Car thefts, Trudeau like Poilievre: “Tougher penalties”

OTTAWA – Government leaders, law enforcement agencies and automotive industry executives: all together today in Ottawa for the national summit on the fight against car theft, ia real national emergency, with 90 thousand cars stolen per year throughout the country and a consequent cost of around 1 billion dollars for holders of insurance policies and Canadian taxpayers, given that the more thefts that occur the more the cost of car insurance increases, like what happens for road accidents.

“The increase in car thefts is alarming. Thieves – said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – are becoming increasingly brazen and the international black market in stolen cars has grown. To stop these criminals and, first and foremost, to prevents these thefts from happening, we are taking action” Trudeau said, announcing that his government is considering tougher penalties for car thefts, also in light of the fact that the head of the RCMP has warned that some thefts are executed with “extreme violence”.

“It’s an unprecedented phenomenon” RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme said at the summit in Ottawa. “The extreme violence associated with carjackings is something that has never been seen before.”.

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique told summit attendees how profitable the auto theft industry can be. Spotters, who identify vehicles to be stolen, can earn between $75 and $100, he said, while exporters can earn up to $80,000 by exporting a stolen vehicle overseas, where its resale value can double. “This is a very complex criminal market, facilitated by criminal organizations” Carrique said.

Ahead of today’s summit in Ottawa, the federal government had already announced $28 million in spending to help curb the export of stolen vehicles: money that will give the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) greater ability to detect and search containers carrying stolen cars.

The summit came after a week in which the Conservatives “hammered” the Liberals for the increase in car thefts and launched their own political ideas, including that of toughening the penalties for car theft perpetrators: three years of mandatory prison for repeat car thieves, but also ‘scanners’ and 75 border agents to combat complex port problems.

In response to this, Justice Minister Arif Virani said that provisions to punish car thieves already exist in the Criminal Code and that his focus is on the criminal organizations driving this problem. At today’s summit, Virani said the Liberals had already tightened sanctions in 2019, but he also added that “there is a lot of work to do…”.

In the image above: today’s summit in Ottawa, with Justin Trudeau (centre) and some of his ministers (screenshot from Twitter X – @JustinTrudeau)