Toronto to Get $25 Million to Fight Gun Violence
Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, has announced that the province would be releasing $25 million to the police and courts in Toronto to help fight guns and gangs.
“We are sending a clear message to the thugs, to the violent criminals who think they own our streets,” Ford said. “We are sending a message that we are coming for them.”
The money would be rolled out in tranches for over four years and will equip city authorities with the needed tools to fight the increase in gun violence that has ravaged the city recently.
He said the decision on how to spend the funds would be left entirely to the police, “Too many of our police officers are frustrated, frustrated that their hands are tied, they lack the best resources to do the job” said Ford while announcing the release of the funds. “We aren’t experts, Ford said. “All politicians think they’re experts but they’re not.” “It’s time to get serious about fighting guns and gangs,” he said. “No more talk. No more grandstanding. It’s time for action. It’s time to put public safety first.”
The premier urged the federal government and the city of Toronto to support this move by matching the province’s investment.
“Organized crime that starts in Toronto ends up spilling into Ottawa and other centers,” Ford said. “Fighting guns and gangs will remain a top priority for our government.”
According to the report on TorontoS un.com, the government has assigned $18 million for Toronto police, saying the money will provide digital, investigative and other resources to help deal with drug gangs and gun crime. Ford noted, however, that the province did not plan to bring back the controversial practice of police street checks known as carding. Another $7.6 million will bankroll new legal “SWAT” teams at courthouses in the city dedicated to prosecuting gun crime cases, specifically to ensure violent criminals who use guns are denied bail and remain behind bars.
Toronto’s Mayor John Tory, in his response, said the city will match funding for 2018 but after the October municipal elections, the funding would need approval from future councils. “For months, I have been urging my federal and provincial counterparts to toughen up bail for gun offenders and so this move today by the provincial government is particularly gratifying,” said Tory.
However, critics have condemned this move saying it was not going to solve the root causes of the city crimes. “We need to take a look at the issues of poverty,” said opposition legislator, Gilles Bisson. “Why is it that people pick up guns? Why do people join gangs? … If you really want to deal effectively with guns, you’ve got to look at everything.”
Interestingly, in his speech, Premier Doug also mentioned politicians and activists who use gun violence as an excuse to campaign for more funding. He said “The people are tired of city councilors and activists who use shootings as an excuse to campaign for more spending”.