In today's rapidly changing world, public safety has become an increasingly pressing concern for communities worldwide. Recent incidents, including the tragic shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar that unfolded in our city, have brought this issue to the forefront, sparking discussions and calls for action. As we grapple with the aftermath of such events, it is essential to delve deeper into the multifaceted nature of public safety, and explore the ever so urgent need for comprehensive strategies that address the root causes of violence while fostering a sense of security and resilience among individuals and communities alike.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General shares that the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey is profoundly disturbing, “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this crime. It’s particularly troubling that the shooting took place outside a place of worship, where people should be able to gather in safety with friends, family and community members. We understand that there is widespread grief and anxiety after this shooting. Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death is being investigated by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, and they are working with policing partners and communities to track down the parties responsible for this crime.”
Responsible for delivering public safety services in British Columbia, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General expresses that any type of violence that endangers people in BC is unacceptable, assuring the public that the government is working on every front to make sure everyone feels safe in their communities. In fact, with support from the Federal government, approximately $100M is being invested to address gun and gang violence this year. In addition, the Province has approved an unprecedented, multi-year investment of approximately $230 million to the base funding for the RCMP to hire additional officers under the Safer Communities Action Plan. That includes hiring additional officers in specialized units, such as the major crimes section.
Member of Parliament for Surrey-Newton, Sukh Dhaliwal also echoes that every Canadian deserves to feel safe in their neighborhoods and communities, including places of worship, “Canada is a country of diversity, peace, and inclusion. We cannot, and we will not, tolerate hate and violence. Following the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, I, along with several members of the Sikh Liberal Caucus, met with the Minister of Public Safety to highlight concerns raised by members of the public. Minister Marco Mendicino assured us that the government is working closely with law enforcement, to protect the Sikh community, and all Canadians.”
Dhaliwal details that on June 28th, the Minister of Public Safety launched the 2023 Security Infrastructure Program, providing community institutions the resources they need to make safety improvements, as the program will fund up to 50% of the cost of security equipment, up to a maximum of $100,000 per project. Eligible recipients include community centers, educational institutions, places of worship and others. In May, the government announced an investment of $390 million through the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund, including $54.7 million earmarked for British Columbia. Funding over the next five years will help provinces and territories with a variety of initiatives to combat gun and gang violence, including support for law enforcement and prevention programs. Moreover, this year, $3.95 million from the Building Safer Communities Fundis is being directed to the City of Surrey to support local initiatives that prevent gun and gang violence and help young people make good choices.
Elaborating further, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, Randeep Sarai shares his perspective, “We are all very concerned as to what happened to Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He was a father, a husband, businessman, and community leader. We have been in constant contact with the Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendocino to avail him of the community’s concerns and he has met with members of the Sikh Liberal Caucus, Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Committee, and the Nijjar family and has assured them that they will give law enforcement all the resources and tools to capture those responsible for this heinous crime. Minister Mendocino is also working closely with Minister Farnworth in BC and with the community and addressing the concerns they have, including offering resources to improve security at places of worship”.
Evidently, the recent shooting incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing need for enhanced public safety measures. The loss of Hardeep Singh Nijjar has deeply affected the community, emphasizing the importance of creating safe spaces for everyone, including places of worship. Action is crucial in ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians, and serves as a reminder that continued collaboration between government, law enforcement, and communities is vital to prevent such tragic incidents and create a society where everyone can live without fear. Public safety remains a top priority, and it is through these collective efforts that we can strive for a safer and more secure future for all.