Montreal is dedicating $7 million to projects created by young people to prevent violence.

Neither a magic wand nor a miracle recipe, the $7 million that the City of Montreal is dedicating to projects that will be concocted by young people are aimed at improving community security and preventing armed violence.

Mayor Valérie Plante made the announcement Thursday morning in the library of Saint-Michel, a borough north of Montreal.

A total of $32 million will be set aside to support a host of initiatives. Thus, the second participatory budget of the city – to the tune of 30 million – will have as themes youth, security and equity, indicated the mayor surrounded by several of her collaborators.

And in order to ensure that these young people are heard and placed at the heart of the initiatives, the city also confirms the creation of the “By and For young people” program. This is a new special youth fund of $2 million that will support projects proposed by young people, in collaboration with community organizations, such as awareness campaigns, the purchase of equipment such as footballs basketball courts, the addition of sports fields, a mobile youth center, the production of podcasts, etc. With $5 million from the participatory budget, the total in this regard will be $7 million.

The young people were met and listened to, the mayor pointed out, particularly within the framework of the Montreal forum for the fight against armed violence. They talked about the importance of better gun control and their desire to be part of the solution and to realize their dreams and plans, she added.

» For me, […] to fully address the issue of violence, we must also continue, it also focuses on its root causes, I am talking here about the inequalities that exist between individuals and between neighborhoods”.

It therefore takes equal opportunities and quality living environments, she added.

Several young people were present at the press conference, including some who work actively at the Table de quartier de Saint-Michel. But when participants at the press conference were asked whether criminalized youth were also consulted to find out what could have made a difference in their lives before taking the plunge into illegal or violent activities, the answers were more only vague: it is not clear whether their opinion was solicited.

The mayor is not claiming that violence prevention will be solved only with activities to keep young people busy — there is no magic wand or miracle recipe — but she maintains that this is the one of the elements that will, together with others, lead to results, a conclusion supported by research on prevention, she indicated.

If they have opportunities, places to develop their talents and to make friends, the risk is less that they turn to illegal activities: this is the message that has been communicated.

In short, what is put forward with Thursday’s announcement is a way to empower young people, who will be able to ask for what they think is necessary to feel safe and to fulfill themselves, said the mayor. Plant.

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