All Quiet on the Parliamentary Front

Most Canadians truly don’t want anyone shooting anybody else anywhere. You’d hope not. You’ll hear tough talk and bluster at times, random lad chit chat of the “why if I had a gun…” kind, or perhaps it’s hinted at in a serious speech from on high about redoubling the efforts to counter “terrorist” threats to public safety.

The Prime Minister had nothing to say about the Boxing Day shooting in the Tanger Outlet Mall, a mere 20 minute drive from Parliament Hill. There have been 46 shootings in Ottawa this year, a record number. Only one of them merited any attention from the Conservative government, possibly because it was directed squarely at them.

There were less shootings in Toronto this year compared to the previous, with 175 incidents resulting in 183 victims according to Toronto Police Statistics as of December 27th, 2014. Most of the victims didn’t all die, although 50% more of these shootings were fatal over 2013 (27 compared to 18).

2005 was dubbed the “Year Of The Gun” in Toronto as 52 homicides out of 80 that year were people who were shot, including bystander Jane Creba, who was out shopping on Yonge Street in the Boxing Day sales. Almost a year later PM Harper, then in a minority situation, evoked Crebas name and pledged to get tough on crime and strengthen gun control laws. But forward to another Boxing Day shooting nine years later, with the end result being a wounded person who is “not co-operating”, and there is no comment.

What will the response be when a gang style shooting occurs within reach of Parliament? That will likely depend on the last names of those involved. As long as the capital’s shooters keep their business off The Hill, parliament won’t have much to add to the conversation. Earlier this month, Ottawa police carried out a sweep of people wanted for gang activity. Some of those up on charges for alleged crimes include men with names such as Abdullah, Mohammed and Ismail. The holiday silence would only be broken if their altercations took place within site of the Peace Tower. Terror strikes again! But a shoot up at a suburban mall? Just some gangsters acting up. No worries. Everyone relax. Keep shopping, please.

Is it possible to assign a different weight to the motive behind any bullet, targeted or stray, fired off in a public place? Shouldn’t the long term goal be to stop all gun violence anywhere in the nation? Instead, we get a coded response. The victim is uncooperative. The shooting was targeted. The hoodlums are infighting.

Until there is universal condemnation of every incident and positive steps are taken to eliminate the origins of the violence, whatever they may be, it will continue to occur. The silence from certain quarters speaks volumes.


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