'Nothing but thugs'

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 06:23:38 -0700

 Looked in a mirror lately, Mr. Harris...........?

>                                                                                                                                                                  The Toronto Sun
> Wednesday, July 22, 1998
>   'Nothing but thugs'

>    Premier declares war on squeegee kids

> Premier Mike Harris has ordered his
>   Crime Commission to find a way to wipe
>   out Toronto's squeegee kids.
>   The commission is probing changes to
>   provincial laws that would make it
>   easier for police to ticket squeegee
>   kids and drivers who tip them.
>   Tory crime commissioner Jim Brown said
>   he's been asked to consult with police,
>   the public and Toronto Mayor Mel
>   Lastman to find a provincial solution
>   to T.O.'s growing squeegee kid problem.
>   "Something's got to be done," Brown
>   said. "We'd like to see Toronto cleaned
>   up."
>   Lastman wants the province to amend the
>   provincial Highway Traffic Act to make
>   it an offence both for squeegee kids to
>   ply their trade on the street and for
>   drivers to support them.
>   "Many of these guys are nothing but
>   thugs," Lastman said yesterday. "All
>   they're doing is intimidating people.
>   "We've got to discourage them but I
>   can't get anywhere unless I get
>   legislation from the province."
>   Brown said the commission will also
>   look at the Highway Traffic Act and try
>   to determine whether it's possible to
>   beef up Ontario's Provincial Offences
>   Act (POA).
>   That would give police another "tool"
>   to deal with squeegee kids, hookers and
>   aggressive panhandlers, he said.
>   Brown said the NDP "pulled the teeth"
>   from the law and, as a result, police
>   don't have the power to arrest people
>   who refuse to pay fines.
>   "These kids are just ripping up the
>   tickets the police give them," he said.
>   The province collects about $112
>   million annually in fines levied under
>   the However, as of March 1998,
>   outstanding fines totalled $382
>   million. "We're three years behind in
>   collecting that money," Brown said.
>   If the law is changed, police would get
>   the power to arrest anyone who ignores
>   fines. That would allow Toronto to
>   follow in the footsteps of other
>   cities, such as New York, and crack
>   down on its squeegee kids.
>   "There's more of them coming here all
>   the time," Brown said. "We're going to
>   become the squeegee capital of the
>   world if we don't act.
>   "We believe we can fix that."