Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says he would support applying the “highest penalty” to anyone who intentionally kills or targets police officers. 

According to the Toronto Star, O’Toole made the remarks while attending a virtual Zoom event where he appeared before the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce and Estevan Chamber of Commerce.

The Conservative leader’s remarks come in light of the death of RCMP Constable Shelby Patton in Wolseley, Saskatchewan. Constable Patton was struck by a stolen vehicle while attending a roadside stop on June 12. 

“We saw an RCMP officer, Constable Patton, killed in the line of duty in Saskatchewan on the weekend as he was attempting to stop a stolen truck. The suspects have been charged with manslaughter and a few minor charges. Do you think that there should be tougher laws in cases like this to protect police officers who are doing their duty?” was asked by event moderators. 

“Any of these acts that are intentional against someone in uniform, the highest penalty should be applied to these people,” said O’Toole. 

“I would support enhanced sentencing conditions for people that take risks even if there is not the intention to harm but risks for someone who is doing the public good by keeping the community safe. I would support these measures. We have to support law enforcement who are given a very difficult job to do.”

41-year-old Alphonse Stanley Raverse and 42-year-old Marlene Velma Louise Pagee have been charged for the death of Constable Patton.

Both are facing charges for manslaughter, failure to stop after an accident resulting in death, theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

During the event, O’Toole also went on to discuss how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies have caused “economic dislocation” for communities leading to increases in rural crime. 

“One thing I learned from my colleagues in Western Canada is the economic dislocation caused by the Trudeau government’s policies has led to massive increases in rural crime, and rural crime and response times puts added strain on law enforcement,” said O’Toole. 

“We’re the only party in the House of Commons that stands up for victims and stands up for people that wear the uniform. If I become the Prime Minister I will be the first person (in that position) to have worn a uniform in Canada since Lester B. Pearson.”

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