Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Toronto’s mayor Tuesday to discuss possible strategies to combat gun violence, along with some of the policies Trudeau’s government will be proposing during the October election that would benefit Toronto.
The prime minister’s meeting with John Tory took place a day after the federal, provincial and municipal governments announced they would jointly offer $4.5 million to Toronto police to tackle gun crime.
Mayor John Tory said he has had similar meetings about policies that will be put forward during the election with both Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and discussed how they would benefit Toronto.
Tory said he spent much of his time with the prime minister on Tuesday morning asking for continued partnership if Trudeau forms government after the October election. “Or to put it more directly, asking for more,” said the mayor. “The same request I have made and will continue to make to all party leaders in advance of the election this fall.”
He did add they also discussed community safety. He thanked the federal government and provincial government for responding to his request over the weekend to make additional resources available to the Toronto Police Service.
“I reminded the prime minister of my strong and longstanding advocacy, not only on stricter gun control, but also on the need to have stronger and more respected laws in areas like bail and sentencing for gun crimes,” said Tory.
WATCH: Tory calls for stronger laws around bail and sentencing for gun crimes
Tory said there needs to be more investment in more programs that benefit kids, families and neighbourhoods. “At this time of increased anxiety and troubling criminal activity, I have asked the PM to consider doing more. I believe that while it takes longer to get the effects you need … programs that work, and that must work, are programs that we must invest more in.”
Trudeau responded by saying the recent shootings have underscored the need for common sense firearms policy.
“Too many families have had loved ones taken away. We need action, but Mayor Tory and I agree we can’t simply arrest our way out of this problem.”
Trudeau said they need to take a holistic approach if they want to stop the gun violence. He said the government can help by providing funding for safe community spaces, citing a proposed new community centre in Lawrence Heights.
When asked about a potential handgun ban, Trudeau said his government has strengthened gun laws, but would not say if a handgun ban is in his election platform. He said he looks forward to the election to share his government’s plan surrounding gun laws.
WATCH: Trudeau asked whether his government would support Tory’s call for a handgun ban
Toronto police have been grappling with a rising number of shootings over the past two years, with 14 separate shootings recorded over the recent long weekend alone.
Police have said the vast majority of those incidents are gang-related.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said Monday that the funding was welcome, but did not immediately say how it would be spent.
Saunders said he will lay out his plan to deal with gun violence in the coming days.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement that the province’s $1.5 million contribution comes from reallocating money from the $25 million that had previously been earmarked for part of a four-year anti-gang funding effort.
Watch the full press conference below.
With files from The Canadian Press