kingston & the islands' NDP Blog

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

On the Boxing Day tragedy

The country was rocked by the tragedy in Toronto over Boxing Day, when gunmen "sprayed shots" into a crowd of shoppers downtown, killing a 15-year-old girl and wounding six others. Toronto has seen escalating gun violence over the past year, with an unprecedented 52 gun deaths. I often think that when we hear about such violent tragedies, it's a bit like looking in a mirror. People who already believe that gun violence can be controlled by restricting access to legal guns look at reports of the tragedy, and see a need for stricter gun control. People who already believe that we're "too soft on crime" look at the same reports, and see a need for longer sentences and less parole. Thus, the Liberal and Conservative knee-jerk reactions to Toronto's recent wave of gun violence. This article from the Toronto Star (republished on rabble.ca) reminds us that there's another cause of crime and death that the Liberals and Conservatives aren't talking about. Quote: "Ten years ago, Mike Harris slashed Ontario's welfare rates by 22 per cent, thereby cutting by almost one-quarter the incomes of Ontario's most vulnerable families. The young kids in those vulnerable families are now teenagers. Recently, there's been an upsurge in violent crime by gangs of teenagers. Is it far-fetched to think there might be a connection?" The NDP is the party that's talking about creating educational and work opportunities. The NDP is the party that's talking about putting money toward social programs instead of corporate tax cuts. The Boxing Day tragedy, and the dozens of tragic, violent deaths that preceded it this year, underlines just how vital these issues are. These aren't just planks in a dusty ol' platform. They are literally issues of life and death.

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