As auto thefts have become more prevalent in Canada’s biggest cities, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s justice minister has had their government vehicle stolen three times in the past three years.
According to a report from the CBC, documents tabled in the House of Commons show that Trudeau’s justice ministers David Lametti and Arif Virani have had their government-issued vehicles stolen multiple times.
Most recently, Minister Virani had his Toyota Highlander XLE stolen this past November, requiring authorities to recover the SUV.
That same vehicle was stolen by thieves and recovered by authorities just ten months prior in February 2023 when Lametti was serving as minister of justice.
By this point, Lametti was no stranger to having his government-issued vehicle stolen, as in February 2021, a different Toyota Highlander was stolen from the minister.
Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre mocked Minister Virani on X for having his vehicle stolen.
“These car thieves have no gratitude. They keep stealing the car of the guy who keeps letting them out of jail to do it,” said Poilievre.
The scourge of organised criminals stealing Canadians’ vehicles en masse and illegally exporting them to Africa and the Middle East has drawn the ire of the Canadian public.
In Toronto, instances of motor vehicle theft have increased by over 350% from 2015-2023 while the Region of Peel has been reeling from an over 200% increase from 2020-2024. This has caused insurance rates to rise for the average Canadian auto owner, further inflaming cost of living concerns.
On Thursday, the Trudeau government held a national summit on combating auto theft where they announced a $28 million commitment to the Canada Border Security Agency to combat the export of stolen vehicles.
RCMP commissioner Mike Duheme recently spoke on the threat auto theft poses to Canadians and how the RCMP is working to combat this problem.
“I share the concerns raised here today that vehicle theft is reaching concerning volumes with a level of violence never seen in Canada, and it is impacting community safety and well-being across the country,” said Duheme.
Earlier this week, Poilievre announced his party’s new platform to combat auto thefts, promising “jail not bail” for repeat car thieves and significant penalties for theft that’s connected with organised crime.
“A common sense Conservative government will fix the criminal code to put the criminals in jail, we will reform the RCMP to stop organised crime, and we will secure our ports to keep the illegal drugs and guns out and our cars in the country,” said Poilievre at a Monday press conference.
Justice Minister Virani ridiculed Poilievre’s plan in question period, claiming that the Trudeau government was already getting tough on auto thieves.
“Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition purports to be tough on crime,” said Virani.
“Who do I listen to about crime measures? Police officers. What do they tell me? They tell me that this is not an individual crime; this is backed by people who are organised criminals. How do we deal with that? We get tough on money laundering.”