Politics

Gun tracing delay slammed by Ignatieff

The federal government is defending its decision to delay key gun tracing regulations, saying it "is committed to making our communities safer."

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on Monday accused the federal government of ignoring the families of those slain at Montreal's École Polytechnique in its decision to delay key gun tracing regulations.

Instead, Ignatieff said during question period, the reigning Conservatives bent to "the pressure of lobbyists" when it announced last week that the regulations, which would allow law enforcement agencies to trace guns quickly after crimes, will not be implemented until late 2012.

But government House leader John Baird defended the delay, saying it "is committed to making our communities safer."

Baird also lashed out at the Liberals, calling them "not credible on crime."

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe also referred to Monday's 21st anniversary of the Montreal killings in his criticism of the delay, accusing the Tories of showing "a complete lack of respect toward the victims."

The government quietly posted a notice last week indicating the regulations won't be implemented until Dec. 1, 2012.

Police say they need those regulations, which were created by the previous Liberal government.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the government wants more time to develop a workable regulatory package.

Earlier Monday, Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland said the latest delay is proof the Conservatives are more interested in listening to the gun lobby than to police.

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association sent out an alert last week noting that it has been "working tirelessly" to delay the regulations.

On Dec. 6, 1989, enraged gunman Marc Lépine killed 14 women at the engineering school in what has since become known as the "Montreal Massacre."

With files from The Canadian Press

now