Brandon Bear Clan excluded from provincial funding – Brandon Sun

The Manitoba government announced it would provide $100,000 to Bear Clan patrols serving Winnipeg neighborhoods, but the Brandon organization won’t see any of it.

The province is dishing out more than $200,000 in funding — half of which will go to Winnipeg Bear Clan patrols — for safety equipment and to provide long-term stability for the programs that “enhance vital frontline community safety initiatives that support community wellness and deter crime .”

In a press release, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the patrols promote safety.

Brandon Bear Clan patrol members hand out cold water, food, clothing and other supplies to people downtown on a warm day last summer. (File)

“It’s important that we have both helping hands and watching eyes when it comes to preventing criminal activities. North America is seeing increases in crime and we will continue to take steps to address this challenge for the safety of Manitobans.”

Goertzen said the $100,000 that Winnipeg’s Bear Clan will receive will provide annual support for long-term program stability, and ensure there are resources to maintain street-level work in communities. The programs and priorities will be established by the Bear Clan patrols at the grassroots level, he added.

Bear Clan patrols in Winnipeg will also receive another $100,000 from the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund to purchase safety equipment and other supplies for its volunteers, including high-visibility vests, puncture-resistant gloves, flashlights, multi-tool pocket knives, first-aid kits , automated external defibrillators and naloxone.

“This funding provides us with essential equipment, which we require to continue to operate in a safe and professional way,” Kevin Walker, executive director of Bear Clan Patrol Inc., said in the press release.

The Sun contacted the Brandon Bear Clan for an interview, but was told that no one was available to discuss the funding announcement.

However, Tammy Hossack, treasurer of the Brandon Bear Clan Women’s Council, said in a text message to the Sun that the council extends “heartfelt congratulations” to the Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol for the “blessing that has been graced to them.”

“Their work in Winnipeg has been an inspiration to us and we wish them continued success in their community,” Hossack wrote.

The message noted that all Bear Clans in Manitoba are deserving of financial recognition from the provincial government. “We are hopeful that our elected officials will feel the same.”

The women’s council thanks Brandon and its surrounding communities, and its volunteers, for their ongoing support, Hossack added.

“We cannot do what we do without supporters.”

The Sun contacted Bear Clan Inc. in Winnipeg as well as Goertzen for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

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