Port Coquitlam is an electoral district represented by capable decision-makers or leaders who help solve social issues in the riding. Some leaders include the Mayor, Richard Stewart, the MLA, Fin Donnelly, and the MP, Ron McKinnon. Richard was elected to the City Council in 2005 and three years later became Mayor. Before this job, Richard represented the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia as their president. At the local level, Richard served on various committees about economic development. He is also a writer and owns a publishing government and communication business. On the 15th of November, 2008, he defeated Maxine Wilson to clinch the seat of Mayor.
Apart from Richard, Fin Donnelly is the MLA for the riding. Elected in the general election held in 2020, he works as the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Before vying for the office, Fin Donnell worked as a counselor in the City from 2002 to 2009. Fin Donnell also served as an MP for Port Moody and New Westminster. He suggested bills to secure West Coast waters during his period in Ottawa. He started the All-Party Oceans Caucus, intending to promote waterbodies preservation. Before being elected as MLA, he was a renowned community and environmental activist. He even participated in more than ten environmental marathon swims.
Lastly, there is Ronald McKinnon, who is represented as the MP for the riding of Coquitlam. He is a board member of the Standing Committee on Health. All these individuals are expected by the people to help solve some of the issues that have been there for a long time. For instance, the issue of gun violence has affected the whole nation and has recently found its way to the riding. Many deaths have been witnessed, which has led to people expecting the leaders to stop the cases from increasing. This paper addresses the gun violence issue and highlights ways that the decision-makers can help solve it.
The Issue of Gun Policy
Gun-related homicides in the country have steadily increased, reaching two hundred and seventy-seven cases in 2020, which is sixteen more than in 2019. Gang-related killings involving firearms are not an exception (Bridges and Tara). Since 2013, the cases in the whole of Canada have doubled (Bridges and Tara). Out of the seven hundred and forty-three killings in 2020, twenty percent are connected to street gangs or organized crime (Bridges and Tara). The federal government 2017 announced three hundred and twenty-seven million dollars over the next five years in new federal Financing to deal with the rise in firearm-related violence in the country.
The initiative’s vision was to bring together territorial, provincial and federal leadership to support community-level efforts on prevention as well as enforcement. The inventiveness also aimed to build and leverage peculiar federal expertise and resources to obtain knowledge about the unlawful trafficking of guns (Ramsay, Steeves, Feng, & Farag. 1). It targeted to use the of intelligence to improve border safety to stop illegal goods, including drugs and firearms (Ramsay et al. 1). Financing would also be given to indigenous institutions to aid in building capacity through outreach, education, and research, addressing challenges faced by indigenous communities. Lastly, the initiative will assist reduce gang and gun violence so that citizens can feel safer in the communities.
How the Decision-Makers Can Address Gun Policy Issue
Despite all these efforts by the federal government, the people in Coquitlam expect their local leaders would do better and be more effective in dealing with the gun violence issue. One of the ways the three decision-makers can work together to stop the cases of gun-related homicides from continuing to rise is by forming sensible firearms laws (Kamal, Darina, Burton 328). Such laws could help reduce the accessibility to dangerous weapons by prohibiting high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. It would be compulsory for a background check to be conducted on someone who attempts to purchase a firearm. This would allow only individuals with a clean record to own guns.
Apart from setting firearms laws, it would be great if the leaders acknowledged gun violence as an essential and avoidable public issue. Among the causes of premature death in the riding and nation at large, it is leading (Kamal et al. 330). Despite this, the leaders have failed to muster the political will to deal with it. The media only report when there are several people deceased as a result of gun violence (Bridges and Tara). However, families and communities are affected daily, primarily through suicide and domestic violence.
Data also suggests that danger varies greatly by race, age, gender, and geography in patterns that appear different for homicide and suicide. Through a public safety strategy, researchers have learned that the issue is preventable (Cotter 7). They use information about different forms of violence and the affected party, as well as identify the most significant risk factors. Then, they create policies and programs in collaboration with community members as well as other sectors. Many groups and communities are adopting the approach, and this could be useful in the riding if the leaders acknowledged it and supported it.
Another way the decision-makers can work in unison to stop the cases of gun-related killings from rising is by supporting community planning as well as the implementation of safety plans. A study has revealed that it is possible to avoid shootings and killings via strategies, for example, the Cure Violence model (Cotter 9). Such approaches can be beneficial as they have been applied in other areas in the country and outside the nation and have worked.
For instance, following the program by the Minneapolis state government, Minneapolis’ Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence, the City witnessed a sixty-two percent reduction in young people gun violence victims. It also experienced a thirty-four percent reduction in crime victims among the youth and a seventy-six percent reduction in their arrests in possession of a firearm (Fleming, Anthony, McLean, & Tatalovich 363). Such programs are good for the community, and funding issues hinder many communities from realizing them (Fleming et al. 363). It is, thus, expected of the decision-makers to ensure that the City has enough funding to enable such initiatives that help the community against gun violence.
The issue of gun violence has led to many young people dying and many families left to suffer in grief. Many promising lives have been lost and continue to be lost because the communities have not yet found the exact cure for the issue. It is the responsibility of the elected leaders to step in and find ways they can help improve society. For instance, the topic in question is something that has caused so much harm to the country. Despite the federal government launching programs that are aimed at fighting against the matter, the people of Coquitlam expect their elected riding decision-makers to step and help them at the local level. By working together, the three leaders mentioned earlier can accomplish that.
Bridges, Tristan, and Tara Leigh Tober. “Mass shootings, masculinity, and gun violence as feminist issues.” (2018). Web.
Cotter, Adam. “Intimate partner violence in Canada, 2018: An overview.” Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2021): 1-23. Web.
Fleming, Anthony, Dylan S. McLean, and Raymond Tatalovich. “Debating gun control in Canada and the United States: Divergent policy frames and political cultures.” World Affairs 181.4 (2018): 348-371. Web.
Kamal, Rifat Darina, and Charles Burton. “Policy gridlock versus policy shift in gun politics: A comparative veto player analysis of gun control policies in the United States and Canada.” World Affairs 181.4 (2018): 317-347. Web.
Ramsay, D., Steeves, M., Feng, C., & Farag, M. (2017). Protective and Risk Factors Associated With Youth Attitudes Toward Violence in Canada. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1–2), NP871–NP895. Web.