Federal government announces funding to improve safety of LGBTQ Canadians

TORONTO — The federal government announced Saturday it will invest nearly half a million dollars in improving the safety of Canada’s LGBTQ community in the wake of the killings of eight men with ties to Toronto’s gay village.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government will provide $450,000 to Pride Toronto to lead an initiative that aims to improve the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the criminal justice system.

“For too long, the LGBTQ2 community has encountered injustice from various institutions in our society in ways that have prevented people from living their lives more fully and contributing their strengths to our country,” Morneau said at The 519, a Toronto-based agency that advocates for the LGBTQ community.

Morneau, who is also the MP for Toronto Centre, did not specifically name Bruce McArthur, who faces eight counts of first-degree murder, but said the funding comes as “violent murders” have been uncovered in the city.

McArthur made his first appearance in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice earlier this month, and a judge said he could stand trial as early as next September.

“The groups in this riding have led the way in demanding meaningful change,” Morneau said Saturday.

“We know there has been a long and turbulent history between the criminal justice system and LGBTQ2 Canadians. Certainly residents of Toronto Centre know about this issue here locally.”

Members of the LGBTQ community have accused Toronto police of failing to seriously investigate the disappearances of men linked to the city’s gay neighbourhood in the years leading up to McArthur’s arrest in January.

Pride Toronto has also had a tense relationship with police for the past two years, since uniformed officers were banned from the 2017 Pride parade over concerns of racial profiling and criticism of how they handled the McArthur investigation.

Last month, Pride Toronto said the two sides had made progress on conversations related to “policing and institutional power,” and the force is welcome to apply to be a part of next summer’s festivities.

Olivia Nuamah, executive director of Pride Toronto, said the federal funding will initially go towards nation-wide consultations with LGBTQ agencies and leaders to determine how to improve community safety.

Nuamah said the talks will be a “deep dive” into the experiences of safety and security of the LGBTQ community across Canada. She said the second step will be a research and analysis process to come up with solutions.

“This money will help us begin to start the process of understanding how we start to talk about these things, how it is we start to communicate them to the wider Canadian public, and certainly and most importantly, how we find solutions to addressing some of these concerns,” she said.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with killing his wife in court

Satnam Singh Sandhu charged with second-degree murder in connection with death of Kulvinder Sandhu

Red Deer-conceived Fringe play that pokes fun at aging actors gets a local run

The Thin Grey Line, by Blaine Newton, runs Sept. 27-30 at downtown library

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

CALGARY — An environmental law group is threatening legal action if the… Continue reading

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9 per cent in August as gas prices weaken

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent… Continue reading

Iran tells US retaliation looms if targeted for Saudi attack

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has warned the U.S. it will retaliate “immediately”… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

Most Read