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Friday, March 4, 2011

New documents expose Harper inaction on gangs

New documents expose Harper inaction on gangs

New Democrats call for continued funding for Youth Gang Prevention programs

OTTAWA – New Democrat Public Safety Critic Don Davies and Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin released new documents today showing how the Harper government has failed to implement an adequate anti-gang strategy. The documents were released in response to a written question by Davies, the Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway.
“Finding ways to stop crimes before they happen is a priority for New Democrats and should be a priority for the government,” said Davies. “For a fraction of what the Conservatives are spending on new prisons, Canada could be investing in diverting young people from street gangs. But the government’s response to my questions show they are failing to invest in anti-gang programs.”
The documents show the Conservatives have no plans to renew funding to Canada’s main youth anti-gang programs, now slated to end in March. They also show that the Conservatives have not funded any RCMP initiatives to target street gangs, nor have they invested in any dedicated programs to get inmates out of gangs in prison.
“Conservatives constantly say we need to deal with gangs in our communities, and yet they don’t have a plan to fund police, prisons or community organizations who are on the ground working to improve public safety,” said Davies. “Our government should be focused on making our streets and communities safer and taking strong action to fight gangs – but all we get from the Conservatives are photo ops.”
New Democrat Member of Parliament Pat Martin says this inaction is having a particular impact in his community of Winnipeg.
“Street gangs in Winnipeg are a huge problem – and programs like Project Oasis and Turning the Tides are making a real difference. Losing these programs will make our streets less safe,” said Martin. “Instead of using community safety as a political sledge hammer to beat their political foes with, the Conservatives must put public safety first and immediately extend the funding for these programs.”

Abbotsford NDP Candidate David Murray with Ed Broadbent at Halifax convention
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