|Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency)
TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t care if you’re “white, pink or purple” — if you’ve been convicted of a gun crime, he wants to keep you out of his city.
But Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney went on NEWSTALK 1010 Friday to address Ford’s comments and scuttle any notion Ford or the federal government could exile citizens from any Canadian city.
Ford unexpectedly went on NEWSTALK 1010 Thursday night to address comments he’s made about wanting to talk to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about changing immigration laws in the wake of a mass shooting in Toronto’s east end on Monday.
Calling in to the show Friendly Fire, Ford tried to explain his stance to hosts John Downs and Ryan Doyle, but ended up further demonstrating he doesn’t fully grasp the role of Immigration and Citizenship Canada.
“I have called the prime minister to find out if there is any laws with respect to the immigration and citizenship status in the city,” Ford told the hosts. “So if people are caught, I don’t care if you’re white, pink or purple, I don’t care what country you’re from, I don’t care if you’re a Canadian citizen or not, all I’m saying is if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I want you out of this city.”
Ford then got into a lengthy back and forth over whether this would fall under the purview of Immigration and Citizenship Canada particularly when the gun crime was committed by Canadian citizens.
“OK, whoever it may be, that’s what I’m saying. Maybe I’m not an expert on, you know, the ministries,” Ford told the hosts. “But all I’m saying is if it is foreign affairs or if it is immigration and citizenship, I want to talk to the PMO and find out if we can - and maybe we can’t - but I’m just trying to clarify that if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I do not want you living in this city anymore ... I’m not an expert in this but I’m trying to resolve the issue that is at hand here.”
Ford met with community leaders Friday to talk about ways to curb gun and gang violence but didn’t speak with reporters following the closed-door meeting.
His office declined to comment Friday on his radio statements.
On Friday, Kenney told the radio station he thought he understood what Ford was getting at.
“I think he’s saying that obviously when people commit gun crimes they should be locked up,” Kenney said.
But Kenney confirmed the feds can’t ban people from living in a certain spot.
“Obviously we can’t tell people which city they can or cannot live in,” he said.
“If someone is a Canadian citizen and they commit a crime there is nothing we can do to deport them because citizenship is irrevocable unless they were found to have obtained it fraudulently.”
He stressed Canadian citizens that commit a crime, do their time and finish up their parole, can choose to live where they want.
“Whether we like it or not, that’s the situation,” he said.
Kenney went on to tout the federal Conservatives push for the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act.
“We do know that there have been gang members convicted of crimes who were not Canadian citizens, who were foreign citizens living in Canada, who violated the privilege of being here and they’ve been able in some cases to delay their deportation for many years,” he said.