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Morris steps down from police reform committee

Prince George-Mackenzie Liberal candidate Mike Morris. Bill Phillips photo
Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris.

Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris has stepped down from the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. He says he feels he will be as effective, or perhaps more effective, working on police reform by not being on the committee.

Morris had a long career with the RCMP before entering politics and, under the previous Liberal government, serving as Solicitor General.

“During my time as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I saw first-hand the changing relationship between the public and force,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday. “In the last decade, that relationship has altered even more and the events of the past few months have highlighted the need for change.

“As a former officer and former Solicitor General, I’ve dedicated many hours reflecting on how to improve the interaction between the police and the public. This is vital to our society and we all have an obligation to thoughtfully address the challenges and, most importantly, propose solutions.

“My goal is to ensure the work of the criminal branch of policing is better separated from the very real need to provide compassionate support to those in distress. Too often, police officers are asked to try and balance both and the results are not as desired for anyone involved.

“As a member of the special committee, I’m limited in what I can say and what ideas I can proffer. By stepping down, I’ll be able to present to the committee the ideas that I have developed that could, I believe, begin the healing of this fractious relationship.

“We all want the same thing: to live in a safe society, where we are all respected and needed support is provided. I look forward to sharing these ideas with the committee, the public and working to rebuild a relationship of trust?”

The Legislative Assembly formed the community July 8 to examine, inquire into, and make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly on: reforms related to the modernization and sustainability of policing under the Police Act ; the role of police with respect to complex social issues including mental health and wellness, addictions and harm reduction; the scope of systemic racism within BC’s police agencies; and whether there are measures necessary to ensure a modernized Police Act is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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