Monday, September 22, 2008

Passing crime bill worth another election, says Tory justice minister

Rob Nicholson is a very solid Justice Minister. That said, he is not correct in saying that we needed this election to pass crime legislation -- the Liberal Party is solidly behind sensible criminal law changes that are 'tough on crime'.

However, we need to go beyond 'tough on crime' to programs that actually work and cut crime for real. No one is talking about, for example, mandatory drug treatment. Criminal justice is, as Rob Nicholson points out, too important to be mere politics.

The Canadian Press
Sun 21 Sep 2008
Section: National General News

MISSISSAUGA, Ont._ A minority Conservative government would rather force another election than back down on its law and order agenda, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Sunday.

Nicholson told a rally in Mississauga, Ont., that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already made clear he would not tolerate any more ``obstruction'' like the government faced last October when it introduced the Tackling Violent Crime Act omnibus bill.

``We're making it very clear about how serious we are about getting that anti-crime agenda through Parliament,'' he said.

``We will be taking a zero-tolerance approach. Our crime measures will be confidence measures, we are determined that our law and order agenda will be passed.''

The Conservatives have tried to make crime, with an emphasis on getting tough on criminals, a major issue in the election, in part because it appeals to core supporters.

Meanwhile, both the Liberals and New Democrats have stressed tougher gun control measures.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion vowed he would ban military assault weapons, but not handguns. New Democrat Leader Jack Layton said he would enable municipalities and provinces to ban handguns if the NDP assumed power.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also called for a handgun ban last week after a schoolyard shooting in Toronto.

Nicholson said the Conservatives aren't interested in banning handguns since pistols are already effectively outlawed.
``I think the problem in this country is people who steal guns and people who use them for improper purposes,'' he said. ``It's not sportsmen or antique collectors that I believe (are) the problem.''

Although he criticized all opposition parties for stalling Conservative bills in the last parliamentary session, Nicholson aimed his sharpest criticism at Dion, saying he had put ``partisan gains ahead of public safety.''
James Morton
1100 - 5255 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
M2N 6P4

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