Three years ago, I wrote about Seattle featured in the horrifying documentary Seattle is Dying, suggesting this is where Toronto was headed.
I was hoping our politicians would stand up and take notice considering the many similarities between the two cities.
But they didn’t. Now my beloved adopted city has become worse than Seattle.
We have a mayor and council who act as if they keep ignoring the reality of the crime on our streets and in our TTC subway system, it will go away.
Over the past few years, they haven’t even given the rightfully vocal residents most impacted by the mess the courtesy of a response.
They are so disconnected from reality, it borders on obscene.
Non-stop shootings and assaults of innocent victims in our subway stations and on our buses have been occurring so rapidly in the past few months, we don’t know what to think.
But last Sunday’s killing of a 59-year-old homeless man near the city’s Strathcona homeless shelter by a gang of eight underage females – three as young as 13 roaming the downtown streets at 12:30 a.m. – has truly left Torontonians shocked and horrified. The story even made BBC news along with several U.S. news outlets.
Maybe Mayor John Tory and his posse of weak-willed politicians on council just don’t care.
It certainly seems that way.
While on Monday, Tory tweeted about the tragic Vaughan shooting, we saw not a word about this senseless crime. Over the past three days, the mayor has weighed in about climate change, trans rights and much about an impending snowstorm but not about this tragedy.
It’s as if this black mark on Toronto doesn’t exist.
This outrageous uptick in violence didn’t happen overnight.
As an observer of city politics for 20 years, I can trace how Toronto evolved from a far safer city when Tory came to power in 2014 to one in which residents are fearful to walk previously quiet and crime-free streets at night.
It started in 2015 when both carding (street checks) and the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention strategy (TAVIS) were discontinued at the behest of race-based activists. The latter program was introduced in 2006 to deal with a spike in gun violence in the city and had worked well.
Tory sat on the police services board when activist Desmond Cole came to pressure them into cancelling the very successful cops in schools program.
If these series of actions didn’t kneecap the Toronto police, along came the Gay Pride parade and the Black Lives Matter activists, who disrupted the parade in 2016 amid demands to ban the police from marching.
Since then the police have not been permitted to march. Our mayor has done nothing to fight for them. He could have refused to award Pride officials their grant until police were let back in but yet again he kowtowed to the activists.
It sent a clear message to the activists that they take priority over our police.
Tory didn’t stop there.
When an unruly passenger was threatening female passengers on the King streetcar in February of 2020 and transit safety officers intervened, Tory sided with the leftist activists – even though the unruly passenger was charged with two counts of assaulting peace officers.
The safety officers, who were simply doing their jobs, were thrown under the bus.
At the same time Tory and his sycophants successfully neutered the police and transit security, they increased the number of safe injection sites around the city and opened low-barrier homeless shelters (full of troubled, addicted street people) in tourist areas and other quiet neighbourhoods.
When vandalism, sexual assaults, break-and-enters, attacks on innocent victims, carjackings, illegal weapons possession came to light in and around these shelters, Tory and his equally cowardly councillors ignored the outcry.
When the homeless started camping out on the TTC nothing was done. And no wonder, when the hands of transit security officers were tied.
When illegal drug dealing became an everyday occurrence outside of safe injection sites and homeless shelters, police were helpless to intervene because they were considered “no go” zones.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Many of the shootings are by rival gang members or other drug dealers fighting over their piece of turf.
Most recently when a spate of shootings and other violence occurred in or around Toronto District School Board schools, Tory held a meeting with education director Colleen Russell-Rawlins to discuss a SafeTO plan that will continue the same multi-million-dollar hug-a-thug programs that haven’t worked.
They have, however, enriched the bank accounts of race grifters, many of whom have sprung up from nowhere.
The bottom line is that our spineless politicians have created this mess by neutering the police, ignoring security risks on the TTC and by enabling drug addicts and drug dealers to continue to cause harm to themselves and others.
I would say they don’t seem to have a clue how to make things right.
But I’m betting that they don’t have the guts to concede their series of decisions that have brought us to this place were a mistake.