Trudeau speaks on gun violence at roundtable in Toronto


Dr. Akwatu Khenti, and Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a roundtable at the Rexdale community Hub in West Toronto on Tuesday last week that the Canadian government is enacting stronger gun control measures to keep Canadians safe.

Trudeau was joined at the roundtable by Etobicoke North MP Kirsty Duncan and Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri to hear how community members have been affected by gun violence and to discuss potential steps forward.

The discussion highlighted the need for central leadership, data collection, coordination, collaboration and a different funding model. A new model that allows funds to better flow to grass-roots organizations that are working on the frontlines with vulnerable and impacted families.

“We know that [gun violence is] not just an issue for marginalized communities and we know some of these issues that are rising, we’ve seen in our neighboring country and we see it here, we’re hoping that we can get this under control in our own country,” Ujiri said at the event. “Mental wellness, whether it’s a lack of education, whatever the issues are —domestic violence — all these things that are causing [gun violence], we have to be in front of them.”

Kirsty Duncan

Last month, the Raptors launched a petition urging the federal government to take action on gun violence.

“The Toronto Raptors have been grieving for the friends and families who have lost loved ones due to recent gun violence, including the two mass shootings last month in Uvalde, Texas, and in Buffalo, New York, and now in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” reads the Raptors’ petition, which currently has thousands of signatures.

Representatives from Zero Gun Violence Movement, BAM Collective, and Mending a Crack in the Sky were also at the roundtable.

Louis March, founder of Zero Gun Violence Movement, noted his concern about the 24 “gun homicides” in Toronto last year and raised several questions.

“How many of those 24 ‘gun homicides’ could have been prevented if we as a City showed up with our A-game instead of a Z-game,” he asked.

“Also why do we accept the status quo of zero gun violence in some Toronto communities for some people, and the complete opposite – in other parts of the City?”

“Why should the quality of life and life expectancy for any citizen be dependent on one’s postal code?”

Louis March and Masai Ujiri