of the hundreds and hundreds of loyal Northlands volunteers. I honestly don’t know what our community would do without them.
By KERRY DIOTTE
As a federal politician, crime, justice and community safety are almost always at the top of the list of concerns I hear about from people.
These topics have especially dominated the news and the minds of many people I’ve talked to lately.
Just the other day I met with constituents in my local office, both of whom were crying out for changes to the way we seek to have safer communities.
One 77-year-old man complained he and his wife had suffered 54 break-ins or petty crimes in and around their Londonderry area home since 1990.
Few people were arrested for the offences, despite the fact that he’s got scores of surveillance video, he told me.
What’s more, he said their farm in Mayorthorpe was hit by thieves and vandals who made off with $40,000 in stolen goods and did $30,000 in vandalism.
The man is upset there aren’t more police resources to probe such crimes. He figures Canada needs to toughen laws to put repeat offenders away for longer stretches. “It’s become a justice industry,” he says. “It’s not justice.”
A retired veteran of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) I met with the same day echoed similar frustration with the approach to public safety.
His concern centres around a lack of resources from the federal government to deal with people released from federal prisons, deemed to be high risk to re-offend “sexually or violently.”
The former EPS officer who’s still active in the criminal justice system says these high-risk ex-cons have typically been kept in prison until the last day of their sentences and don’t get the benefit of statutory release.
The former officer told me a trio of city police detectives in Edmonton do their best to supervise an average of 30 of these high-risk offenders who walk among us — a high percentage of those ex-cons being sex offenders.
The retired officer argues more resources are direly needed to stop these hardest of hardened ex-cons from re-offending. As proof the system isn’t working, he brought me a list of eight such, hard-core ex-cons who indeed did re-offend.
Those re-offences include the aggravated assault of a woman confined to a wheelchair, sex assaults against children under the age of 16 and several homicides, he said.
“If these cases are going to remain the responsibility of policing agencies across Canada, they need proper funding from the federal government for training and adequate personnel,” he said.
To me, that’s a no brainer.
The concerns of these two men are the tip of the iceberg. Recently Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons lamented that Canada has a “broken court system.”
Simons raised numerous concerns including that courts don’t have enough judges or other resources to deal with the workload.
I believe that’s particularly true because of a Supreme Court ruling called the Jordan decision. That ruling means accused criminals must get a trial is a timely manner or they must be released.
Canadians have already been shocked that several people charged with violent crimes didn’t get a trial fast enough and were released scott free.
Simons rightly a point out it’s a federal government responsibility to appoint federal judges and there are a whack of vacancies.
This is hardly news to our Conservative caucus.
We’ve been hammering at the federal Liberal justice minister for months now as vacancies for judges remained unfilled for no good reason.
When repeatedly questioned in the House of Commons by Conservative deputy justice critic Michael Cooper, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has blathered a lot of non-sensical excuses for the delay including talking about the fact we need to aim for “diversity” when hiring judges.
In my view, public safety can’t take a back seat when there aren’t enough judges appointed and people charged with murder and other violent crimes are walking free without being tried.
Another controversy keeping crime high on people’s radar was the recent defeat of Wynn’s Law by the federal Liberal majority government.
Backed by Conservatives, it would have closed a loophole in the law so that those applying for bail would have to have their criminal records and pending charges shown to a judge.
Liberals made a bogus argument that, somehow, disclosing someone’s criminal record or pending charges would bog down the justice system. Just TRY to figure out that loopy Liberal logic.
Violent crime has also been much on the minds of many in Edmonton, in part because the city had experienced more than two dozen homicides and 2017 is only half over. By June 29 the city had recorded its 25th murder.
The spike in murders was enough for police to call a news conference to ally public fears and reassure citizens the city is still relatively safe.
Given all these recent headlines, it’s understandable Canadians are worried about community safety and concerned not enough is being done by governments to assure the public.
Public safety should be a top priority for any government. Our Conservative opposition will continue to urge the Liberal government to fill vacancies in the federal courts and stand up for victims of crime and law-abiding Canadians.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts on these issues.
It’s been less than two years since October 2015’s election of a Liberal majority government. But as the latest House of Commons session drew to a close it was clear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party had broken many key campaign promises and disappointed Canadians as a government. Here is a Dirty Dozen of Liberal Lowlights:
- HEARTLESS: During his election campaign Trudeau was all about “sunny ways” and heartfelt hugs. But the Liberals were heartless in voting down Wynn’s Law, a bill that would have made it mandatory for judges to view an accused’s criminal record and any pending charges during bail hearings. Every Liberal in the House but one voted against the bill as widow Shelly Wynn sat in the gallery, tears streaming down her face. Her police officer husband was killed by a career criminal who’d been granted bail. Neither his criminal record nor his pending charges were revealed at that bail hearing.
- FLIGHTS OF FANCY: During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to hold an “open and transparent competition” to replace Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets excluding the Lockheed Martin F-35 Stealth. The Liberals later said it had to address a “capability gap” in our forces by making an interim purchase of 18 Super Hornets from Boeing. But now it’s backing away from that pledge after Boeing complained that Bombardier Inc. is getting an edge in the aviation industry due to unfair government subsidies.
- OFF BASE: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan lost all credibility with those in the Canadian Armed Forces when he falsely claimed to be the “architect” of Operation Medusa – a major anti-Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. Despite repeated calls for him to step down, Trudeau kept the disgraced minister on the job.
- PARTISAN POLITICS: After huge Opposition backlash, Liberals had to back down from appointing Madeleine Meilleur as the non-partisan official languages commissioner. Meilleur, a life-long Liberal, is extremely partisan.
- CLEARLY FALSE: During the election campaign Liberals promised to be more open and transparent than the previous government. But a scathing June report by Parliament’s information commissioner Suzanne Legault lashed the Liberal government for its lack of transparency. Indeed Legault said the Access to Information Act “is being used as a shield against transparency.”
- DON’T COUNT ON IT: Despite promising to run a deficit of “only” $10 billion for two years and to balance the budget by 2019, Liberals proposed a $28.5-billion deficit in its latest budget and the prime minister now refuses to say when, if ever, we’ll have a balanced budget. Canada’s youth will be stuck paying off the tab.
- POSTHASTE: Justin Trudeau repeatedly promised 2015 would be the last election where people are elected in a first-past-the-post system. But the Liberals ditched that controversial promise after the Conservative Opposition argued such a radical change shouldn’t take place without a national referendum.
- CASH FOR ACCESS: Liberals were rightly slammed for months when it was revealed they’d been holding scores of fundraisers that gave private access to cabinet ministers and the prime minister. Those raised questions from Canada’s ethics commissioner and were a violation of the Liberals’ own “Open and Accountable Government” rules.
- ETHICAL LAPSES: The prime minister has breached House of Commons ethics rules by taking a trip on a private helicopter to visit a billionaire family friend. Canada’s ethics commissioner launched a formal probe into the affair but Trudeau has repeatedly refused to say how often, if at all, he has met with the commissioner.
- HEAVY HANDED: Liberals tried ramming through unilateral changes to the way Canada’s Parliament operates, including ending Friday Question Period and proposing a single day when the prime minister would answer all questions in Question Period. After much opposition and public outcry they backed down on many of those changes.
- CRIPPLING CARBON TAX: The Liberals are imposing a national carbon tax despite critics saying it will kill jobs and hurt the economy especially since the U.S.A. has no plans to have such a levy.
- TAX THIS: The Liberals have raised a slew of taxes on just about everything, most recently on beer, wine and Uber rides.
Thank you to all the fathers and father figures who invest their time, wisdom and love into their children.
The unconditional love of a parent helps give a child the inspiration and courage to succeed.
And, our communities and personal lives are strengthened by these men.
This father’s day, I hope you’ll join me in showing your appreciation.
To every father, I wish you a…
Happy Father’s Day!
I had a truly amazing experience travelling to London and Manchester UK to be part of a Commonwealth UK election assessment observer team along with my MP colleague Matt Jeneroux and more than 30 other Commonwealth parliamentarians and officials.
Our preliminary report on the June 8 election is online now and a final report will be out in the coming weeks.
Thanks to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK for the training and for being great hosts.
Do you want an exciting summer job? An opportunity to exercise your creative muscles?
Position Title: Creative summer intern
Language Requirements: English, other languages considered an asset
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
• Good skills at photography and videography
• Excellent written and oral communication skills, outgoing personality
• Willingness to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends to attend events with the Member of Parliament
• Effective interpersonal skills, good judgment, discretion, initiative, professionalism and team spirit
The office of Kerry Diotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach, is looking for a summer intern to help develop and carry out creative projects and to also assist in the day-to-day tasks of a political office. This paid internship is a unique opportunity to learn about politics and develop your creative skills.
Interested candidates may apply before May 26, 2017 by sending their resume and creative work sample to Sally Harris at Kerry.Diotte@parl.gc.ca. Creative work could include writing samples, photos or videos etc.
Please feel free to forward this opportunity to interested individuals.
All applications will be held in confidence and only selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.