Minister of Justice
Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Today marks the beginning of the NWT Crime Prevention Conference in Yellowknife, with participants from every community in the Territory. The theme of the conference is Together We’re Better: Preventing Crime in the NWT.
Supported by a grant from Public Safety Canada, this conference is bringing together people from across the Territory, giving them an opportunity to learn from each other and work together to make our communities safer places. We all have an important role in this. We need to work together to make it clear that we will not accept criminal and unwanted behaviour.
Our families need to be safe. This takes strong partnerships between the community, the police and other agencies. Our justice committees have been hard at work developing innovative programs that work well for the people who need them. Our Community Justice Program is one of the most successful in the country. It strengthens the role of local people in prevention and enforcement, and it focuses on promoting personal and family responsibility. It works because it’s community-based.
Jail must be the last resort. In the Northwest Territories, we work with our partners to support alternatives to the formal justice system. Justice committees deal with youth and adult cases using a restorative approach. They administer programs that help offenders address the harm they have caused and give back to their communities. They promote abuse-free, crime-free lifestyles and
activities that lead to healthier relationships and healthier communities overall.
Some of our committees are now also providing victim services. They support victims from the time of the offence for as long as they need help. Some committees are working closely with the local RCMP, probation services and youth agencies.
Mr. Speaker, starting today, representatives from all of our committees will sit down together and talk about what they’re doing. We want to help them to spread the word about what works, so other committees can benefit from their experiences. We want to prevent crime in every part of the Northwest Territories.
I’d like to welcome the participants to Yellowknife. I hope Members are able to take up my invitation to join us at the Explorer Hotel in the Katimavik meeting rooms on the first day of the conference.