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To Jack Layton & NDP on the gun registry vote; don’t get played by Harper on this.

Just a note to Jack Layton and company in the NDP’s leadership circle over the upcoming vote(s?) on the “private members bill” to try and kill the long-gun registry (actually, the first vote will be a Liberal amendment motion to kill Bill C-391 off entirely):

– A regular private members bill does not get unprecedented advertising from the sitting government in key ridings of opposition members urging their constituents to tell them to vote to support the “private members bill”, as has happened here.

– Yes, a private member’s bill normally doesn’t get whipped by the party leadership, but as related over here in Impolitical’s update and according to London Liberal MP Glen Pearson, he’s been told privately by some Conservative MP’s that they’re being whipped to vote for this “private member’s bill” privately behind the scenes, which would be a good reason why you didn’t see any urban riding MP’s from the Conservatives – areas that are more likely to support the long-gun registry then against – break ranks last time to vote for this, and likely won’t again, if there’s a secret whip being done on them.

In short, this is what I’ll term a PMBINO – A Private Members Bill In Name Only – and Jack and the NDP are letting themselves get suckered into allowing a key piece of Harper’s agenda to pass via the Private Members Bill back-door – a move Harper and CO. did, because they calculated they could get this through, knowing the conventional government bill would fail on whipped party-line votes. The Liberal Party fell for this trick once, and smartened up, enforcing the Party whip this time.. but only after making key proposals/compromises to their cause to modify the current long-gun registry so that fines are not enforced on those who register, etc.

Rather then whining in the papers that the voters who support keeping the long-gun registry should not be blaming the NDP if the registry gets killed, Jack should stop being naive and realize the Harper government is playing the NDP for suckers. The NDP has always claimed it is the party that stands up the most against the Harper agenda in the House of Commons; well, here’s it’s chance to really walk the walk – a chance to make a difference, rather then a symbolic vote or putting forth a symbolic motion/amendment against.

As for electoral considerations, and if those are also what’s in play here over principles, the NDP should remember that for every rural riding the NDP fears it may lose because of that member voting to keep the gun registry, it’s going to be pummelled in its urban ridings and in its lone Quebec riding as failing to keep the registry. Rest assured that the Liberals will be reinforcing that message in every NDP held riding in Urban Canada and in Outremont, if the NDP fail to stop Bill C-391 from passing.

Do the right thing, Jack; put forth some compromises like the Liberals did to their members, and then whip your vote, to kill this farce of a Private Members Bill. Don’t allow a part of the Harperite agenda to be put in by back-door stealth.

UPDATE: A normally sympathetic blogger to the NDP who’s ticked with Jack’s hide in the sand manoeuvrer on this bill lists the NDP’s key members who need to be lobbied by the public. I’m not sure if that will work or not, since there are at least 2 or 3 NDP members who truly believe the registry should die, while others might be too scared to vote against the gun bill (without having a whip used), because of what more nasty things the Harper Conservatives might say in their ridings, but it can’t hurt to try.

IMO, writing a note or calling Jack Layton’s office to argue this is a sham private members bill (for the reasons listed above) and to urge him to whip the vote is the better tactic. Heck, maybe twittering him would work as well.

UPDATE 2 @ 3:53 pm: On a related note, Jeff takes a look at that Angus-Reid poll today, and finds the findings aren’t as discouraging for pro-gun registry advocates and pro-gun control advocates as some Conservatives would have you believe… in fact, those findings are purposely left out.. and for good reason:

When asked if they’d favour a complete ban on handguns in Canada, nearly half, 49 per cent, said yes it would be justified, while 39 per cent said it would be justified. Again, besides the near majority, the interesting thing here is the trends: support for a ban was up three points, and more strikingly opposition to a handgun ban was down by seven points.

Which brings us to the infamous gun registry. One question you’re seeing be latched-onto is if the registry has been successful or not fighting crime. Just 13 per cent said it was (up two) while 43 per cent said it wasn’t (down four) and 20 per cent said it had no effect (down three). Those are interesting results, particularly when compared to the complete ban results. Do they mean many want the government to go further because the registry hasn’t been effective enough, or scrap it all together because it’s ineffective? Probably both, but it’s impossible to say with the available data.

On support/oppose scrapping the long gun registry, the figure you’ll hear most is that 44 per cent support scrapping it, while 35 per cent oppose it. That those numbers aren’t more wide given the opinion on its effectiveness shows that some simply want a more effective registry. And again, here, the trend is telling. Support for scrapping the registry has dropped by seven points since last November, while opposition is up by one point. Which means some former registry opponents are on the fence, and support for scrapping the registry is on the decline.

Finally, going further than just a handgun ban, Angus Reid also asked if it should be legal or illegal for ordinary Canadians to own firearms all together. In a reversal from last year, a plurality of Canadian (45 per cent) said it should be illegal, and 40 per cent said it should stay legal. Illegal was up by six points, while keep it legal declined by seven.

So, look at the numbers and the trends in totality and what can we take away? Canadians are increasingly favouring stricter gun control, not looser. Support for scrapping the registry is declining, and support shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation of gun control.

UPDATE 3 @ 4:47pm: The Canadian Labour Congress – a key NDP ally over the years – has also got a page up with emails and phone #’s of the 12 specific NDP MP’s, urging folks to contact them and to tell them not to vote for the Conservative bill.

100 comments to To Jack Layton & NDP on the gun registry vote; don’t get played by Harper on this.

  • Well, that would explain what were otherwise incomprehensible comments about Simple Massing Priest. You will also understand why I thought he was smoking something, since my blog bears no resemblance to that assortment of wackadoodle. Turns out that anything ending in blogpsot.com will go there.

    The Liberal Party has very little in the way of actually principles – ie, deeply rooted philosophical beliefs which are deemed non-negotiable. But there are shibboleths, certainly. In general, these are convenient wedge issues, mostly (though not entirely) directed against the Cons. Things like the Charter, the Registry and the Canada Health Act.

    Now, as policies, I don’t have an issue with the Charter per se (though I have a constitutional quibble about the viability of constitutionally entrenched lists of rights – an issue for another time), and I’m a strong supporter of the Canada Health Act. I even support what the Registry was supposed to be about.

    But none of these are principles. They are, arguably, policy expressions of principled views. But they are not principles of themselves. One may well support strict regulation of firearms and yet believe the Registry is a counterproductive and bureaucratic intrusion that does little to enhance public safety while compromising the civil rights of responsible firearms owners. One can believe in human rights while still believing that constitutional entrenchment tends to lead (as it has in many states) to a judical assumption that rights do not exist unless enumerated in the entrenched and thence hard to amend constitutional list. One can believe that public health care needs to be protected while believing that the Canad Health Act is fatally flawed.

    But the way in which the Liberal Party has used these three things is as shibboleths. Any criticism of the Registry is conflated with opposition to any meaningful regulation of firearms. Any cavilling over the Charter is conflated with an anti-democratic stance towards human rights. Questioning the Canada Health Act is conflated with the utter destruction of Medicare.

    Of course, the Conservatives do exactly the same thing. Criticism of Israeli policy is conflated with anti-semitism, for example.

    Terms like “statist” or “nanny state” aren’t shibboleths so much as “secret handshakes” to identify true believers in a cause. The Liberals use the legacy of Pierre Trudeau like that, even though he was the only Prime Minister ever to declare martial law in peacetime.

    I have no doubt that a Central Canadian could live and work in the West for years and never have a conversation about the Registry. That doesn’t mean there isn’t deep seated discontent with the policy, even among demographics (ie women, urbanites) which, in the rest of the country, are largely supportive of the Registry. There are a number of dynamics at work, not just imported NRA propaganda.

    Out this way, we tend to me no more than a generation or two off the farm, so the criminalization of normative rural life was an issue well beyond the farm gate, even if one wasn’t a hardline NFA member.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, well, now you’re using ‘shibboleth’ idiosyncratically, albeit maybe ‘idiomatically,’ in the sense of misusing it a number of like-minded folks are.

      It’s actual meaning is, “Any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one’s social or regional origin. It usually refers to features of language, and particularly to a word whose pronunciation identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group.”

      But what you’re talking about is more colloquially known as, “sacred cows.”

      But on the three you mention, it’s the Cons — or at least their more strident libertarian element — who are more often throwing the Charter in the Libs face rather than the other way around, either hissing its name with the same level of utter hatred as the National Energy Program as if Trudeau were the Devil himself, or brandishing it as weapon to protest the state intrusions of the census or gun control.

      As for the gun registy: even Liberals can & do & have opposed it as an inessential or inefficient component of gun control.

      Tho’, yes, the Health Act is pretty near & dear.

  • When the Prime Minister starts saying that the values of some parts of the country are alien values – as Jean Chretien explicitly did re: the West – that is wedge politics at it’s most viscious. And we saw that approach in campaign after campaign. The West felt demonized because the West was demonized. The underlying meme of every Liberal campaign from 1997 to the end of the Martin disaster was predicated on protecting (Central) Canadian values and perspectives from the depradations of those horrible redneck Westerners.

    (Which is not to say for a second that the Conservatives don’t play the same game, demonizing Quebec and Southern Ontario generally and Ottawa and Toronto in particular.)

    Demonizing “guns” is a rather silly anthropromorphism. And it is a bit of revisionism to pretend that the vociferous gun lobby emerged fully formed the instant the Chretien ministry started talking about enhanced regulation. Certainly there were irreconcilables who opposed any regulation. But they were and are a minor blip in public opinion, even in rural Alberta. What turned the issue was the absolute and arrogant refusal of the government to listen to any critique of the proposed registry.

    You had a minister from downtown Toronto – one who had solemnly opined that there was no reason for any private citizen to own a firearm – refusing to consider any amendment or alteration to the legislation. It’s hardly surprising that this intransigence made the anti-regulation fringe appear credible when they said that registration was a prelude to confiscation.

    If this wasn’t a deliberate attempt to use firearms policy as a wedge issue for political advantage, then it is sure and certain evidence that Jean Chretien and Allan Rock were two of the most incompetent politicians in Canadian history. And I don’t believe for a moment that Jean Chretien was an incompetent politician.

    Simply decriminalizing (most) non-compliance would have been enough to significantly weaken the anti-registry lobby without significantly weakening the registry. Chretien and Rock refused.

    They made a calculation. Rural areas are less and less electorally significant as the population urbanizes. They were prepared to write off the rural West because they thought the wedge would work to their advantage in Toronto and in Montreal. Where they miscalculated was that their ploy actually hardened opinion against them in most of the urban West as well.

    Certainly the over the top rhetoric of some on the anti-registry side reinforces false perceptions. As I keep saying, it’s hardliners on both sides – and wedge-obsessed politicos in both old line parties – who are to blame for the present stalemate.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, well, the NRA is one of the biggest, most responsive lobbies around, and they’ve always been tracking parallel developments in Canada, and I bet they’ve been lending their research assistance & feeding friendly pols, editors, as well as gun clubs in Canada talking points for decades, so I don’t think I was being revisionist on that at all.

      And I’ve lived in the West (albeit in cities) the whole time and never heard / noticed that much about the gun registry at all, so I’d venture to say this was less a matter of the Libs’ campaigning on the gun issue and going about demonizing the West so much as largely ignoring this issue, as a fait d’accompli, apart from some off-hand remarks about it here & there when questioned about it, which the Conservative-minded (& bankrolled) editors in the small towns probably seized upon & played up for all it was worth. That creates a really skewed impression of what they were up to: which was probably better characterized as benign neglect, than demonizing.

      ( Unlike, say, what the Cons. & their Sun media stooges have been doing w/r/t the immigration / refugee issue, of late: they really are whipping up hysteria & demonizing newcomers.)

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, p.s.: two more things about how the communications b/w you & Jon got all fouled up:

      He was right, not crazy, about there being lots of CAPS on the site in your sig., but you didn’t bother to check, to see that there are actually 2 sites:

      yours, which you only correctly linked several posts down: http://simplemassingpriest.blogspot.com/

      and a ‘mega site’ with transposed ‘ps’ characters, which you used the first few time:
      http://simplemassingpriest.blogpsot.com/

      And on this whole “Liberal Shibboleth” business you were throwing around: come on, it’s not like people who vote for the LPC or even who come to blogs like this really have that much in common. Most would be pretty hard-pressed to articulate what their political philosophy is: that’s been the slam against the Party itself, most years. And we don’t have any secret handshake, wink, or buzzwords. Far from it being a unique identifiter for us, most of us were pretty oblivious to the actual meaning, origin, or significance of “gun registry” until this year, or, er, this last week or two.

      Arguably, we’ve got very little in the way of “shibboleths” (and hardly any of us know what it means); it’s more a sign of being an Anti-Liberal to even use that term, which makes _it_ a Shibboleth.

      On the other hand, some groups, like certain brands of libertarians, definitely do have shibboleths that signal themselves as being one of that select group, such as when they throw around the term “statist.”

  • One of the unhelpful assumptions that floats around is that opposition to (or skepticism about) the registry is entirely a right wing phenomenon. To no small degree, it has been useful for the Liberal Party to pretend that was so, given that their seemingly deliberate decision to make the simple matter of a registry into a deliberate provocation fit with their strategic choice from 1995ish forward to build their campaigns around the demonization of the rural West.

    It is worth remembering that nearly the entire NDP caucus of the day (in fact, IIRC, all but Svend Robinson) voted against the registry as proposed. The NDP governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba consistently opposed it and refused to participate in enforcement. While certainly some of that was driven by political considerations (what political act isn’t?), it was also based on a conviction that the the registry as designed scapegoated responsible firearms owners – principally rural and Western – to address fears about illegal firearms among principally urban and Central Canadian demographics.

    This was aggravated by the consistent refusal of the Liberal government to engage in any meaningful discussion at any point in the process. Even the most egregious parts of the bill such as the search provisions were deemed untouchable. And, as noted, the hard line of the Liberals and their supporters only served to make the most extreme anti-registry rhetoric appear credible, particularly on the issue of confiscation.

    It also didn’t help that Liberal urbanite Allan Rock started musing publicly about how no one besides the police and the military should be allowed to own weapons. Clearly Allan Rock had never worked a trap line, or lived on a farm with a gopher problem, or dealt with coyote ravaging his livestock.

    Tactically, the Liberals are hoping they will be able to use the NDP free vote as a wedge in Liberal – NDP marginals. But the fact of the matter is that there aren’t that many Liberal – NDP marginals to start with. (Of the current NDP seats, most are Conservative – NDP marginals, and a few are Liberal – NDP marginals where the issue would more likely work to the benefit of the NDP – ie, Western Arctic.) Of the current NDP caucus, the only person conceivably at risk is Tom Mulclair – but mostly because his general election margin is so narrow.

    But even in Outremont, it’s a bit of a long bow to draw. “You should vote against Tom Mulclair because, even though he voted to save the registry, some of his caucus colleagues voted against it.” I suppose the NDP can come back with “You should vote against Maria Minna because, even though she’s pro-choice, lots of her caucus colleagues are opposed to legal abortion.”

    At the end of the day, the registry isn’t a vote determining issue for very many Canadians. And most of those for whom it is a vote determining issue are opposed to the registry.

    I suppose we’ll lose Wendy Cukier’s vote. If we ever had it. I won’t lose too much sleep.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, Fair enough… almost: “their strategic choice from 1995ish forward to build their campaigns around the demonization of the rural West”? Come on.

      “The rural West” may have _felt_ demonized, but that hardly means there was a deliberate intention to demonize it. Guns were demonized, yes; and recalcitrant gun owners vociferous in their opposition that it’s none of gummint’s bizness. But not all rural people: the intention was clearly to save lives there, too (mainly the spouses’ & the the police’s), and I don’t think anyone was pretending that it’s the ‘farmers & duck hunters’ who were coming to the cities in their pickups to go on indiscriminate killing sprees: they do that right at home (like at Mayerthorpe).

      The fact that there’s so much bristling and anti-government & anti-police resentment among the indignant “law-abiding” gun owners (some of whom own over a dozen weapons) is what’s been reinforcing the outsider’s perception that the gun registry is needed more than ever: so many of them sound like they’re powder kegs ready to go off.

  • @Jon Pertwee and Redrum,

    Well, I can play at this reasoned and reasonable game too.

    I think their are two substantive issues on the matter of the registry per se. Redrum touches significantly on one of them – the effectiveness of the registry from a public policy perspective. Jon touches on the other – the appropriate balance between the government’s real or perceived need for information and the rights of individual citizens.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I am open to the possibility that the registry may actually be good public policy in principle. But honestly assessing that means comparing the registry to the status quo ante, not to some imagined dystopia with no gun control at all. Unfortunately, the general meme of registry advocates has been the latter rather than the former. Of course, it doesn’t help that the most extreme anti-registry types would actually prefer such a dystopia.

    The more rational pro-registry arguments related to effectiveness have referred to the gradual decline in firearms violence since the introduction of the registry. However, this decline has been consistent over a much longer period, well before the registry. It seems more credible to me that the decline post-registry is simply the continuation of a trend already well established and the registry as such was a minor factor at best.

    Now, I have heard of (but have not seen) a set of stats that segregates long gun and handgun violence, suggesting that handgun violence plateaued at a very low level post-registry, and generally involved illegal handguns. The implication then is that the decline in long gun violence actually accelerated post registry. If this is so, then that would be powerful (though not necessarily conclusive) evidence that the registry has been effective.

    The other side of this – the rights of citizens – has a number of facets. The first step, it seems to me, is to abolish the search provisions that have already been struck down in Ontario. If police have reasonable cause, they can wake up a judge pretty quickly for a warrant. Along with decriminalizing most aspects of non-compliance (as per Redrum’s post) and enhancing privacy guarantees (as per Jon’s), that would serve to undercut the most extreme anti-registry types.

    There is also a political side to this, in which hardliners on both sides have used this as a wedge issue. And
    while the extremists on the one side have tended to demonize “government” or “bureaucrats” or “Liberals,” the extremists on the other side have been fairly specific and consistent in demonizing firearms owners as a group. At it’s hardest edge, that side has gone so far as to deny that there is any legitimate reason for any individual citizen to ever own a firearm. Unfortunately, the rhetoric of Wendy Cukier and others has only served to make some of the most anti-registry rhetoric about registration as a prelude to confiscation seem credible.

    Rural farm families tend to see their long gun as a tool. Hunters and target shooters may not “need” their firearm in the same way, but provided they operate within reasonable rules and restrictions, there is no reason they should not be free to own firearms either. Some of the poisonous rhetoric, though, has effectively painted anyone who owns or uses firearms as a imminent public threat – rather tlike depicting every Muslim as a potential terrorist.

    I’m not sure how we get beyond this. If only we could tell the irreconcilables on both sides to STFU for a couple of years. maybe we could find a reasonable end state.

    Personally, I could easily live with a registry with enhanced privacy provisions, the removal of the arbitrary search provisions and the decriminalization of most non-compliance. Perhaps that could also be accompanied by some sort of acknowledgement that responsible firearms owners who operate within reasonable rules have every right to continue owning and using their firearms for the purposes intended.

    Unfortunately, I think the debate is far too poisoned now.

    On the matter of the past waste – I agree that sunk costs (new term to me, but the meaning was apparent) are not an inherent argument against the registry now that the milk has been spilled. The issue does, however, detract from the credibility of the entire exercise.

    I also agree that the cry of “government waste” is often a pretext to attack government spending, wasteful or not. That doesn’t mean, though, that we shouldn’t be concerned with government waste. In fact, most of the left wing governments in Canadian history have been very firm on efficiency.

    Now, can we all agree that these last couple of posts were much more fun?

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Malcolm+, Beautifully put, and I really appreciate it. I do think well thought out discussion may not provide a unilateral solution but a cooperative solution which works better. Responsible gun owners should be recognized and it should provide a security to a gun owner that their rights are not being infringed upon. I hate to use the term reward system but a system of incentives to encourage responsibility might work to a certain degree. In a way it’s a guarantee that an individual doesn’t appear “on the map” unless there is a verifiable reason for it. A more dynamic solution so to speak. This of course requires a great degree of communication and open mindedness and probably an even greater amount of strength to overcome the irreconcilables.

      Scaremongering each other has definitely not helped. The loony caricatures of urban vs rural is completely unrealistic. Taking a rational approach to this issue through open discussion and not wedge politics is a good way to start approaching and mending this problem. Maybe, taking a break from being churlish to one another and listening to each other might actually work. Stranger things have happened.

      You make a very good point about government waste. Good government should mean well run government. I’m always wary about politicians that are too cozy with US viewpoints. It seems crazy to me because if you look at the last decade, our method has been working better than theirs. I also think that a less partisan approach to our history is better for us. For example, the economic policies of the Chretien/Martin era couldn’t have happened without reform. In a sense it was a symbiotic relationship as it benefited both parties but more importantly it benefited us all.

      Thank you Malcolm+. I have become quite jaded by all the partisan nonsense and admitted been a participant in it myself. I really enjoyed reading your response because to be honest I truly appreciate an intelligent conservative argument. More than you realize. It was a breath of fresh air and it benefits us all because its a good method of tempering one’s own views with balance and objective. I do wish that political views weren’t branded with labels because often I find when the labels are dropped you have a far more productive discussion. I really appreciated your response and it made me think, and not about filming. Im very glad this happened because these are first steps to cooperation.

      • Redrum

        @Jon Pertwee, what am I — chopped liver? (I took the time to explain why his post triggered defensive rxns & how there was room for a reasonable disagreement & constructive dialogue to find more definitive evidence before closing the debate)

        and I didn’t & don’t think he’s a Conservative at all, but at NDP’er: remember the topic — & affrontery of this thread from their pt of view — is that the NDP are the ones who’d better fall into line or be blamed for this.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Redrum, Sorry redrum. I didn’t mean any offense in the least. I think I was just reflecting on the whole path of our discussion and how it changed. I do see your point and the NDP do have a serious predicament. This might be a crossroads for the NDP in many ways. Stick to your principle of not whipping your vote and suffer the possible wrath of an angry electorate. Being a resident of an urban NDP stronghold I am very curious to see if anything happens here. My issue in this entire debate has been as of late the lack of an intelligent response from the anti-registry side so far. Im pleasantly surprised. I appreciate your argument quite a bit and probably agree more with your viewpoint which does make it difficult to formulate any sort of response.

          Using a discussion of the NDP’s perceived blame for possible gun registry failure does start to change the argument to one of conscience. Discussing the ambiguity of cost effectiveness is a good place to start. Objectively determine what is worthy in the registry allows us to avoid a throwing the baby out with the bathwater situation. Maybe the NDP MPs need to communicate this more effectively to their constituents. Not portray it as a black and white issue. Take the wedge down a bit. Explain that the registry may be flawed, but we’re better off at improving it. The current bill doesn’t provide that and shouldnt be supported as its not Pan-Canadian in it’s viewpoint.

          I understand the holding the feet to the fire and to a point I do agree. Im just entering a point where it’s time to work together more. Maybe my conservative assumption was just a wish for such a considered response from the tory side. One can wish. 🙂

          I do love your retorts Redrum. Made me laugh many a night when my filmwork wasn’t.

    • Redrum

      @Jon, just to be clear: I wasn’t trying to reopen that crit of the NDP there — just explaining where Malcolm was likely coming from (literally, from the Prog Blogger’s list). Another case of the left eating itself. Unfortunately, this is no doubt just what Harper’s intended, in keeping this issue alive to fester for so long.

      But by the same token, maybe the Libs wouldn’t be throwing it in Layton’s face if he hadn’t mocked the Libs so often about “propping up the gov’t”

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Redrum, Ha ha it is a matter of being hoisted on one’s own petard from a Liberal aspect. I will admit that the political animal in me was surprised by the don’t blame me comment he made. Maybe a bit too candid but very revealing. It does reveal some worry about the issue. I would be expecting some sort of Liberal lashback about being mocked if I was Layton. It’s how he plays it that ultimately determines it but so far, it hasn’t been encouraging. It would be nice to see the carpet pulled out from under Big Daddy’s feet though.

        I still honestly wonder in some ways why Harper would want to do this whole thing in. By letting it fester he’s created an ideal fundraising tool. That’s the old ad man in me thinking. Yeah he might get a bump from the we did it sentiment but that would fade. Outrage does seem to loosen the tory wallets more.

  • BTW, Jon, libbot/ conbot = tomayto, tomahto.

    But you do have a point. I really shouldn’t feed trolls like you.

    (Oh, and finally, if the search provisions are really okay, why did the Ontario courts feel the need to strike them down? Or perhaps you know squat about law after all.)

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Malcolm+, maybe, but Im still on the free side of the bars. 🙂 It’s a nice day malcolm+, and I just finished 6 months of 18 hour days on a film so Im in a pretty good mood.

      To be completely honest Malcolm+, neither side has provided a very effective argument for or against so I’m probably on the fence. The problem for me is the murkiness around the statistics. We’ve hit a period in existence where finding objective information is becoming increasingly difficult. The other problem for me is the extreme partisan nature of the argument. For me, when people flip out and make assumptions about things, I have a tendency to go with it. Antagonising, whether frustrating or not can induce a pretty good discussion. The problem is when some people try to cite one person as being the evil insulter of the internet. Gimme a break, if that prize existed it would be well coveted.

      So how do you have an intelligent discussion about this? You cited a very valid point but how much more emotion has to be wrung through before people are ready to talk rationally. Are both sides too entrenched in their ideology to even discuss this at this point? At one point both sides have to realize that compromise on both sides is needed in order to find a common point. As an hypothetical example: the registry might not be abolished but adapted to better protect individual privacy. We have pretty good privacy rights and it’s not too unorthodox of a thought to think that a better solution could be found cooperatively.

      I will also admit I don’t subscribe to the government waste argument. Maybe it’s just me but governments that preach small government are often the biggest cashhogs Ive ever seen. To me the whole “small government” thing is a bit of a ruse. Personally, I’d prefer good government. After all it’s “peace, order and good government” and we haven’t had a lot of that in awhile (from anyone).

      So there you go. I prefer discussion and finding a cooperative solution. I always have and it’s always benefited. I might get a lot of “do you know how long that will take?” but really, how long has this discussion gone on? Sometimes working on the solution is better than finding the scapegoat. Canada has always been stronger when we work together, weaker when we’re divided.

      Over to you.

  • Still no substance then, Jon? Not surprised.

    At least Redrum had something to say.

    @Redrum – sure, I’ll admit to being angered by those who falsely position this as a debate between those who believe in the registry and those who are opposed to any meaningful regulation. See Pertwee above.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, agreed; as I’ve been discovering since wading into this issue really for the first time this week, there’s been a lot of bad faith & posturing & misleading rhetoric on pretty much all sides of this issue.

      Still, people of good conscience are in a bit of a dilemma about what to advocate or ultimately support when it comes to this upcoming vote on the specific issue of abolishing the Long Gun Registry:

      both re: what would be best for their favoured party in the short term (the Libs & NDP might be better off if it loses cuz of, um, the flu preventing them all from defeating it) and for the country as whole in the long term.

      And on the latter score, true, there doesn’t seem to be any definitive evidence for it’s working, yet, but then, that doesn’t show it doesn’t work, either.

      Apparently, as the OAG found in 2006,* that’s largely because [as with so many — nearly all, in fact — programs both in gov’t & nonprofit agencies] it turns out no one thought ahead enough to figure out how to evaluate its effectiveness properly, which entails:

      1) figuring out what the proper indicators should be: e.g., fewer long-gun-involved deaths & injuries, incl. both homicides & suicides; fewer cops being shot at or killed; fewer critical incidents during arrests; fewer ‘going postal’ mass shootings; more, or more efficient (both in terms of time & fewer false ones) arrests, & better clearances of crimes involving such weapons; quicker recovery of & arrests involving stolen registered guns; etc.

      2) setting up the appropriate data collection methods to measure & record those indicators before and after implementing the program, and see whether there’s been any signficant change (wile also monitoring & trying to take account of other changes to the population or environment that were happening at the same time to try to isolate how much of those changes would have happened, anyway, or which may have made the changes smaller than they would have been); and, finally,

      3) try to assess the “worth” of those changes, with other measures, like the total estimated monetary cost of each prevented death or injury, or the value of each extra solved crime, etc.

      (and being prepated to refine the indicators & methods once the problem area is better understood or its realized that there are some better or equally valid but cheaper to collect measures)

      In the meantime, all we’ve got are conflicting accounts of how costly it’s been to implement (scandalously so, and maybe there should be prosecutions over that if there’s been sabotage, fraud, & kickbacks) — but those are ‘sunk costs’ (wiki that) which can’t be recovered (“spilled milk”) and it would be counter-productive to sink it simply because of that — and complaints about its incomplete & erroneous nature and risks, versus largely anecdotal arguments about its positive uses.

      The thing is, those of us who don’t want to be too ideological on this don’t want to keep throwing good money after bad, but nor do we want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and undo something that’s half-way to doing some real good.

      Iggy’s proposal to remove the criminal sanctions & to encourage rather than enforce retroactive compliance (registering old guns) make a lot of sense on meeting some of the objections, and hopefully those new reports being, um, delayed because of translation, will supply some more systematic data about the what has been achieved or prevented with its use.

      (*google: “We need to know if long-gun registry works” for the link for today’s Barbara Yaffe’s Vancouver Sun editorial; embedded links prevent comments from being automatically posted)

  • Luke

    Cross border gun smuggling is one reason to keep the registry.

    Why are there firearms coming across the border?
    Are the gun laws in the States stricter than in Canada?
    Do any of the states have a firearm registry?

    Why is Cdn pot smuggled into the States?

    What is the firearm death rate per 1,000 in the US compared to Canada?

    Can people in the states legally sell their own firearms without notifying the authorities? In Canada the firearm registry must be updated with the new owners information, name, phone # address etc. this ensures a legal transfer of firearms.

    How do the police determine firearms at let’s say at a drug bust come from across the border?

    People bitch and complain criminals sometimes get light sentences for co-operating with the police, but the police sometimes have no choice to bargain to get info from criminals, in order to solve crimes. The registry is a huge data base the police can turn to; instead of getting the same information from criminals.

    Also the registry is much more cost efficient and uses less man power to search through than going through numerous gun dealer’s files to trace firearms to the original owner.

    • Redrum

      @Luke, For shame! stop trying to confuse things with reasoning and new facts! they’re not in the NRA’s “Top 10 Myths” script! the poor con-bots will short-circuit!

  • Gee. I’m devastated. A hatemongering Liberal doesn’t like my blog. Whatever will I do?

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Malcolm+, wow talk about conclusions. You threw the first mud there Malcolm+. I just said Id take your opinion with a grain of salt and you call me a hatemonger.

      Funny thing is your comment revealed instantly who has the hate. Good luck with that.

  • Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives are interested in having an open and honest discussion about firearms regulation. The Conservatives whip up hysteria with paranoid threats of confiscation, while the Liberals whip up hysteria by dishonestly pretending that the alternative to the registry is no firearms regulation at all. Neither party want an informed discussion or a reality based policy because that would get in the way of an effective cash cow. The glorious irony, of course, is that the over the top rhetoric of the Liberals and their fellow travellers (like that odious Wendy Cukier) is that is makes the paranoid ravings of Conservative demagogues actually appear credible. (You see, Mabel? Wendy Cukier really does want to take shotguns away from farmers!)

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Malcolm+, Uh yeah… after looking at your blog I think I’ll take your opinion with a very tiny grain of salt.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, um, how is it a cash cow, when the long gun registrations are now free to the legal gun owners (and it’s only the long gun registrations that this Bill C-391 is to cancel)? It costs on the order of of $4-M to administer, even with the amnesty on the need to register old firearms.

      • 1. Redrum misunderstands me. The registry isn’t a cash cow for the government. It’s a cash cow for the two old line parties, both of whom regularly issue fundraising appeals based on either “hair on fire because the demise of the registry means armed gangs in the streets (Liberal” or “hair on fire because continued existence of the registry means the next Liberal government will confiscate all weapons and throw rural people into re-education camps (Conservative).

        2. Luke reasonably makes a case for the registry without descending to demagioguery. Some of the rest of you mught take a page from that book.

        3. Pertwee says that a look at my blog detacts from my credibility to speak to the registry issue. Since I’ve never addressed the registry on my blog, so far as I can recall, the only “relevant” thing he might find there is that I live on the prairies. Therefore he is arguing that, as a person living on the prairies, I cannot credibly speak to this issue. In other words, he parrots the hatefilled wedge politics of the Liberal Party over the past 20 years.

        4. I’m prepared to be persuaded that the registry is a good thing. However, I insist that its advocates demonstrate that the registry isn’t just better than nothing, but that it’s better than the status quo ante. So far, crickets.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Malcolm+, actually to be honest. Pertwee had a problem with the presentation of your site. There is too much contrast between the text and background and you insist on using too much bolding and caps lock. Your prose is stilted and to be honest feels like having someone shout in your face. Your stance on things is rigid and the only discussion you seek is one that affirms your opinion.

          How you got that from living on the prairies puzzles me. I have spent plenty of time in the prairies and all over this country. For North America all I have left to visit is Alaska and Hawaii. Ive really enjoyed my travels and met really nice people all over. Unfortunately Ive also met paranoid regional bigots all over that have nothing better to do that paint people with a broad brush to cover their own insecurity. You probably think I live in Toronto. Havent for years. Ive lived in 6 provinces and one of them was a prairie province. It was nice but to be honest a bit too cold for my liking. I’ve always found people that cite their location as a defense and a matter to attack one for prejudice often end up being the bigot themselves.

          So bigot+, care to make any other assumptions?

        • Redrum

          @Malcolm+, ok, you’re right, I did misunderstand what you meant by “cash cow,” but that’s understandable, since you used it in a diff. sense than normal (viz., not that the sale or application of the product / service generates unreasonable profits, but that the fundraising appeals around the threats to keep it or remove it does), and to be frank, I didn’t pay much heed to what you were saying when I saw all the inflammatory language.

          I agree w. you, given what I’ve heard about the Cons’ fundraising machine, and think you’re right, that they secretly want it defeated so they can keep that up, but I’m not at all convinced the Libs have been getting any fundraising traction with this, or have even been trying. Do you have any evidence of that — or is this just a cynical slur on your part?

        • @ Pertwee – I see you are now taking shelter in every bigot’s favourite excuse: “some of your best friends are . . .” Meanwhile, you continue to perpetuate the vacuous demonizing of anyone who dares question this shibboleth, whatever their arguments, whatever their concerns.

          Curious, Pertwee. Went back through five pages of my blog and discovered that I had used cap locks once, and had used cap locks and bold once. The latter being this para:

          “* We have numerous allegations of female detainees strip searched by unsupervised male officers – complete with at least one allegation of a finger being inserted into the traumatized young woman’s vagina. (Believe me, if it were MY daughter, I’d be making sure that Bill Blair and his thugs got to see what a real violent protest looked like.)”

          The rest of your blog critique turns out to be patently false as well. So, like most of your posts I’ve read here and elsewhere over the years, you’re just making $**t up. Typical Liberal. No substantive argument. Just insult and an unjustiofied sense of your own awesomeness. You really should stop telling lies that are so easily disproven.

          As to “the only discussion you seek is one that affirms your opinion;” have you actually read your own posts over the years? The pot doth lecture the kettle. But then again, that is also a standard Liberal meme.

          I have yet to see you make a substantive post on any issue on any blog. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath. Doubtless I’ll continue to see what I’ve always seen from you – hatemongering and vitriol completely devoid of substance.

          @Redrum – I have seen Liberal fundraising letters built around preserving the registry. Their lack of traction has more to do with the relative fecklessness of your party’s fundraising infrastructure as compared to the Conservatives.

          I would have thought that “Neither party want an informed discussion or a reality based policy because that would get in the way of an effective cash cow.” was clear enough that I was referring to the parties and not to the government. But then, any criticism of a Liberal shibboleth is all just “inflammatory language,” I suppose. Or am I being too cynical.

          @Pertwee again – In your response to Issachar, you claim that “registering a gun doesnt mean the cops are just going to show up and search your home.” You seem to have missed the fact that the current legislation has draconian provisions for arbitrary police search – provisions which a real liberal would find appalling. Of course, the Liberal Party has resisted any effort to remove these draconian provisions. After all, civil rights are only for those who unquestioningly support Liberal shibboleth’s. Right?

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Malcolm+, so essentially you’re just nuts. Sorry I don’t share your tendency to hurl ridiculous accusations around.

          How on earth am I making shit up? I haven’t made any claim that I haven’t cited with links. Insults are insults and Malcolm+ unless you noticed, its pretty common and Im pretty tame compared to some of the Blogging Tories. But hey, it’s not me with the thin skin. It’s you.

          As for your theory on police searches. Thanks, but I know my way around the law well enough to not heed advice from a wingnut. How do you know I’m a Liberal Malcolm+? Or is it just a convenient part of your meandering attack? Last time I checked I was still Canadian and could still vote for who I damn well chose to.

          Shibboleth? Well, it sure does beat being a conbot.

          I’ve never denied throwing the insults and having as little to say as anyone else. So there’s no real kettle and pot situation there. Nice way to attempt to create something. Then again the stilted prose that you use really defeats your argument. Wordy, meandering and really just revealing: Im really annoying you.

          Pointing out a pointless post is sometimes just a method to antagonize the wingnut. In this case it worked perfectly.

          Have a great weekend Malcolm+. The weather is great.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, look, I don’t know what the history is b/w you & Pertwee is, but that was my first encounter w. you, and, honestly, as I skimmed your post, the phrases:

      “whip up hysteria,” “cash cow,” “over the top rhetoric of the Liberals and …that odious …,” “ravings of Conservative demagogues”

      did leap out, and did strike me as inflammatory & full of hate, so I didn’t attend to what you were saying, ‘cuz I thought you were just another nut trying to silence the debate — as with every second comment or so on the various media sites.

      And it’s not “my party” (that’s why I’ve never seen a fundraising letter). I’m just a concerned centre left voter, as I suppose you are, so maybe don’t come in with a Howitzer next time if your real point is you want to encourage people to turn down the rhetoric and examine the substantive issues.

      Just sayin’: your medium trampled all over your message.

  • DCR

    One more thing. This is a private members bill…BUT, it is also a Conservative POLICY.
    All conservative MP’s should vote for the abolishment of this.

  • DCR

    What a bunch of hogwash.
    If he doesn’t let his MP’s have a free vote on this, he will lose most of his western seats. Jack knows this. I would suggest that you thank Jack for trying to hold on to his seats….it just may stop the leftists dreaded Conservative majority. I can assure you, the NDP seats in western Canada will not be going to the Liberals if they get voted out. Wayne Easter better get ready for retirement too. He hung on by his toe nails last time.

    This entire registry has been a waste of resources, money, time, money, and money. All to CREATE criminals out of law biding citizens.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @DCR, yet all you provide is bluster and opinion. Im still waiting for a compelling argument with empirical data (not opinion columns).

    • DCR

      Exactly what kind of data does the pro registry have?? Zero.
      This is simply a “feel good” policy that does nothing to curb crime. That is FACT!

      • Jon Pertwee

        @DCR, Thank you for proving my point DCR. That post was entirely bluster and opinion. As I posted earlier I have yet to hear a compelling argument for the against side. What you posted is not an effective argument. You obviously cannot find proper empirical data to back up your argument.

        I didnt say I wanted an argument for the pro-registry side because you arent part of it. Yet, you seem completely unable to present your case in an intelligent, rational and composed manner. Therefore you have failed to convince anyone.

        Stating things repeatedly and trying to quash other’s opinions isn’t working. Neither is painting people with urban rural stereotypes. You are unable to provide an effective argument.

        And DCR, typing fact in capslock doesn’t prove anything at all.

        I’d say nice try but you’re response was pretty sad. Even ridofbrain can cobble a better answer.

  • @the irrelevant mention of cars…

    Ugh. Vapid lines of argument are annoying.

    Stupid arguments do not help the gun registry. The situation is not parallel. Stop equating the two.

    You don’t have to register vehicles just because you own them. You have to register them to drive on *public* roads. Registering a vehicle does not give the police elevated rights to search your home.

    The comparison to cars is tempting, but anyone with a high school education should realize why it’s not an accurate comparison.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Issachar, Well registering a gun doesnt mean the cops are just going to show up and search your home. They need motive. Learn your rights Issachar and dont let the cops take advantage of you.

      • Gayle

        @Jon Pertwee, Not to mention the fact that the search provisions can be amended without scrapping the registry. If the best argument for scrapping it is the search provision, then it is not much of an argument. In fact, one might even call it “stupid”.

  • DL

    A fifth of the Liberal caucus still doesn’t even believe in same sex marriage – if the Liberal party had any principles all those people would have been expelled long ago.

    I’m not sure what “principle” is at stake with the gun registry – considering that a bunch of Liberals already voted to scrap it on second reading – and its never been NDP policy to retain it in the first place.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @DL, this lesson in indignant moral superiority brought to you by the Reformatory/NDP.

    • Gayle

      @DL, Sigh. How principled is it to get up and say that gun registry is important and worth preserving, and then refusing to whip your caucus on some bogus “but this is a private members bill” justification? Answer – not principled at all.

      • @Gayle, Um, no. It’s called “weighing principles”. For example: “I believe, personally, the gun registry is important, but understand my caucus do not all agree. Since I believe it is more important to allow caucus to represent their constituents, this vote will not be whipped.”

        See how that works?

    • @DL,

      The Liberal party wants to be a big tent party. Kicking out a fifth of your sitting MP’s *might* not help with that.

      Gay marriage is legal in Canada. Expelling a 20% of your caucus, (who could not inconceivably be representative of the views of 20% of your supporters), achieves nothing for homosexuals. It would help the majority feel powerful over the minority though.

      • Chris

        @Issachar,
        They are going to have a hard time being a big tent party when they lack support in a large number of Canadian regions.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Chris, this coming from a party that cant break through their ceiling either. It’s not like Harper’s broken Diefenbaker or Mulroney’s election numbers. I guess endless minority is what drives your arrogance these days. Oh that and patronage. Keep working Chris, maybe you could be appointed the Senate troll. They have a nice cave by the river and a ceremonial club if you get the job.

  • DL

    Let’s face it – the Liberals don’t actually give a damn about what happens to the gun registry. In fact, from a Liberal point of view – the worst possible outcome would be for Ignatieff to whip his caucus and then have the bill be defeated anyways – if that happened, Liberal MPs from rural ridings would never hear the end of it AND the Liberals would lose a talking point against the NDP – because no one would care if half a dozen NDP MPs voted for the bill if it lost anyways.

    The Liberals want the bill to pass – that way their rural MPs won’t get much flak since the gun registry will be history anyways AND they think they can try to blame it on the NDP. I think though that estimates of how many people in downtown Toronto really care about the registry all that much is grossly exagerrated – especially since by the next election this whole issue will be ancient history.

    • Gayle

      @DL, Wow. How long did you take to come up with that justification.

      Why don’t you face it – the NDP are refusing to take a principled stand on this. Though that whole deflection to the liberals a nice try.

      • @Gayle, You don’t really know what a “principle” is, do you? You keep saying “principled stand”, but where’s the explanation of what principle, exactly, is at stake?

        It’s a nice rhetorical club, I grant, but it doesn’t make for an argument.

        • Gayle

          @ADHR, Does this help you out?

          4.principles, a personal or specific basis of conduct or management: to adhere to one’s principles; a kindergarten run on modern principles.
          5.guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct: a person of principle.

          As in, the NDP took a position that the gun registry should be saved, but they are not willing to do what it takes to save it. They say one thing, and do another. They hide behind the false notion this is a private members bill in order to justify not whipping the vote. If they believe the gun registry is a good thing for Canada, then act that way. Stop thinking about party and start thinking about country.

          But of course this has already been said.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @DL, I guess that’s the Reformatory/NDP line

  • Jay

    “bill that we have brought forward”

    I noticed that too.

  • Out of idle curiosity, why are you people so frightened that people might own pieces of metal that you don’t?

    • Jon Pertwee

      @FACLC, out of curiosity why do you think that’s an intelligent argument?

      • @Jon Pertwee, When all I see are people up in arms that the government may not have a registry of relatively harmless pieces of equipment various people own and/or owneed, then yes it is sensible to ask why they are so concerned about this.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @FACLC, Well I’d hardly say it’s all people. In fact the number seems to be shrinking. You’re question was about pieces of metal. That could mean screwdrivers, cars well anything made of metal. You’re being vague in your argument by trying to downplay it by making it sound like it could just be a registry for garden equipment. So really you aren’t being sensible, you’re being facetious.

        • Redrum

          @FACLC, well, maybe long guns seem like “relatively harmless pieces of equipment” for a self-described bastard of a father of the atom bomb and a mother of right-wing hate http://www.blogger.com/profile/05129851946309441082

          But to, um, normal people, they’re deadly weapons, no matter how you slice it. And you’ve got it backwards: it’s the people with those guns who “are up in arms,” and it’s not the “people” who need to know and can find this out with the registry — it’s the police. So that they can go into situations like this — where there’s a stung out whack job with a large cache of weapons — better prepared, with a robot and an Emergency Response Team and with the neighbours removed from harms way, instead of just going in with two officers and getting shot themselves. But thanks for showing you care with your idle mind.

          http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/alberta/2009/10/30/11582306.html

        • Gayle

          @Jon Pertwee, Clearly he is referring to automobiles, which are apieces of metal that require registration.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Gayle, Well I dont have one but Im not afraid of people that do. Maybe I should be afraid of FACLC’s car

        • Gayle

          @jon Pertwee, Well if his driving skills are as good as his skills at logical argument, you should be!

        • @FACLC,
          @the irrelevant mention of cars…

          Ugh. Vapid lines of argument are annoying.

          Stupid arguments do not help the gun registry. The situation is not parallel. Stop equating the two.

          You don’t have to register vehicles just because you own them. You have to register them to drive on *public* roads. Registering a vehicle does not give the police elevated rights to search your home.

          The comparison to cars is tempting, but anyone with a high school education should realize why it’s not an accurate comparison.

        • @FACLC, It’s funny watching Jon Pertwee and Gayle both avoid your point. A gun is not an inherently dangerous object — it has to be loaded, for one thing. A knife is far more dangerous, as you can cut yourself or someone else with a knife entirely by accident just by moving your arm. Should we register knives, too?

          I’ve suggested elsewhere that the move to force people to register guns is driven more by an irrational fear of guns than anything else. I think I should upgrade that from “suggestion” to “best explanation”.

          Frankly, considering their relative ubiquity and the relative carelessness of their owners, I’m more worried about cars than I am about guns.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @ADHR & Issachar, Well if you want to look at it that way. No I am not afraid of guns. Maybe we should have a bullet registry. After all it’s the bullets are dangerous.

          Seeing as FACLC tried to present a vapid argument which we mocked and you took offense too. It isnt us who has the thin skin ADHR. FACLC was being facetious in his argument and patronizing. He had no intention of debating objectively without insulting people with different views. When you present a vapid argument meant to belittle others of differing views how can you not expect jabs in return.

          So in addition to humourless I guess we can add thin skinned to the Conbot trait list.

          Still waiting for a compelling argument from your side. Actually about anything you guys believe. Your presentation sucks.

      • Gayle

        @Issachar, I cannot help but notice your only contribution to this debate is to tell everyone how silly they are all being. Do you have anything of value to add to the actual debate, or are you here to demonstrate your smug superiourity to all who will actually pay attention to you.

        And your reasoning why it is OK to register cars and not guns is flawed. You see, the reason we compare the two is because a) there is a cost involved, b) there is a penalty involved for non-compliance, c) the mv registry is used in much the same way as the gun registry, d) the registry allows the government to know private information about you (much like registering births, health care cards, etc), and e) guns very, very often make their way off the private property of the owner, and on to public property.

        To those who say otherwise, a gun IS an inherently dangerous object. I grew up with them, I know how to use them, and I know all the precautions you have to take to ensure they are safely used and stored. That was a real nice try though.

  • Gayle

    I am afraid I have to disagree with you here. I think Layton knows full well this is a government bill, and is using the “private members bill” to cover his own ass. I am willing to be that he has MP’s who would defy him and vote to scrap the registry even if he whipped the vote.

    In any event, I expect that Harper would love for the bill to be defeated by the Opposition. Gives him that whole “well I tried, now send me more money so I can win next time” fundraising meme.

    I do laugh, however, at the people who would “love” to run an election on this issue. For the gun registry opponents this has been an election issue since its inception. Make it an issue for the public at large and see what happens to the conservatives, and NDP’s, urban vote.

  • Ted

    Scott:

    You might want to add that Harper, at a recent press conference, referred to the “private members bill” as a “bill that we have brought forward”. Big slip of the tongue and I’m surprised it has not been highlighted to the NDP. It was in the last week or so. I’ll see if I can find a link: shouldn’t be too hard to find seeing as Harper has not exactly been out and open to the public for any kind of unscripted questions.

  • slg

    A guy in Layton’s riding works where my husband works – apparently, there’s an undercurrent of angry people there and Layton may lose his seat, as well as Chow over this.

    That would be interesting. Now this is only something one guy said, but the idea could be a possibility

    • Chris

      @slg,

      The idea certainly could be a possibility in all 308 ridings but is it realistic?

      • slg

        Just saw Ian Capstick – NDP strategis on Power & Politics and he doesn’t agree with what Layton’s doing and fears big losses in urban votes for NDP.

        • @slg, Former NDP strategist.

          It’s always a good idea to look at the history of the ridings before predicting any loss of seats over anything. Layton hasn’t come close to losing since 2004 — last two elections, he’s decimated his opposition, so there’d have to be a pretty big swing. Chow is more vulnerable, but it’d be odd for her to go down when she’s not the leader and, as far as I know, will vote to maintain the registry.

  • Christina Monroe

    Hey jerks who live in urban ridings. Stop painting everyone who lives in rural ridings with the same brush.

    I live in the Western Arctic (Northwest Territories). I think gun control is a good thing. I was/am pissed off at my MP Dennis Bevington for voting to end the long gun registry.

  • @Michael Harkov, AS I’ve replied elsewhere, your #’s are a bit misleading; you’re cherry picking your facts.

    My friend Jeff lists that very well here:

    When asked if they’d favour a complete ban on handguns in Canada, nearly half, 49 per cent, said yes it would be justified, while 39 per cent said it would be justified. Again, besides the near majority, the interesting thing here is the trends: support for a ban was up three points, and more strikingly opposition to a handgun ban was down by seven points.

    …Angus Reid also asked if it should be legal or illegal for ordinary Canadians to own firearms all together. In a reversal from last year, a plurality of Canadian (45 per cent) said it should be illegal, and 40 per cent said it should stay legal. Illegal was up by six points, while keep it legal declined by seven.

    So, look at the numbers and the trends in totality and what can we take away? Canadians are increasingly favouring stricter gun control, not looser. Support for scrapping the registry is declining, and support shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation of gun control.

    More data at his site that contradict what you’re saying that this is a “bad poll” for us who support the gun registry.

  • JJ

    Scott – With respect, the idea that registry supporters from outside ridings (especially urban ridings) should lobby rural MPs to vote against the will of their constituents is pretty elitist.

    I will also echo ADHR’s comment, point #2. So far the answers I’ve gotten to the question of how this thing “saves lives” boil down to “because we say so”, which isn’t good enough for me.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        Funny. I just posted that link over on Far and Wide. http://farnwide.blogspot.com/2010/08/gun-registry-poll.html

        I’ll repeat below what I said there. Stupid arguments in favour of the registry don’t help the case for the registry. From your link…

        “A joint task force of police officers was in the process of obtaining a warrant in a drug case. In consultation with NWEST, CFRO was queried. It was determined that the suspect possessed numerous firearms that could have been used to harm the police officers had they not been prepared. They subsequently approached the dwelling in a manner different from how they would have, had they not been aware firearms were in the residence. The warrant was executed without incident, and numerous firearms and other weapons seized.”
        http://www.truthsandmyths.ca/how-the-firearms-registry-has-contributed-to-community-and-police-officer-safety.html

        If that story is true, then the officers involved are fools. But I find it hard to believe it is true. Would a police officer really be so stupid during a drug bust as to assume that the drug dealers don’t have guns because they didn’t register any guns? Somehow I don’t think police officers are that stupid.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        Odd, I thought I posted a reply to your comment yesterday. Ah well, probably forgot to fill out my name or something.

        It’s interesting that you should link to that site in defence of the registry. I linked to it yesterday elsewhere as an example of a lousy defence of the registry.

        Obviously stupid arguments that insult the intelligence of the reader discredit the registry.

        Consider this one from the site you linked to.

        “A joint task force of police officers was in the process of obtaining a warrant in a drug case. In consultation with NWEST, CFRO was queried. It was determined that the suspect possessed numerous firearms that could have been used to harm the police officers had they not been prepared. They subsequently approached the dwelling in a manner different from how they would have, had they not been aware firearms were in the residence. The warrant was executed without incident, and numerous firearms and other weapons seized.”
        http://www.truthsandmyths.ca/how-the-firearms-registry-has-contributed-to-community-and-police-officer-safety.html

        If that story is true, then the officers involved are fools. One of the most irritating things about the gun registry debate is the stupidity of arguments like this one.

        “A joint task force of police officers was in the process of obtaining a warrant in a drug case. In consultation with NWEST, CFRO was queried. It was determined that the suspect possessed numerous firearms that could have been used to harm the police officers had they not been prepared. They subsequently approached the dwelling in a manner different from how they would have, had they not been aware firearms were in the residence. The warrant was executed without incident, and numerous firearms and other weapons seized.”
        http://www.truthsandmyths.ca/how-the-firearms-registry-has-contributed-to-community-and-police-officer-safety.html

        If that story is true, then the officers involved are fools. What kind of police officer would be so stupid as to assume during a drug bust that drug dealers don’t have guns because they didn’t register any guns? Somehow I don’t think police officers are that stupid.

      • JJ

        @Scott Tribe, Thanks for the link. I’ve seen that site (a few times) and was never impressed… some of the points it makes are frankly a little silly.

        You seem like a pretty reasonable pro-registry voice, but since this bill was tabled I’ve been shocked at the number of people who are not. As the anti-gun hysteria ramps up over this thing, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are many who won’t be happy until private ownership of firearms is banned.

        And I make this observation as someone who is not opposed to gun control in principle – licensing, etc., – just this registry.

        • Redrum

          @Issachar & JJ, re: you guys denigrating the eg’s in that site put up by the Police Chiefs & Associations by repeating that Constable Randy Kuntz’ talking points about the gun registry being useless because ‘real, non-fool’ cops come into every situation w. their guns drawn, and his old-school advice to new cops, “If you rely on a computer database for your safety, you are an idiot. Learn to investigate using your observation and communication skills. We were pretty successful in doing that for 100 years prior to the registry.” http://www.sudburystar.com/Community/NewsDisplay.aspx?c=64288

          Well, I’ve got 2 words for that: Dan Stark (of the new TV cop comedy, “The Good Guys”:
          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1567254/

          Meet Dan Stark: (a funny promo video from the show’s producers, ft. the West Wing’s Josh / Bradley Whitford as a paunch Burt Reynolds type)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVnCmMvZRKE&feature=channel

          True, in the show, he manages to survive & even make important arrests each week as he blunders around flying blind, but only because there are always 2 or 3 _sets_ of bad guys with high- powered weapons who take out one another while he ducks, caught in the crossfire.

          So, sure, cops always have to be wary on every call, and be ready to draw their taser &/or gun, because it’s pretty much 100% certain that everyone at least has a potentially deadly knife in their home (not to mention blunt objects etc.)

          But the knowledge from the gun registry’s database can bring power, nevertheless, as this next blogger illustrates with two recent examples: when the cops run the suspect’s ID through it & find he has a substantial cache of weapons incl. high-powered rifles that can penetrate their own vests, they don’t just go in like Dirty Harry — they take the prudent step of calling in the SWAT (er, ERT) team, & maybe one o’ those robots, & they clear the neighborhood to prevent collateral damage.

          Obviously, that’s not something they do on every drug or domestic call: they don’t have the manpower, it’s terribly expensive, & it’d a PR disaster (and scare the populace silly) to come in so heavy every time.

          But to pretend that the registry isn’t a valuable tool in such situations is the worst sort of dishonesty for someone pretending to like and honour cops.

          http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/alberta/2009/10/30/11582306.html

          http://cowboysforsocialresponsibility.blogspot.com/2010/08/even-in-rural-canada-police-use-long.html

        • Redrum

          @JJ, oops, wrong youtube link — that was first one was for his non-Luddite partner. That’s Tom Hank’s kid, BTW

          This is Meet Dan Stark vid:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RopuaMAka-I&feature=channel

      • @Scott Tribe, These are amazingly bad arguments, Scott. It’s pretty much a string of ad vercundiam, ignoratio elenchi, and ad misericordiam (at least implied).

        Since people seem to have trouble with the concept, here’s a non-fallacious argument for the point: data which demonstrate that, controlling for all other known factors, crimes involving long-guns have gone down and/or become less severe/serious since the registry was implemented. If the registry “save lives”, then that’s an empirical point which should be demonstrable. Now, someone, go find the data.

  • Michael Harkov

    Did I get caught up in “moderation” again, Scott? 😉 My last post didn’t show up yet.

  • The Liberal Party fell for this trick once, and smartened up, enforcing the Party whip this time.. but only after making key proposals/compromises to their cause to modify the current long-gun registry so that fines are not enforced on those who register, etc.

    Except that the Libs are also fighting any effort to act on any “key proposals/compromises” in the current Parliament, offering only vague assurances about what a “Liberal government” would do so that the votes this fall will be on keeping the registry without any improvements. Maybe the Libs’ MPs are sufficiently brow-beaten to accept that, but those who have been burned by broken promises before would have far more reason to see the Libs as a good-faith actor if they weren’t forcing the most extreme choice possible.

  • Michael Harkov

    According to Angus Reid, only 13 per cent of respondents believe the Canadian Firearms Registry has been successful. On top of that, we already know the boondoggle this thing has been – two billion dollars. What was the original price tag again?

    I hope the Liberals go to the wall with this. In fact, I seriously hope the Liberals make this an election issue. It will make a great Tory plank in their platform. 😀

    http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/2010.08.24_Guns_CAN.pdf

  • So to be clear, you’re saying that the NDP should force their MP’s from rural ridings to change their vote match the wishes of urban ridings.

    How does that jive with the narrative of the NDP being the party of the little guy?

  • Two questions:

    (1) Why should these MPs put party before constituents? (Which works as a general objection to whipped votes, I grant.)
    (2) What’s so good about the long-gun registry anyway? Still waiting for a non-fallacious argument in support of it.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @ADHR, Im still waiting for a non-fallacious argument against it.

      • @Jon Pertwee, That’s not how it works, I’m afraid. In a free society, the government has to justify interfering with the conduct of its citizens. The default position is I don’t register anything, I don’t get monitored by a government agency, and so on. The burden of proof is and remains on those who want the registry, not those who don’t.

        • Redrum

          @ADHR, Uh-uh. It’s easy for a Party to set a high standard of evidence that needs to be satisfied for imposing federal regulations if they’re never in a position _to_ impose them, I guess, but you sure you want to go down that road? How many of the various licensing & registering procedures we citizens have to comply with at the various levels of gov’t have been rigorously empirically proven to be necessary, or to work, or whatever? Any? Probably not. You proposing we overturn all them, too, until they can? Probably none could be: it’s awful hard to prove negatives, about what may have been prevented, esp. when there is hardly any of the right systematic data being collected, and it would always be open to a “Post hoc, ergo hoc” challenge, esp. where there are disanalogies b/w the societies that had & did not have such reg’s.

          And I’m still waiting for the non-fallacious, non-question-begging defense of your argument / premise that we _are_ (or should be?) a free society that requires all gov’t imposed impositions of liberty to be justified with empirical arguments: isn’t the first just an indefensible postulate or a utopian ideal on your part and the second your particular take on resp. governance? (E.g., the Cons, whom some of your party is throwing in with on this, now seem to be generally hostile to evidence-based policy making).

          At any rate, it’s a little unreasonable to expect bloggers lacking a criminologist’s expertise to produce a defense, at this stage, particularly until the two reports (the one from the Police Chiefs and the other the program review still being ‘translated’) come out. Let’s wait a couple weeks until the police chiefs make their case — they’re the ones this is for; it’s not for our peace of mind.

        • Jon Pertwee

          @ADHR, so what you’re saying is you dont have to provide an argument. I should just accept yours as valid because you’re a citizen? What a bullshit way of not providing an argument.

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