EDMONTON — Groups that experience hate crimes in Alberta will soon be able to apply for grants to pay for security upgrades and other ways to keep them safe.
Premier Jason Kenney said Friday even small measures can prove life-saving for those targeted because of who they are or how they worship.
The grants will be for up to $10,000 for everything from security cameras to protection planning, training, and education.
The province is directing a total of $500,000 to the program, which is to become operational in the months to come.
It's one of the initiatives announced by Alberta following hate-related encounters in the province and the deaths of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont.
The government is also creating a community liaison to meet with groups facing hate-motivated crimes and plans to set up a hate crimes co-ordination unit to better focus and direct law enforcement.
“All Albertans must be able to live in a province where it is safe to practise their faith, to exercise their freedom of religion,” Kenney said Friday. “Albertans must feel safe to walk in their neighbourhood and not fear for their safety because of the colour of their skin.
“This ... grant program is a concrete demonstration of Alberta’s commitment to religious freedom, to public safety, and our shared opposition to the forces of hatred.”
On June 6, a Muslim family was out for an evening stroll in London, Ont., when a pickup truck hurtled over the sidewalk and struck them. Four were killed and a child was seriously injured.
Police have said the family was targeted because of its faith. The driver has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
A petition started by the National Council for Canadian Muslims is urging all levels of government to tackle Islamophobia and has more than 35,000 signatures.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2021.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press