The New Democratic Party took aim at gun violence at a campaign meeting in Edmonton on Saturday.

Leader Jack Layton outlined a program of "tough action on crime" in the province where the Conservatives hold all 28 seats. Crime is often characterized as a Tory issue.

But Layton said an NDP government would:

  • Hire 2,500 more police officers. 
  • Allow provinces or cities to implement a complete ban on handguns.
  • Target internet gun sales.
  • Make sure first-degree murder charges apply to gang-related homicides.      

"New Democrats are committed to stopping the spread of gangs, and to stopping the epidemic of gun violence threatening your families," he said. 

He also said the party would try to address the reasons young people join gangs.

Layton also criticized what he called "$50 billion of corporate welfare" the Conservatives have given business through tax breaks, and called Tory Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz "the real face of the Harper government."

Ritz made jokes about the listeriosis outbreak while he was on a conference call with scientists and political staffers on Aug. 30.