January 29, 2013
Victims left behind by PC gov't in funding shortfall
EDMONTON, AB (January 29, 2013): The PC government has failed victims by denying funding committed to an organization that supports children who have been victims of sexual abuse, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. Edmonton based Little Warriors was informed that the long expected government contribution of $650,000 for the creation of their long term treatment facility for kids that have been sexually abused was denied.
The Be Brave Ranch would be the first of its kind in Canada, however, after being promised the funding from former Culture Minister Lindsey Blackett, a letter was sent in December by current Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk denying the funding. Little Warriors has raised $1.4 million from donors and supporters towards the approximate $3.5 million cost of establishing the camp which would provide a 30 day program designed to counsel and assist young victims of the heinous crime of sexual abuse. “This government has failed to put the interests of victims of serious crimes first. In the fall we learned that some cases are getting dropped and victims are not getting their day in court. Now we see broken promises that affect some of society’s most vulnerable,” Wildrose Official Opposition Danielle Smith said. “This is just another painful example of this government failing to prioritize spending between wants and needs; this should be a clear priority.” Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said the government should consider the Victims of Crime fund to support the Be Brave Ranch. The fund was created in 1997, and is funded from a surcharge on fines related to criminal convictions. Last year the fund had revenues of $29.55 million and spent $28.056 million leaving a $1.49 million dollar surplus. Saskiw said that it is completely unacceptable for the province to continue to spend millions of dollars on rehabilitation for sexual offenders but leave the victims of abuse short changed. “Government expenditures reflect their priorities. This government spent $1 million dollars on a trip to the Olympics with no measurable outcome and $114,000 wasted on empty hotel rooms, while senior government executives and PC insiders reap hundreds of thousands more on bonuses and perks, yet they can’t find the resources to help the most vulnerable and violated victims,” Saskiw said. “This is a clear cut case of setting priorities. If ever there was an effort that seemed tailor made for support from the Victims of Crime fund, it is this initiative. Alberta’s parents and children deserve better.”