Government taking action on gun crime in New Westminster with up to $1.73 million for prevention programs
February 24, 2023 - New Westminster, British Columbia
People in New Westminster and across Canada deserve to feel safe in their communities.
That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action with a comprehensive plan that gets guns off our streets and puts more resources into our communities. An important element of this work is stopping violence before it starts, which is why the government launched the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF). First announced in March 2022, the BSCF supports local initiatives that prevent gun and gang violence and help young people make good choices.
Today, Parm Bains, Member of Parliament for Steveston-Richmond East, on behalf of the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that New Westminster will receive up to $1,736,800.23 from the BSCF to prevent gun crime and gang violence in the city. This funding will help address the underlying conditions that give rise to crime. It will support community-led projects to prevent violence among young people who are involved in gangs, or at risk of joining them – helping them set themselves up for success in life.
No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun crime on its own. The BSCF is one of many elements in the government’s plan to keep Canadians safe.
Our work begins at Canada’s borders, where we’ve added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into the country. The government banned assault-style firearms like the AR-15 two years ago and will soon begin a buyback program to get these guns out of our communities. Last October, a national freeze on handguns was implemented through amendments to regulations under the Firearms Act. Finally, we recently introduced Bill C-21 – Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation. In addition to the handgun freeze, it proposes significant provisions to combat organized crime and address the alarming role of guns in domestic violence.
“My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe. Investments in grassroots efforts in New Westminster are essential to addressing the social conditions that lead youth and young adults to get involved in a life of crime. Put simply, we must stop gun and gang violence before it starts.”
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
“This funding from the Building Safer Communities Fund will help support at-risk youth to make healthier choices and better set themselves up for success in life. I look forward to seeing the difference it will make for young people across New Westminster.”
- Parm Bains, Member of Parliament for Steveston-Richmond East
“New Westminster is committed to creating safe, inclusive environments so that all members of our community feel respected and supported. In conversation with parents and youth in our community, the need for activities and community connections outside of gang life was identified as a place the City could do more for at-risk youth. We are responding to this call by providing these critical new programs with the support of Public Safety Canada and our community partners, as an alternative to being sucked into gun and gang violence”.
- Patrick Johnstone, Mayor of New Westminster
Public Safety Canada is finalizing agreements with municipalities and communities that have been identified through evidence-based criteria and meet the program requirements.
The amount of BSCF support for a community is based on two major elements: crime severity (homicide by firearm, incidents of firearms offences, organized crime/street gang-involved crime) and population density.
The BSCF builds on the success of the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. This includes the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund - a five year $358.8 million investment announced in 2018 - that brings together federal, provincial and territorial supports to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada.
- A comprehensive strategy to address gun violence and strengthen gun laws in Canada: Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)
- Gun and Gang Violence
- Homicide in Canada, 2021
- New investments to help end gun and gang violence in Canada
- Youth Gang Prevention Fund
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Public Safety Canada
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