Cotler misstated handgun ban support
Betty Ann Adam
Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006
Ontario is the only province that has endorsed a Liberal proposal to ban handguns, an adviser to federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said Friday.
Cotler said last weekend in Saskatoon that support for the Liberal proposal is "not just in Ontario." He mentioned Manitoba, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec, saying some provinces would buy in and others would not.
But Cotler did not intend to give the impression other provinces support the plan, said Leigh Lampert.
Lampert said Cotler was talking about a bill to amend the Criminal Code that was tabled before the government fell in November.
"Coming out of the federal, provincial, territorial meeting in Whitehorse in November (Cotler) talked regularly about the three-prong strategy to combat gun violence and that was tougher laws and penalties, increase in the effectiveness of enforcement and what he's called recently the hope and opportunities package.
"When he was speaking with the reporters in the scrum on Saturday, when he said he had the support of other provinces, it's only Ontario that's supported the actual ban, but the other provinces he mentioned have publicly supported the three-prong strategy to combat gun violence," Lampert said.
The ministers in Yellowknife talked at length about mandatory minimum penalties, but they did not discuss banning handguns, Lampert said.
"If he left the impression he has commitment from each of those provinces, that they're 100 per cent supportive, that's the not the message he intended. It's Ontario that requested the handgun ban," he said.
The British Columbia government does not support the Liberal handgun ban proposal, said Mike Morton, press secretary for British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.
The Manitoba government is not commenting on any proposals or promises made by any of the parties during the election campaign, said spokesperson Peter Dalla-Vicenza.
The handgun ban proposal was not part of the November meeting of federal and provincial justice ministers, he said. The Manitoba government is not in favour of the gun registry, Dalla-Vicenza said.
Nova Scotia also is not commenting on election promises, said Richard Perry, spokesperson for the Justice Department in that province.
"I take issue with the fact he claimed a bunch of provinces support it when they don't," said Eric Lerhe, a Nova Scotia target shooter who owns three handguns, two rifles and a shotgun.
"It's a crazy idea," he said.
© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)