Mike Morris Reflects on 2016, Looks Ahead to 2017
Prince George, B.C. – “It’s gone by like a split second.”
That’s how Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris describes how the past year has gone.
He says it was highlighted by his promotion to cabinet as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in December 2015.
“It’s been an interesting year. It’s a portfolio that I’ve had some familiarity with due to my experience as a police officer so that part of it was good,” says Morris.
“It’s taken a while to get up to speed on all the other issues but I think I’ve got gotten them well in hand now.”
He says the Province’s Guns and Gangs strategy has taken up much of his time though he acknowledges it’s a lot to get a handle on.
“We’ve got a wet blanket over it. We’ll never have a handle on it. The more we address it, the more inventive the criminals get and of course they try to stay one step ahead of us. But I think we are making a dent – we’ve got some good folks working on those files.”
Morris says another big issue on his plate is the province’s response to the upcoming federal legislation legalizing marijuana next spring.
“I’m leading the charge for the Province on that. I’m glad to see the task force report (see related story here) on that. It gives us a little bit of guidance,” he says.
“We’ve been working on it now for a year and I’m still waiting to see what the federal legislation looks like. It should be tabled before June and that will also give us some ideas on where to go.”
On that front Morris says public health and public safety are their main concerns, especially when it comes to drug impaired driving.
“We have to wrap our minds around that and we’re doing lots with that one too. Vancouver was chosen as one of seven pilot cities in Canada to test a road side screening device for drugs. So, we’re moving ahead but there’s plenty of moving parts though.”
And if he’s fortunate enough to get re-elected next May along with his government and he retains his portfolio he hopes “to pop the hood on policing in northern B.C.”
“I’d like to have a real close look at how we can do business in B.C. from a public safety perspective. Make sure that northern B.C. has the resources to address domestic violence, violence in our remote communities, sexual abuse,” says Morris.
“We’ve got higher levels of violence in the North than we do in other parts of the province so we need to focus on that.”