Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: It's Only Just to Restore Funds

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: It's Only Just to Restore Funds

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: It's only just to restore funds


An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Macrh 7:

If there's anything the Stephen Harper Conservatives stand for, it's law and order.

The words are written in the Tory DNA. They're as much a part of the governing party's brand as the colour blue. Indeed, the Conservatives have repeatedly said they care more than anyone else about public safety and are prepared to do more than anyone else to protect law-abiding Canadians from criminals.

Why, then, is this government cutting funding to a program with a proven track record of safeguarding the country from high-risk sex offenders? Why is it allowing Correctional Service Canada to end 20 years of federal support for Circles of Support and Accountability, a program that has been a rousing success in Waterloo Region and across Canada?

It is a baffling move that contradicts the Conservatives' previous endorsement of the program. Far more troubling, the $650,000 cut in nationwide funding, which takes place March 31, threatens to make our streets less secure and our prisons more crowded. This decision should not stand.

Circles of Support and Accountability is a major contributor to public safety. It was started in southern Ontario by the Mennonite Central Committee in 1994 and worked so well it spread across the nation. And it does work. Relying on a small paid staff and a large number of volunteers, the program connects with high-risk sex offenders who are guilty of crimes such as rape and pedophilia but who have served their time in prison.

Rather than leave these individuals isolated and struggling to find a place in a community and situations where they might be tempted to reoffend, the program provides them with support, compassion and motivation in their transition.

Studies have concluded that offenders in the program were 83 per cent less likely to commit another sexual offence, 73 per cent less likely to commit any violent crime and 71 per cent less likely to commit any type of offence, when compared to similar offenders who lacked such support. …

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