The Toronto Police Chief and head of the Toronto Police Services Board are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make immediate changes to criminal law and bail procedures citing an uptick in crime across Canada.
In a letter to the prime minister, Chief Myron Demkiw and board chair Ainsworth Morgan called for specific reforms to the justice system. The letter comes at a time of increased pressure from all 13 premiers to tackle the issue of the revolving door justice system.
According to the Toronto Sun, the letter asks Trudeau to ensure that only judges have the adjudicate bail hearings and not justices of the peace in the case of crimes that involve firearms.
Additionally, they want the Criminal Code altered so that those convicted of killing somebody with a gun in a public setting receive first degree murder charges and are required to serve at least two-thirds of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
As it stands, the law only requires convicts to serve one-third of their sentence.
Trudeau has faced growing pressure from the police community and others to clamp down on crime, including random assaults in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and elsewhere.
Yesterday, Demkiw announced that the Toronto Police Service would allocate up to 80 uniformed police officers at transit stations across the city daily following a string of assaults targeting public transportation workers.
“We will do this primarily through a significant number of callback shifts, which are filled by off-duty officers in an overtime capacity,” said Demkiw.
Shortly before the announcement the national president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) urged Trudeau to follow through on commitments to deal with the situation.
“Today, we heard from the prime minister who made a commitment to have these discussions about how we can tackle violence on transit systems. I hope and anticipate that it’s not just talk and that our office gets a phone call,” said John Di Nino.
According to Di Nino, transit workers face up to 3,000 reported assaults per year.
Currently, a bill sponsored by Conservative MP Tracy Gray is making its way through the House of Commons. Bill C-283, also known as the “End the Revolving Door Act” has received the support of Kelowna, BC, which held the highest crime severity rate in all of Canada last year.