Province Must Crack Down on Online Sales of Stolen Goods To Reduce Crime

November 8, 2019

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister Government should regulate online marketplaces like Facebook, Kijiji, eBay and Craigslist - requiring them to follow similar rules to local bricks-and-mortar pawn shops.

"Crime sprees in Winnipeg are being made worse because it so easy for people to sell stolen goods online," says Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface.

Liberals say the online companies should confirm the identification of sellers, require serial numbers, and maintain records of items for sale.

Other jurisdictions have also brought in laws against so-called "e-Fencing."

"Local Manitoba businesses are being robbed and employees are being terrorized because the thieves know they can make a quick buck selling it online," says Lamont. "There is no reason why online companies that make billions in profits should be allowed to operate with lower standards than a pawn shop."

Lamont says the danger of online sales in Manitoba was clear since the Winnipeg Police set up "safe exchange zones" for online purchases in police stations. Internet companies have been able to operate at rock-bottom costs by avoiding the taxes and regulations of local businesses. The result has been freedom, choice and convenience for criminals as well.

"A lot of the crime we are seeing, organized gangs of shoplifters and property crime, could be drastically reduced if we made it harder to make money from it," says Lamont. "This will take a coordinated effort from law enforcement and government. If companies like Facebook and auction sites want to do business in Manitoba, they should operate by the same rules as everyone else."

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