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

CCTV cameras help Surrey RCMP arrest two bank robbery suspects

The robberies were in North Surrey on Nov. 7 and Oct. 1

City of Surrey to remove eight dead trees along stretch of road where SUV was hit

Assessment confirms tree that fell was dead; others to be removed ‘early this week’

New Surrey Police force ‘swallowing up’ city’s funds, Annis says

City councillor says draft city budget shows new force coming at expense of ‘everything else’ in the city

Guitar ‘swap & sale’ planned at Cloverdale’s Shannon Hall

40-plus vendors are signed up for event on Saturday, Nov. 23

Cloverdale Rec. Centre to host course on writing and publishing family history

Surrey Libraries brings courses on family history research to Cloverdale

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

Most Read