WATCH: Mayor Tory champions extra $6-million to prevent gun crime
Toronto Mayor John Tory is championing spending an additional $6-million this year to prevent gun crime.
The plan to be considered by the city’s budget committee Tuesday is on top of an $18.6-million proposal focused on poverty-reduction and getting at the root causes of violent crime.
The biggest share of Tory’s pitch--$2.1-million—is dedicated to a series of grants for community-led, youth-focused programs in everything from music, to sports, to counselling.
The mayor’s proposal also includes:
-$1.84-million to create eight new youth hubs in the city’s libraries for teenagers to find tutoring, homework help and gain financial and digital literacy
-$1.2-millon to create six new youth space at community centers or agencies where young people can use WiFi, play video games, practice yoga or learn a new skill like photography, barbering, or nail art.
-$635,000 to see through the Regent Park Social Development Plan
-$100,000 for a pilot at Sunnybrook Hospital that would see experts work with victims of community or gang-related gun crime in the aftermath of a shooting to promote other lifestyle options.
-$100,000 to expand community crisis response grants which offer one-time help after a specific act of violence
Tory calls these investments in Toronto’s up-and-coming generation and the future of the city.
“We owe it to them to give them a sense of hope, to give them a sense of inclusion, to give them some extra support where they need it. To give them some extra encouragement to stay on the right course by showing them there is another way,” the mayor told reporters Monday.
While Tory said he did not expect to encounter strong opposition to his pitch from city councillors, he became visibly agitated speaking about unnamed critics who might dismiss the programs in it as “frills”.
Tory will be in Ottawa Wednesday to meet with federal politicians to push for greater support in efforts to curb gun crime, with a special focus on stopping the flow of illegal guns over the Canada-U.S. border.
Councillors will hammer out Toronto’s 2020 budget at a special meeting Feb. 19.