Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford is breaking Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca’s promise to ban handguns in Ontario.
With the official start of the June 2 election campaign a fortnight away, Ford hit back at the Liberal pledge on Wednesday.
“I was very clear about my position. We have invested $185 million in the fight against gangs and guns. This is what we need to do…keep investing in (and) supporting our police,” the PC leader at Thornhill said.
“We know where the guns come from, the police know where they come from – they cross the border illegally,” Ford said, calling for longer sentences for crimes committed with guns and a help for customs officers.
“When you catch these people, it goes past a (justice of the peace), they can’t get a slap on the wrist…in two days these guys are running through the streets,” he said.
“We need to work cooperatively with the federal government to strengthen all the gun laws we have.”
On Tuesday, Del Duca accused Ford of “putting the interests of the gun lobby ahead of those of Ontario victims of gun crime they are sworn to protect” and promised handguns would be banned. across Ontario within a year of the Liberals taking office.
“The choice on handguns is clear – more handguns and gun crime under the Ford Conservatives or a ban on handguns under the Ontario Liberals,” he said. -he declares.
But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who has long called for such limits on handguns, reminded Del Duca that the Liberals passed no such measures when they were in power from 2003 to 2018.
Mayor John Tory noted that Toronto City Council has been calling for such a ban since 2018.
“A province-wide handgun ban would be a step in the right direction toward a national handgun ban,” Tory said Tuesday. “I continue to believe in the position that the city council approved.”
Ford’s comments came during a campaign-style ad where he touted his government’s support for housing construction, new transit lines and transportation projects, like the controversial 413 freeway and the bypass. of Bradford.
“Others may tell you they have to choose between public transit and highways. They’ll give you all kinds of reasons why we shouldn’t be building more homes for this growing area. They’ll find any reason to say no, folks. It’s not me,” he said.
“Instead, our government is cutting costs for families by building more homes and tackling traffic congestion head-on by building subways, Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.
While the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens support expanding public transit, they oppose new highways, citing environmental concerns.
But conservatives believe both highways are popular in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and will campaign for their construction even though neither project has been fully approved or costed.
The ruling party is also promoting transit-oriented communities to encourage greater density of housing and businesses straddling new subway stations.
In Toronto, Queen’s Park is working with the city and private developers to build five such communities along the future Ontario Line, which will stretch from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre.
The hope is that this will lead to an additional 7,000 homes in the city.
Ford said there could be 40,000 more homes built in York Region along the Yonge North Subway Extension.
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said it is essential “to build fast, reliable public transit that will connect communities in York Region and beyond.”
“The Yonge North Subway Extension will provide people with access to housing and jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help build Ontario’s economy,” said Mulroney.
Meanwhile, Green Leader Mike Schreiner implored the Tories to abandon their freeway dreams.
“Highway 413 will pave over 2,000 acres of farmland and 400 acres of Greenbelt, cross 85 waterways, destroy 75 wetlands, disrupt the habitats of 10 species at risk and remove over 17 million tonnes of climate pollution in the air by 2050,” Schreiner said.
“It’s time to stop Doug Ford’s costly pro-expansion, anti-climate agenda.”
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