A Halifax-area youth program will be among those reaping the benefits of nearly $2 million earmarked by Ottawa for crime prevention initiatives in Atlantic Canada.

 

Of that money, almost $700,000 over three years will be going to the local program for at-risk teenagers, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said yesterday at Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street.

 

“The bottom line is that we can keep young people from ever getting involved with crime in the first place,” Van Loan said.

 

The local program, put on in Spryfield by the Chebucto Communities Development Association, will be aimed at teenagers who are at risk of getting involved in criminal activities. According to Public Safety Canada, its focus will include “life skills, drug resistance and conflict resolution training.”

The money will also be going to help at-risk youth on Nova Scotia native reserves, as well as to promote knowledge-sharing between Atlantic Canada’s crime prevention professionals.

Van Loan said programs like this are part of his government’s three-pronged plan to fight crime, along with implementing tougher sentences and hiring more police officers.

“In many ways we’ve lost this generation,” HRP Deputy Police Chief Chris McNeil said at the funding announcement. “These programs are designed to prevent the next generation (from) stepping into their place.

“As a police officer I can take back any corner, I can take it back from drug dealing or violence. We only keep it with programs that are designed to prevent the next generation from stepping in.”

For Van Loan, this announcement comes at a time when his government is facing a struggle on Parliament Hill.

The federal minister made several references to the possibility of what he called an “unnecessary early election,” saying several of his government’s other crime bills will “die on the order paper” if they are toppled by the Opposition.

Van Loan emphasized however the money for this plan is already spent and not at risk.