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Winnipeg mayor calls for 'urgent meeting' with premier, prime minister as city hits 40 homicides
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has reached out to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to request an urgent meeting, after a week of violence in the city.
The mayor’s call comes hours after Winnipeg police launched an investigation into the city’s 40th homicide of 2019 in South Pointe -- a man was found dead late Monday night at a home in that neighbourhood with what officers called an ‘apparent gunshot wound.’
“We’ve reached a point where a face-to-face meeting between the prime Minister, the premier and I is absolutely warranted,” said Bowman. “So that we can ensure that we are as aligned as possible to coordinate and focus our resources in ways that’ll make a meaningful difference in the short and long term in our community.”
“For that reason I’ve reached out today to the prime minister and to the premier to respectfully request an urgent meeting between the three of us, so that we can discuss the events over the last week.”
Early Saturday morning, Jamshaid Wahabi, 23, was shot and killed at a nightclub in the 200 block of Bannatyne Avenue. His death marked the 38th homicide of 2019.
Last Wednesday, a three-year-old boy — Hunter Haze Straight-Smith — was allegedly stabbed in his sleep and died Saturday afternoon after being taken off life support. Police are investigating the boy’s death as a homicide, the city’s 39th of the year.
On Oct. 26, a 14-year-old girl was fatally stabbed at a Halloween party and on Oct. 27 an infant was hurt in a shotgun attack.
“It’s been a very difficult week for our community,” said Bowman. “It’s been a difficult week for many residents in our community and it’s been a difficult week for many of our service providers including those in policing and health care.
“We also have to look at the overall health of our community. So much of what we’re dealing with right now stem from a greater need in our community to better combat mental health, addictions and families in crisis that aren’t getting the support that they need in our community.”
The most homicides recorded in Winnipeg in one year was 41 back in 2011.
Police said Tuesday there have been 11 homicides in the city in the past 30 days alone.
Bowman said all three levels of government need to discuss how to deal with the root causes of crime and build healthier communities.
Premier says crime on agenda of his meeting with PM
Manitoba's premier didn’t commit to sitting down with both Bowman and Justin Trudeau at the same time. Brian Pallister said he’ll be meeting with the prime minister in Ottawa this week and crime will be on the agenda. Pallister also said he looks forward to working with the mayor on issues related to public safety.
“Waiting for the David Asper work to come in in the next few days, very excited to see what Mr. Asper’s research has shown,” said Pallister, referring to a report on public safety in the city’s downtown. “We’ll continue, and our ministers will continue to work collaboratively with the mayor and all other municipal governments because it’s an issue that concerns all of us.”
Asked if he agrees whether the level of violence in Winnipeg is a crisis, Pallister responded: "I agree with getting results for Manitobans and safer streets for Manitobans who abide by the laws of our province, deserve to have.”
Meantime, a spokesperson for Canadian Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair provided a statement to CTV News, saying protecting the health of Canadians is a top priority, and expressing concern over events in Winnipeg.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities, yet too many family members and friends have been impacted by crime,” said the statement.
“To solve these issues, we need a comprehensive and collaborate approach amongst all orders of government to address the threats posed by gun and gang violence, violence against our most vulnerable, as well as methamphetamine use.
“While we have already taken action to address and prevent these issues there is always more that we can do. Minister Blair's office has been in contact with Mayor Bowman's to set up a meeting between the two to discuss the situation in Winnipeg and how we can better work together to better protect our communities."