Feds put $5M toward security for community groups who fear hate-motivated crimes
The Canadian PressNews
By Laura Osman in Ottawa
The federal government is spending $5 million on private security and other safety measures for community groups worried about an increase in hate-fuelled violence, the public safety minister announced Monday.
The added funding is a response to mounting concerns MPs have been hearing from constituents who say they fear for their safety as a result of recent international events, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said outside the House of Commons Monday.
He offered no other specifics, but the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has sparked protests across Canada — and fear in both Jewish and Muslim communities.
Recent events have created “a very real concern that exists in communities across the country,” LeBlanc said.
The funding, which has been added to an existing security infrastructure program, will allow community organizations to apply for things like temporary private security services.
The eligibility rules have also been expanded to allow access for daycare facilities, community centres and office buildings used by vulnerable communities.
Last week Ottawa police warned of several cases of hate-motivated crimes, including graffiti, vandalism, hate mail and threats targeting Jewish and Muslim people in Ottawa, and promised there would be an increased police presence at demonstrations and areas of religious and cultural significance.
The number of hate-crime related calls to Toronto police have also increased since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October, Chief Myron Demkiw said last month.
This past weekend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the display of a swastika at a demonstration in support for Palestinians on Parliament Hill.
“Canadians have the right to assemble peacefully – but we cannot tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind,” he wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
The public safety minister said he’s working with police and the security intelligence service to ensure people’s safety.
Meanwhile, he’s asked his department to expedite the financial support for communities who want to add security to their buildings. Applications for the funds open on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2023.
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