Posts Tagged ‘gun lobby’

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.