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Conservative candidate and former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts is flanked by RCMP officers in Surrey, B.C., on April 26, 2014. Watts and former MP Stockwell Day announced on Oct. 1, 2015 the Conservatives will create a national list of criminal gangs if re-elected.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

B.C. Conservatives say if their party forms another federal government, it will create a formal list of criminal gangs, similar to the way it did for designated terrorist groups.

The party is also promising $2.5-million more per year on efforts to steer teens away from gang activity.

Former MP Stockwell Day unveiled the plan with candidate Dianne Watts, the former mayor of Surrey, B.C. – a city recently racked by a spasm of gun violence.

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They say the gang list would ease the requirement for Crown prosecutors to prove repeatedly in individual cases that a specific gang is a criminal organization.

Day and Watts also pledged to increase spending by $2.5-million a year on a fund aimed at preventing youth from joining gangs.

The gang announcement in Surrey drew scornful comment from Garry Begg, a former Mountie and now NDP candidate in the neighbouring riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells.

He said the announcement comes after years of Conservative foot-dragging on crime and a series of clawbacks from the RCMP budget.

Last May, the federal government promised to hire 100 additional Mounties for Surrey and spend millions more to fight a low-level, drug-fuelled turf war that has set off scores of shootings and killed one man.

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