Toronto Prime Minister Paul Martin visited one of Toronto's most notoriously violent communities Wednesday and said tougher laws are on the way to help stem the recent surge of gun violence.
Mr. Martin and Toronto Mayor David Miller visited kids at a community centre near Jane Street and Finch Avenue in the city's northwest end, where gunfire has become increasingly common this year.
Mr. Martin said the federal justice minister will soon announce increases in mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes involving guns.
He also announced more than $50-million for funding various anti-gang and anti-gun programs aimed largely at young people.
"Violent crime and gangsters have no place in our society," Mr. Martin said.
"Gangs are taking our kids and handguns are taking their lives... We're talking about our youth, we're talking about our families, we're talking about our communities."
Mr. Martin said it's crucial to come to grips with the challenges facing "real people in real communities."
He said that means coming to grips with the problem of "exclusion," saying it's important not to treat troubled teens like hardened criminals.
Mr. Miller praised the new initiatives and said it will help change lives.
"What young people need and their families need are hope and opportunity," Mr. Miller said.
The announcement came just hours after an 18-year-old male was shot outside a high school in Brampton, Ont., northwest of Toronto.
Peel Regional Police said the victim was shot in the shoulder from behind as he sat in a parked car with another male in front of the school at about 8 a.m.