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Cotler's At Fault For Slow Gun-Crime Response

In response to accusations that the Liberals are rushing announcements out before the election, Defence Minister Bill Graham was quoted as saying: "We're not rushing this for the election. Somebody else chose to rush the election at us."

One of these last-minute jobs is a Friday announcement by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler that includes a crackdown on gun crime. This bill is doomed to die on the order paper when the government falls early next week. So, there will be no new legislation on this issue until next spring at the earliest.

The excuse about "somebody else chose to rush the election at us", just isn't going to fly here. (Not that it really applies in the other cases, either.) When it comes to gun crime, people have been pushing Cotler and his party for action for months. For example, back in August he came to Toronto and told us that there was no need for tougher gun sentences because they were already tough enough (link $).

Now that he has changed his mind -- on Friday he said "This is an important day in the pursuit of justice. [This bill is] a significant legislative package with respect to both tougher laws and tougher penalties." -- how can he explain why this legislation was introduced too late to be passed?

The doomed legislation also addresses witness protection, which might have helped (at least a little) with what is emerging as one of the major problems in Toronto's gang shootings -- the wall of silence that prevents witnesses from talking to the police, even when it might save their own life.

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