February 6th, 2024 - 8:54pm

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February 6, 2024

 Masse spoke in House of Commons debate on auto theft and NDP proposals to help address it by providing more resources to CBSA to stop stolen vehicles from being exported and having anti-theft technology in all new vehicles

(OTTAWA) – Today, Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) and NDP Innovation, Auto, Great Lakes and Border critic, spoke during the debate on auto theft in the House of Commons and on NDP policy proposals to help address it.

“With auto thefts on the rise in Canada, especially compared to the United States, and the significant jump in the last few years, the federal government needs to take action in its areas of jurisdiction to combat it. This includes more resources to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) so they can do their jobs against organized crime groups exporting stolen vehicles from our ports. For years there have been cuts and lack of investment in CBSA officers and technology, from both Conservative and Liberal governments. This must be reversed, and new resources allocated to meet the growing needs to fight crime and protect our borders and ports of entry. Additionally, the vehicle manufacturers need to include advanced anti-theft technology as standard in all new vehicles. The government needs to mandate that by Transport Canada,” Masse stated.

Équité Association released today its 2023 Auto Theft Trend Report.  Between 2021-2023 auto theft trends increased sharply in Ontario (up 48.2%), Quebec (up 57.9%), Atlantic Canada (up 34%), and in Western Canada (up 5.5%). 60 percent of stolen vehicles in Canada are exported overseas. Underfunding at CBSA has had a significant impact on the ability to stop illegal exports of stolen vehicles. For example, CBSA prioritizes imports over exports, this is where most officers are assigned. The Port of Montreal only has 8 CBSA officers are assigned to examine vehicle exports. There are on average 2 big cars/SUVs or 4 smaller cars per container. Since most vehicles stolen for export tend to be bigger cars, the containers examined often have only 2 vehicles in them meaning only 8 larger vehicles can be examined in a day. Yet, the space available for only allows for 6 vehicles to be examined. CBSA does not have the necessary equipment for officers to move the cars themselves, so vehicles remain in place blocking further examinations of containers until local and Provincial police arrive weekly to remove reported and inspected vehicles.

Officers are also hampered by unreliable equipment. In theory, CBSA has a mobile X-ray screening system (HCVM) at the Port of Montreal to facilitate container examination. This unit has not been operational for almost a year. The machine at Lacolle, QC, is also inoperative. As a result, a mobile screening system has been sent from Windsor to Montreal until the unit is repaired allowing criminals to take advantage of the Canadian export market to sell stolen vehicles because of the potential for high profits accompanied by a minimal risk of detection.

“The federal government needs to immediately address these necessary staffing and equipment resources for the CBSA to stop stolen vehicles from being exported from Canada, along with mandating that all new vehicles have anti-theft technology. This would also reduce insurance costs for all vehicle owners in the country.  If Liberals were serious about this crime this is what they would do,” Masse stated.

Below is the NDP amendment to address auto theft that the Conservatives turned down as part of their motion.

“That the motion be amended by replacing the words “changes the Liberal government made in their soft on crime Bill C-5 that allows for car stealing criminals to be on house arrest instead of jail” with the words: “cuts made to crime prevention programs and to frontline border agents made by the previous Conservative government;” and adding, after paragraph c) the following; “d) require auto manufacturers to improve security features in the cars they sell; and e) put in place tough new measures to crack down on organized crime and money laundering linked to auto thefts.”