Tory pledges to protect Ontario families

    Joins concerned residents in calling for new approach to fighting youth

    SCARBOROUGH, ON, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader
John Tory will lead the fight against violent gang, gun and drug-related
crime. Speaking from the Scarborough East Boys and Girls Club today, Tory laid
out his action plan to keep Ontario streets safe.
    "Dalton McGuinty has been missing in action for years when it comes to
dealing with violent youth-related crime. My action plan will protect Ontario
families," said Tory. "It is unacceptable for anyone living in Ontario to feel
unsafe in their own home, school, or place of work."
    The number of youth accused of homicide in Ontario soared by almost 90
per cent from 2005 to 2006. Tory vowed to reverse these numbers and keep those
charged with dangerous offences off the street.
    John Tory filled the void of leadership left by Dalton McGuinty by
holding a Summit on Violence Affecting Youth and releasing a comprehensive
plan in November 2005. Tory's plan to tackle violent youth crime is divided
into three key themes:
      -  Getting more police on the streets and giving our police the
         resources they need.

      -  Ending the outrageous 'Catch and Release' Justice system that has
         potentially dangerous offenders released back on the streets within
         days of their arrest.

      -  Putting in place more co-coordinated programs for kids and
         families - so that young people have more hope and more
         opportunities to escape the cycle of gangs and violence.

    Mr. Tory was in Scarborough's Galloway neighbourhood, where he met with a
local group of residents concerned with the increasing rate of violent crime.
In the Kingston-Galloway-Morningside area alone, six people have been murdered
so far this year - double the number killed last year at the same time.
Twenty-five of the 54 homicides in Toronto this year have been shootings
compared to 19 shooting deaths out of 44 murders last year at this time.
    "A real leader would be doing everything he could to starve these gangs
of new recruits and keep the most dangerous offenders off the streets," said
Tory. "Mr. McGuinty has spent four years ducking the problems of street
violence. For safer streets, leadership matters."

    Aussi disponible en francais

    September 7, 2007


    -  The latest Statistics Canada report reveals the rate of youth accused
       of homicide in Ontario soared by almost 90 per cent from 2005 to 2006.

    -  Toronto is experiencing another deadly year of violence with 25 of 54
       homicides so far involving shootings. Last year during this time,
       there were 19 shooting deaths among the 44 homicides.

    -  The lasting tragic impact of youth violence is painfully illustrated
       by Grade 12 student Dejahnai Harris who has been to the funerals of
       six friends in six months. "Not even an adult yet, Harris says she
       doesn't want to have kids because, if they're not killed, 'their
       friends are going to die on them and they're going to have to go
       through the same depressing thing I'm going through.'" (Toronto Star,
       July 28, 2007)

    -  Serious crimes are being committed by people out on bail. One of the
       young men charged in the shooting murder of 11-year-old Ephraim Brown
       had multiple run-ins with the law and was on two separate bail orders,
       with conditions of house arrest, at the time of the shooting.

    -  Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says bail conditions are so frequently
       ignored that last year in Toronto almost one arrest in six was for
       violating them. "One of the challenges we face is that people are
       being accused of very serious violent crimes. They are being released
       on bail and they don't feel in any way constrained by the conditions
       of those releases." (CBC News, July 26, 2007)

    -  The government tracks the number of beans harvested each year and the
       number of fishing licenses issued but Dalton McGuinty won't keep track
       of sentencing deals agreed to by Crown Attorneys, the number of people
       who have committed additional crimes while out on bail, the amounts of
       sureties actually collected when people violate bail, or even the
       number of individuals granted or denied bail. Dalton McGuinty's
       Liberals voted three times in the last 12 months against PC Party
       initiatives that would make the justice system more transparent by
       collecting and reporting on these incidents.

    -  Dalton McGuinty waited until June 11, 2007 to finally launch a review
       of the roots of youth violence. The study has no timelines, and former
       Liberal MPP Alvin Curling who is co-chairing the review says he
       expects it will take about a year to finish the report.

                               Time for Action

    Back in December 21, 2004, Ontario PC Leader John Tory called upon Dalton
McGuinty to hold an emergency summit to address issues regarding violence
affecting youth. That call went unheeded, as did many more calls for action
over the following weeks, months and years.
    In contrast to McGuinty's inaction, the PC Caucus took to the streets and
visited communities, met with community leaders, law enforcement officials,
victims of crime and their families and educators to listen to their stories
and get their insight in to what can be done to help eliminate youth violence.
John Tory gathered a broad cross-section of individuals and groups for a
summit to develop strategies to address violence affecting youth on June 28,
    John Tory's Time for Action: A Report on Violence Affecting Youth, was
released in the Fall of 2005 and reflected the extensive consultations. Dalton
McGuinty has ignored the recommendations for almost two years.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will tackle youth crime with a comprehensive
       approach, by strengthening programs that focus on early intervention
       and prevention, starting from the belief that hope and opportunity can
       overcome temptation and alienation, and at the same time demonstrating
       that violent crimes will not be tolerated.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will get at the underlying causes of crime
       and victimization by providing supports for youth and families in at-
       risk communities and strengthening community and social programs.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will invest in recreational and community
       centers and work with community groups to help more low-income youth
       access healthy activities.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will advocate for a stronger Youth Criminal
       Justice Act to reflect the new, violent reality of gangs.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will go after bail, parole and probation
       violators. We won't allow violations of court orders to be
       plea-bargained away for any offence that involves guns, sexual assault
       or violence.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will go after every penny, every time, when
       bail is breached. Penalties for breaching bail conditions will be
       taken seriously under a John Tory PC Government.

    -  A John Tory PC Government will force the justice system to own up and
       learn from its mistakes with automatic inquests any time someone on
       bail, probation or parole causes a death, and a Truth and Transparency
       in the Justice System Act that tracks and reports on the justice
       system so we can improve it.


For further information:

For further information: Mike Van Soelen, Tel: (647) 722-1760

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