US embassy cable - 05TORONTO2966

ONTARIO PUSHES FOR TOUGHER GUN LAWS

Identifier: 05TORONTO2966
Wikileaks: View 05TORONTO2966 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2005-11-17 15:34:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KCRM PREL PGOV CA Crime
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L TORONTO 002966 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2015 
TAGS: KCRM, PREL, PGOV, CA, Crime 
SUBJECT: ONTARIO PUSHES FOR TOUGHER GUN LAWS 
 
REF: A. TORONTO 2451 
     B. OTTAWA 2446 
     C. TORONTO 2498 
 
Classified By: Consul General Jessica LeCroy 
for reasons 1.4(B)and(D). 
 
1.(C)  Summary: On November 16 Ontario Community Safety 
Minister Monte Kwinter (protect) gave the Consul General a 
readout of the November 9 Whitehorse conference of provincial 
and federal justice ministers to advise that Ontario had 
pushed the federal government to enact tougher gun laws. End 
Summary. 
 
2. (C)  As was accurately reflected in the November 16 
National Post article, "Liberals' Policy Change Linked to Gun 
Survey," Ontario Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter 
confirmed that Ontario had tabled a paper and pressed hard in 
Whitehorse for broad mandatory sentences for gun-related 
crimes.  Minister Kwinter said Federal Justice Minister Irwin 
Cotler and British Columbia's Attorney General Wally Oppal 
had, however, strongly opposed strengthening the Federal 
Criminal Code because they argue it would be an ineffective 
deterrent and unnecessarily restrict judges' ability to 
impose discretionary penalties tailored to individual 
circumstances. 
 
3. (C)  Kwinter told the CG the Ontario delegation continued 
to push for and finally achieved agreement on adding 
mandatory penalties for breaking and entering for the purpose 
of stealing a gun.  This was much less than the "wholesale 
review" of the sentencing regime the Ontario delegation had 
wanted, but signified some progress.  A Decima Research poll 
commissioned by the Justice Department in March cited in a 
November 16 National Post article indicates that a strong 
majority (82 percent) of Canadians favor stricter gun 
violation laws, but Minister Kwinter believed that the public 
was likely to view the action as a gambit by the government 
to win law-and-order votes in the upcoming election. 
 
4. (C)  At the Whitehorse meeting, Cotler announced he 
planned to introduce new legislation to stiffen existing 
mandatory sentences for gun crimes and to facilitate witness 
protection programs before Parliament recessed on December 8, 
but with the election debate frenzy underway the date might 
not hold, according to Kwinter.  There was very little 
discussion at Whitehorse of any U.S. nexus to the Canadian 
gun crime problem, Kwinter said.  Gun violence spiked over 
the summer in Toronto, a traditional Liberal stronghold, and 
has made the party jittery about support in advance of 
elections. 
 
5. (C) Comment:  The Ontario government's efforts to change 
current, lax federal gun laws continues to build upon a good 
foundation the Ambassador established with the Premier during 
an exchange of letters on the U.S. government's commitment to 
enhance law enforcement cooperation as a shared cross-border 
responsibility.  Premier Martin and Toronto Mayor Miller have 
both recently claimed erroneously that 50 percent of the guns 
used in crimes have been smuggled in from the U.S.  The 
Ambassador has since advised both that the statistic is 
incorrect.  ConGen Toronto law enforcement officers and staff 
continue to engage at every level to ensure that law 
enforcement policy and operational efforts are coordinated. 
During the conference Minister Cotler announced his own 
"three-pronged strategy" to address gun violence. It included 
legislative measures and enhanced punishments, help for busy 
law enforcers and prosecutors to bring gun violators to 
justice, and investments to steer young people away from 
crime and provide them with "hope and opportunity." Money for 
the programs will come from a federal $50 million Gun 
Violence and Gangs Prevention Fund also announced during the 
conference. End comment. 
LECROY 

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