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Gun ban needed, not school metal detectors: McGuinty


Globe and Mail Update

September 12, 2007 at 1:06 PM EDT

Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday that he does not want to see the provinces' schools resort to installing metal detectors and having uniformed security officers patrol the halls in the wake of Tuesday's fatal stabbing at a Toronto high school.

Such a move, he said, would amount to the Americanization of schools in Ontario.

“I see that as an absolute last resort,†Mr. McGuinty told reporters during an election campaign stop.

Instead, he said, Ontario needs to distinguish itself from the United States by imposing an outright ban on hand guns.

“Let's ban handguns in Ontario,†he said. “Let's ban handguns across the country. Let's declare war against handguns.â€

A 16-year-old Scarborough youth was stabbed to death on Tuesday on a walkway leading from Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute.

The teen's death comes four months after the shooting death of teenager Jordan Manners, placing the violence that has plagued Toronto front-and-centre in the provincial election campaign.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton blamed the Liberal government for failing to provide enough money for schools and municipalities for police.

“Schools do not have enough money to look after children at risk,†Mr. Hampton said.

“...You can't have kids being shot in school, being stabbed in the school ground. Schools need to have enough supervisors. They need to have strategies to deal with kids, particularly teenagers who are high risk. That's not happening, despite the fact that Dalton McGuinty promised to fix the school funding formula.â€

He also said that, until the government fixes the problems created when Queen's Park “downloaded†various responsibilities like some social programs onto municipalities, local governments won't be able to afford to hire more police.

Mr. McGuinty, who was confronted before the press conference by a protester from the Ontario Taxpayers' Federation dressed as Pinocchio, said there are other ways the province can ensure that schools are safe and “sanctuaries for our kids.â€

Flanked by firefighters, nurses and other public-sector workers, he said the Liberals, if re-elected, would put in place safe-school teams, consisting of police working with school officials and social workers, he said.

As part of the Liberal Party's 'stronger, safe schools' policy, he said, additional resources have been provided to schools to hire more vice-principals to provide additional supervision.

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