By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday July 24, 2012
Toronto police funding ‘huge victory,’ says Mayor Ford
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declared victory after getting an assurance Monday from the province that funding would continue for a special police unit charged with addressing the root causes of violence.
Funding for the Toronto anti-violence intervention strategy (TAVIS) unit comes from the province, and Ford said Monday that Premier Dalton McGuinty committed to extending that funding on a permanent basis.
“I think that’s a huge victory for the taxpayers of Toronto,” Ford said in brief remarks after a meeting Monday afternoon with the premier and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair that was called in the wake of a recent spate of violent gun crime in the city.
“I take Mr. McGuinty at his word. He told me straight out and no, there was no BS. I wasn’t going to sit there and listen to it,” Ford said.
“I asked for funding for TAVIS and he said, ‘Yes, we’re going to continue funding TAVIS.’ That’s what the people want. People want to live in this great city, which it is, and people want to come here and create jobs and have a safe environment to create jobs.”
Chief Blair said the funding commitment from the province will allow police to build on what TAVIS has already accomplished and to plan future deployments.
The mayor has previously disparaged youth outreach initiatives as “hug-a-thug” programs, while the premier has said a balanced approach is needed, with a need to invest in both social programs and police initiatives.
In another development, Ford will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toronto on Tuesday to discuss gun crime. (Source: CBC News)