UPDATED: Horgan says Surrey youth anti-gang program would get $500K annually from NDP government

The $500K annually would help Surrey's anti-gang Wraparound program, opposition leader John Horgan says. Liberal MLA Amrik Virk responds.

John Horgan

SURREY — A New Democratic provincial government would provide $500,000 annually to help fund Surrey’s anti-gang Wraparound program, opposition leader John Horgan announced today.

He staged a pre-election presser outside Fleetwood Park Secondary on Monday.

“We wanted to make sure we were in the heart of Surrey to make this commitment to the young people of this region,” he told reporters.

“There has been a rash of shootings in Surrey, on average one a week for the past two years. The community has had enough, everybody has had enough, and the B.C. Liberals have been asleep at the switch.”

Meantime, Amrik Virk, Liberal MLA for Tynehead, noted that gang violence knows no boundaries and accused Horgan of staging his press conference in this city to “poke Surrey residents in the eye” while failing to “run over” to Vancouver to do the same.

“I think they’re being unfair to Surrey residents,” Virk said of the NDP.

The Wraparound youth program is a joint initiative between the school district and RCMP to provide mentors for at-risk children, Horgan noted, “so they can be given role models to not get in to the pipeline that will take them in to the gang life, but get them on-track so they can have meaningful and productive lives in the community.

“The B.C. Liberals have ignored this program,” Horgan said. “In fact they boosted it one time only at the height of the crisis a year ago and have neglected it ever since.”

He said an NDP government would work to put kids on the “right track.

“I was on the wrong track when I was in high school and I was saved by teachers and mentors who stepped up for me,” the NDP leader said.

Horgan said that last year 30 kids were on a wait list. “How do you deliver a program that’s supposed to be designed to helping kids in a school district when you were going to say to half of them they have to wait until there’s adequate funding? We want to stop that, we want to eliminate the wait list.”

Horgan said program organizers currently have to apply annually through the provincial civil forfeiture program to get one-time grants. “We want to make it a secure, stable ongoing program,” he said, adding that $500,000 annual contributions would keep it “stable and secure.”

“That’s the least I believe we can do to start our way out of the violence that we’ve seen in this community for so long. Citizens deserve to feel safe, kids deserve to have the opportunities they need to feel safe.”

The provincial election is on May 9.

Meantime, Virk said it’s “appropriate for the public to get a fulsome picture.”

The Wraparound program, he said, has helped more than 500 students under his government’s watch. He accused Horgan of pulling “numbers out of the air, pre-emptive of grants that are imminent” from the Liberal government.

“Mimicry is the best form of flattery,” Virk said.

Virk said his government has spent $64 million annually on a “full suite” of anti-gang enforcement in B.C., featuring the Gang Exit Program and End Gang Life Program, which he said has to date reached 20,000 students.

He expressed pride that Wraparound is funded through the proceeds of property seized from gangsters.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Two women recognized for multiculturalism, anti-racism work in Surrey

Awards ceremony held on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Homeless deaths in Surrey quadruple between 2007 and 2016

Deaths in the city spiked in 2015 from the previous year

Surrey’s truck survey closes Sunday

‘Sustainable solutions for authorized commercial truck parking’ sought

Sunny’s Bridal in Surrey to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week

Business got its start in south Vancouver in the 1990s

Surrey forensic nurse says vote Early, vote often

If Sheila Early wins YWCA award, Scotiabank will donate $10K to violence prevention services program for women

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Vancouver Giant named to Western Conference first-tier all-star team

Young hockey defenceman Bowen Byram is once again lauded for his outstanding efforts on the ice

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

North Delta happenings: week of March 21

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Most Read