Alvin Curling is the Liberal candidate for Scarborough-Rouge River.
Credits: QMI AGENCY
TORONTO -- Alvin Curling, former provincial cabinet minister and co-author of a 2008 report on youth violence, says he's disappointed it's taken a summer of gang murders to put the problem back in the spotlight.
Provincial action on the issue should have come long before now, he said.
"Yes, it's unfortunate that it has to come years afterward," Curling said of his 2008 report written with former Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry which highlighted poverty, racism and mental health issues that all contribute to gang violence. "We must give the community a hand in shaping it's own destiny."
Curling was recently appointed as an advisor to the province after it announced action in the fallout of the mass shooting on Danzig St. in July.
While enforcement is an important aspect of the battle against gangs, social service outreach is not coordinated well enough, he found in the report.
Little has changed since 2008, he said.
"Each silo, each individual, each ministry, do their thing independent of the other, not in cooperation or in conjunction."
Curling said one of the most overlooked problems contributing to gang violence is mental health issues amongst children. By the time a teen gets help, it's often too late, he said.
"Many times, by the time the young man has gone to jail, the mental problem is not addressed."
The province has rolled out a it's Youth Action Strategy and pledged $20-million to social services programming in the wake of the shootings. It also pledged an additional $12.5-million to anti-gang police units.