Feds enter squeegee war

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Tue, 28 Jul 1998 13:19:02 -0700


Tuesday, July 28, 1998

  Feds enter squeegee war

  Change Criminal Code if necessary: Colonette

     By DON WANAGAS AND JOE WARMINGTON,
                   TORONTO SUN
    Federal Transport Minister David Collenette says he'll talk to
  his colleagues about changing the Criminal Code to help wipe
  Toronto clean of squeegee kids.

  "These particular people constitute a hazard," Collenette said
  yesterday of the controversial windshield washers.

  Collenette, the minister responsible for federal issues in the
  Greater Toronto Area (GTA), plans to talk to his cabinet
  colleagues about making amendments to the Criminal Code "if
  that's what's required" to eliminate it.

  "It's something I think has to be addressed," he said. "From my
  point of view, I'm concerned about the situation."

  Meanwhile, Premier Mike Harris' hand-picked man to give him
  solutions to the problem was out on the beat yesterday gathering
  information for his report.

  And after four hours of riding around with Toronto Police Deputy
  Chief Mike Boyd and several superintendents, Crime
  Commissioner Jim Brown said the problem is worse than he
  realized and he will move quickly to provide options for his boss.

  "We have got to protect them against themselves," Brown said
  yesterday as he looked over a filthy squeegee hideaway under
  the Gardiner Expressway.

  With garbage strewn all over the place and the smell of urine
  rampant, Brown said he is concerned about the health and safety
  of these young people.

  "This is serious," he said. "You have got young people running
  away and getting caught up in this. This is like a cult."

  Brown said he is hopeful the provincial government can introduce
  legislation by September to give police the teeth to enforce laws
  to arrest squeegee kids.

  "The premier wants to hear solutions."

  Collenette applauded Mayor Mel Lastman for his stand against
  the squeegee kids.

  "I think the mayor's on the right track," Collenette said moments
  after joining Lastman and Education Minister Dave Johnston in
  announcing a $1-million job-training program for unemployed
  youth.

  "We want our citizens to be safe."

  Lastman said he doubted many squeegee kids will sign up for the
  program although they're welcome to join.

  "We will not refuse squeegee kids," the mayor said. "We would
  like to have them."


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Graeme Bacque
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