Liberal posturing fails to get at root of gun problem

Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler’s announcement on manadatory minimum sentences for gun crimes proves yet again that they just don’t get it.
On the face of it the Liberals need to show they can be tough on crime. After all, with Mr. Justice Gomery’s final report due in February we will be going to the polls within the next six months whether or not the opposition can force an election earlier. And, any announcement from this government that appears to do anything to stem the rising tide of violent crime is welcome.
But realistically, Cotler’s most recent foray into the debate about manadatory minimum sentences is nothing more that political posturing. And the Liberals can posture with the best.
The real issue is the illicit drug trade and the turf wars that go along with it. Organized crime in its many forms is at the centre of all of this and any attempt to deal with the gun violence in our cities needs to recognize this at the outset. And it is on the issue of organized crime that this government fails miserably.
Look at the report released by FINTRAC last week claiming they had identified over $2 billion in suspected money laundering and terrorist financing.
Hey, that’s great guys! Now, if you don’t mind, could you answer this: What have you done about it?
The short answer is nothing. They claim to have made 142 disclosures to law enforcement. Great. Now what are they going to do with it without the resources to actually investigate it?
And this is where the rubber meets the road in all of this. The RCMP are essentially the only organization that has the capability to do organized crime investigations. Municipal forces are focussed on meeting the demands for service in their various communities and are unwilling to commit any of their scarce resources to long-term, expensive investigations into organizations that don’t recognize or respect borders.
That leaves the Mounties. There are a couple of special sections such as the CFSEU in Ontario, Quebec and now in BC as well since they usurped the Organized Crime Agency (OCABC). But they are small sections with limited budgets. To follow money laundering information such as FINTRAC provides, requires a large team of dedicated investigators, surveillance units, electronic intercepts and time. A lot of it. These investigations take more than a year on average and that is just to go after one of the 142 disclosures made by FINTRAC.
The bottom line is that the police are barely making a dent in organized crime in this country. The drug trade and the profits it generates for organized crime far surpasses any efforts the police are able to mount. And that leads to a lot of competition for control in the streets. And that leads to guns in the hands of street level gang-bangers, used by the real players as cannon fodder in the bigger game.
If Cotler and his colleagues really wanted to make a dent in gun crime, they would produce some initiatives to give law enforcement the tools and resources to actually wage a war against organized crime instead of only being able to engage in superficial skirmishes.
If they actually wanted to do something. But they don’t. As best I can tell, all they want to do is cling to power.
Leo Knight
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  1. I love your PrimeTimeCrime site and this blog is bang on. Keep up the good work.

    I wish we could make a difference but . . . for example, I talked with a man tonight — educated, in the banking sector, even worked for Barclays and most Canadian banks . . . but . . . he has children and no time after a day’s work to learn more. He is only representative of most Canadians.

    Our government has not been straight with Canadians. People like the above-mentioned man are decent citizens who just haven’t enough time in a day to become informed. Our Liberal Propaganda Organ that he and all Canadians are forced to pay for is not informing him; in fact it is regurgitating Liberal press releases.

    I had hoped the Asper chain would help; however, I just caught the CTV headers to a speech by Finance Minister Ralph Goodale. The whole thing was pure propaganda, aided and abetted by CTV with the points Goodale was making superimposed on Goodale speaking.

    I have almost not seen Stephen Harper today — except for his one response to Paul Martin’s refusal to consider the parties’ proposal for an election in February. In fact, it is almost as though the mainstream media were deliberately not putting his face before the voting public. Am I unfair in this assessment?

    I despair for Canada. Canadians lives are, for the most part, comfortable. Canadians aren’t aware because they’ve been lulled by the media which is not practicing journalism but, instead, issuing propaganda. These average Canadians haven’t thought about what our government has been doing for years — buying votes and importing voters. Along with this have come myriad problems.

  2. I recall going to a briefing with FINTRAC Officials when the agency was about to start operations. It seemed like this was a great improvement over the previous ‘proceeds of crime’ legislation (remember, the one where the accused got to meet privately with the judge to determine how much money should be set aside to pay his lawyer? yeah, that one).

    When the briefing was finished I remarked to one of the officials that I was surprised to see any anti-crime measure with teeth in it to come out of Ottawa. She told me quite frankly that the government didn’t want anything to do with this but were absolutely told to (or else) by the Americans who were tired of their next-door neighbor functioning as the money-laundering capital of the world.

    Anyway, a few years down the road & it looks like this was designed to fail just like every other measure they’ve announced to deal with organized crime.

    If it weren’t for the stellar track record of the Liberals (Chretien, HRDC scandal, Sponsorship scandal, Alphonso Gagliano, Sidewinder, etc. etc) a guy might get suspicious.


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