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.
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).
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.