Toronto police to receive $25M from province in fight against gun crime: source
Colin D'Mello, Queen's Park Bureau Chief, CTV News
Published Monday, August 6, 2018 12:48PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 17, 2018 9:48AM EDT
The city of Toronto is set to receive a major cash-infusion from the provincial government to help local law enforcement fight gun violence.
A source in the premier’s office told CTV News Toronto that the province will give the city $25 million to aid Toronto police.
The Ontario PC government is looking to Toronto and the federal government to match the money but the funding is not dependent on that, according to the source.
The province is set to announce its funding commitment on Thursday.
The news comes shortly after Mayor John Tory penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewing his call for a ban on the sale of handguns in the city.
In the letter, which Mayor John Tory’s office sent out to members of the media on Monday, he urged the federal government to work with the city on a number initiatives aimed at addressing gun violence, including a ban on the sale of handguns within city limits.
“I would ask again as you have heard me ask publicly before: why does anyone in the city of Toronto need a gun? I think this is an important question worth asking and, frankly, if we don't have a good answer for that question then it’s time we do something about it,” Tory wrote.
“I write to you today as the Mayor but also as a father and grandfather who has met with families who have lost their loved ones to gun violence. I believe it is my job to try to comfort them and express our city's collective sorrow for their loss. But I also believe it is my job to seek action, it is my job to make sure we don't just talk about banning handguns and strengthening our laws but that we actually ban handguns and we actually strengthen those laws.”
Toronto city council recently voted in favour of a motion urging Ottawa to step up and support the city’s efforts in tackling gun violence.
In his letter to Trudeau, Tory outlined the steps the city has taken to address the situation.
“We discussed in depth both prevention and intervention strategies to deal with this urgent issue, and identified strategies in three key areas - community investments, police resourcing and gun control – that we are asking the federal government to work with us on,” Tory wrote.
The city is requesting millions in federal funding for community investments as well as additional resources for police, including $15 million for more CCTV cameras and additional security in areas most affected by gun violence.
Tory also requested that Ottawa improve federal legislation and bail guidelines.
“We ask that the federal government conduct a complete and expeditious review of bail guidelines and procedures applied to those already on bail, previously convicted of offenses involving the possession or use of illegal firearms, or previously convicted of the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime,” Tory wrote.
“We want to ensure that repeat gun offenders not be granted bail in the event of a subsequent gun charge and remain in custody until the charges have been disposed of by the judicial system.”
Tory’s letter comes in the wake of a mass shooting on the Danforth that claimed the lives of a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman and left more than a dozen injured.
“On your recent visit to Toronto you said that one of our single greatest responsibilities as elected officials is ensuring public safety and you know I wholeheartedly agree. One of the purposes of your visit was to pay respects to those affected by the violence that has afflicted our city in recent weeks,” Tory said.
“I also know from our discussions and your public statements that your government wants to work with the City of Toronto to help address gun crime. As you know, this violence is taking lives, leaving families and our communities devastated as they look for answers and actions, some of which must come from us.”
Speaking with CP24 after issuing the letter, Tory said he ultimately wants the federal government to provide a reason why people in the city, aside from police officers, need guns.
“When they think about the question I’ve been posing, which is why does anybody in the city of Toronto need a handgun, they will answer the question with ‘they don’t,’” he said.
“Therefore a ban, subject to police officers having guns, would be sensible.”
The federal government previously said it is prepared to consider tightening handgun laws but noted it would require “significant remodeling of the Criminal Code.” So far, no funding announcement has been made by the feds.
-With files from CP24.com's Codi Wilson