Uproar over election promise of youth curfew

Nova Scotia parents could face fines of up to $500 fine if theirchildren under 16 are out alone past 1 a.m., in a election promise madeby Premier Rodney MacDonald Thursday.

 

Nova Scotia parents could face fines of up to $500 fine if their children under 16 are out alone past 1 a.m., in a election promise made by Premier Rodney MacDonald Thursday.

 

Under the proposed curfew, youth aged 15 or younger who are unattended between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. could be stopped by police and taken home.

 

If the problem persists, and officers go to the same residence continuously, the $500 fine may be given to parents, according to the premier.

 

"Either that young person is in a situation where they are looking for trouble, or trouble will find them," MacDonald said in making the announcement, next to a boxing ring at Palooka's Gym on Gottingen Street in Halifax.

MacDonald said the $500 fine would be used as a deterrent and he doesn't expect it to be used frequently.

"I'm hoping that there will be no fines given out," he said. "Perhaps some community service instead of the fine."

He said if parents can't pay the fine, or there are other issues, police will deal with it on a case-by-case basis.

If a young person is out for a sports activity or job, the police will not administer the curfew, MacDonald added.

Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter said Thursday HRP won't comment on campaign promises, but added police do a lot for youth on the street.

NDP justice critic Bill Estabrooks slammed the announcement, saying MacDonald is taking the wrong step by labelling all youth under 15 as criminals.

"He has decided to tar every youth 15 years of age and younger with a must-be-a-criminal moniker," Estabrooks said in a release. "It's shameful, disrespectful to Nova Scotia youth and families, and against the advice put forward by law enforcement professionals."

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said the curfew is a waste of resources.

"It doesn't make sense," he said. "There are more serious issues facing justice in our province."

 
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