Editor’s Note: For the 2019 federal election, TimminsToday teamed up with a journalism student to provide extra coverage on important issues.
The interviews conducted during this Q and A series were done by Dana Simpson from Algonquin College in Ottawa. The issues and topics of discussion focused mainly on youth and young adults in Canada and the Timmins-James Bay riding. The answers have been edited for length and clarity.
According to Statistics Canada, violent crime has been on the rise both in Ontario and Canada-wide since 2015. What are some strategies and programs you can propose to make students feel safer on campus and in their communities?
NDP Charlie Angus
One of the leading factors contributing to rising crime in our community is the fentanyl crisis but gun and gang violence also needs to be addressed. We need to stop the flow of guns and drugs into our community and in the far north we can do this by way of better screening at the airports and more efficient search tools for those coming into our communities. The police capacity and resources also need to be improved to better handle it.
Liberal Michelle Boileau
It’s making sure that our local law enforcement have the resources in place to enforce the law but we also have to look at prevention and organizations that are working with youth and at risk youth to get them that support. With regard to helping students feel safer on campus it's making sure that our colleges and universities are working with students, hearing what their concerns are, and that colleges and universities have policies in place to prevent on-campus crime. There’s also a section of our platform that is going to be focusing specifically on gender-based violence and making sure we continue to invest in the organizations that are working to support and prevent gender-based violence. We also want to add government implemented reforms to the criminal code to protect life on the ground.
Conservative Kraymr GrenkeCampus safety is a big thing in the area so we must ensure that the university or college has the resources available on campus to make sure the students are safe: campus police, campus security. Also, when you look at the larger scale problem, ensuring that our justice system does hand down a harsh enough punishment so that those convicted of crimes are not repeat offenders. Also we’ve seen issues of firearms coming over our borders and being in the hands of our criminals, we also have to look at aspects like that.
Green Max KennedyAs I’ve indicated, a lot of that kind of thing comes from hopelessness within society. I’m not going to offer a band-aid, I’m going to go after the root cause. We need better education on this from the start, at a young age. Not when you get to university, not as an adult, but from kindergarten right on up.
PPC Renaud Roy
Northern Ontario is not known for its violent crimes. Having said that, I believe that we need to increase funding for the police force to fight against gang violence in the larger centres. We also need to have a serious look at the root causes of this rise in violence so that we don't just throw water at the fire but try to eliminate the combustibles causing them.
Other topics in the Q&A series are: access to healthy food, youth homelessness, better support for mental health and substance abuse issues, access to jobs, support for LGBTQ+ youth, and support for the local ecosystem.The federal election is Oct. 21. More local coverage is available here.