Poilievre proposes expanding mandatory prison terms for extortion-related crimes

  • Canadian Press

SURREY, B.C. — Pierre Poilievre says a Conservative government will establish mandatory minimum prison sentences for anyone convicted of extortion.

The opposition leader says that extortion−related crime has skyrocketed with police in multiple provinces dealing with organized crime threats against businesses.

Poilievre’s remarks were delivered in a commercial centre in Surrey, B.C., where police say shots were fired at a business in November last year.

Poilievre says the Conservatives would impose mandatory minimum sentences of three years on anyone convicted of extortion, and five years for someone found to be "acting on behalf of gangs or organized crime."

The Criminal Code already has a five−year mandatory minimum sentence for first−time extortionists who use a restricted or prohibited firearm, or who use any type of gun on behalf of a criminal organization.

Poilievre says his party’s plan will give police and prosecutors another tool to target "ringleaders" of criminal gangs, and "restore" a four−year mandatory minimum sentence for all extortionists who use a firearm, a provision repealed in 2022.

Poilievre also says arson would be considered an "aggravating factor" in extortion cases, and there would be a reversal of what he called "catch and release" policing.

His comments come amid a wave of extortion threats, shootings and arson that police in three provinces say are primarily targeting South Asian−owned businesses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press