West Kelowna  

Albas introduces looting bill

Okanagan MP Dan Albas has brought forth a private member's bill intended to give the legal system more teeth when dealing with looting during evacuation orders.

The bill is in response to numerous incidents in which homes have been looted while property owners were out of their homes during evacuation orders for floods or wildfires.

"There is a small segment of the population consisting of individuals who use evacuation orders as an opportunity to engage in criminal actions such as looting, vandalizing and stealing from evacuated families' homes," said Albas, Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

"These despicable acts occurred (in 2017) to evacuated homeowners in communities such as Williams Lake and 100 Mile House."

He also cited examples during flooding events in Atlantic Canada and a tornado strike that occurred in Quebec.

Albas says culprits must be held accountable.

"My bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code so that committing a crime and taking advantage of an evacuation order for those experiencing a natural disaster or emergency is to be considered an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes.

"Ultimately, this bill, if passed, would create new legal tools for judges when it comes to sentencing those found guilty of looting."

Albas says it's unclear if there is the necessary support among Liberal, NDP or Green MPs for the bill to pass.

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