To prevent violence, Montreal dedicates millions to projects created by young people

The City of Montreal wants to mobilize young people in order to prevent violence and to this end, it reiterates its commitment to dedicate 7 million dollars to projects that they themselves have concocted.

Mayor Valérie Plante detailed Thursday morning this commitment made at the end of the Montreal Forum for the fight against armed violence, last March.

Thus, the second participatory budget of the city – to the tune of 30 million dollars – will have as themes youth, security and equity, announced Thursday morning the mayor surrounded by several of her collaborators.

And to ensure that these young people are heard and placed at the heart of initiatives, the City is also confirming the creation of the “By and For young people” program. This is a 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, a mobile youth center, the production of podcasts, etc. With $5 million from the participatory budget to finance infrastructure that meets the needs of young people, such as soccer fields, 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.

Neither magic wand nor miracle recipe

» For me, […] to fully address the issue of violence, we must also look at its root causes, I am talking here about the inequalities that exist between individuals and between neighborhoods. “So it takes equal opportunities and quality living environments,” said Plant, to improve the living conditions of young Montrealers at the source.

The mayor is not claiming that violence prevention will be solved solely 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 prevention research, she indicated.

Several young people were present at the press conference, including some who actively work at the Table de quartier of Saint-Michel, a district in the north of the metropolis where the press conference took place on Thursday morning. 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 message communicated on Thursday morning, however, was the following: if young people have opportunities, places to develop their talents and to make friends, the risk is lower that they will turn to illegal activities.

The chance to be able to propose projects is a way of empowering young people, who will be able to ask for what they think is necessary to feel safe and to realize their full potential, said Mayor Plante.

The city’s official opposition, Ensemble Montreal, was unhappy with the mayor’s party’s efforts to combat gun violence.

On Thursday, the party’s spokesperson for public security, Abdelhaq Sari, criticized the announcement as « yet another communication operation on the part of Projet Montréal, which tries to hide its lack of proactivity in matters of public security. , both on a coercive and preventive level. »

According to him, the measures presented — moreover recycled from the announcement made last March — only offer young people the opportunity to contribute to one-off projects “without planning a real long-term vision. »

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