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Prairie police chiefs call on Ottawa for help as meth-fuelled crime skyrockets

Last Updated Dec 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm MST

Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman speaks to media after the reading of the throne speech at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on November 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

OTTAWA — Police chiefs say methamphetamine is fuelling a crime wave in some of western Canada’s biggest cities as use of the highly addictive drug skyrockets across the Prairies.

Calgary’s interim police Chief Steve Barlow told a House of Commons health committee this morning the city’s crime rate is going through the roof as the price of meth drops.

He says drugs are a factor in almost half of police-involved shootings.

Winnipeg’s police Chief Danny Smyth told the committee meth is causing a big backlog because officers are tied up in health-care facilities with meth users.

Winnipeg police have seized more than 20 kilograms of meth this year — nearly double what was seized the year before.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman told the committee Ottawa must create a national strategy on illicit drugs including meth, as well as strengthen border protection and provide more resources for mental health.

The Canadian Press