TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty warns his gun summit today with the mayor and police chief of Toronto will not come up with a quick solution to the city's gun problem.
There have been more than 200 shootings in Toronto so far this year, but today's meeting was triggered by last Monday's gun fight at a community barbecue that left two dead and 23 wounded.
McGuinty agrees that more police resources would help, but says there must also be more programs to steer youth away from guns and gangs.
He says there must also be more programs that reach out and engage young people, but notes there are no quick fixes to the problem.
Mayor Rob Ford doesn't want more money spent on what he calls "hug-a-thug" programs for troubled youth.
McGuinty calls that short-sighted, and says it shows a lack of understanding of just how complex the problem really is.
"I think the question for all of us in government right now to ask ourselves is what can we bring to the table," said McGuinty.
The premier also called on the federal government to ban handguns.
"(It) sends the appropriate signal to society as a whole that we are going to ... develop a different gun culture here in Canada than they have in other parts of the world, including just south of the border," he said.
"I think that’s an important part of the solution, but it’s hardly the be all end all."
The premier met with community leaders in Scarborough Friday to prepare for today's meeting, which will also include Ontario's attorney general and community safety minister and police Chief Bill Blair.
Margaret Parsons of the African-Canadian Legal Clinic said the community doesn't want "cool down money" that won't have a lasting impact on the problem.
"We don’t want stop gap measures," said Parsons.
"We want long-term approaches to dealing with youth violence and youth crime that have proven to work."
Mayor Ford said he also wants a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for a federal law to keep convicted criminals out of Toronto.
"I’m going to find out if there’s some way that if anyone is caught with a gun and they come out of jail, they’re not allowed to live in the city," said Ford.
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