$42M from Ottawa for the prevention of armed violence in Quebec

$42M from Ottawa for the prevention of armed violence in Quebec

Ottawa is providing $41.8M in funding to the Government of Quebec to fight gun violence in the province. A non-recurring amount spread over 5 years, from the fund to build safe communities.

“This funding will be used to support firearms prevention programs in municipalities and in Indigenous communities where the need is greatest,” said Marco Mendicino, Federal Minister of Public Safety.

Continue to invest in local and community initiatives that allow young people to thrive and lead lives free from crime and gun violence

Marco Mendicino, Federal Minister of Public Security

Mr. Mendicino recalled the recent Federal Bill C-21 which aims to limit access to firearms. It includes, among other things, the national freeze on the sale of handguns and several measures to combat illegal trafficking and smuggling of weapons.

“We all know that even though [on] strengthen our borders, that is not enough. We must stop gun crime before it starts. Any solution to violence must include prevention and intervention efforts,” Mr. Mendicino stressed.

Support community initiatives

The distribution and use of this amount will be decided by the Quebec government. “It will support community initiatives [pour travailler] on the root causes” of the violence.

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, present in his constituency during the announcement, stressed the importance “[d’]use the experience of local organizations” such as Équipe RDP. The Prairivois organization aims to prevent marginalization among vulnerable young people in Rivière-des-Prairies.

The stake is economic above all, recalled the community worker of Team RDP, Riguerre Antoine. “We expect from Quebec and Montreal that they take their responsibilities,” he said. Issues of access to health care or housing contribute greatly to the temptation to join street gangs.

We do this work [de prévention] since 25 years. There are young people who fall through the nets of the system. Some – despite the efforts we have made, organizations, schools, parents – have taken to the streets

Riguerre Antoine, community worker at Équipe RDP

Speaking to reporters in the room, he said they were part of the solution, along with the movie industry. Both “feed a narrative”, which fuels this violence, according to him. “We do fieldwork. While I am speaking to you, I am not dealing with a young person. […] Everyone must take a part,” he insisted.

In a neighborhood where street gangs are rooted

As if the location had not been left to chance, the federal Department of Public Security chose to make this announcement at the Rivière-des-Prairies library. It was in front of this place, at the intersection of rue Rodolphe-Forget and boulevard Perras, that shots rang out in broad daylight on June 8.

Since 2020, 45 events involving firearms have been recorded in this neighborhood in northeastern Montreal. A figure that reflects the violence in the northeast of the island. By adding data from the neighboring boroughs of Montréal-Nord and Saint-Léonard, we reach 126 events.

“We have a real problem [d’émergence de] criminal groups”, acknowledged Mr. Breton to Subway on June 23. The origin of this “disorganized crime” would lie in the “ease of obtaining firearms”, according to the policeman.

Geneviève Guibault, Minister of Public Security of Quebec was to be present for this announcement, but was ultimately unable to come on site. At the time of writing these lines, his firm had not responded to our requests.

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