Posts Tagged ‘long gun registry’

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?

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.

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.

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.

Trends in Homicide Rates in Canada

October 14, 2009

The following graph is courtesy of Dr. Gary Mauser from his research. It tells a tale.