THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it’s essential to have strong penalties to deter crime and changes to the Criminal Code proposed by his government will toughen Canada’s justice system.
Harper says the Conservatives expect criticism but the public supports the measures and he urged people to keep pressure on Opposition parties to pass the legislation.
The government has introduced legislation that would label gang killings first-degree murder, carrying a sentence of at least 25 years without parole.
The bill will also create a new offence with a minimum four-year jail term for drive-by shootings.
The legislation creates new offences for aggravated assault and assault with a weapon against a police officer, both carrying 14-year sentences under the proposed new law.
Harper is in Vancouver, where 18 shootings in the past month in an ongoing gang war have focused attention on the issue of gangs and crime.