EDITORIAL: Outlaw gangs given warning

Published on January 25, 2017

The P.E.I. government and Island police agencies have served formal notice to outlaw motorcycle gangs – you are not welcome here.

 

We are keeping a close eye on you and the province is ready to assist courts and police with legislation to investigate and prosecute you, if necessary.

It is an appropriate response to the very real threats posed by the Hells Angels and other outlaw gangs that have set up shop on P.E.I. The Angels arrived last fall, greatly raising the alert level. Police in other provinces warned that the Angels are here to establish territory.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan felt the situation was serious enough to call a news conference, flanked by police agencies and government ministers. He outlined possible measures open to the province and police to curtail gang activity. It was a clear warning ­ whatever you do better not cross over into criminal activity. If you do, the full weight of police and government agencies are coming down on you. If police need additional help, it will be there.

The outlaw gangs did respond. They met Saturday to discuss the province¹s ³discrimination against bikers.² The Atlantic Confederation of Clubs and Independents, which charitably describes itself as a not-for-profit association, posted a response, saying it "vehemently opposes the government's attempts to erode the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the sons and daughters of P.E.I."

And if it wasn¹t so serious, it would be almost laughable to keeping reading, ³We, the motorcycle community, will not be intimidated and threatened . . . "

Well that¹s too bad. We vehemently oppose outlaw motorcycle gangs setting up on P.E.I. Why are you here? It¹s not to conduct food drives or take tours to Anne of Green Gables. No, you¹re here to conduct criminal activity. Drugs are your lifelines everywhere you go. Why would anyone think it would be different on P.E.I.?

The ACC declared the provincial response as fear mongering by the police and political pandering by the premier. Good. If nothing else, the premier and police got your attention.

All the province has done so far is have the justice department look at some legislative changes. Granted, government should not be deciding what clothing its citizens should wear in bars. But before anyone starts feeling sorry for the Hells Angels, never forget that intimidation, threats and criminal activities are their trademarks.

In response to the bikers¹ complaints, the department of justice felt obliged to issue a statement, lest the gang¹s tender feelings were hurt. The government pledged that it does not intend to implement any legislation that would infringe on anyone's Charter rights. The goal of the premier¹s initiative is to ³Šprotect the safety of Islanders.²

Yes, we must be careful that the Charter rights of all citizens are respected and protected. And we must avoid any expensive Charter challenges.

But the Hells Angels are a criminal gang. They won't get too much sympathy around here.