Public Safety Secretary Announces $390 Million

Nabil Anas
Nabil Anas

Global Courant 2023-05-08 19:35:31

The federal government on Monday announced $390 million in funding over five years to help counties tackle gang violence and reduce gun crime.

“Today’s announcement will provide additional resources for law enforcement agencies, help young people make the right choices and help our communities thrive,” Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement.

According to Public Safety Canada, the number of gun-related homicides in Canada has steadily increased in recent years. There were a total of 277 gun-related homicides in 2020, 16 more than the previous year.

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The government department said gang violence is also on the rise, and gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have nearly doubled since 2013.

For example, of the 743 homicides in 2020, the department said 20 percent were related to organized crime or street gangs.

In a statement, Public Safety Canada said the funding builds on Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence, announced in 2017. At the time, $327.6 million was announced for the program led by Public Safety Canada in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency ( CBSA) and the RCMP.

Most of the funding, approximately $214 million over five years, was given to counties and territories to help them fight gun and gang violence in communities by working with partners within their jurisdiction who can help prevent crime and to enforce law.

On Monday, a government statement said the cash injection is part of the Liberal government’s “comprehensive plan to take guns off our streets and inject resources into our neighborhoods.”

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The other pillars of that plan, the statement said, are efforts to reform the bail system and Bill C-21, the government’s legislation to ban some types of firearms, currently working through parliament.

Bill C-21

Last week, the Liberal government introduced a revised set of amendments to pending gun legislation after dropping some initial changes that sparked outrage from gun owners.

Mendicino explained at the time that the amendments to Bill C-21 included a new definition of prohibited firearms that includes certain “assault style” rifles.

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“These reforms aim to keep AR-15 firearms off our streets while respecting gun owners,” he told a news conference last week.

Mendicino said the government came up with a revised definition after consultations with manufacturers, hunters and indigenous communities.

Nathalie Provost, right, a graduate of l’École Polytechnique and survivor of the 1989 mass shooting, listens to Heidi Rathjen, a graduate of l’École Polytechnique and witness to the shooting, who speaks of the government’s plans for automatic weapons, in May in Ottawa 1. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The new proposed definition would cover weapons that fire “semi-automatic” and are “originally designed” to accept a magazine of more than five rounds.

The definition would only apply to firearms manufactured after Bill C-21 became law, meaning owners would be allowed to keep what they currently have.

Gun control advocates were not happy with the changes. Last week, Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the 1989 Montreal massacre, said the definition creates a “loophole” that leaves out too many models. She also expressed concern that the definition would not be applied retroactively.

“(Our) request is very simple: a permanent and complete ban on assault weapons,” Provost said.

Bail reform

Current bail rules have also come under fire in recent months, especially since the alleged murder of an Ontario police officer by a man out on bail charged with assaulting a police officer, among other charges.

Last month, the association representing Canada’s police chiefs called for urgent reforms to the country’s bail system after a meeting with provincial and territorial prime ministers.

Manitoba Prime Minister Heather Stefanson, chairman of the Federation Council, said a key focus of the provinces was to implement reforms to the bail system to protect communities by keeping repeat violent offenders off the streets.

A week later, Attorney General David Lametti told CBC Radio’s The House that he intends to keep his promise to introduce bail reform legislation this spring, and that he expects it to pass parliament “as a matter of urgency.” will assume.

On Monday, Mendicino recommitted to that promise, saying the legislation would be introduced “in the very near future.”

“Because we know we have to deal with repeat violent offenders, especially those who use guns and weapons,” Mendicino told reporters Monday morning in Streetsville, Ontario.

Public Safety Secretary Announces $390 Million

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