Toronto mayor says solution to gang violence is 'jobs'
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:40PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 17, 2012 11:09PM EDT
Vowing to do everything in his power to eradicate gun violence in the city after a mass shooting in Scarborough Monday night, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said the best way to prevent gang violence is creating jobs.
“You get these people working, the best social program is a job, I’ve always said that,” Ford told reporters Tuesday in addressing the block party shooting that killed two people and injured 23 others.
Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23, were killed in the gunfire Monday night. Police Chief Bill Blair described it as an “unprecedented” crime for the city of Toronto and warned of retaliatory violence.
Ford promised Tuesday to “chase down…these gun-toting cowards” and throw them in jail.
“I’m working with the premier’s office and the prime minister’s office to get the support to get rid of these thugs,” he said.
Ford insisted, however, that Toronto remains a safe city. He said the deadly night in Scarborough and the Eaton Centre shooting that killed two men last month are “isolated incidents.”
“We don’t have this culture that everyone’s saying. This is family-oriented city and you have the odd incident that happens,” he said.
Ford has traditionally opposed targeted funding for priority neighbourhoods, and last month he voted against accepting federal money from the National Crime Prevention Centre to combat gangs. He lost that vote 33-1.
Some city councillors say Toronto needs to devote more resources to troubled and vulnerable neighbourhoods, even if it means asking for financial help from the province.
Coun. Adam Vaughan told local media Tuesday that Ford cannot deny Toronto’s gun violence problem, even though crime statistics show the city is relatively safe.
Vaughan also said council should reverse budget cuts to community programs aimed at reducing crime and getting people involved in their neighbourhoods.
In a separate statement issued through his office, Ford said it’s time “for all of us to work together to keep our city safe.”
“Two innocent young people are dead because some idiot thugs decided to settle a disagreement with violence,” he said. “That is not acceptable in our city. I will not accept it. I am furious about it.”
Ford also appealed to those who were at the block party on Danzig Street to come forward with any information that could lead to arrests.