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Toronto News

If Jane Creba had been black

by arthur Weinreb, associate Editor,
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It didn't take long after the Boxing Day shootings for charges of racism to be levelled. The Coalition of african Canadian Organizations charged that it was only when a pretty, white middle class teenager was shot to death that the powers that be decided to take serious steps to curb the gun violence that has become a frequent occurrence on Toronto streets. The group charges that had Jane Creba been black, there would not have been the action that there is now.

There are certainly other factors that drew an inordinate amount of sympathy for Jane Creba besides her race. She was the youngest person to die from gunshots during 2005 when a record was set for gun deaths. Creba was an excellent student and a star athlete. She wasn't in a gang, was not "known to police" as the phrase goes and was not packing a gun when she was tragically struck down. She was killed in an area of the city where it was impossible to say that she should have had more sense and stayed away. and she died while shopping for Boxing Day bargains in the late afternoon.

Nevertheless the Coalition does have a point. There can be little doubt that had a young black teen been killed instead of a white teen, the politicians in all likelihood would not have been so quick to mobilize against violent gun crime. But what is noticeably absent from the Coalition of african Canadian Organizations' criticisms is that none of it seems to be directed at our political leaders; the ones who are ultimately responsible for whatever actions or inactions are taken regarding crime.

Mayor David Miller has had absolutely no interest in crime, a position to his credit he made quite clear when he ran for the mayoralty in 2003. Except for issues that he really cares about such as the waterfront, he reacts rather than acts. He had no interest in visiting Shaqaun Cadougan after the 4-year-old was shot outside of his home last summer until the media embarrassed him into going. I had written at the time that Miller won't become interested in violent crime until white kids from his trendy High Park neighourhood begin to get blown away while on their way to their exclusive private schools. Well, that didn't happen but Jane Creba's death came close. Miller only became determined to fight crime when he was able to personally identify with the victim. Miller is a small "l' liberal which was defined so well by the late folksinger Phil Ochs as being a person who is "10 degrees to the left of centre in good times and 10 degrees to the right of centre when it affects them personally". Miller clearly identified with Jane Creba's murder when he talked about how he once bought skates on Yonge Street. and he spoke of his 10-year-old son, a son who no doubt Miller hopes turns out like the over-achieving Creba--good student, star athlete, and well liked. Miller can't identify with black victims of crime no matter how innocent they are, when their deaths occur in areas that he knows his children will never go.

Whatever Miller's shortcomings are, they pale in comparison to Paul Martin's. Without knowing who these shooters were that caused the carnage in the midst of a crowd of Boxing Day shoppers were, Martin made the shooters the victims; saying that the violence was the result of "exclusion". What the guy who's convinced that he is the only one who is capable of leading Canada meant was that the poor (read poor blacks) can't help themselves from grabbing a gun and shooting up Yonge Street on a busy afternoon. This is an insult to every person, regardless of race, who is poor but manages to live a law abiding lifestyle. Martin is a clear elitist who looks down not only on poor blacks but on all those who are not members of his privilege as Paul Martin Jr. is.

although the Coalition of african Canadian Organizations will whine and complain about racism, they won't fight to remove the politicians from office who waited until Jane Creba's death to take action against violent crime. To do so would be to bite the hand that feeds them. While being ambivalent to the deaths of blacks on the streets of Toronto, our current crop of leaders preach tolerance and diversity and throw a lot of those in the racism business. Why if that scary Stephen Harper ever came to power, he might use that money for other things such as more cops on the street and more jails to house the "excluded".

at least the african Canadians can take some comfort in the fact that although they may be the victims of racism, at least they are not demonized like small "c" conservatives in our progressive and oh so tolerant society are --you know the ones that were labelled as racists, bigots and Holocaust deniers by former Liberal cabinet minister Tubby Caplan. You know--the ones who were demanding action be taken against gun crime before it became fashionable on December 26.

Canada Free Press, CFP Editor Judi McLeod