Garrison says he has plenty of work to do as new public safety critic

“My role is to be the NDP spokesperson for what the minister has and hasn’t done,” Garrison said about shadowing Conservative MP Vic Toews

Watch out secret police, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison, has his eyes on you.

Garrison has been appointed Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition.

“My role is to be the NDP spokesperson for what the minister has and hasn’t done,” Garrison said about shadowing Conservative MP Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety.

Garrison was appointed to the position at the end of April by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Royal Roads University associate professor Michael Young was pleased when he heard Garrison was appointed. Young teaches the justice studies program at the university and is a former co-worker of Garrison’s.

Prior to being elected MP, Garrison was an instructor of criminal justice and political science at Camosun College. Young, also with a background in criminology, taught at the college for nearly 10 years.

“He is well read on the system and he knows where they hiccups are,” Young said.

A key feature Garrison hopes to investigate is the elimination of the inspector general for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The position was nixed in the Conservative’s last budget, introduced in April.

Without this position, no one outside of CSIS itself will know what the agency is doing, Garrison said.

“CSIS is the secret police,” Garrison said, stressing the importance of a civilian watchdog even though the work CSIS does is vitally important to national security.

Garrison is also concerned about cuts to RCMP Post Traumatic Stress Disorder programs.

“Vic Toews is saying they have adequate (programs still available), but I say ‘why did you have programs (in the first place) to be eliminated then?’” Garrison said.

Many of the issues he’ll be dealing with affect this region on a local level.

William Head Institution, a federal prison in Metchosin, is one. Border security is another.

Young thinks it’s a good idea to keep a watchful eye on prisons, especially William Head. He is concerned at some point the institution’s prison population may increase.

“At the moment this is the last stop for offenders … it helps normalize them,” Young said. “If we start putting in other offenders (who are not at the same level of rehabilitation) it jeopardizes the people who are ready to go.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com