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How many is too many? – Our politicians need to actually do something

May 2023

Repeat their names: Andrew Hong, Morgan Russell, Devon Northrup, Grzegorz Pierzchala, Maureen Breau, Travis Jordan, Brett Ryan, Shaelyn Yangm and Eric Mueller. Are you listening Justin Trudeau? Doug Ford?

These are all the police officers killed across Canada since last September.

While policing is an inherently dangerous profession, at what point do we make it clear to our federal and provincial politicians to stop the lip-service and actually do something to combat this rise in violent offences, not just involving police, but society in general. It’s true that there isn’t one magical solution to the violence currently plaguing our country, but there are solutions that would have a bigger impact than others.

1) If you kill a law enforcement officer (police, corrections, border services, conservation, environmental protection, etc), you go to jail for the rest of your life; no parole. I really don’t care that the supreme court ruled it to be cruel and unusual punishment. How about the child who has to grow up without their mother or father? How about the young life snuffed out before they had a chance to get married, have children and grow old? I really don’t care about the feelings of the perpetrator of these violent acts.

Do you hear that Supreme Court Justices?! I don’t care!

2) Those charged with violent offences, especially with a weapon, should be subject to a reverse onus when it comes to bail. Once again, I don’t care if a repeat offender has to sit in jail until their trial, even if they are ”innocent until proven guilty.” If they are a repeat offender, especially one who has violated previous bail conditions, they can stay in jail, for all I care.

3) Acknowledge that its not the vast majority of duck and deer hunters who the cause of gun violence, but criminals who don’t care that the guns they are using are illegally obtained and possessed. That’s why they are criminals.

Instead, there should be increased focus on bail and parole enforcement, interdiction of firearms crossing our borders and jailing the gang-bangers shooting up our neighbourhoods.

4) Our provincial politicians should admit it was a mistake to close all the psychiatric hospitals and re-open them. Some people should not be out on the streets, under any circumstances. It was a great idea to think that we could effectively manage people in the community, but for the most part, the community supports that were promised to the people once house in those institutions have not materialized, at least to the extent that they are needed.

While some could be managed in the community as long as they take their required medications, there are some out there whose mental health is so poor, they will never be able to manage their lives on their own.

None of what I said is a slam against those suffering. I too, suffer from mental illness (PTSD, depression, anxiety). It’s a slam against the system and successive provincial governments that have allowed this problem to get worse.

There is nothing that will stop all law enforcement officers from losing their lives in the line of duty, nor someone waiting for the subway that will take them home to their family, but the status quo isn’t working. Are we ready to admit that? I wasn’t able to quit drinking until I admitted that I had a problem and, more importantly, was ready to quit.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/how-many-is-too-many-our-politicians-need-to-actually-do-something/

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