Montreal

Montreal renews funding for anti-radicalization centre

The funding comes months after an internal shakeup at the centre, during which five out of seven board members resigned and its director was removed.

Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence takes community approach, says city

Despite governance issues within the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, Executive committee member Rosannie Filato emphasized the importance of the centre's mission. (Matt D'Amours/CBC Montreal)

The City of Montreal announced Wednesday morning that it will be providing an additional $975,000 in funding to the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence.

"The City of Montreal is reiterating its confidence toward the Centre," said Rosannie Filato, the city's executive committee member responsible for public safety.

The centre has a province-wide mandate of preventing radicalization leading to violence and reducing hate crimes and other hate-related incidents.

Filato said she hopes the centre will work in a way complementary to other services, like health-care providers and the police, to prevent radicalization. 

She pointed out the centre's hotline as an example of its "community-based approach," saying some may feel more comfortable contacting the centre instead of law enforcement. 

"We have certain, more vulnerable populations that are more afraid to call the SPVM or the RCMP or even to call our health services." Filato said.

"We wanted to ensure they have a safe space to call and get the resources they need."

Filato also emphasized that though the centre has taken part in international anti-radicalization efforts, the city's funding will only pay for "local actions."

Announcement comes after internal shakeup

This announcement comes a few months after a major change at the centre, when the City of Montreal and the Quebec Public Security Ministry removed director Herman Deparice-Okomba from his role, citing a "growth crisis" and "internal management issues."

The move resulted in the resignation of five board members.

Filato said despite past governance issues, the city made its decision to renew funding after receiving an action plan for the centre for the next two years.

She said the group has seen an increase in reports of potential hate crimes and radicalization since 2017.

"The mission, we need to remember, is extremely important," she said. 

The city and province have together invested over $6 million in the centre since it was founded in 2015.

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