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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announces his plan to tackle gang violence

‘Gun and gang violence has been on the rise in communities across the country, terrorizing families and communities’
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Conservative leadership hopeful Erin O'Toole speaks at the Sleeping Giant brewery Sunday. (Photos by Ian Kaufman, tbnewswatch.com)

Montreal, QC - Today, the Hon. Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives, released his plan to tackle gang and gun violence and make communities safer.

“Even during a pandemic, crime doesn’t take a break. Gun and gang violence has been on the rise in communities across the country, terrorizing families and communities,” said O’Toole. “Yet, rather than go after gang members and their networks, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have tried to make criminals out of farmers, hunters, and law-abiding firearms owners.”

With Canada’s Recovery Plan, Canada’s Conservatives will focus on cracking down on gang violence and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. 

A Conservative government will bring in tougher laws and give police the resources they need to combat gang and gun violence across the country, including:

  • Amending the Criminal Code to make it easier for police and prosecutors to go after gang networks and prevent the import of illegal guns.
  • Partnering with the private sector on a Gang Exit Strategy to give gang members, especially young recruits, a way out and a chance to start fresh. 
  • Working with partner organizations across the country to develop and expand programs to keep youth out of gangs.
  • Mandating the automatic surrender of firearms to law enforcement where an individual has been charged with an offence.
  • Imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of two years on the unauthorized possession of a firearm if the person was the subject of a prohibition order or previously convicted of a firearms-related offence.
  • Supporting the CBSA and RCMP, and working closely with American authorities in the United States, to target smuggling operations before illegal guns reach the border.

“I want our neighbourhoods – all neighbourhoods – to be vibrant, safe places to raise a family,” said O’Toole. “Only a Conservative government will take action to end gang violence and secure our streets.”

Tackling Gang Violence

Canadians have a right to live free of the fear or the threat of violence and exploitation. A Conservative government will make this right a reality for the millions of Canadians who have been touched by crime. Canada’s Conservatives will tackle the gun and gang violence plaguing communities across the country and keep violent criminals off the streets.

A Conservative government will do this by:

  • Establishing an entities list for criminal gangs.
    • This would eliminate the requirement for Crown Attorneys to prove that an organization is a criminal organization and would only require the Crown to prove that the accused is a member of such an organization.
  • Amending the automatic detention provisions of the Criminal Code by adding:
    • “with an offence in the commission of which violence was allegedly used, threatened or attempted and the accused had previously been convicted of for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization.”
  • Amending the Criminal Code so that usage of the same firearm by two separate individuals in the commission of a crime would create a rebuttable presumption that a criminal organization committed the offences.
  • Partnering with the private sector to create a Gang Exit Strategy program that will see the power of the private sector harnessed to give offenders the opportunity to escape a cycle of violence and start fresh in a new location with gainful employment and the support needed to leave behind a life of crime.
  • Working with partner organizations across the country to develop and expand programs to keep youth out of gangs.

Combating Gun Violence by Keeping Guns out of the Hands of Criminals

Canada’s Conservatives will go after gun smugglers by:

  • Amending the Criminal Code provisions on unauthorized importing so that:
    • It is an aggravating factor on sentencing if more than one firearm is imported otherwise than under the authority of the Firearms Act.
    • A mandatory minimum penalty of three years applies where the unauthorized importing occurs for financial consideration.
  • Supporting specialized enforcement against illegal firearms
    • The Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP, working closely with American authorities in the United States, will target smuggling operations before illegal firearms reach the border, including by improving and expanding the RCMP contribution to the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.

Canada’s Conservatives have a plan to take action against the criminal use of firearms by:

  • Amending the Criminal Code provisions on possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose to make it an aggravating factor on sentencing where an individual commits the offence while the subject of a prohibition order under the Firearms Act and had previously been convicted of an offence under that section or an offence against the person while in possession of a firearm.
    • The offence will carry a sentence of from two to 10 years.
  • Amending the Criminal Code provisions on the unauthorized possession of a firearm by imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of two years if the person was the subject of a prohibition order at the time of the events giving rise to the conviction or had been previously convicted of an offence involving a firearm.
  • Partnering with the Ontario Provincial Police to expand the Firearms Tracing and Enforcement database nationally and taking steps to ensure that all crime guns are submitted for testing and analysis and inclusion in this database.