An Open Letter From Premier McGuinty To Federal Leaders On Gun Crimes
Dear Prime Minister Martin, Mr. Harper, Mr. Layton and Mr. Duceppe:
Earlier this week, in the middle of a holiday season that should be filled with family, friends and happiness, the life of one young woman was taken and six others were injured in a downtown Toronto shooting spree. As you are very much aware, this is only the latest in a series of shootings that continue to kill and injure.
I know you share my deep concern and determination to do all we can to make our streets safer.
Effectively addressing guns and gangs will require a renewed and sustained effort on the part of all levels of government working together with our police. Among other things, we need to address the inadequacy of Canada's criminal penalties for gun-related crimes. It is in this vein that I am writing to you.
While any effective plan to address gun crimes must be comprehensive in nature and address both the causes of crime as well as the crime itself, part of any such plan must include severe penalties.
Only severe penalties can clearly convey the gravity of gun-related crimes and our society's intolerance for them.
On behalf of Ontarians, I am asking for your commitment to move as quickly as possible under the new Parliament to amend the Criminal Code in order to:
- Impose a ban on handguns
- Impose a mandatory minimum sentence of four years for illegal possession of a handgun
- Impose increased mandatory minimum sentences for all gun crimes
- Create two new Criminal Code offences with mandatory minimum sentences for robbery with the intent to steal a gun and for breaking and entering with the intent to steal a gun
- Impose a reverse onus on bail for all gun crimes, and
- Set more severe penalties for any breach of bail conditions.
We must -- and will -- continue to work together on behalf of all Ontarians to ensure our communities are safe. This work can only succeed if we build on a criminal justice system that treats gun crimes with the severity they deserve.
c: His Worship David Miller, Mayor, City of Toronto
Chief William Blair, Toronto Police Service
Chief Armand La Barge, President, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
Mr. John Tory, Leader, Ontario PC Party
Mr. Howard Hampton, Leader, Ontario NDP Party