LILLEY: Shootings, gun murders spike under Liberals as they claim their policies work

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair fires back accusations of bias instead of answering Sun’s questions on Liberals’ failed gun, crime policy

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Liberal MP Bill Blair was asked a pretty basic question about gun control on Saturday morning and couldn’t, or should I say wouldn’t, answer.

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Blair, the former chief of police in Toronto and current minister of public safety, was put out as the Liberal campaign’s point person to attack the Conservatives on gun control.

The Liberals want the public to believe that they are the guardians of community safety.

In this Liberal narrative, the Conservatives would take us back to a time when gun and bullets dominated Canadian streets.

The numbers though tell a different story, which is why I wanted to question Blair.

“If your gun control measures are working for community safety, how do you explain that shootings almost doubled in Toronto and the murder rate across the country has gone up by 20%?” I asked Blair.

“Brian, I really appreciate your question and the way you framed it. Because I think it reveals for all of us how numbers alone don’t tell the story, so let me explain the story,” Blair said.

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Blair went on to tell several stories, without addressing the question. He spoke for more than four minutes, taking the audience back to 2005 and Toronto’s summer of the gun.

He described how he had a great relationship with the Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty but that the Harper Conservatives in Ottawa would not give him funding, or he claimed, even a meeting.

Bill Blair looked me in the eyes and lied about what happened — he forgets that I was there covering events including Toronto’s summer of the gun, the many announcements of funding, which as is required by law, flows through the provinces.

I’ve also spoken to people who worked on those files and described how Blair would have multiple meetings per year with the public safety minister when he was police chief.

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The lies are one thing, but Blair didn’t answer the question and dismissed the near doubling of shootings and 20% rise in murders as not telling the whole story.

Each of those numbers, those data points, is a life impacted by increasing gun violence that his government will not address.

I asked him three more times to address the issue and he continued to evade the question before getting personal.

“There’s not much point in debating with someone who knows very little about gun violence but knows a lot about political bias,” Blair said.

When you can’t debate with facts, insult and attack the person, that is what Blair did and the reason is simple — the facts don’t support his argument.

For shootings just in Toronto, the last full year the Harper Conservatives were in power waws 2014 when there were 177 shootings.

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Last year in Toronto there were 462, down from 492 the year before.

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And while murders overall are up 20%, murders with guns under the Liberals are up 79%.

There were 277 homicides with guns across Canada in 2018, the last full years Statistics Canada has released data for, compared to 155 in 2014.

Most of those shootings were gang related and committed with handguns which the Liberal legislation does not touch.

Rather than go after criminals with guns, the Liberals are regulating licenced gun owners and telling you they are acting.

If their plan was working, we wouldn’t see more shootings and murders that we ever did when the Conservatives were in power.

Just like Blair lied about not getting funding or meetings when he was police chief, the Liberals are lying to the public about their gun control measures. They are aimed at the wrong target and the numbers show, they aren’t working.

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