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The Harper Justice Plan: Cut Anti-Gang Prevention, Spend Billions on Prisons

Posted on February 14, 2011

The Harper government’s latest cuts to successful crime prevention programs – resulting in the closure of four anti-gang programs in Winnipeg – is further proof of this government’s approach to safety that has nothing to do with lowering crime rates and everything to do with a punitive ideology, Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux said.

“The Harper Conservative’s crime agenda is deeply flawed because it sees incarceration as the only solution to crime reduction, while failing to account for the important role anti-crime programs play in preventing and reducing recidivism,” explained Mr. Lamoureux.

“Instead of spending $10 billion on super prisons, Liberals are calling on the Conservatives to take meaningful action to reduce crime and restore funding to these four successful anti-gang programs in our community.”

The government’s decision to discontinue funding for four successful anti-gang programs in Winnipeg – like Mad Cowz, the only program in Canada that helps refugees steer clear of gangs – makes no sense when the evidence clearly shows that anti-gang programs are cheaper and more effective at combating crime than incarceration.

A future Liberal government would immediately restore funding to the Youth Gang Prevention Fund, help recruit more police officers and provide them with the tools they need to fight crime and domestic violence.

“Liberals will keep our commitments to the police,” said Mr. Lamoureux. “Compare that to the Conservatives, who broke their promise to hire 2,500 new police officers, a move that frontline police officers called a ‘betrayal.’

“We need to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. That means support for education and community programs that give young people something to belong to that isn’t a gang, and something to believe in that isn’t violence,” said Mr. Lamoureux.

Engaging citizens and community leaders alike is crucial in producing real results in our neighbourhoods. Mr. Lamoureux has proposed bringing community members together in a Citizens’ Crime Prevention Group that will work with established crime prevention groups, community police and all levels of government.

“Winnipeggers know that the Harper Conservatives are wrong to force four of our most successful anti-gang programs to close their doors,” concluded Mr. Lamoureux. “Winnipeggers know that the solution to crime reduction isn’t incarceration alone, and the only party that will deliver on their concerns is the Liberal party.”