A dicey subject

Provincial New Democrat housing and social development critic Shane Simpson said yesterday it would be "worthwhile" to have an "independent assessment" of how criminal activity is being monitored and prevented at the province's legal gaming facilities. Mr. Simpson made the comments after former integrated illegal gaming enforcement team commander Fred Pinnock expressed concern there's a "ton" of such activity happening at casinos. And yet those responsible for monitoring and prevent that activity don't seem to be having much impact. Said Mr. Simpson, "What we do know in British Columbia is we know we've been having a real problem with sophisticated gang activity in this province for a period of time now. It's in the headlines on a regular occurrence - usually when there's a drive-by shooting in Vancouver or Surrey. But what we also have to understand from that is these are very sophisticated organization that are moving millions and millions of dollars all the time. And if casinos provide them a vehicle to do that - you can bet they're doing it in the most sophisticated way possible - I'd like to see the RCMP or another independent body come in and do a real assessment of how well are we doing in terms of security and report publicly on that so that we know whether we're getting the job done. I'm just not buying (Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman) telling us it's okay - believe me and trust me."

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