Marcell Wilson is a former gang member, former international crime figure and founder of The One By One Movement, whose laudable goal is, in part, to give young people the tools and skills to leave gang life behind forever.
Wilson’s focus: to stop and prevent the violence he once perpetrated through anti-bullying measures, prevention, intervention, recidivism reduction, and exit strategies for those who want to leave their negative lifestyles behind.
On Monday, October 30, 2023, you could hear a pin drop as Marcell Wilson testified before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs (SECD).
“What I am asking from the government, on behalf of the Canadian communities we represent, is to simply say it like it is,” Mr. Wilson said.
“This bill is to remove legal firearms from legal firearm owners, not to prevent violence or make our country significantly safer.
“Please stop exploiting people who have already been through enough for a political agenda.”
Politicians aren’t used to people calling them out like this.
The Senate was no exception.
While we were thrilled to see Mr. Wilson deliver the same message to government that we have for decades, we were equally saddened to see him get the same response we do.
Senators on the committee all but ignored Marcell Williams’ for common sense to deal with the root causes of crime in general, and gang violence specifically.
CSSA Executive Director to Testify Before the Senate
In other news, we finally received confirmation that Tony Bernardo will testify before the Senate SECD committee on Monday, November 6th at 5:05 Eastern.
Marcell Wilson’s Full Testimony for Context
My name is Marcell Wilson, a former gang member, former international crime figure, and founder of The One By One Movement.
Most of my expertise is rooted in lived experience.
We work directly, boots on the ground, in some of the communities most affected. We continuously work directly with people and families who are victims, and some who are perpetrators of this violence.
Our data at O.B.O.M. is sourced directly from this pool, which is historically difficult to research and obtain accurate data from.
This is due to several reasons.
Most of the people we serve have a lack of trust in government and are fearful of speaking out due to possible consequences and repercussion from government and/or the streets.
This makes it particularly difficult for academia and government bodies to collect accurate and robust data from a demographic on this subject that could possibly or potentially redirect the efforts of our government’s current plan for combating this problem.
We all know that gun violence is a prevalent threat to many Canadians but especially to individuals in marginalized communities across the country.
You now know that most of the guns used in violent crimes, homicides, throughout the communities we represent are illegally sourced firearms.
I’ve said it many times, and I will continue to say it, that even one loss of life or injury to senseless gun violence is an absolute travesty and, to effectively combat this problem, we need to focus the majority of our efforts and resources on prevention and root causes.
The methods and outcomes of violence is important to address but should be secondary to root causes and their risk factors.
Prevention doesn’t only mean addressing root causes.
It also means preventing illegal guns from entering the country, judicial punishment coupled with strong reformation efforts, investing in our underfunded mental health system, to name a few.
I do understand that some of these concerns have been addressed through amendments in Bill C-21, such as the Building Safer Communities funding, the promise to strengthen our border efforts and others.
But if we are talking about the premise of this bill is to prevent gun violence, then these amendments or add-ons, if you will, should be the focal points of a gun violence prevention bill.
Sadly enough, people are killed by legal firearms in Canada. This does happen, but I think any expert or rational person can agree that when speaking about gun violence in Canada, this represents a minority.
How is it, that on such a major issue, the minority has the loudest voice?
How is it possible that the majority, their representatives and experts advocating for them, can feel so unheard?
I was researching the Government of Canada website about Bill C-21, and I read something that concerned me.
I wish this statement were true: “to prevent gun violence in our communities…“
Because if it was, I would absolutely support it.
This claim gives false hope to Canadians who don’t know any better and should be a catastrophic let-down to those who do.
What I am asking from the government, on behalf of the Canadian and communities we represent, is to simply say it like it is.
This bill is to remove legal firearms from legal firearm owners, not to prevent violence or make our country significantly safer.
Please stop exploiting people who have already been through enough for a political agenda.
We know better, we want better, and we deserve better.
Thank you for your time.