The uses of Toronto shootings

I realize there’s been a pretty heavy Canada emphasis in the past few blogs. But it seems to me to be an important time to situate Canada in the world, with the Haiti and Afghanistan occupations, increased support for Israel, thuggish comments by Canadian generals, and so on.


I realize there’s been a pretty heavy Canada emphasis in the past few blogs. But it seems to me to be an important time to situate Canada in the world, with the Haiti and Afghanistan occupations, increased support for Israel, thuggish comments by Canadian generals, and so on.

The recent spate of shootings in Toronto and response to them is worth discussing as well. It turns out that officialdom in Toronto – the mayor, the police – have rhetorically made some good moves, blaming guns from the US and creating programs for poverty and employment for youth. Likewise, the Toronto Star’s editorial position on the issues has been reasonable. Their editorial yesterday said the following:

But Miller’s overall approach has been the right one, focusing on programs to find more jobs for youth, on skills training, counselling and more recreation opportunities for young people at risk of being drawn into gang life. In addition, Miller has called in recent days for federal action to stem the flow of guns imported from the United States and has announced that the city is negotiating with Queen’s Park officials for funding to hire more police officers.

Miller has also rightly kept the current crisis in perspective, noting that Toronto remains one of the safest cities in North America. Even with this summer’s spate of shooting deaths, the local homicide rate is considerably lower than it was in 1991. Panicky Torontonians thinking of leaving for a safer city should be careful where they go. Winnipeg? Regina? Both had homicide rates that were more than double Toronto’s last year.

On the guns from the US issue:

“Police have seized 2,470 firearms so far in 2005, said Blair. The majority of the handguns that were used in crime have been traced to the United States.”

What I worry about is that, having imported the guns to do the murders, Canada will import American ‘solutions’ to crime as well: the prison industry that has devastated communities in the US and, through its use of infiltration and the brutality of prisons, actually exacerbated crime as well. There will be people suggesting those kinds of ‘easy’ solutions to this problem.

Author: Justin Podur

Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

4 thoughts on “The uses of Toronto shootings”

  1. Good point. Check out
    Good point. Check out today’s Globe and Mail, page M6 (in the Toronto section) – I’d give a web link but the Globe is never thoughtful enough to put this stuff online. The article is called “Lessons from the U.S.” and it doesn’t talk about prisons, but brings up several unpleasant suggestions, including DC’s curfews for teenagers.

  2. Fuck Guns. Fuck America.
    If

    Fuck Guns. Fuck America.
    If we tackel the issue where it originates, could it not be possible to end the “hydra” of perpetual gun violence and end this growing gang-based annomaly from ever occuring in Toronto?

    Probably not. But that is not to say that efforts to minimize it are inneffective. I think the key to solve this growing concern is patience. Eventually the tide will turn and we will have a much more peacefull urbania.

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