1.01.2006

And we're back...

I deleted my most recent post, largely because it dealt with something that was, perhaps, a little too personal (for me), and partly because I don't think it was entirely coherent.

I haven't been posting much in recent weeks, and there are two reasons for that. First of all, my job keeps me extremely busy, and secondly, I haven't had anything I particularly felt I wanted to say.

The last week has been a difficult one for me. As you may have heard, on the day after Christmas ("Boxing Day" as we call it in Canada), there was a violent confrontation between rival gangs in downtown Toronto, and a 15 year-old bystander by the name of Jane Creba was shot and killed. Six others were wounded, also by gunshots. This has been the cause of great anguish for me, because Toronto is my home and it is very difficult to accept that this kind of thing could happen in one's home.

Jane was the 78th murder victim in Toronto in 2005, her death a horrible finale to a year that has left those of us who live here both dismayed and puzzled over what has happened to our city. The murder rate has spiked in a town that prides itself on being particularly safe.

There is a real sense of urgency here about how this problem should be dealt with. With Canadians getting ready to go to the polls in a federal election in just over three weeks, the problem with gun violence is being debated across the country.

Tougher gun control laws seem like an obvious start, but people who abide by the laws of the land are not the ones we need to be protected from.

In today's Toronto Star, Linda McQuaig wrote,
Ten years ago, [former Premier] Mike Harris slashed Ontario's welfare rates by 22 per cent, thereby cutting by almost one-quarter the incomes of Ontario's most vulnerable families.

The young kids in those vulnerable families are now teenagers. Recently, there's been an upsurge in violent crime by gangs of teenagers. Is it far-fetched to think there might be a connection?
And there is the problem. We don't want gun violence, but we are quite happy to countenance poverty if it will reduce our taxes a little bit -- which is why the cuts were made, by the way.

Tax cuts are now being promised by the leaders of both the Liberal and Conservative leaders as part of their election campaigns. The solutions they are suggesting for the gun violence problem are predictable: tougher punishments for gun offenses, blah blah blah. Criminals don't expect to get caught. Tougher sentences might be a good idea, but it won't prevent violent crime from happening. Fortunately Canadians have more than two parties to choose from.

A final thought from McQuaig:
Tax cuts may put more cash in our pockets. But are we really better off if we have more cash for shopping — yet no longer feel safe to go shopping?

2 Comments:

Blogger Talmida said...

Such a horrible decision, this time round. One party mired in scandal, and in power too long, the other determined to make us as American as possible, and the 3rd, a wasted vote -- at least in my part of the world.

Still....

I'm thinking maybe it's time to waste my vote for that 3rd party...


Nice to see you back. :)

10:23 AM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

Talmida,

I don't think it's ever a waste to vote for the party you think should win. I have never once voted for the party that won, in either a federal or provincial election, but I've never considered voting to be a waste of my time.

The riding I currently live in is a Liberal stronghold, and they are expected to win again this time around. But I'm sure as hell not going to help them do that, and it won't be by sitting on my butt and not voting.

The CBC the other day reported that the number of Canadians who would prefer the NDP to win is actually pretty high -- if they actually voted that way, we would probably see some real change.

Thank you for your response.

11:38 AM  

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