I don’t know where Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal bagman got the idea that I was their friend, but that was how their recent e-mail to me was addressed.
Barely 48 hours after Michael Ignatieff proposed sensible changes to make the long gun registry fairer and more effective, Stephen Harper has opened the Conservative war chest – and teamed up with the gun lobby – launching personal attacks against MPs and police who support gun control. As the Liberal Party’s chief fundraiser, I need your help right now to fight back.
The attacks began as Conservative spokesman and Saskatchewan MP Gerry Breitkreuz compared Canada’s police chiefs to “members of a cult” who “should be ashamed of themselves” for defending the gun registry – a tool police officers use over 11,000 times each day in their work protecting public safety.
Close behind was a deluge of radio ads targeting Liberal MPs in rural ridings, spreading misinformation and questioning the integrity of our MPs for doing exactly what you and I elect our representatives to do – listen to their constituents and work to adapt the laws of the land in ways that find common ground.
Police across the country tell us that they rely on the gun registry. I believe them. Law abiding gun owners tell us the gun registry has problems in its current form and I believe them too. So we need a balanced solution and the Liberal proposal provides it. Now, our MPs who helped to create that solution are under fire and need our support.
That’s why it’s critical that we respond with a targeted ad campaign of our own. Canadians need accurate information about the changes we’ve proposed, and the MPs under attack need to know that Liberals from coast to coast to coast are standing behind them.
(Then followed an appeal for a donation starting at the $100 level)
The Conservatives continue with tactics that attempt to divide rural and urban Canada. You and I can’t let that happen.Thank you.
National Director, National Liberal Fund
The appeal was amusing in that it closed by saying that the Conservatives are attempting to divide rural and urban Canada, when this is exactly what Jean Chretien and Alan Rock did when they brought in the the Gun Control Act, Bill C-68. And now Michael Ignatieff is willing to do so again, by whipping his party’s vote to try and defeat Bill C-391 which would get rid of the long-gun registry and which to the Liberal leadership’s horror passed second reading and only needs to get a passing vote in 3rd reading to become law.
The Liberal fundraising letter whips out many of the old saws: The (evil) gun lobby working hand-in-hand with the Conservatives to eliminate the long-gun registry and the police accessing the gun registry data 11,000 times a day “in their work protecting public safety”.
I’ve never been able to figure out just who this powerful gun lobby is that the anti-gun people grow hysterical about. I presume that I am part of it. Along with other hunters, target shooters and collectors. Then again, the writer of the fundraising letter tells us that he agrees with law-abiding gun owners that there are problems with the system, which makes me think that maybe we law-abiding gun owners aren’t part of the evil gun lobby. All of which leaves me more confused as to whom or what constitutes the gun lobby. Or is it – dare I say – simply a political bogey man?
Our efforts pale in comparison to the efforts put forth by groups like the Chiefs of Police who have a direct pipeline to the top politicians and bureaucrats and who lobby the government on a regular basis for more funding and changes to the laws of the country.
It has been said that if the police were unfettered in their efforts to obtain more powers, we would all be fingerprinted, be required to carry identification papers, be registered in a DNA registry and would be subject to stop and arrest at the whim of any officer on the street. (Seems to me that the random stop idea is what the Federal government is musing about right now as it pertains to randomly testing drivers for drinking offenses. It seems to be resonating with some in the media, but if the police are given that power it will no doubt lead to abuses, with that authority simply being used as an excuse for a stop).
But back to the donation letter.
Mr. Smith, the National Director of the National Liberal Fund, bemoans the fact that their Liberal MPs are having their integrity questioned “for doing exactly what you and I elect our representatives to do – listen to their constituents and work to adapt the laws of the land in ways that find common ground”.
But I thought that was exactly what those MPs did on the 1st and 2nd votes on Bill C-391. They had a free vote and voted for what they and their constituents wanted. Which in some cases meant that those Liberal MPs voted in favour of eliminating the long gun registry.
But by Mr. Ignatieff whipping the votes for his caucus he eliminates the opportunity for those very same MPs to do so on the next vote on 3rd reading. By doing so he has said to all of his caucus – “to hell with your constituents. You will vote as I tell you to vote”.
It may not totally be a lack of integrity that will cause those MPs to change their vote the next time around, but intimidation will certainly be part of the picture..
What Mr. Ignatieff gave his recalcitrant caucus members, who had dared to vote in favour of Bill C-391 when it was a free vote, was a number of talking points that they could use to try and to explain to their constituents why they had now switched their vote.
The truth is, anyone who buys into this new line of reasoning probably still believes in the Tooth Fairy as well.
I am sure that there are still some principled politicians somewhere in Ottawa, but they seem to be increaingly hard to find.