Rob Ford wants to change federal immigration laws so he can kick thugs out of Toronto

Rob Ford wants to change federal immigration laws so he can kick thugs out of Toronto

(Image: Christopher Drost)

A 19-year-old man has been charged in connection to the brazen Scarborough shooting—but that story has been largely overshadowed by Rob Ford’s confusing but strident response to the gun violence. On Wednesday evening, the mayor suggested lengthening gun-related sentences and changing federal immigration laws to make it possible to kick gun-toting thugs out of the city. When asked by AM640’s Arlene Bynon how exactly the latter would work, he answered:

I don’t know, and that’s what I’m going to sit down with the prime minister and find out, how our immigration laws work. Obviously I have an idea, but whatever I can do to get ’em out of the city, I’m going to. Regardless of if they have family or friends, I don’t want these people, if they’re convicted of a gun crime, to have anything to do with the city of Toronto.

Those statements incensed many community groups and politicians (shocker). Councillor and Ford supporter Michael Thompson wondered what the Scarborough shooting had to do with immigration, while a community worker who works with youth coming out of the criminal justice system thought the idea was “crazy” and smacked heavily of otherness. Ford has also taken heat from Councillor Adam Vaughan and journalists for casting the sole vote against receiving federal funds for a year-long gang intervention project. Last night, the mayor tried—pretty unsuccessfully—to clarify his statements by calling in to John Downs and Ryan Doyle’s Newstalk1010 show:

I don’t care if you’re white, pink, or purple, I don’t care what country you’re from, I don’t care if you’re a Canadian citizen or not. All I’m saying is, if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I want you out of this city.

The call quickly devolved into comical speculation of what issues fall under which federal ministry, a conversation that Toronto Star described as “sounding at times like an Abbott and Costello routine about the federal government.” Still, while Ford’s plan is receiving a lot of public ridicule, he isn’t the only one under fire. Margaret Parsons of the African Canadian Legal Clinic pointed out that, for all of Toronto’s multiculturalism, all three levels of government and Toronto Police have failed to reach out to African-Canadian leaders. As politicians squabble over what to do next, entire communities feel alienated, not just through Ford’s comments about exiling immigrants, but through exclusion from the discussion.

Mayor Rob Ford’s radio call-in offers little clarity on exiling gun crime convicts [Toronto Star]
Community groups, politicians buck Ford’s stand on curbing gun violence [Globe and Mail]
• Charge laid in Scarborough shooting, but leaders divided over potential solutions [Globe and Mail]
• Police, government ripped for not consulting with black community over violence [National Post]