Yesterday’s summit on gun violence convened by Toronto Mayor John Tory turned out – at least for me - to be a bit of a damp squib. 

The Mayor says the meeting didn’t focus on a handgun ban but on controlling the flow of guns coming across the border. We’ve known about the porous border for years.

We are told that of the 78 homicides in Toronto last year 44 were gun related.

But how many others were maimed and left with life changing injuries? We mourn for those who are killed but what about the living? The young woman in the prime of life, Danielle Kane, shot in the Danforth, left paralysed from the waist down. We should weep for her too – and for all the others who survive, injured and traumatised. 

Until we get details of the Federal Government’s plan to give powers to Toronto and cities like it to ban handguns we shall continue to dance around the main issue rather than confront it. We need to ban handguns.

Our new MP for Newmarket Aurora, Tony Van Bynen, believes, like me, there should be a nationwide ban. 

Unworkable and ineffective

The Toronto Star has been demanding that politicians act, describing the Government’s proposal to give cities like Toronto the powers to ban handguns as “unworkable and ineffective”

“The idea that individual cities can usefully impose bans on handguns defies logic…”

I have asked Mr Van Bynen to explain how the Government’s proposal will work in practice. I have also asked him to raise the issue in the Liberal caucus and seek a meeting with the Minister responsible, Bill Blair. Only last week, in Blair’s own patch in Scarborough, one man was shot in the chest and died and another was shot in the head and is in hospital with life threatening injuries. A woman was shot in the hand. This kind of brutal gun violence – which appeared at the bottom of page 4 in the Toronto Star on 26 January 2020 - is becoming normalised.

I’ve also asked our MP to table a series of Parliamentary questions (see below) and to let me know if he supports the class action lawsuit brought by victims of the Danforth shooting against gun maker Smith and Wesson. 

Elsewhere… Tony Van Bynen has been appointed to the House of Commons Health Committee. It meets this afternoon (Wednesday 29 January 2020) to elect a Chair and Vice Chair. 

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  • What estimate the Minister has made of the cost to Municipalities of (a) implementing and maintaining a local ban on handguns or (b) restricting access to handguns?
  • If the Minister will make it his policy to collect statistics on the number of people who have been left permanently disabled as a result of a handgun assault, specifying in each case the nature of the injury?
  • How many persons under the age of 18 have been (a) fatally shot and (b) wounded in each of the last 10 years by someone using a handgun?