Jason Kenney, the Conservative citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism minister, held a press conference Friday on behalf of the federal public security ministry to announce more than $220,000 in funding to enhance security for local Jewish community organizations.

“Crime prevention is a priority for our government and we recognize the particular importance of preventing hate-motivated crime,” Kenney said to reporters at Federation CJA headquarters. “The reality today is that Canada isn’t immune from violent acts that targets individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, culture, religion or identity.

“According to Statistics Canada, nearly 800 hate crimes were reported across Canada in 2007 alone… Hate-motivated crime often leaves more than just physical damage — it can put an entire community into a state of fear or anxiety.”

The funding is part of the $3 million, three-year Communities At Risk: Security Infrastructure Pilot Program (SIP), which has provided funding to communities that are especially vulnerable or have been attacked by racists and anti-Semites . Over the past few years, Jewish schools like United Talmud Torah in St. Laurent and institutions like the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centre have been attacked. Other targets here and across the country have included mosques and First Nations institutions.

This year, the federal government is providing funding to Beth Jacob de Rav Hirshprung School in Outremont ($47,000), the girls’ school Beth Rivkah Academy ($9,750), Centre de la Petite Enfance des Écoles Juives populaires et des Écoles Peretz in Côte St. Luc ($14,700), Communauté Sepharade Hekhal-Shalom Synagogue in St. Laurent ($9,550), Congregation Beth Tikvah in Dollard des Ormeaux ($14,618), Hebrew Academy in Côte St. Luc ($25,400), Rabbinat Sépharade du Québec ($12,400), Shaare Zedek Congregation in NDG ($7,285), Solomon Schechter Academy ($11,700) and the YM-YWHA JCC in Snowdon ($70,600).

The government provides part of the funding, while the rest come from the organizations themselves. The funds are for security assessments (25 percent of the total cost), security equipment and hardware, minor construction costs and security training costs.

Adam Atlas, president of Quebec Jewish Congress (formerly Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec region), praised the funding, saying it made him “especially proud to be a Canadian”.
“We are grateful your government has chosen to invest in the safety and security of all of its citizens. We see this as an expression of a commitment to freedom and liberty.”

article by Joel Goldenberg

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