Calls to curb MPI benefits for car thieves
The provincial government said changes could be on the way regarding car thieves receiving benefits from Manitoba Public Insurance.
The province made the announcement the day after a CTV News story was broadcast regarding car thieves being entitled to the same benefits as rate payers.
The province said it introduced legislation in 2004 to crack down on payments made to car thieves. On Wednesday, the province also said it has now asked MPI to review legislation in order to make further changes.
"We'll work with MPI and make sure we close that door tightly," said Andrew Swan, the provincial minister responsible for MPI.
MPI said the amount of compensation amount is reduced if the injured suspect is eventually convicted. In the last five years, MPI said it paid eight convicted car thieves more than $41,000.
"It sends a horrible message to taxpayers. Hard-working people that are abiding by the law are having to pay for these idiots that are stealing our cars," said Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The provincial opposition said it introduced a private member's bill in 2008 to end payments made to convicted car thieves, but the government voted against it.
"We've had other cases come up in past years, which is why we brought the bill forward to cut off benefits for people who are part of auto theft crimes and the NDP, for their own reasons, shot it down," said Hugh McFadyen, leader of the PC party. The party plans to bring up the issue again this spring.
Kamil Andrzejczak's father Zdzislaw died after being hit by a stolen Hummer in December 2009.
Under MPI's current benefit structure, death payments are awarded on behalf of anyone killed in a crash, even if the vehicle was stolen.
He said he hopes changes are made so that car thieves aren't entitled to the same benefits as others.
The province said it will seek changes to the benefits paid to convicted car thieves when the spring session begins at the legislature in April.
- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout