NCCM welcomes new federal office for community outreach & security issues

Additionally praises restoration of Court Challenges Program

(Ottawa – March 23, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, welcomes the federal government’s creation of a new office to engage with communities on security and counter-radicalization matters, as well as the restoration of federal funding for the Court Challenges Program.

The federal budget released yesterday announced funding for an Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-radicalization Coordinator under Public Safety Canada. According to Budget 2016, the forthcoming office will « provide leadership on Canada’s response to radicalization to violence » as well as « support community outreach and research ».

« We welcome the government’s creation of an office to better coordinate efforts to counter radicalization towards criminal violence and engage with and support Canadian communities on national security issues, » says Kashif A. Ahmed, a lawyer and NCCM Board Chair.

« The NCCM has long maintained that Canada cannot arrest and spy its way out of the scourge of violent extremism. It is our hope that this new office will have a robust mandate and effective programs as Canadians expect meaningful and genuine engagement between the government and various communities on these vital issues. We look forward to working with the government and particularly Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on this important initiative. »

The federal budget also restores funding to the Court Challenges Program, which helps protect and promote language and equality rights, as well as the rights of minorities and women.

« The restoration of funding for the Court Challenges Program is long overdue and a welcome decision, » adds Ahmed. « This program allows diverse and vulnerable Canadian communities to advance equality rights before the courts. Over the years, the program has been instrumental in helping impacted communities and individuals to access justice, to assert their rights in our democracy and to ensure that Charter rights are protected. »