July 21, 2012-There were another three shootings in Toronto last night. One was in the west end the other two were more south, near Jane and Bloor. This gun violence is disconcerting and needs to be dealt with swiftly. Toronto must not give in to a criminal element who are attempting to turn a beautiful, tranquil city, in to a battleground. During the murderous 70s in New York City, gun violence was due to drugs and gangs. It is the same issue BC residents in Surrey live through on an almost daily basis. Hopefully that criminal element has not spread to Toronto. It’s time for Mayor Ford to deal with this violence, before it really does get out of control.
As an American who is a frequent visitor to Toronto, I feel uniquely qualified to examine what’s happening regarding the increasing amount of crime recently. For the past thirteen years, I have been witness to what is probably the greatest expansion of any city in North America. I can’t say I’m in love with all of the tall, green, glass structures from an architectural standpoint, but the growth of the city has been extraordinary. Just yesterday, The Week ran an article showing the average Canadian family to be $40,000 wealthier, than the average American family. Great news for Canadians. But what this also means, is the number of families not doing well increases proportionately. Let me explain. Canadian’s, are as a rule, intelligent, education minded people. But just like in the states, there are a large number of uneducated, poor people, as well as large numbers of struggling immigrants. As the Canadian economy has grown, particularly in Toronto, rents have increased and home ownership has become more expensive. Despite the condition of the economy, which has been far better in Canada than the US since the start of the recession, goods and services become more expensive because people can afford to pay higher prices. This leads to the poorest getting poorer and borderline families ending up joining the underclass. An entire group of people left behind. There are areas east and west of the city that are downright unpleasant and showing no signs of improving. I won’t mention any names because I don’t wish to offend anyone but it’s there in plain sight. This creates great anger and frustration. In addition, the proximity to the US has allowed more illegal guns to flow across the border. For whatever reason, gun laws perhaps, more likely culture, this was never an issue, but it appears to be changing. Guns and gun violence is more prevalent today than ever before. Add to the mix, the unusually hot weather in Toronto and you have the ingredients for explosive behaviour. I certainly don’t have any solutions but Mayor Ford and his administration must first recognize the increasing problems and deal with them. Canadians are wonderful people but there are a number who would rather live in the past than accept the changing reality in which they live. Over the years I have heard many stories of Torontonians not locking the doors as children. Unfortunately those days are gone and the only way to salvage whatever is left from them, is to deal with the issues directly, today, before they become irreversible.