“We are determined to help families at risk.”
Feds offer $570,000 to prevent crime
With a federal election looming this fall, Rob Nicholson, the federal justice minister joined the steady stream of cabinet ministers passing through Nunavut last week.
But the winners are community justice programs in Iqaluit, Cape Dorset and Arviat, which received a total of $570,000 in crime prevention funds from Nicholson, announced during a news conference in Iqaluit Aug. 20.
"We are determined to help families at risk and help young people steer clear of gangs, drugs and crime," Nicholson said.
Administered by the National Crime Prevention Centre, the money goes to support four programs:
- The Sivuliit Illisaqtut program for at-risk students in Iqaluit will get $105,000 over two years to provide services like peer tutoring sessions and homework clubs;
- The Cape Dorset youth crime prevention strategy will get $140,000 over two years to hire a staffer to run a new community centre and provide youth services in a drug- and alcohol-free zone;
- The Arviat community justice committee gets $75,600 over one year to help at-risk youth take part in after school programs that incorporate traditional Inuit values;
- Inuksuk High School will get $249,000 over three years for skills training for young offenders and students at risk of dropping out.
The Conservatives have generally favoured a tough-on-crime approach since taking office in January, 2006, but Nicholson said it's also important to guide young people away from crime.
"It's not enough to impose penalties," he said. "You have to help people with moving in the right direction."
The announcement comes in the wake of Statistics Canada figures that show the number of young Nunavummiut in custody dropped radically from 176 to 59 between 2002 and 2006. Those figures include youth sentenced to jail time and those in custody awaiting trial.
The funding also came in a string of announcements by federal cabinet ministers for new programs in Nunavut. Meanwhile Ottawa readies for a fall election, which could be called as early as Sept. 5.