Toronto Sun

Friday, November 5, 1999

Wiping up the streets

$3.5M from feds


There would be no need for a crackdown on squeegee kids if there were programs to stop kids from turning to the streets in the first place, says Justice Minister Anne McLellan.

She made the comment as she announced $3.5 million in funding yesterday for 87 projects across Ontario that aim to prevent crime by targeting problems such as drug abuse, violence in the home and racism.

The federal announcement came two days after the province announced its "safe streets" legislation dealing with squeegee kids and aggressive panhandlers with heavy fines or up to six months in jail.

McLellan wouldn't comment directly on the provincial legislation, but she said the crackdown would be unnecessary if there were prevention programs to "deal with the root causes of crime."

What the province and the city does to deal with squeegee kids and aggressive panhandlers is "up to them," McLellan said.

Barbara Hall, chairman of the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention, said it makes no sense to target squeegee kids and aggressive panhandlers with fines that will likely go unpaid.

"I have difficulty understanding how people without income will be deterred by being fined, particularly young people," said Hall.

Copyright © 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.