Complicated Problems Require Sophisticated Solutions




College Councillor Rick Chiarelli wants to take another look at police resources and funding in the wake of the 49th shooting in Ottawa this year.

No question about it, that’s a good idea but there is more to it than that.

More officers and more money might be able to slap a band-aid on the guns-and-gangs problems in the city. But were the solution only money and officers, it would be easy. Police and money are but short-term solutions.

Gangs and violence come out of the social fabric of a community. If a person is raised in poverty and violence, they might well turn to both of those in the future.

Now that we have had 47 shootings in the community this year, a total much larger than two years ago when Mayor Jim Watson visited the police chief Charles Bordeleau demanding simple answers to this complicated problem, it’s obvious His Worship’s grand-standing is not working.

We need social workers on the ground to use their expertise to change neighbourhoods. It’s not easy. This is not a two-year job but more like a two-decade job.

Photo above: Gun problems are people problems.

If the mayor can pull an idea out of the hat to build a truck tunnel for $2 billion, perhaps he can find some money to deal with social problems in the community that could fester into turning this safe city into a dangerous place.

That’s more important than a truck tunnel, though with fewer photo-ops.

This is a complicated problem requiring sophisticated people to tackle it.

Former city general manager Dick Stewart is out there with the expertise to begin tackling this problem. Maybe it’s time for the mayor to give him a call.

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6 thoughts on “Complicated Problems Require Sophisticated Solutions

  1. Ken,

    Before you can find a way to fix the problem, you need to admit there is a problem. That is starting to happen, after 49 shootings and 13 murders in the first 9 months of the year and the city finally found the tipping point.

    We have two serious safety problems in the city and the police and city council have refused to deal with by telling us we don’t have a problem. Speeding on local streets and shootings in local neighbourhoods. Could last weekend be the start of a safer Ottawa?

  2. This is a multifaceted problem that has to have multiple solutions. But, the legal system has to also be part of the solution when going after the really bad actors.

    I might draw attention to an article in the National Post Sept. 18, 2016 headline:

    “Black Pistons members are criminals, but Ontario motorcycle club not a criminal organization, judge finds”

    ONE section of the article reads -“However, the FACT that an organization has members who are criminals does not mean that the organization is a criminal organization.”

    And to that I say,” The FACT that you are 72 inches tall doesn’t mean you are a six footer.”


  3. There are problems and there are conditions. Problems we, maybe, can solve. Conditions are something we have to live with and manage. We waste too much time and resources trying to solve conditions. Winter is a condition, what I am going to plant in my garden is a problem.

    The gang problem is a condition. Doesn’t lend itself to solutions. Social workers? Gangs laugh at these do-gooders. Stop and frisk? Deemed racist. Jobs for gang members? No jobs and if so pay is too low, more money from drugs. We’ll have to wait this one out and manage the situation as it continues to evolve.

  4. There is a gang problem and, as has been stated, the causes are multifaceted. We are all touching on portions of the problem and, all suggestions are legitimate. I must return to Ken’s original comment “Gangs and violence come out of the social fabric of a community. If a person is raised in poverty and violence, they might well to turn to both of those in the future”.

    We have segregated communities whether they be ethnic, impoverished, criminal, they are segregated. When all you ever see is others not changing their current status, and not seeing a way to do so, what gives you the motivation, or idea, that you can do anything different. In the wish to give people a place to live, we have also taken away the opportunity for them see that they can change their current status.

    Have people with variant problems, ethnic background, etc., exposed to each other, make sure you include those who are working to improve/change their current status.

    Without indication that there is hope and ability to change, nothing will change. In many cases, this is something that most will not find in their current family circle.

    Anne Marie


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