Alberta creates grant program for security measures to deter hate crimes

The Alberta government is directing $500,000 to a new grant program intended to help groups targeted by hate crimes pay for security costs, from cameras to protection planning.

Premier Jason Kenney says 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 program is expected to become operational in the months to come.

It’s one of the initiatives announced by Alberta following a number of hate-related incidents 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 Sunday, a Muslim family was out for an evening stroll in London when a pickup truck hurtled over the sidewalk and struck them. Four were killed and a child was seriously injured.

Nathaniel Veltman has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in what police are calling a hate-motivated, anti-Muslim crime. 

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.

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