TORONTO - It is raining money everywhere. We are in a full-blown election cycle mode. Both Federal and provincial governments are making multiple announcements, daily, as if in competition to secure the public’s support. In the process, they are projecting a negative picture of Canadian society (at least in Ontario and abroad).
Until recently, not many were aware that Ontario’s schools were developing a reputation as recruiting grounds for gang membership and human trafficking (ie., prostitution) Consider yesterday’s announcement by the provincial government on Increasing Programs to Prevent Youth Violence and Human Trafficking. “Our government is working with communities across the province to support youth, reduce crime and make Ontario safer,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, in a press release. That same announcement acknowledged that “the federal government has provided Ontario with $3.7 million over two years for the Youth Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention Program”.
It is either lamentable or laughable. According to the “presser”, in 2019, 65 per cent of known human trafficking victims identified by police were under the age of 25 and 22 per cent were under 18. If someone is under 18, he/she is typically in High School under the guardianship of the local school board and the Ministry of Education (and its Minister, Lecce), or a “runaway”.
This may be the reason why Jane Mc Kenna, said in the same release that “intervening early with children and youth at risk of being targeted for human trafficking is a critical part of our government’s strategy to combat this crime”. Is the Ministry of Education incapable or not equipped to do it? It has a spending plan of about $31 Billion annually.
But the Attorney General, Doug Downey insists that his government is “determined to dismantle the criminal networks that prey on young and vulnerable people in our neighborhoods, and these encouraging new programs will help communities fight back against gun, drug, and human trafficking which fuels gang operations and the continued recruitment of at-risk youth and young adults.” Something must account for the high percentages of criminal conduct foisted on our children and youth.
Maybe the answer lies in his affirmation that “supporting youth and families is a critical part of our government’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Guns, Gangs and Violence Strategies to reduce violence and confront human trafficking crimes in Ontario communities.” The Eleven new programs are designed to attack the root causes of violence and victimization (including human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution).
Some specific Community organizations are tasked with delivering the programs. No mention as to how families – parents – are being supported, or how the curriculum is being adapted to help.
Interestingly, the day prior, another organization, PAFE (parents as first educators) sent out its own press release decrying the initiative of both levels of government to sponsor legislatively backed curriculum initiatives in support of curriculum resources undermining parental guidance in social ethics and morality.
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