Attorney General of Ontario John Gerretsen, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Minister Madeleine Meilleur, and Minister Margarrett Best, and on the right, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Minister Eric Hoskins at a meeting in Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday July 23, 2012 discussing what to do about the recent gun violence.
Credits: ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY
Torontonians can take no comfort from this week's meetings on gang violence involving Mayor Rob Ford, Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
They were dog-and-pony shows by politicians who treat us like mushrooms - covering us in manure and keeping us in the dark.
Ford's meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday had all the earmarks of a session organized just so the two could say they'd met.
After his meeting with McGuinty Monday, Ford declared victory without achieving anything.
McGuinty's promise to maintain current funding for police anti-gang initiatives - which has not stemmed this summer's gang violence - was basically a commitment to do nothing other than continue doing what hasn't worked.
Following Toronto's infamous Summer of the Gun in 2005, 400 additional police officers were assigned to city streets through a combination of increased provincial funding - which McGuinty boasted about - and an internal redeployment of the force.
That led to a wave of arrests that helped stem the carnage.
Today, the Toronto force is down at least 175 officers due to budget cuts, but no one's talking about bringing it up to its full complement.
Why? For Ford, it's because he ordered those cuts in the first place and for his left-wing opponents on council, it's because if they'd had their way, those cuts would have been even deeper.
So let's not kid the troops about what's really going on here.
The real plan by both the mayor and his opponents, albeit for different reasons, is to rag the puck in hopes the recent outburst of gang violence abates on its own. But that's not a plan. That's crossing your fingers.
As for McGuinty's advocacy of increased social spending to fight the root causes of gang crime, the reason he doesn't have any of our money to spend on such programs is that he's blown it on fiascoes like eHealth, Ornge and the Green Energy Act.
But even if McGuinty had the money to spend on anti-gang initiatives, and the wisdom to spend it effectively, those are long-term solutions that do nothing to help people caught in the cross fire today.
All our politicians - at all levels - are really telling them at the moment is "duck."