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Mammoliti’s Curfew: Scapegoating Toronto’s youth

February 11th, 2010     by Cate Simpson     Comments

Shameless Wire, our new training program for young journalists, is in full swing. Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a number of guest posts by Wire participants. This first series responds to Toronto city councillor and mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti’s platform, which calls for a city-wide teen curfew.

by BerBer Xue

Councilor Giorgio Mammoliti has been pushing for a teen curfew for half a decade now, and he’s not stopping because of his run for Toronto mayor. I, for one, do not like the fact that Mammoliti wants to pass a curfew that will dictate how our lives are lived.

Mammoliti’s logic for this curfew is that it will reduce the number of murders in Toronto, but he is playing on fear, not logic. People are afraid of guns. People are afraid of teenagers. A natural instinct would be to suffocate that threat of teenagers wielding guns until it is gone. But last time I checked, there are not many teenage murderers in Toronto. Watching the news these days, I do hear my fair share of murders and shootings (more so last year). But the majority of these are done by people over 18.

In any case, this curfew would be an overreaction. This is akin to enforcing the War Measures Act during the October Crisis, over-the-top and unnecessary. Parents should reserve the right to set their own curfews, at their own discretion. It should be the parent’s right, not the government’s, because they know their children far better than an impersonal law.

Finally, let’s talk logistics. How is this going to work? There is no efficient way to keep teenagers off the streets at night. It would take a tremendous amount of people and organization to execute this well. Toronto isn’t a small town; there are so many places where teenagers could be. No matter how much the city spends, most of the night owls will be able slip away - we’re like Jell-O in that way.

Mammoliti wants to use teenagers as a scapegoat, but his plan will backfire. I know parents who are not voting for Mammoliti just because of this curfew issue, because they do not appreciate Mammoliti’s insinuations. If only youth could also vote, just for this one election - we would show Mammoliti a real reason to fear Toronto’s youth.

Tags: shameless wire

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