Darryl Plecas, a high-profile criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley, announced yesterday he will run for the Liberal Party in the riding of Abbotsford South.
Plecas will campaign against former Liberal John van Dongen, who will be running as an independent. The 17-year veteran left the Liberals to become the B.C. Conservative Party’s only sitting MLA, but then recently left that party.
Plecas is a frequent commentator on law and order issues, including gangs, grow-ops and marijuana legalization.
Plecas said he has been publicly critical of the courts in the past, but was impressed when the Liberal government responded by adding him to a provincial advisory committee to select a new chief justice for B.C. courts.
Plecas said he has also been impressed by the job that the Liberal government has done with the B.C. economy, considering “so many governments are in serious trouble – if they’re not in economic disaster, they’re on the brink of it.”
He also said they have done an exemplary job of reducing crime, but there is more work to be done.
“No jurisdiction in the western world has been as successful at reducing crime in the last decade as we have here in British Columbia,” said a press release announcing his candidacy. “That’s the good news, but there is still major fixing to be done… The BC Liberal government track record on public safety not only demonstrates that they get that, but that they also know how to get us there, better than any government anywhere.”
Plecas holds the RCMP University research chair and is the director for the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at the University of the Fraser Valley, where he has worked for 33 years. He is an Order of Abbotsford and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient.
Plecas is aware that he enters politics when the Liberals are low in the polls, and both he and the party face a tough election. But he said critics wrongly call the Liberal party a sinking ship.
“It’s a great ship – it’s just going through troubled waters,” he said. “I’m completely confident we can turn this thing around.”