Straight Talk
EDITORIAL - Don’t hug thugs, Premier Wynne

Kathleen Wynne

Credits: DAVE THOMAS/Toronto Sun file

QMI AGENCY

Cleaning up Toronto’s crime-ridden social housing complexes is a tough battle.

Last week, police raids found guns, ammo and other weapons hidden in the common areas of apartments run by the Toronto Community Housing Corp.

Police say criminals stash the weapons in places like maintenance and laundry rooms and in hallways above ceiling tiles, for easy access when they want to commit crimes.

It’s further evidence TCHC housing is home to a minority of criminals, many operating in gangs, who think nothing of gunning each other down, along with innocent bystanders, in their constant wars over turf and drugs. In the process, they terrorize the law-abiding majority living in social housing.

Our concern is that because the TCHC needs approval from the province to do almost anything, Premier Kathleen Wynne is going to be a major impediment to effective change.

That’s because she took a “hug a thug” approach to dealing with criminals living in TCHC complexes back when she was housing minister.

Last year, some city councillors asked the province to change eviction procedures to make it easier to evict tenants from public housing who have criminal records for gun offences and other violent crimes.

Wynne rejected the idea, arguing the criminals would have nowhere to live. Seriously. That’s what she said.

She also tried to block the Ford administration from selling 65 homes owned by the cash-strapped TCHC, to provide funding for desperately needed repairs to social housing.

Wynne, who apparently shares the ideological view of left-wing city councillors that social housing must never be sold under any circumstances, only backed off after Mayor Rob Ford wrote to then-premier Dalton McGuinty, asking him to intervene.

When she was education minister, Wynne dismissed the findings of a Toronto school board task force struck after Grade 9 student Jordan Manners was gunned down at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate.

It concluded the board was permeated by a culture of fear and silence on the issue of school violence. But Wynne rejected the findings, saying that wasn’t her experience when she was a Toronto trustee.

Wynne needs to learn some problems can’t be solved by having everyone hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

Sometimes, you have to get tough with the bad guys.

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