British Columbia

Public safety minister announces $327.6M to fight gangs and gun violence

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale announced the federal government will spend $327.6 million over five years on anti-gang initiatives and gun crime crackdown.

The announcement was made in Surrey — a city that has been plagued by gang violence — on Friday morning

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Friday announced a plan to get handguns and weapons off the streets. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale announced the federal government will spend $327.6 million over five years on anti-gang initiatives and gun crime crackdown.

He said his government is "ramping up" to spending $100 million annually, which will start once the first five years is up.

The announcement was made in Surrey, B.C. — a city that has been plagued by gang violence — on Friday morning. 

Goodale said that money will help cut down on gun crime and criminal activity, and will support communities, law enforcement and border operations.

He also announced Ottawa will be convening a national guns and gangs summit in March 2018, that will bring together experts, front-line personnel and decision-makers. 

'Deeply troubling'

During the announcement, Goodale called the gang situation "deeply troubling."

"The problem does really stretch, in one way or another, across the country. But there are areas where the risk is more intense," he said.

"Communities like Surrey which have historically had a very significant challenge in this regard will be a priority, as well as other hotspots across the country."

Goodale did not elaborate on the specifics of the funding, but said it will go towards training, research on how to dislodge people from gangs and reinforcing interdiction at the border.

Goodale also said some funding might be assigned to special projects in rural communities. 

"The nature of this beast is constantly changing, so you need to be nimble, you need to be flexible."

According to a release from Public Safety Canada, there were 2,465 criminal firearms violations in 2016, an increase of 30 per cent since 2013. 

The event was also attended by Liberal MP Joyce Murray, who made the announcement in French.