Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ Category

Michael Ignatieff’s self-delusion

December 20, 2010

I am often inclined to think that federal Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, lives in a much different world than the rest of us. Of course that world seems to be in his mind.

His latest is his comparison between Rob Ford (the new mayor of Toronto) and himself.

Michael Ignatieff says his Liberal Party can beat Stephen Harper by riding the same wave of voter disgust that propelled Rob Ford into the Toronto mayor’s chair.

Ford, a small-c conservative who campaigned as an outsider, fought off candidates from the political establishment in Toronto and Ontario to win Toronto’s municipal election handily.

and:

“The same people that voted for Rob Ford voted for me and they’re not crazy,” said Ignatieff, who has won two elections in the riding of Etobicoke in Toronto’s southwest corner. “I feel Rob Ford is capitalizing on something that I saw all summer and all autumn, which is a middle class that feels the elastic is wound very, very tight.”

So Ignatieff thinks that he can pass himself off as an ‘outsider’ to the voting public and divorce himself from all of the past Liberal history and current ineptitude?

This is not to say that come an election that he won’t be returned to Ottawa by his riding’s voters; it is a safe Liberal riding. But I doubt it will be because he is seen as the outsider, untouched by the politics of the past, or the saviour who will magically make everything right.

Defend yourself at your peril

December 19, 2010

The following information was sent to me regarding a case that will be going to court in Ontario. It has had no media attention to date, although the initial arson attack may have been reported in the local newspaper, although I wasn’t able to find any reference when I did a search.

A Port Colborne man was forced to flee his burning home at night this past August as three masked men threw burning Molotov Cocktails through his windows and shouted that he was dead.

He apparently has now received a Christmas present from the Welland Crown Attorney’s office in the guise of a special delivery complete with police notes and a screening sheet where the Crown indicates it wants to prosecute him to the full extent of the law and is asking for jail time.

His crime? He tried to defend himself from his attackers.

The gentleman in question has had neighbour problems and has received death threats from his neighbour, who was charged but never received any jail time.

In fear of his life the man installed, at the cost of $20,000, a video surveillance camera which did capture the Molotov Cocktail attack and him escaping his burning home as the fire bombers continued to shout they would kill him.

He was also on video allegedly shooting a pistol in an attempt to drive the attackers away.

He was charged under section 86 and was led to believe the charges would be dropped, but in a surprise move in late November another section 86 and a section 88 charge were laid. Now the official position is the Crown counsel wants to lock him away.

The man had been injured at work and is now a full time student at Brock University studying Environment Engineering.

His guns are licensed and registered, but since August they have been seized by the police leaving him at risk for another attack.

The police have not apprehended the fire bombers although believe they can charge two of them but will not do so until all three are known.

The Ontario Fire Marshal told him he was the subject of an attempted murder and he is, with good reason, still in fear of his life.

I really wonder what the police and the prosecutor expected this guy to do? Stay inside and have the house burned down around him? Go out unarmed and confront three thugs who are shouting death threats at him?

The police ‘believe’ they can charge two of the attackers but won’t until the third one is known? It would be interesting to have that explained in rational terms.

The police and the bureaucracy seem far more inclined to put the full force of the law against the victim rather than the perpetrators.

I guess the question is: What in hell has this country come to?

Maybe the answer is that we have allowed our politicians and bureaucrats to write stupid and restrictive laws that allow our justice system to find a crime in almost anything you do. The police love it and many private citizens often support these kind of laws because they think it will only be applied to the ‘bad guys’. But when they innocently run afoul of these laws they are dragged away screaming, ‘it’s not supposed to work this way’. Well yes, that’s exactly what it was meant to do.

Sure, this fellow may get into court and find an intelligent judge who recognizes the injustice and dismisses the charges. But that might be two or three years down the road and $20,000 later in legal fees. Plus the police will have had his firearms in storage for that time and even if he gets off from the charges he will have to fight some more to get the police to give them back, because they are going to want to destroy them.  And 5 will get you 10 that the guys who torched his house and threatened his life – if they have been charged at all – will have walked and will probably be laughing up their sleeves about how ‘justice’ works these days.

Read the detail (below) on Sections 86 and 88 of the criminal code to see how the weasel words allow the police and the prosecutors to proceed with charges on subjective interpretations.

*********************

Note:
Section 86.(1) Careless Use Of A Firearm – Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons.
(2) Contravention Of Storage Regulations Etc. - Every person commits an offence who contravenes a regulation made under paragraph 117(h) of the Firearms Act respecting the storage, handling, transportation, shipping, display, advertising and mailorder sales of firearms and restricted weapons.
(3) Punishment – Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment
(1) in the case of a first offence, for a term not exceeding two years, and
(11) in the case of a second or subsequent offense, for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Section 88.(1) Possession Of Weapon For Dangerous Purpose
– Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.

(2) Punishment – Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

*********************

Michael Ignatieff: Offense taken

December 8, 2010

Michael Ignatieff seems a little delicate for the rough and tumble battle of federal politics. His latest cry for attention came from a remark made by newly elected conservative MP, Julian Fantino.

In the interview, Mr. Fantino – the former Toronto police chief and Ontario Provincial Police commissioner – expressed his frustration with charges by the Liberals that he had run a “peek-a-boo” campaign, avoiding public debates and afraid to address tricky issues.

He told The Globe that was simply not the case, believing the Liberals had made the allegation out of desperation. “I think they intended to hurt my campaign,” Mr. Fantino said. “The things they said … a lot of them were absolute lies. They keep repeating [them]. I call it the Hitler theory. You tell a lie often enough you hope that some people will believe it.”

In a memo circulated by the Liberals they seemed to get a bit hysterical.

“Barely four days after squeaking into office, Julian Fantino crossed the line by using an offensive analogy that compared a democratic political party in Canada to the Nazi regime,”

And on and on.

No, he didn’t compare the Liberal party to the Nazis, he equated their tactics to the ‘big lie’ theory that has been associated with Adolph Hitler.

But Hitler apparently didn’t make the statement as a matter of his personal policy.

The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, for a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Hitler believed the technique was used by Jews to unfairly blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff.

And then down the ranks.

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different theory which has come to be more commonly associated with the expression “big lie.” Goebbels wrote the following paragraph in an article dated 12 January 1941, 16 years after Hitler’s first use of the phrase “big lie,” titled “Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik” and translated “From Churchill‘s Lie Factory.” It was published in Die Zeit ohne Beispiel.

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

Anyway it appears that Mr Fantino hurt Mr Ignatieff’s feelings. It’s a tough world out there for sensitive people.

Robert Latimer: Justice gone awry

December 4, 2010

After 10 years in jail for the mercy killing of his severely disabled daughter, Robert Latimer begrudgingly, but finally will receive full parole on December 6th.

Latimer applied for and was denied early parole in 2007 because, in the opinion of the members of the National Parole Board, he didn’t exhibit sufficient regret for his actions. Latimer, answering their questions honestly, said that he still thought he had done the right thing when he killed his daughter.

In 2008 the B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed an appeal on Latimer’s behalf on the basis that the NPB had violated its own rules by requiring to admit to wrongdoing in order to qualify for parole and by ignoring the fact that he was a very low risk for re-offending.

In actual fact he was probably a no-risk case.

In February 2008,a review board overturned the NPB’s decision and granted Latimer day parole in Ottawa beginning that March.

The sad thing is, if the jury and the judge who heard the case had been allowed to do their job, Latimer would have been out of prison in a year’s time.

However the case became a cause celebre with various disability rights groups, some church groups and others who argued that unless Latimer was dealt with the full severity of the law others would be encouraged to rush out and kill other disabled people.

Even the Maclean’s columnist Andrew Coyne argued that the NPB was within its rights to deny Latimer parole because he didn’t express regret, because doing so without that requirement might encourage others to do the same.

All of which is patently nonsense.

Robert Latimer took a life and for that he had to answer to the law. But he shouldn’t have had his case effectively arbitrated by groups that have agendas that have nothing to do with justice or fairness but are meant to advance their advocacy.

Justice is never even handed and I don’t think was ever meant to be. Every case has its own story and its own specific set of facts. But when you look at Latimer’s sentencing and his treatment by the National Parole Board knowing that this man was caught up in his own moral dilemma but also knowing full well that he was absolutely no risk to the community, and then again look at other cases and how the sentencing came down, I think there is reason to wonder.

Cases in point:.

Regina teen gets 3 1/2 years for fatal May long weekend shooting

Jodie Lynn Bryant was enjoying a campfire in a Regina backyard on the May long weekend when a stranger in a passing car smiled, lifted a stolen rifle and took the 21-year-old’s life with a single pull of the trigger.

Asked by his friend what he was doing, the 16-year-old murderer replied, “Oh, just having fun.”

On Friday, he was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in a youth facility on top of the six months he’s already served since his arrest, followed by three years in the community under a conditional supervision order.

“That’s a dangerous man. In three years Regina, be scared,” Bryant’s aunt Elaine Severight told the Leader-Post.

A killer, admittedly 16 years old, callously kills a girl in her own backyard in a drive-by shooting, “just having fun”. He gets 3 1/2 years in prison and then they throw him back into the community under ‘supervision’.

And among various mercy killings in Canada, a few examples.

Doctor gave potassium chloride to a dying patient who was suffering intractable pain.

1990 – Unidentified city in Quebec, possibly Quebec City – Unidentified doctor gave potassium chloride injection to dying patient who was suffering intractable pain
Charge: None (president of Quebec College of Physicians defended doctor’s action and Quebec Minister of Justice decided against laying charges)
Reference:
“Euthanasia: Quebec considering charges for MD’s role in AIDS death”
Ottawa Citizen, June 20 1992, Page A3

The case of Dr. de la Roche

In Timmins, Ontario the forty-nine-year-old chief of surgery at St. Mary’s General Hospital, Dr. Alberto de la Rocha, administered an injection of morphine and potassium chloride to his seventy-year-old patient in 1991. Mrs Mary Graham was suffering from terminal cancer of the cheek, mouth and lung. It was clear that during much of her remaining time she would have to endure great agony. As Nicholas Ionides reported in the Globe and Mail of April 5, 1993, her forty-six-year-old son, George, testified at the trial of his mother’s doctor that he and his brothers regarded his mother’s death as being “very peaceful, very dignified, and very humane,” and that it was “a beautiful experience.”

The doctor’s motives were clear — to save his patient the pain, suffering and humiliation of protracted illness. His community recognized this when they rallied to his support, as did many of the hospital staff and de la Rocha’s other patients. Initially, the doctor was charged with second-degree murder, but the charge was later reduced and he pleaded guilty to a much lesser charge, of administering a noxious substance. He received a three-year suspended sentence and was not banned from practising medicine.

Cheryl Myers and Michael Power

1993 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Cheryl Myers and Michael Power  euthanized Myers’ father who was dying badly
Charge: Second-degree murder, reduced to manslaughter
Result: Suspended sentence

It would appear that a (brief) case  study would indicate that the only certain thing about mercy killings is that if the victim is old and in pain it is ok to put them down. It seems to me that the organizations looking out for the welfare of the aged should be very concerned.

What I do think is that in the end, between advocacy groups howling for his head on a plate, a prosecutor that seemed strongly motivated to extract the severest sentence possible and his trial being turned into a media event, Robert Latimer never had a chance of finding any compassion from the courts.

There are many who still think that Latimer deserved no compassion.

I think his 10 years spent incarcerated was wrong and a waste of a decent man’s life.

The realities of politics

December 1, 2010

Andrew Coyne, in a column in Macleans magazine, bemoans the fact that politicians say one thing and end up doing something entirely different.I

In Mr. Coyne’s rant he is speaking specifically about Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his conservative government.

But what is amusing is Coyne’s admission that he has always believed that, deep down, politicians try to do the right thing and just recently has realized that it’s really all politics.

Really.

And he has been writing about politics and issues for years.

Now I don’t make any claims to the background that Andrew Coyne has on the political scene. But over the years I have had the opportunity to deal with politicians and bureaucrats on various issues and came to realize fairly early on that once a politician gets elected, his/her immediate goal from that point on is to simply get re-elected.

The corollary to that is that it is important to do nothing controversial and always try to annoy the least number of people.

And Coyne is right: this is what has happened, not to just our current Conservative government, but to conservative administrations in the U.S. as well.

Once they attain power they proceed to compromise their principles in order to stay in power. In Stephen Harper’s case he needs to appeal to a wider base in order to move from being a minority government to a majority government. And the principles that he came to the party with get set aside.

I’m simply amazed that Coyne is amazed.

However it is not just conservatives who suffer from electoral compromise and who sell out their principles.

A current example is Peter Stoffer, the MP from Sackville-Eastern Shore (NS), who for years loudly and publicly proclaimed his opposition to the federal long gun registry and gave his promise in parliament to vote for any bill that was brought forward to eliminate the registry.

But when Bill C-391, which would done just that, was tabled, Stoffer changed his mind and voted to kill the bill, thus ensuring that the registry would remain intact.

Another case of a politician who either had no principles to begin with or when push came to shove lost the principles he had.

Mr. Coyne may have missed that.

I’m also surprised that Coyne seems to think that this is only a conservative problem.

Of course that may be the case because conservatives are supposed to have principles and therefore are more at risk of losing them. Whereas federal Liberals have never been considered to have principles and thus cannot be castigated for losing them.

One of the more egregious examples of this may be the 1974 federal election where the Conservatives, under the leadership of Robert Stanfield, promised to bring in price and wage controls if elected. The federal Liberals, led by Pierre Trudeau fought the election on opposing that policy and won. Then immediately after winning the election implemented a wage and price controls policy on their own. That smelled somewhat more of opportunism rather than principle.

And of course we are just talking about the politicians. We haven’t even considered the workings  of senior bureaucrats.

If one was to spend some research time on this topic I think it would very shortly become boring (or depressing), because I believe that what you would find was that expedience and opportunism wins over principles almost every time.

I apologize for my cynicism to those actually principled politicians who are out there. There are some (at least in my experience) that I could name. Unfortunately they often become pariahs in their own parties.

It is all politics.

The problem with random breathalyzer checks

November 3, 2010

The federal government is making noises about allowing the police to make random breathalyzer tests without cause. Now there’s an abuse just waiting to happen.

The federal justice minister is considering a new law that would allow police to conduct random breathalyzer tests on drivers, regardless of whether they suspect motorists have been drinking.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson raised the prospect recently at a meeting of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, according to MADD chief executive Andrew Murie.

If random testing were to be adopted, it would be a major change to Canada’s 40-year-old breathalyzer legislation, which stipulates that police may only administer a test if they suspect a driver has been drinking.

In June, a House of Commons parliamentary committee recommended changing the legislation to allow for random testing, arguing it is an effective deterrent.

Of course the police think it’s a fine idea.

B.C.’s chiefs want the freedom to pull over anyone, anywhere, at any time of day and ask them to take random breathalyzer tests. Currently, an officer requires cause to get a breath sample.

“The randomness of catching people who are drinking and driving is pretty key to lowering the death rate and sending a very clear message to people that break the law,” Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham told CTV News.

“If people know there are going to be officers out there — are not sure where they are — maybe the message will finally get through to those people who just don’t get it.”

If the police think it’s a good idea then obviously our opposition party leaders, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton should be solidly behind it as well. At least that was their argument with the long gun registry: The police are in favour of it therefore we have to keep it.

We’ll see what they have to say about random police stops.

But then again, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) is all for giving police those kind of invasive powers, so it might not be a long-shot to think that I & L would go along with the idea.

Random breath testing is a roadside breath screening test to detect impaired drivers. It is used mainly at stationary checkstops where every passing driver is required to stop and give a breath sample. Drivers remain in their cars, and the process is routine, quick and causes minimal delays for sober drivers.

However that isn’t the way that the police see it working (see above).

I see the proposal as being the old slippery slope proposition. If the police can make the case that they need the ability to randomly stop citizens for drinking and driving offenses they can probably make the case for other situations.

Then there is the likelihood that some police officers will abuse that right by stopping people for reasons unrelated to drinking and driving while using the the breathalyzer test as their excuse.

An editorial in the Calgary Sun, while pointing out the possible benefits of such a law, also argues against the proposed law.

Drunk driving is a scourge. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada estimates that 1,239 people died due to impairment-related motor accidents in 2007 and a further 73,120 were injured. That’s three deaths and 200 injuries per day.

In spite of these alarming figures, we take issue with Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford’s lock-step endorsement of federal Conservative suggestions to let police conduct random breathalyzer tests without cause, a move supported by Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson. If implemented, police would not need to determine if there is reasonable suspicion that a driver has been drinking, as is required even at Checkstops, where a driver’s actions and demeanour must be assessed before a breath sample is demanded.

Richard Rosenberg of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association properly argues that random testing would be a violation of a person’s right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. “It has no real place in a democratic society,” he said. “Giving police power to act on a whim is not something we want in an open democratic society.”

Hopefully the federal government will rethink this foolishness.

Charlie Angus and his bill to ‘fix’ the long gun registry

October 26, 2010

Let’s see how it works.

Charlie Angus, NDP Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay, was an opponent of the long gun registry.

In a vote in the House of Commons today, Charlie Angus supported the move to end the long-gun registry. Angus says this is a position he promised constituents he would take since first being elected in 2004.

“I made a promise to my constituents on this issue and today I fulfilled that promise. I have heard from across the region the overwhelming frustration with how the long gun registry has been implemented and maintained. I expressed this frustration on behalf of my constituents in the House of Commons.”

Charlie Angus voted for Bill C-391, which would have scrapped the long gun registry, on 1st and 2nd readings.

Then Charlie Angus voted for a motion brought forward by Liberal MP Mark Holland to kill Bill C-391 before it could even come back for 3rd reading.

NDP leader Jack Layton said that his party supported the registry but would work to ‘fix’ it. He also said that the NDP party was in favour of banning handguns.

Now Charlie is no longer opposed to the registry but thinks it will now be a good thing with his ‘fixes’.

So was Charlie Angus lying all these years when he said he actually opposed the  long gun registry? Or was it simply that the strength of his convictions weren’t sufficient to stand up against pressures from his party leader.

So now out of the blue Charlie Angus comes forward with a private member’s bill, Bill C-580, which he says will ‘fix’ the long gun registry just like – surprise, surprise – his leader Jack Layton promised.

Actually, I would be more interested to know why Charlie, of all of the vote switchers, was picked to float this turkey.

Possibly he was so desperate to try and salvage his credibility with his constituents that he signed on to a bill knowing next to nothing about what it really was about.

Which brings us to the question: What is Bill C-580 all about?

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) has done an analysis of the bill and found that in reality that the bill, if passed, would tighten the screws even further on honest Canadian gun owners.

There are lots of cute little sections in the bill, but one that should make every gun owner nervous is this one:

Gun bans – fasten your seat belt!

4. Section 117.15 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

(3) The Governor in Council may make regulations requiring a manufacturer or importer to provide information for the purpose of establishing that the thing in question is reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes.

This section is a Canadianized version of the infamous British “Sporting use test” where all firearms are subject to bureaucratic interpretation as to what justifies a hunting or sporting firearm. This has been used to prohibit most of the firearms in Great Britain. It places enormous power in the hands of the bureaucracy to ban firearms. It is obvious that this is the intent of this section. Charlie Angus spoke of “closing the loopholes” in order to prohibit the popular Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, a common sporting and hunting firearm used by tens of thousands of Canadians. As the Mini-14 is no different than many other hunting rifles, this would be the start of wholesale confiscation.

Charlie Angus should be bloody well ashamed of himself.

Bill C-391: The aftermath

October 18, 2010

As anyone interested in the subject knows, Bill C-391, Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s private members bill to scrap the long gun registry, went down in flames on September 22nd to a 153 to 151 vote. Although it had passed at 1st and 2nd readings, it never even got a chance to go to 3rd reading as the vote to scuttle the bill came from a motion tabled by Liberal MP Mark Holland.

The scene was set for the failure of Bill C-391 when Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff set a precedent by whipping his caucus’ vote rather than allowing the traditional free vote for private members’ bills.

That brought into line all of the Liberal MPs who had previously voted in favour of scrapping the long gun registry through its 1st and 2nd readings.

NDP leader Jack Layton chose not to whip his caucus’ vote and had his MPs who had supported the bill on the previous votes stayed true to their principles we would have seen an end to the registry.

But having made the choice to let his MP’s supposedly vote their beliefs, Layton then applied serious moral suasion to coerce them to change their vote this time around.

I assume that it will never be known what promises were given, what threats were made or what pressure was applied, but in the end 6 of the 12 New Democrats who swore that they opposed the registry flip-flopped on their vote when the crunch came.

Probably the most egregious turnabout was made by NDP MP Peter Stoffer who had almost to the end stated his unwavering opposition to the long gun registry and promised that he would continue to vote for its demise.

Then the rumours started to fly that Stoffer was about to switch and two days before the vote Stoffer confirmed that the rumour was true.

This was a stunning turnaround in the eyes of many, as Mr. Stoffer was on record in the House of Commons as telling the House that…

“All I ever asked for in my 12 1/2 years was bring a bill that was very clear; end the long gun registry and I will personally stand up and support that.”

Well, his opportunity came to the floor of the House in the form Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s bill, C-391, and Peter Stoffer, for whatever reasons, folded like a cheap suit.

If you ever needed a moment to contemplate on how cynical and sleazy politics can be, this was one to remember.

Unfortunately, all of the blame for the defeat of Bill C-391 doesn’t lie with the Liberal’s undemocratic whipping of their vote, nor with the desertion from their publicly stated values by the NDP MPs.

The Conservatives, instead of quietly encouraging those opposition members who opposed the registry and working with them beneath the radar chose instead to use the moment as an opportunity to make political points, taking out attack ads even in the ridings of those MPs who had initially voted in favour of C-391.

This lost them considerable amounts of goodwill and was used by a number of those who switched their vote as part of their rationale for why they had changed their minds.

In the end, the real losers were all of the firearm owners across Canada: The hunters, ranchers, farmers, recreational shooters, collectors, etc.

Will we get another chance to rid ourselves of the registry?

Sure as hell not if we see the Liberal party back in power. Ignatieff, true to his ilk, while saying he wants to ‘fix’ the registry has already spoken of a ban on all handguns in the country. As has NDP leader Jack Layton.

So Mr. Ignatieff’s concept of a ‘fix’ is to make the firearm ownership laws more restrictive  and confiscate what we already legally own.

Aren’t we regularly accused of being totally paranoid when we speak of the fact that registration precedes confiscation? How did the media miss this?

Lies and distortion in the long-gun registry debate (Part 2)

September 21, 2010

One of Canada’s most strident ant-gun activists is Wendy Cuckier, a Professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University and the long time president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

Ms. Cuckier was in on the establishment of the federal Firearms Act from the beginning and did extensive consultation with the federal Liberal government of the day beginning as far back as the spring of 1996. Culminating with a 3 year and $380,600 contract in August of 2002 to develop strategies for the implementation of the new federal firearms law.

This September Rabble.ca did an interview with Ms. Cuckier on the long gun registry and MP Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s bill, C-391, to eliminate the registry. She had some interesting and inventive comments.

CA: It’s interesting that the NRA is watching this so closely, though maybe not surprising.

WC: Absolutely. And not only that they’ve been watching it closely, but they’ve been actively engaged in mobilizing, coaching, raising money for the Canadian gun lobby, because they see this as having global significance. So the president of the NRA has been up here several times, speaking at fundraisers; they did election-readiness training; they’ve done infomercials that are broadcast in border towns and seen on both sides of the border.

The NRA, we have no evidence that they’ve actually given money to the Canadian gun lobby, but they’ve certainly done everything short of that and you can combine that with a very aggressive advertising campaign by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Really cute.

According to WC the NRA has “actively engaged in mobilizing, coaching, raising money for the Canadian gun lobby..”

Mobilizing? Not sure what that is supposed to mean, but it would infer that they are somehow up in Canada mobilizing the troops. Whose I don’t know and where I have no idea. Pure fantasy.

Coaching? I presume that refers to the NRA’s Director of Grass Roots division being invited in 2006 to come up and put on a workshop on techniques in how to motivate an organization’s membership. That was four years ago and it was a half day workshop. Not my definition of “actively”.

Raising money? A nice thought but I’m afraid that has never happened either. All the figments of a fertile imagination.

Then of course the neat tie-in the the Conservative Party’s advertising to leave the impression that there is a conspiracy there as well.

CA: What is the tone of debate like this time compared with the level of debate that took place at the registry’s creation? The enemies of the registry have been talking this way for years, but now they have more power.

WC: I think that’s really all that has changed. Their arguments are identical. They’re much more sophisticated; when the bill was passing in 1995 and if you looked at media coverage there was no question that they were on our side. The arguments that were being made on the other side were not being parroted, they way they are now. The spokespeople that were advancing those arguments were not slick Bay Street lawyers.

One of the things that is really shocking to me is the amount of resources being marshalled in the effort to dismantle the run registry, and that is partly because the Conservative Party of Canada has lots of cash and it has pulled out all the stops in terms of radio advertisements and trips across the country. They are sparing no expense.

In the gun lobby groups there is more money and more sophistication. They have PR professionals, corporate lawyers… [more] than they did in ’95.

This is really quite funny. The people arguing against the registry are now “slick Bay Street lawyers”. Who the hell are these people and why don’t I know them! And apparently the organizations that are fighting to get rid of the registry (known by WC as the ‘gun lobby’) and which includes provincial Fish & Game Associations, local fish and game clubs, shooting clubs and the like, now have PR professionals and corporate lawyers to promote their side of the issue. Wonderful. I’d just like to know where the money for all of this is coming from (I forgot – must be from the NRA doing all of its invisible fund raising in Canada).

And

WC: I have the sense that there is more awareness of the issue than there was. Having the police come out as strong as they have has made an impression on some people, because even the gun lobby… it’s hard for people to give much credence to the idea that the police are doing this for political reasons.

Other than the fact that it’s all politics and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have a vested interest in the maintenance of the registry.

CA: Have the opponents to the bill been working together?

WC: The majority of Canadians, I am convinced, still support gun owners registering guns. But the salience of the issue is not that high. If we have public meetings we are always swamped by the gun lobby. Whenever there is an article published the comments are usually swamped by the gun lobby.

So in terms of public events, the gun lobby has always, from the outset, been able to organize hundreds of people waving their fists and shouting against gun control, more than we have.

Let me get this straight. Everyone except a few crackers in the West support the registry, but if WC and her cohorts hold an event they can’t get anyone out in support, but the ‘gun lobby’, which has little credibility, can turn out a bunch of fist wavers and shouters at will. Could that be grass roots support?

WC: There’s concern [about the gun registry being dismantled]. In the United States, finally, there is growing acknowledgment of the fact that gaps of firearms laws there fuel armed violence. And probably with the exception of the United States, most countries in the world are moving towards strengthening their laws.

So much concern in the U.S. that more and more States have passed concealed and open carry legislation while the homicide rates in the country have dropped at a faster rate than that of Canada. Funny how that works.

I have no idea whether WC actually believes everything she says or just goes with the flow. It’s really irrelevant .

The game plan of the anti-gun crowd has always appeared to be demonize, demonize, demonize.

Gun control and gun owner apathy (a rant)

September 19, 2010

The vote on killing Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s bill to eliminate the long gun registry is on the table in Ottawa for Wednesday, September 22nd.

This is not the 3rd reading of the bill, but a motion put forward my Liberal MP Mark Holland to kill C-391 before it even gets to 3rd reading.

I was told the other evening, in one riding where an MP who previously voted in favour of the bill and who has now switched his vote, a group of firearm owners wanted to gather outside of his constituency office on Monday morning to show him that many of his constituents wanted him to stay the course and vote to rid us of the long gun registry.

Apparently the organizers had talked to some gun owners at the local club’s range that day to see if they would show up for the rally on Monday morning.

The reaction? ‘It was too late to do anything’.

The point being that it was the same attitude that allowed the federal Liberals to ram Bill C-68 through parliament in the first place, giving us the nasty piece of legislation we now have, where honest, legitimate gun owners are targeted as criminals at every step along the way. And of which the long gun registry is part and parcel.

There are a lot of dedicated people out there right now who are working very hard to try and make the case with MPs that the registry is useless, inefficient and has nothing to do with public safety. But can you imagine the impact we could have had if these people who cop out of the process because they are too busy, their letter or phone call won’t make a difference or in this case because ‘it is too late’ actually got involved?

It was the same with Bill C-68 where there seemed to be a common thread that ‘the government wouldn’t do that to us’.

Well they could and they would and they did. And after it was all over it was, ‘how did this happen?’

Well it happened because people sat on their hands and I am afraid that C-391 will go down to defeat as well, because too many people who should have known better just sat on their hands as well.

Some of media (cue CBC) and a number of pro-registry groups and politicians have tried to connect the various wildlife and shooting groups in Canada to the (evil American) NRA. Well to tell you the truth I would like to have a little of that grass roots support that the NRA commands in the US right here in safe and cautious old Canada.

So if C-391 goes down to defeat on September 22nd, don’t ask me how that happened. It happens because we screwed away a legitimate opportunity by waiting to see if the other person would make the effort for us.


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