'What we're targetting is criminality': P.E.I. proposes laws to deter bikers
CHARLOTTETOWN -- P.E.I. is moving to thwart the growth of biker gangs, proposing legislation to ban gang colours in bars, outlaw fortified buildings and regulate the sale of body armour.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan said Thursday that his government is looking at legislative and regulatory amendments to stem the expansion of certain biker gangs that have moved into the Island in recent months.
"These will be significant steps in the province," he said at a joint news conference with police. "For there to be a growth of organizations that are known to deal in drugs and violence should be a concern to all P.E. Islanders and in all parts of the Island."
Members affiliated with an Ontario Hells Angels chapter set up shop on Prince Edward Island last month.
MacLauchlan, who is also the justice minister, announced two proposed resolutions, including the legislative amendments and limiting any public or financial support to members of outlaw motorcycle gangs involved in criminal activities. He said they would be raised in the spring sitting of the house.
"What we're targeting here is criminality," he said.
Police say they have seen an increased presence of the gangs in Atlantic Canada and are gathering intelligence on their activities on the Island.
RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook said residents and businesses need to be aware of threats linked to organized crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs in P.E.I., adding that accepting charitable donations from them or going to their clubhouses supports their illegal activities.
"Citizens and businesses need to be aware of the threats associated to organized crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs," he said in a statement.
The Angels were without a beachhead in the Maritimes since police disbanded the former Halifax chapter in 2001. The raid led to the imprisonment of four of its seven members and the closing of the chapter after the clubhouse was seized by justice officials.
But the gang has begun to reassert itself, cementing its presence mainly through affiliate or so called "puppet clubs" in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. A New Brunswick chapter of the Nomads is now "full patch H.A.," Cook has said.
Cook, the RCMP's outlaw motorcycle gang co-ordinator on the Island, said P.E.I. is already home to two chapters of the rival Bacchus Motorcycle Club.