Sudbury gets funding to fight guns and gangs
It was a big funding announcement in front of the YMCA in Sudbury on Tuesday morning as the federal government announced more than $2 million to fight gun and gang violence.
It's part of the $250-million Building Safer Communities Fund in which cities receive funding to support community-led projects to combat violence among young people involved in gangs or at risk of joining them.
"Law enforcement report that gangs from big cities have been expanding into towns and cities across northeastern Ontario, especially in the last five years. This is closely linked with the ongoing poisoned drug crisis," said Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe.
"Here in Sudbury, crime is going up, in the past few years the crime severity index has spiked," she said.
"Violent crime is even worse and Sudbury isn't alone. In North Bay, police have seized more firearms at this point this year than they did in all of 2021."
Lapointe made the announcement on behalf of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who was unable to attend.
In a Zoom interview later with CTV Northern Ontario, Mendicino outlined out the program is designed to work in conjunction with other pieces of legislation like Bill C-21 and the banning of assault-style weapons.
"It requires a two-pronged approach," he said.
"First we have to continue to Sudbury and the frontline police officers and there are federal programs like the anti-guns and gangs fund, which we provide to the Province of Ontario, which then provides additional support to cities like Sudbury so we can have the necessary resources in place. (Sudbury Police) Chief Pedersen and I talked about that but we also talked about the need to address the problem upstream."
Mendicino said it's that upstream approach that will work in addressing the root cause.
"Looking at the root causes of organized crime, looking at the root cause of gun crime and empowering communities to better immunize the community there, by providing more funding for programs and services," said Mendicino.
The city's mayor, who later met virtually with Mendicino, said the added help is welcome.
"I believe it would be fair to have additional provincial and federal funding in support of our local police services that are working essentially on challenges that are coming from across the province, coming from across the country and even internationally," said Bigger.
Sudbury is only the fourth jurisdiction to receive the funding, after York, Toronto and Six Nations. The city says it is still determining what to do with the funds.
There's no word yet on what other communities in the region will be benefitting from the fund.