Perhaps someday when I am older and even more follically challenged I will come to fully understand what actually happens when events enter the political realm.
Is there a virus that eventually infects those who enter politics that stimulates some previously unknown gene and causes politicians and bureaucrats to become devious and if not openly dishonest, at least veracity challenged?
Or, more likely, it is directly linked to the irrefutable rule of politics that once you get elected your sole purpose of being in the Halls of Power is to get re-elected. Thus you spend your elected term trying to take credit for everything good that happens and distance yourself from anything that might generate blame or even controversy in the hope that in the next election the electorate will look upon you with favour.
I ask the question because of events that have taken place in the Canadian parliament with respect to getting rid of the long-gun firearms registry; Garry Breitkreuz’ private members bill to do just that, the PMOs attempt to cripple that bill and the subsequent presentation of a Senate bill that says it does the same thing but doesn’t.
Breitkreuz, the Saskatchewan MP from Yorkton-Melville, has been the linchpin within the federal Conservative party with regards to fulfilling their promise and policy to reform the federal firearms legislation and specifically get rid of the long-gun registry. But the federal Liberals and New Democratic Parties have been just as adamant that the firearms legislation that the Chretien Liberals passed in 1995 will stay to haunt us forever, even though they have numerous rural MPs who would vote for a bill that would eliminate the long-gun registry if they were given a free vote by their party leaders.
Thus the Conservatives had no chance of fulfilling their promise while they were in opposition and have argued that they have had limited opportunity to do so even after they formed a minority government.
But when Breitkreuz tabled his private member’s bill there was a glimmer of hope that partisan politics would take a backseat and there would be some honest and (god forbid) intelligent debate on the proposed legislation and at that point the leaders of the opposition parties would allow their members a free vote and let the chips fall where they may.
Unfortunately that appears to have gone by the wayside, with the Prime Minister’s office apparently trying to deep-six Bill C-301, firstly by attempting to strong-arm Breitkreuz into amending his bill so it would only retain the section removing the registry and then by tabling Bill S-5 in the Senate, a piece of legislation that purports to eliminate the long-gun registry but in fact devolves the registry to the provinces and the territories so we will end up with 12 de facto registries.
As a point of information, Bill C-301 has six parts to it:
- Elimination of the long-gun registry.
This item speaks for itself.
- Combines the Possession Only (POL) and Possession & Acquisition (PAL) licences.
This is a common sense change. Those persons who opted to apply for a POL rather than a PAL back in 1995 and who currently are still holding POLs have now owned their firearms for 14 consecutive years post C-68 with no threat to public safety. It is pointless to maintain the two separate licence systems and it is time to grandfather the POL holders and convert their licences to PALs.
- Merges the Authorization to Transport for restricted firearms with the owner’s licence. Another no-brainer. The fiream’s owner is already licenced to own that class of firearm and must now apply for a transport permit (ATT) to take their firearm to a shooting range, plus they have to be renewed every 3 years. As the ATTs are issued automatically to a holder of a firearms licence, it makes little sense to continue them as a separate form.
- Extends the licencing renewal period to 10 years from the current 5 years requirement. This would make even more sense as a lifetime provision, but once licenced initially, there is no need for an individual’s status to change unless some breech of the regulations occurs. Changing the renewal period to a 10 year period at least eliminates a significant amount of unnecessary paperwork.
- It changes the grandfathering date for owners of 12/6 firearms which was originally passed with Bill C-10A, but never passed into law. This just reiterates legislation that was previously passed in xxxx through Bill-xxx but never made it into law due to bureaucratic failure.
- Calls for the Auditor General to conduct a cost/benefit analysis on all aspects of the Firearms Program every five years. No comment needed.
Now none of these legislative changes would impact public safety in any manner or form. But this has not stopped organizations such as the Coalition for Gun Control, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police or even spokespersons for the Liberal party from making those hysterical statements to the media. And this hasn’t stopped the media from broadcasting those statements without questioning in any way whether they are factual or not.
Other than making some changes that that would be of considerable benefit to Canadian firearm owners, what Bill-301 would do is save the government and taxpayers money. By eliminating the registry, the required issuance of ATTs and changing the license renewal requirements from 5 to 10 year intervals, there would be significant savings in staffing and paperwork.
In difficult financial times wouldn’t you think that something that would save the government money, make a large constituency of voters happy, while having no negative impact on public safety be something that federal MPs could support wholeheartedly.
Maybe if they would look at the facts and not the rhetoric they might be so inclined.