August 17, 2018 10:13 am

Premier Doug Ford insists Toronto city council should address gun violence at special meeting on Monday

The Ontario government has confirmed it will be putting $25 million over 4 years towards ending gun violence on Toronto streets. The funding will be split between the legal system and police - but some critics don't think that's the best way to combat the problem. Jamie Mauracher explains.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford has sent a letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory that asks city council to address matching provincial funding to fight guns and gangs at its special council meeting on Monday.

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City council is scheduled to discuss the legal options available to fight the Better Local Government Act. The bill, passed by the Ontario legislature this week, will reduce council seats to 25 from 47. The premier insists in his letter that the issue of gun violence should be added to the agenda as well.

“Already in 2018, Toronto is on pace to have the deadliest gun-related homicide rate in years,” Ford wrote in a letter to the mayor.

“This is unacceptable, and requires immediate action from all levels of government without reservation.”

READ MORE: Ontario government to invest $25M over four years to combat guns and gangs in Toronto

The Ontario government announced last week it will spend $25 million over the next four years to tackle gun violence and gang activity in Toronto.

Ford said he is asking the federal and municipal government to match the cash infusion. Part of funds include $7.6 million for “legal SWAT teams” to be placed at each of the city’s six provincial courthouses, dedicated to prosecuting gun crime cases.

The province will also spend $18 million to provide additional digital, investigative and analytical tools to Toronto police to help them fight drug gangs and gun crime.

READ MORE: Toronto police chief discusses efforts to address gun violence, responds to community concerns

“I implore you, along with Toronto City Council to address this critical issue at your meeting on August 20th and add funding for guns and gangs to the City Council agenda,” Ford said.

“The people of Toronto, and by extension Ontario, need and deserve to feel safe in the city and our great province.”

recent poll, conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News, found that 81 per cent of Torontonians believe there is a serious gun problem in the city.

READ MORE: By the numbers — How Toronto gun violence in 2018 compares with past years

Sixty-four per cent of respondents said they avoid certain neighbourhoods because they fear for their safety, but 56 per cent disagree the gun violence in Toronto is contained to only a few neighbourhoods, which suggests residents view the gun violence issue as a more widespread problem.

The call to combat gun violence comes after a series of high-profile shootings.

The mass shooting on Danforth Avenue last month killed two people and left 13 others injured.

A month prior, two sisters, aged five and nine, were shot at a playground near a residential complex in the city’s north end.

VIDEO: Chief Saunders responds to poll numbers showing most Torontonians fearful of being shot

 

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