EDITORIAL: Foolish waste of federal funds

Spending millions on youth de-radicalizing attempt just window dressing

Last week’s news that the federal government is throwing another $12 million into the Canadian Safety and Security Program smacks of more pre-election engineering designed to reinforce the fear of terrorism.

On the surface, the funding looks like another boost to law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism, something most people support. What grinds on our sensibility, however, is the large portion “aimed at countering radicalization among young Canadians.”

That just doesn’t pass the sniff tests. It’s been proven ad nauseam that the more you try to reach young people already staggering down that path, the more it alienates them. The funding news might have gained credence if there was a suggestion of how the de-radicalizing would occur, but the information is so vague it could range from group hugs to frontal lobotomies.

The vast majority of Canadians would prefer to see that kind of cash poured into programs that make a difference for the growing ranks of our disillusioned youth. Counselling for mental health issues and victims of sexual abuse; education, shelter, health care and food for homeless youth would be more welcome.

De-radicalization and increased law enforcement is just another example of Prime Minister Harper loading the deck with the card he plays these days in election mode, due to the sad economic state and the Senate debacle. He can’t show up at a fundraising barbecue or mundane mall opening without waving the spectre of jihad in front of our faces. The message at his public outings has been tailored to exclude questions from the media, save the holding a baby photo.

The government proudly boasts, “since 2013, the Canadian Safety and Security program has invested approximately $47 million to fund innovative projects to enhance the public safety and security of Canadians,” as part of  “CSSP’s mission to strengthen Canada’s ability to anticipate, mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from terrorist acts, crime, natural disasters and serious accidents.”

The question is, where is all that money going? And, does anyone feel any safer?