Ont. premier orders gun violence review
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed the province's retiring chief justice to co-chair a new review to examine Toronto's ongoing problem of gun violence.
Roy McMurtry and former Liberal MPP Alvin Curling will head the review, which will look to other cities and countries for guidance on how to reduce gun crime and youth violence.
"I'm simply not prepared to accept that we can't learn from experiences that have taken place in other jurisdictions," McGuinty said Monday during a news conference.
"And that we can't find still more ways to ensure that we are creating opportunities for young people to achieve their potential and that we are ensuring we are doing everything we can to make our schools safe, as well as, our streets."
McGuinty insisted the review will not prevent the province from taking steps to prevent violence in the interim.
"This is not going to prevent us from continuing to move ahead to do what we need to do to ensure we are taking real action against youth violence in particular," McGuinty said.
The announcement comes the day before the family of Jordan Manners was scheduled to hold a citizen's inquest into the shooting death of the 15-year-old.
Manners was shot and killed in the hallway of his high school on May 23.
On Saturday, a gunfight broke out in broad daylight in a Rexdale neighbourhood, leaving a 19-year-old man dead and three other people in hospital.
Critics said McGuinty's announcement would only stall the process of cleaning up Toronto's streets.
"After two years of 'the summer of the gun' and four years in public office, how many more people have to die on the streets in broad daylight or in schools or anywhere else before we see an action plan instead of being told to be patient," Conservative Leader John Tory said after the announcement.
MPP Peter Tabuns agreed and said the province has enough studies on violence and the announcement will do little to curb the crime rate in Toronto.
McGuinty maintained the review won't "bring all shootings to a grinding halt immediately," but would work towards a unified attempt at prevention between government and citizens.
"I think that what Ontarians are looking for is a concerted, determined and sincere effort being brought by all the players, and we're certainly going to do our part in that regard,'' McGuinty said.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day praised Toronto police in their response to gangs and gun crime.
"Their police force have done the type of measures that we have said all along would result in reduced crime with firearms," he told CTV Newsnet's Mike Duffy Live on Monday.
"They have been more aggressive in terms of officers on the street, we're assisting on the resource side in terms of going after smuggling with guns, and getting more aggressive on the criminals."
Reacting to McGuinty's recent call for a ban on handguns, Day said it would create a diversion for officers.
"They would have to go after the thousands of innocent people who collect firearms, who can only use handguns when they're going to a shooting range; they have to have a permit for that. You don't take officers who want to be going after the criminals and focus them on innocent people."
He claimed the federal Liberals were holding up a bill on mandatory jail time for individuals who commit gun crimes.
With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss and files from the Canadian Press