Posts Tagged ‘Garry Breitkreuz MP’

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.


An amazing thing occurred in Parliament last Tuesday

November 10, 2009

A truly amazing event took place in Ottawa this past Tuesday.

Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner‘s private members bill C-391 to eliminate the federal long-gun registry, passed on second reading by a vote of 164 to 137. This was amazing on several different levels.

Firstly, it was a private members bill which rarely get passed, unless it deals with some innocuous, motherhood issue. But this was a controversial piece of legislation, that had anti-gun groups frothing at the mouth in frustration and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) pumping out misinformation in a desperate attempt to garner support to defeat the bill. But that didn’t happen.

Secondly, the Conservative government, after having torpedoed Garry Breitkreuz‘ Bill C-301 ,which would have killed the registry as well as clearing up several other inequities, and then engineering a Senate bill (S-5) which they said would eliminate the registry, but in reality would have simply taken the long-gun registry out of the federal government’s purview and passed in on down to the provinces, backed Ms. Hoeppner’s bill so enthusiastically they ran the risk of alienating even the opposition MPs that were already in favour of scuttling the registry. I’ll park my paranoia on that one.

Thirdly, the leaders of two of the three opposition parties, Jack Layton for the NDP and Michael Ignatieff for the Liberals stayed with the normal practice of giving their members a free vote on a private members bill.

So despite the wailing of the anti-gunners, who did their best to convince all and sundry that the loss of the registry would mean bodies piling up in the streets, and the CACP  who were in turn predicting a complete breakdown in law and order should the registry disappear, 12 NDP and 4 Liberal MPs voted with the Conservative minority to take it through 2nd reading. The Bloc of course, having their own agenda, voted solidly against the bill.

What was also interesting was the amount of media commentary that was in favour of getting rid of the long-gun registry. We saw numerous columns , articles and editorials in the newspapers supporting the Hoeppner bill – a long time coming, but encouraging to see.

So is it a fait accompli that the registry is on its way out?

Not by a long shot. There is a process.

From here it goes to to committee, in this case the Public Safety Committee, for modification or approval and already opposition members are bragging that they will gut the bill at this level. The Public Safety committee is made up of 12 members, one of which functions as the chair. Looking at the names on the committee it is apparent that it is evenly split between those who voted for Bill C-391 and those who voted against it. But, the chair -in this case Yorkton-Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz who has fought against the federal firearms legislation since its inception – only votes in the case of a tie which actually gives the opponents of the bill a voting majority.

If the bill survives this stage it goes back to Parliament for 3rd reading and provided that the opposition MPs stay true to their 2nd reading vote, and the vote is once again a majority in favour, it then goes to the Senate for for review and approval.

At which point the registry would disappear from our lives.

At least from some of our lives, as Quebec is already making noises about setting up a provincial registry, which is something they have wanted for some time.

Will Bill C-391 make it to the finish line? Good question.

The vice-chair of the Public Safety Committee is Ontario MP Mark Holland who has been the Liberal party’s stalking horse on this issue promoting the Liberal’s pro-gun control position at every opportunity, which bodes no good for the committee process.

On the other hand, the bill is very simple and straight forward. It get rid of the long-gun registry. No more and no less. If, as I understand, the committee in its deliberations cannot materially change the intent of the legislation there may not be much that they can do to corrupt Hoeppner’s bill.

At this point only time will tell.

Politics, Breitkreuz and Bill C-301

April 25, 2009

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:

  1. Elimination of the long-gun registry.

    This item speaks for itself.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

MP Garry Breitkreuz: A man of integrity

April 19, 2009

I am attending the Canadian Shooting Sports AGM in Mississauga this weekend where Yorkton-Melville Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz  was the featured speaker at the Saturday evening banquet.

Breitkreuz spoke about how when Kim Campbell brought in her firearms bill, C-17, he was originally in favour of the legislation because he believed what he was being told; that the bill would improve public safety across the country. But then he went to a riding meeting one night, with weather in the -30 degree Celsius range and found the hall full of his constituents who were concerned about the ramifications of the bill and they tasked him to go back to Ottawa and research it and determine the truth.

Garry took this message and went back to Ottawa and with his assistant of the time, Dennis Young, they did research on Bill C-17 and found that his constituents were right: It was bad legislation and did not do what the government said it was supposed to do. It was a political lie. A revelation to a green MP.

When the Chretien Liberals came forth with Bill C-68, a punitive piece of legislation that took the control of guns and gun owners to a new level, Breitkreuz and his staff were well prepared to continue the fight.

Since those days Breitkreuz has stayed true to his principles.

Garry Breitkreuz now has a private member’s bill, C-301, which has passed first reading and which would eliminate the federal long gun registry, among other things. It is a good, intelligently written piece of legislation, and one that should be supported by at least every MP that represents a rural riding and in actuality, every MP that hasn’t been compromised by the misinformation and outright lies that opponents of the bill have disseminated.

But then Breitkreuz was blindsided by competing legislation that his own party leader placed before the Senate, Bill S-5, which purports to eliminate the long gun registry but in fact will devolve it to 12 provincial/territorial registries (Nunavut is exempt from the registry). So the government can proclaim that they have eliminated the long gun registry while simply moving it to the provinces and territories. This also enables them to give Quebec what it has been pushing for; its own provincial firearms registry.  Integrity does not emanate from the PMO.

Opponents have tried to attack Bill C-301, saying that it would impact public safety. This is simply not the truth. But it did spook the PMO which told Breitkreuz he was not to attend the CSSA AGM and that he had to amend Bill C-301 to remove all of the non-registry items.

Breitkreuz originally  acquiesced to these demands but when the PMO had Bill S-5 tabled in the Senate it became apparent that the Prime Minister was reneging on his Party’s policy and on statements he had made in the past against Bill C-68 when the Liberals pushed it through the House. At that point he decided that he would not amend the Bill as he had previously stated and that he would attend and speak to the CSSA AGM.

Which brings me back to the main point of this blog before I ranted myself off topic.

Breitkreuz gave an honest and passionate speech about integrity and veracity in politics and spoke of other members of his caucus who are dedicated and concerned and he gave me some hope that all is not lost in Ottawa. It was an inspirational speech that was met with enthusiasm by the attendees at the supper.

Maybe good enough to make me actually consider voting in the next federal election. We’ll wait and see.

Farewell to the firearm registry?

February 16, 2009

Canadian firearm owners are actually looking at a real possibility of getting rid of the long gun portion of the federal firearm registry.

On February 10th Saskatchewan Member of Parliament Garry Breitkreuz presented a private member’s bill, C301, that would eliminate the long gun registration for Canadian gun owners. This is a long awaited step for farmers, ranchers, hunters, collectors, sport shooters or just generally anyone that legitimately owns a rifle or shotgun in Canada.

Background information on the bill details the other aspects of the proposed legislation that will be of interest to a lot of gun owners.

  • It will streamline Authorizations to Transport (ATT) and make them part of the individual’s licence. Something that should have been done right from the beginning.
  • It will merge the Possession Only Licences (POL) and Possession & Acquisition Licences (PAL) which is something that also should have been done a long time ago.
  • It will extend a license from 5 to 10 years. A lifetime licence would have been a better, but apparently there was opposition to that option.

Of course being tabled and being passed are two different things. But this one may actually have a good chance of making the grade, especially since it looks as though the opposition parties will allow a free vote by their members and there are a good number of Liberal, NDP and even Bloc MPs that come from rural areas where the firearms registry is an issue. We can only hope.

The catch will be how strong the backlash will be from the anti-gun groups, some of which had a direct hand in writing the original bill, C-68, and who will be lobbying heavily to convince MPs to oppose the Breitkreuz bill.

It behooves every gun owner to contact their local MP and tell them how important this bill is.