|Wikileaks:||View 05TORONTO2966 at Wikileaks.org|
|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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