Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's 'War' on Gangs Is Pointless without Policy Change

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's 'War' on Gangs Is Pointless without Policy Change

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's 'war' on gangs is pointless without policy change

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published July 18:

Talk is not enough in the aftermath of the worst shooting spree in Toronto's history, leaving two innocent people dead and 23 wounded. But talk leading to action is downright welcome. It could even prove a life-saver.

That's why it's an excellent idea for Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to meet and discuss ways of preventing gun violence. Ideally, it should lead to a blueprint for action.

The mayhem that killed Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23, at a July 16 block party in Scarborough, and left a 22-month-old child grazed by a bullet and 22 others wounded, must be answered not just with words but with effective policies.

McGuinty, the mayor and provincial officials are scheduled to meet July 23. It's important that Police Chief Bill Blair also attend. But to be truly effective the gathering should also include a federal representative; Gene Jones, the new chief executive of the Toronto Community Housing Corp., and leaders from neighbourhoods hardest hit by gang violence.

Ford hasn't done much beyond declaring "war" on violent gangs -- just more words. Indeed, no one agency or level of government can make much headway alone. But working together they have a chance to ease the carnage wrought by lawless young men armed with handguns and lacking any restraint when it comes to using them.

Here are several possible ways forward:

Improved policing - Blair has, quite appropriately, responded to the immediate crisis with a flood of police officers in the Scarborough area stricken by this shocking violence. An aggressive investigation is underway. But it's important to know if police could do more to prevent such outrages, perhaps deploying surveillance gear or changing the pattern and intensity of regular patrols.

A border crackdown - Toronto police say about two-thirds of the firearms they seize originate from outside the country and are illegally smuggled in, mainly from the United States. We need answers on how these weapons are slipping past Canada's border guards, and the gap needs to be plugged. …

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