Last night, our city was shaken to its core by a cowardly and unspeakable act of violence. My thoughts are with the families of those who are experiencing unimaginable loss, and to those who are in the hospital as a result. I wish them a swift and full recovery. My heartfelt gratitude is with the first responders and their life-saving efforts – Toronto police officers, firefighters and paramedics who rushed as quickly as possible to the scene following this horrific incident. To the medical staff in emergency rooms across Toronto, we too are indebted to your service.
We will come together as a city to grieve and process our pain, but we must also take action. Gun violence has become too commonplace. Guns are too readily available to too many. Yes, the issues of violence are complicated and will require political courage, but doing nothing will continue to put our communities at risk.
I anticipate our continued work with our Federal government in taking action on stricter gun control legislation. During my time in political office, I have advocated for the retention of the long-gun registry and its data, promoted the idea of regulating and banning bullets from our city limits and most recently for the strengthening of the new gun control legislation Bill C-71: An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, which is currently before the Senate. We need stronger background checks, limitations on the sales of firearms and stronger regulations for a proper gun registry and around the transportation of a gun. These are important steps in keeping our communities safe.
We must also recognize the root causes of violence. Stronger gun control legislation is imperative, but so is action on its social determinants. Lack of mental health and addictions services, lack of deeply affordable housing, and lack of social supports all increase the likelihood of violence in our communities. We must also recognize the increasing relationship between social isolation and acts of violence. To create communities that are safe for all, we must address social inequity in all shapes and forms.
Torontonians are resilient and strong. Nothing has prepared us for yesterday's gun violence. In this time of grief, please know that you are not alone. Victim Services Toronto (416-808-7066) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides immediate crisis response, intervention and prevention services which are responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities affected by crime and sudden tragedies. Gerstein Centre (416-929-5200) provides crisis response as well, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here is an extensive list of crisis resources.