June 28, 2019

Canada Day is soon upon us. It’s a great time to reflect on what a magnificent country we live in, a nation that’s the envy of the world. I wish you and your loved ones a fabulous day basking in the sunshine as we celebrate our 152nd birthday together.

It’s also a day when many of us gather in public places to celebrate. And while public safety is, for the most part, a treasured feature of our great country, the people of Toronto — and in my riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s — are increasingly concerned about gun violence.

And no wonder.

The year 2018 set a sad record of gun violence in Toronto.  There were 228 shootings, and 96 people were fatally shot. Compare that to the yearly average, which from 2014 to 2017 involved 33 gun-related deaths.

Gun violence reared its ugly head at the recent Toronto Raptors celebration. Sadly, given the increasing gun violence on the city’s streets, it wasn’t terribly surprising a gun incident would break out during a big public gathering.

But it was nonetheless terrifying and disturbing to see gunfire erupt during that peaceful and joyous celebration. That’s not Canada. That’s not Toronto. That’s not the country and the city we love.

A Conservative government in Ottawa would work hard to get illegal firearms off our streets.

We want mandatory lifetime firearms bans for all serious personal injury offences and gang crimes. We want to ensure that information on guns found at crime scenes is given to the right authorities.

We’d also boost funds to the Youth Gang Prevention Fund by 25% to ensure continued support for counselling, skills development and other important programs. That will help make our streets safer and get guns out of the hands of kids who need our support.

Canada Day is an excellent opportunity to honour what’s so special about our country. And it’s also a day to acknowledge the hard work and tough decisions required to ensure it remains the envy of the world.