Montreal anti-radicalization centre gets $500K budget increase

Montreal's anti-radicalization centre gets a $500,000 increase to its budget of $2 million.

Mayor Denis Coderre says anti-radicalization approach promotes "Montreal model" to the world

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre (right), accompanied by Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux (centre) and director of Montreal's anti-radicalization centre Herman Deparice Okomba, said the centre's approach will have global reach. (CBC)

Montreal's anti-radicalization centre is getting a financial boost: a $500,000 increase to its $2 million budget.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux held a news conference Thursday to make the announcement and re-state the goals of the centre. 

"We are creating a Montreal model by sending a message that to achieve results on anti-radicalization you have to invest in prevention," Coderre said.

The anti-radicalization centre, which opened last November, was Coderre's initiative. The centre has 12 employees including researchers, psychologists and others trained to detect and work with people who show signs of extremism.

"If you have family members, colleagues, or friends who seem to have an attitude change, you can call," Coderre said Thursday.

Coderre and Coiteux said some of the extra funds will go towards an awareness campaign in schools and universities, as well as training teachers. The money will also expand efforts to help prison wardens monitor and prevent radicalization.

Coderre said that 80 per cent of the funds are allocated on prevention efforts, while 20 per cent of the centre's budget is spent on reactive measures.

"Last week, I was at the United Nations and spoke with [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki Moon," Coderre said. "I can tell you that we are working with the United Nations to make sure the model of this prevention centre can have a global reach."

Coderre said the Montreal model has caught the interest of not only the UN, but mayors around the world as well.

Coiteux added that the centre was at the leading edge of Canadian efforts to stamp out radicalizations.

Since Montreal's anti-radicalization centre was officially inaugurated four months ago, it's received more than 600 calls. Nine of those cases were referred to police.