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Toronto Gun Crime News

The Ontario government made annoucements this morning regarding expansion of guns and gangs task force, as reported in the Toronto Star:

The guns and gangs task force in Toronto will be expanded across the GTA with 26 new officers as well as 32 additional crown attorneys who will work with police to support them through to trial. The new officers will be drawn from the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other forces across the GTA in the regions of Peel, York and Durham.

Criticism of this move has pointed out that it merely represents a reassignment of existing resources, without any new investment. However, Toronto's police chief says that the program makes the police more effective through coordination (Audio link).

The same Toronto Star article reports that the provincial Liberals claim they will soon make good on their promise to fund the hiring of an additional 1,000 police officers in Ontario.

Attorney General Michael Bryant will also continue to push his federal counterpart for mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. However, federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has already said that the existing mandatory minimums seem to be sufficient. I'm not sure how Bryant will make an impact, although I suspect pressure from other federal parties might help.

The Toronto Star also quotes Margaret Parsons, executive director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, as being critical of these developments: "This is a law and order agenda, this is not a community-based agenda." This seems rather silly to me since the community-based agenda is being pursued simultaneously. No one can deny that people are shooting people and they all ought to be in jail.

On another note, it seems that the community-based agenda that has been one of the approaches of Mayor David Miller is also on track to be a major part of Stephen Harper's Conservative crime platform. Toronto Sun types like to bash it, but apparently the likes of Jim Flaherty are behind it too.

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