Doctors, health workers urge political action on gun control at Liberal event


Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says the direction the federal government will take on guns is a clear distinction between his party and the Conservatives.

``The Conservative politicians want to weaken gun control where we want to strengthen gun control; that is at the heart of the choice that Canadians are facing in this upcoming election,'' Trudeau said in Toronto today after a meeting with health-care professionals about his gun-control plan.

The Liberal plan includes outlawing the semi-automatic AR-15, a variety of gun that was used in many recent U.S. mass shootings, as well a buy-back program for legally purchased assault rifles.

Trudeau met with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, who used his campaign stop in Toronto today to offer poignant and forceful testimonials about the impact of rising gun violence.

Many of them backed gun-control laws, saying restricting access to firearms is one way to stop the rising flow of bloodied patients to their trauma centres.

It's a top-of-mind issue in a city where, according to Toronto police data, 340 shooting incidents have occurred this year alone, 28 of them deadly.

Among the speakers was Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma surgeon who helped treat victims of a mass shooting in Toronto's Danforth neighbourhood last summer that killed two young people and wounded 13 more.

She spoke of the need for massive blood transfusions in the first 24 hours of treating shooting victims, followed by many, many operations, and the life-long impact of shootings on patients and those around them.

``They spend weeks and weeks in the ICU, their lives hanging in the balance, their families at their bedsides. We doctors walk past them, trying to give them hope,'' said Ahmed.

``Doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals who treat these patients see it as our responsibility to inform you of our lived experience so that you can make better decisions on behalf of all Canadians.''