Posts Tagged ‘Bill C-391’

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 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).


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.

Lies and distortion in the long-gun registry debate (Part 1)

September 19, 2010

There has been a concentrated push by the anti-gun crew – which apparently includes the CBC – to find some way to prevent the passing of Bill C-391 to eliminate the federal long-gun registry.

The CBC published what they laughingly called a investigative report in which they claimed that the U.S. National Rifle Association was working in Canada to have the federal long gun registry dismantled.

That of course came as one hell of a surprise to those of us who have been involved at various levels in the debate over the years.

The “investigative reporter” based her amazing findings on three separate happenings:

1. The invitation by the BC Wildlife Federation to Charlton Heston, then the very popular president of the NRA, to attend their AGM in Prince George in the year 2000. A decade ago.

2. The invitation by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association in 2005 to Glen Caroline, the director of the NRA’s Grass Roots division to run a workshop on how to engage an organization’s membership, something that the NRA has been extraordinarily successful in doing.

3. The invitation by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association in 2006 to Sandra Froman, then the outgoing president of the NRA, to be the keynote speaker at the CSSA’s AGM.

And actually a fourth “proof of the pudding’ item that showed (at least to the reporter) that the NRA was up to their elbows in Canada’s gun control battle:

In the year 2000 (again, a decade ago) the NRA produced an infomercial, which was broadcast in the U.S., that pointed out Canada’s slide into gun control and the need for American gun owners to be alert and pro-active. Notwithstanding that the infomercial was directed at U.S. gun owners the CBC article apparently saw this as meddling in Canada’s affairs.

Of course the minute the CBC ran this story the pro-registry, anti-gun crowd were on it like white on rice.

Liberal David McGuinty immediately came forward and insisted that the Conservatives should disclose any funding they had received from the NRA. Oblivious (or studiously ignoring) the fact that the story had stated that the NRA’s constitution specifically barred them from doing that.

McGuinty also intoned, “If the NRA wants to fight its good fight over its views on guns, it should do so in the United States.”

I wonder if these guys ever think about how mindless and pompous they sound when they spout on about issues that they know nothing about but can’t stop their mouth from moving when a microphone appears.

But that is what the NRA is doing; fighting the good fight in the USA and doing it well.

Oh, and this one really amused me.

Michael Bryant, formerly Ontario’s attorney general, said the NRA has been agitating in Canadian political backrooms for years.

“I got elected in 1999 and I became aware soon after of the NRA’s involvement in the debate — not in a huge way, but in a significant way,” he said.

Canadians need to know the role the NRA has played in the gun registry debate, Bryant said

A bold statement, but apparently the investigative reporter neglected to ask Mr. Bryant in just what significant way the NRA had been involved in Canadian backrooms. Or if she did (although based on the reportage in the rest of the article I highly doubt that) he was short on examples.

Unfortunately the supporters of keeping the registry intact become so desperate once there appeared to be a good chance that C-391 might actually get passed that they have had no problem with making up their stories out of whole cloth.

The plan seems to be when in doubt, muddy the waters.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell switches votes on gun registry bill

September 13, 2010

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell voted for Bill C-391, which would eliminate the long-gun registry, for both 1st and 2nd readings.

However, since his Liberal Party leader, Michael Ignatieff, has said he will now whip his caucus’ vote on the bill, Mr. Bagnell has stated that he will now vote against the bill and support keeping the long-gun registry intact.

Ironically Mr. Bagnall was co-chair of the federal Outdoor Caucus. Don’t know whether that committee is still functioning and if it is, whether Mr. Bagnall is still involved.

An interesting report and commentary on an interview with Mr. Bagnell over his vote switch:

The firearms registry and the desperate Liberals

September 5, 2010

As the time gets closer to the vote to get rid of the long-gun registry, the Liberal Party tries its best to confuse the issue in an apparently desperate attempt to convince people – and probably some of their own MPs – that the registry is no different than all of the other little licensing and registries that are imposed upon us.

The latest is a release which is “From the Leader of the Opposition” and titled Just the Facts: Things you have to register.

In part it reads:

Just consider how silly some of the Conservative and NDP arguments against registering firearms sound when you replace firearms with commons sense items that Canadians are used to registering:

  • Criminals won’t register their dogs anyway, so what’s the point?
  • The government wants you to get a fishing license so they can seize all of your fishing poles!
  • The car registration scheme in this country costs millions a year and does nothing to prevent road accidents!
  • You already have to pass a driver’s test to be able to drive a car, so what’s the point of having to register your car?
  • There was a boating accident last week, and the boating registration scheme did nothing to prevent that from happening!

To help you keep track, here’s a list of things you have to register, if you want to own, do, or receive the following:

Owning livestock, including James Bezan’s horse “Woody”
Driving Stephen Harper’s “I make the rules” All-Terrain-Vehicle
Owning dogs and cats
Owning and driving motor vehicles
Getting married
Having a baby
Going fishing
Going boating
Owning a corporation
Owning land
Being a lobbyist
Providing professional services:
–    Lawyers
–   Doctors
–    Engineers
–    Architects
–    Accountants
Owning copyright and intellectual property
Being a member of the Conservative Party of Canada
Having a healthcare card
Qualifying for Old Age Security
Qualifying for the Canada Pension Plan
Qualifying for the Canada Child Tax Credit and Universal Child Care Benefit
Having a Registered Retirement Savings Plan
Having a Registered Education Savings Plan
Having a Tax Free Savings Account
Getting a Permanent Resident Card
Qualifying for Employment Insurance

Now I don’t know the intelligence quotient of the person or persons who wrote this tripe, but whatever they were paid to write this up for The Leader of the Opposition (AKA The Honourable Michael Ignatieff) was akin to robbery. But then again the Liberals, in all seriousness, sent it out as an official release. Read into that what you may.

To begin with, the clever Liberals forgot to mention that none of the above examples come with a criminal record if you don’t comply and many of their examples are not compulsory either.

But for a start.

Criminals won’t register their dogs anyway, so what’s the point?

Exactly. As well, probably the vast number of dog owners never bother to register or to use a better term, licence their dogs anyway.

The government wants you to get a fishing license so they can seize all of your fishing poles!

This is a really stupid one. Fishing and hunting license fees are set to generate funds for the ongoing operations of the various provincial governments’ Fish & Wildlife branches. Although a lot of that revenue may be sucked off into the black hole of general revenue. If you don’t hunt or fish you don’t pay the licence fees. And as far as fishing goes, they haven’t started a fishing pole registry yet.

The car registration scheme in this country costs millions a year and does nothing to prevent road accidents!

No it certainly doesn’t. Car registration started in most places as far back as 1904 when governments saw that there were going to be a lot of them using roads that would have to be built and considerable cost. So the registration of cars was a tax initiative and has grown, as most bureaucracies do, to what it is today.

We all pay our water bills but it doesn’t stop bathtub fatalities. About the same level of stupidity as the car registration argument.

You already have to pass a driver’s test to be able to drive a car, so what’s the point of having to register your car?

Whoa. You stepped right into that one Mr. Ignatieff.

I already have to pass a test and obtain a licence to buy a firearm, so what’s the point of having to register my guns? Good question! We’ve been saying that all along. Let me know when you come up with an answer.

There was a boating accident last week, and the boating registration scheme did nothing to prevent that from happening!

You’re absolutely right again. What is the point of the boating registration ‘scheme’. Taxation? I think that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind. The old government axiom: If they own it. Tax it.

The rest of the list? Registering as an accountant, lawyer etc.? Those are professional associations that have obtained the rights and authority from government to control and self-police their members and keep their membership exclusive. You might have a law degree and be a brilliant lawyer, but if you aren’t a member of the Law Society you won’t be practicing law.You don’t have to join. Only if you want to work.

Why go on. The rest of the examples are just as nonsensical.

The only frightening thing is that someone might read this garbage and actually think, “Duh, them Liberals have got a point there”.

Nah – nobody could really be that dumb.

Why the Gun Registry Needs To Go

August 30, 2010

An excellent op-ed by Yorkton-Melville MP, Garry Breitkreuz on the ongoing debate regarding the private member’s Bill C-391 which – if passed – would see the end of the federal long-gun registry.

Breitkreuz hits hard against the politicking of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and all of the various machinations that are going on to try and kill the bill.

The media war over the hotly contested long-gun registry is in full swing, and it isn’t pretty. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is lobbying hard to keep our tax dollars flowing into the black hole that is the registry.

Taxpayers should be incensed at the CACP for co-opting the role of policy-maker. When law enforcement managers try to write the laws they enforce, history has taught us we risk becoming a state where police can dictate our personal freedoms.

Policy-making is solely the mandate of elected governments on behalf of the people. While police can and should be consulted on the efficacy of current policies, police chiefs should not be lobbying to tell the government which laws it should adopt. The tail is wagging the dog with such intensity, the pooch is a veritable blur.

Breitkreuz also points the finger at the CACP’s conflict of interest on this issue: something the media has studiously avoided in their coverage.

Consider that the CACP’s vocal endorsement of the registry caused the sudden departure of its own ethics expert last year. John Jones quit the CACP ethics committee after the chiefs accepted a $115,000 donation from the gun registry’s software provider. Indeed, Jones says the CACP has a track record of providing public endorsements to private sector companies that help to fund their lavish annual conference galas.

Although this bill passed 1st and 2nd readings, with the help of Liberal and NDP MPs, the 3rd reading will be a much tighter battle.

In fact it will be a battle just to get it to 3rd reading, as the federal Liberals have entered a motion to kill the bill outright to make sure it never even gets there.

As well, the Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff has decided to whip his caucus’ vote, which means that the Liberal MPs who have supported the bill in the previous two readings will now have to vote against the bill or face severe repercussions within their party. This goes against parliamentary tradition, which has normally allowed a free vote on private member’s bills. However it appears that Ignatieff is willing to play to his Quebec and Toronto base and write-off the West and Eastern rural constituents.

So far the NDP leader, Jack Layton, has stayed clear of whipping his caucus’ vote, but whether he will bow to his Toronto base before this is finished is a good question. Should he do so he will likely cause some fractures within his own party.

Hopefully the NDP MPs who voted to get rid of this ridiculous legislation on the first two readings will stick to their principles and see it through to the end.

It would be a big win to see the long-gun registry go the way of the Dodo bird.

File Under ‘Hurt Feelings’

June 2, 2010

At the committee hearings on MP Candice Hoeppner’s Private Member’s Bill to eliminate the federal long-gun registry Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair got all sensitive when Conservative MP Shelley Glover ( a police officer herself) expressed her concerns that rank and file police opposition to the registry was being silenced by the seni0r police bureaucracy.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair says he was insulted and “disappointed” after a Tory MP suggested he and other Canadian police chiefs were gagging critics of the long-gun registry.

Conservative MP Shelley Glover (Saint Boniface) told a parliamentary committee hearing this week that police critics of the long-gun registry have been “silenced.”

Glover, a Winnipeg patrol officer on leave since she was elected in 2008, declared she was among frontline officers who were “polled” when the registry was first created by a Liberal government in the mid 1990s, and “overwhelmingly” expressed opposition to it, just as officers today oppose it, she claims.

Blair was offended by what he saw as the “disrespectful tone” of some of the questions.

Blair also consistently referred to those speaking against the continuation of the long-gun registry as the “gun lobby” but has said in other interviews that there is no “police lobby” when it comes to speaking to keep the registry.

Blair ‘respectfully’ blew off the retired police officers who gave their opinion as to the uselessness of the registry.

Blair dismissed retired officers who have told the committee most cops want to kill the registry, saying the “gun lobby” often “goes to the local gun club and recruit a couple of cops who’ve retired and who pretend to speak on behalf of law enforcement.”

Of course we’ll never really know  whether or not there was an active attempt by various police departments to silence their rank and file in the debate over the registry. However if you were a Toronto police officer I suspect that knowing Chief Blair’s political position on the long-gun registry, it would be considered a career limiting move to speak publicly supporting its elimination.

Trapped in Suburbia discusses this issue and has posted a letter from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Tim Killam sent to the various RCMP Commanding Officers across the country, along with various other material regarding the registry and Bill C-391.

D/Comm Killam ends his letter with instructions.

The RCMP position is, and always has been, that the services provided by the CFP, including the registration and licensing of all firearms, are valuable resources for all law enforcement, nationally and internationally. The registration of all firearms enables individual accountability, promotes safety and life saving measures, and is a pro-active investigative tool in assisting law enforcement.

This information should be disseminated to all your employees for their information. I would ask that you please refrain from providing any personal opinions and redirect all media inquiries on this issue to the National Communications Services.

Now that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for the argument that their officers in the field fully support the registry. It does leave one with the distinct impression that anyone speaking against the party line on the issue would be persona non grata with the RCMP’s upper echelon.

I think we can safely say that at least the RCMP put out a gag order to their members.

An e-mail from my Federal Liberal Friends

May 1, 2010

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.

Friend —

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.

Adam Smith
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.