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A proposed Liberal counterproposal to Jack Layton/NDP on gun registry

You might have seen Jack Layton’s press conference yesterday, where he hemmed and hawed on what his party was going to do on the upcoming gun registry vote – or more accurately, how they would vote on the Liberal motion to kill Bill C-391, and if that failed to pass, the actual vote to pass C-391, which kills the long-gun registry (or at least, would then pass it in the House and have it move to the Senate, but chances are it would pass there). It was probably the worst press conference I’ve ever seen Jack hold. The media didn’t buy what Jack was trying to sell them for talking points on this.

That said, Jack did offer up something of substance – a private members bill to “reform” the long gun registry. I’ll leave my puzzlement as to the strategy of this to others who do a good job of pointing out the curious strategy being employed, because I want to be reasonable here and see if there can be a meeting of the progressive minds on this.

Jacks says he wants to save the long-gun registry and believes his private members bill is the way to go in doing so. He thinks it’s a better way to go about it, and some of his supporters claims it addresses reforms far better.

So, here’s a set of points I’d be proposing (or counter-proposing) to the NDP and Jack Layton if I’m a Liberal strategist or in the Liberal leadership:

1) Let’s see the 12 NDP MP’s who supported Bill C-391 last time come out publicly and support Jack’s proposed Private Members Bill and say, ‘yes, we support Jack’s compromises/reforms, and that we can live with the gun registry in that new format, rather then kill it outright’. If they don’t or won’t come out and say that they support Jack’s initiative, this proposed Private Member’s Bill is useless; it shows that this proposed reform long-gun registry bill from Jack is nothing more then an attempt on Jack’s part to stop the mounting pressure and criticism of his party’s waffling on Bill C-391, because if these 12 NDP MP’s won’t support his Private Member’s Bill regardless of its reforms, it’s no different then them voting right now to support Bill C-391 and kill the Registry.

2) If enough of those C-391 supporters in the NDP caucus come out and publicly support their leader’s long-gun registry reforms in a hypothetical private members bill, then in a further sign of showing they’re serious, those NDP MP’s (and the rest of the NDP caucus) must vote to support the Liberal motion to kill Bill C-391.

That leads to proposal #3: if Bill C-391 is killed, the Liberals would commit to support Jack’s private members bill to amend the long gun registry with his reforms (copied from Iggy, in my opinion, but again, I’m being magnanimous here) when he brings it forth, because there will still be a long gun registry at this point to reform.

If thats what it takes to save the long gun registry, then I as a Liberal can live with Jack trying to pretend he singlehandedly saved the long-gun registry if this strategy were to play out; saving the registry is what counts, and I don’t really care how it’s saved. But, as Liberals, we also need to see some actions that shows the NDP caucus is all united (or enough of them are) behind Jack’s proposals and his PMB to indicate this is indeed a serious measure, and not just a ploy on Jack and his strategists part to get people to lay off of them.

So to recap: let’s see the 12 NDP MP dissenters/supports come out publicly and support Layton’s ideas/reforms behind his proposed Private Members bill on the long-gun registry, 2) The NDP must vote in support of the Liberal motion to kill Bill C-391, and then 3) if C-391 is defeated with united NDP help, the Liberals will pledge to support the NDP and Jack Layton’s PMB to amend the Long gun registry with their reforms.

I don’t have any particular influence with the Liberal strategists/policy makers or leadership, but that’s what I’d be doing to see if Jack and the NDP are serious, and Jack’s proposal is a credible way forward in helping save the long-gun registry, or on the other hand, to smoke them out on this and expose this announcement as a way to try and avoid being squeezed on their party’s/MP’s crucial vote on this.

UPDATE @ 9:44 am: And already, 1 NDP hardliner on the gun registry says Jack’s proposed changes are too late, and anyhow, nothing he sees there will change his mind. How many of the rest of the 12 NDP MP’s are of the same mind? That’s the key, because if its a large # of them, then this has been a pointless attempt at PR by Layton to try to slough of blame on his party for potentially killing the long-gun registry. That needs to be found out (see point #1 above).

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12 comments to A proposed Liberal counterproposal to Jack Layton/NDP on gun registry

  • Jozef Robak

    The long gun registry doesn’t work. Trying to “repair” it would be like trying to repair a rusted bucket when the real problem is a dry well. Scrap the registry and use the saved multi-millions elsewhere, such as to strengthen the fight against handgun smuggling, to prevent battery of women, to provide social outreach to youth, or to fund any number of effective social programs.

    The NDP and Liberals know the registry is a bad idea, which makes me believe they are playing their usual political games; NDP of trying to wrest out a few future considerations from the party in power; Liberals trying to remain the popular or liberal centre. Unfortunately, the voters, taxpayers and the folks that could really be helped, are paying for these political tactics. And, if the registry survives, will continue to pay for a useless program.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Jozef Robak, That has to be the fluffiest comment yet against the gun registry. You have made plenty of grand statements without an iota of proof.

      Now what were you trying to say again?

    • Redrum

      @Jozef Robak, So provide more funding to those other areas (but as if the Party of “Women’s groups should shut the F up” would give any more funding to shelters, or believes any social programs are effective).

      But just how much do you think $4 to $10-M (at the outside) a year can buy, esp. when spread across all those programs, or even on just one area, nationally?

      Reality check: Even the latter figure ($10M ann.) is just 0.04% of the fed. govt’s $11.5+ Billion in annual expenditures on just policing (not counting border patrol and social programs).

      But, tell you what, if you’re so keen to shore up those areas, here’s where you can get that money without having to cancel a fully running program out of some misguided notion on the need to reallocate scarce resources:
      – buy one less of those fancy F-35 fighter jets: let’s see, $16-B total/65 jets/$10-M: that’ll fund the LGR (or give you equivalent money to allocate to your other causes) for nearly 25 more years (or even 14 years for just the purchase price alone, not counting the maintenance contracts): done!
      – or “Just Say No” to hosting any future Olympics or G8/20/30 meetings: @ $1-B per event (mostly for policing costs, mind!), that’s, hmm: 100 years of the registry!
      – or even if Harper just had better priorities than self-promotion and hadn’t spent millions on erecting those stupid “Economic Action Plan Work Being Done Here” sings all over creation and tying up a small army of bean counters to give him monthly reports on how many of those blessed signs were going up each month, we’d have enough to completely fund the LGR this year.

      For the smallest one- by three-foot sign, the cost was $86; 2×6′ signs cost $204, while the largest 4×12 signs cost $663, and that’s just for their purchase, not the installation or monthly reports tracking their progress, and according to PCO as of Aug. 27, 2010, there were 8,587 signs erected across Canada).

  • EFL shows why this issue cannot be resolved. EFL is incapable of grasping that the registry as is may not be perfect, and therefore anyone who questions the sacred registry is a “gun nut” or other such heretic who deserves to be silenced.

    This is consistent with the Liberal record on this. The Chretien government refused to make any alteration to the registry legislation, and in the more recent iterations, the Liberal caucus has conspired with the Conservatives to ensure than no meaningful reform of the registry can even be considered.

    If you Liberals would have taken your swelled heads out of your asses some years ago, you might well have found that responsible gun owners would have been prepared to accept a registry. Instead, the Liberal Party engaged in a campaign of demonization, lumping all firearms owners in with “the gun nuts” just like the bigot EFL. The Liberal Party created a bill which criminalized any adminstrative failures. The Liberal Party shredded their sacred Charter by effectively giving police license for arbitrary search. Their lead Minister publicly stated that he did not consider the private ownership of firearms legitimate – and then Liberals wondered why the extreme rhetoric about registration as a prelude to confiscation had such resonance.

    You people created this mess, and have been quite happy to use it as a wedge issue and to support your fundraising. Indeed, the symbiotic relationship between the Liberals and Conservatives on this issue is quite remarkable – right down to the joint effort of the two caucuses to prevent any meaningful discussion of registry reform when the Hoeppner bill was before committee.

    Only one party has made any effort to preserve the registry while addressing the legitimate concerns of responsible firearms owners.

    The Liberal Party, by contrast, have simply demonized firearms owners and demonized anyone who dared to question this sacred cow.

    • Redrum

      @Malcolm+, “Only one party has made any effort to preserve the registry while addressing the legitimate concerns of responsible firearms owners”….

      seriously? You call Jack’s 11th hour Hail Mary a (prseumably) serious “effort”?

      where was he on this a year(s) ago?

      and why hasn’t he even tried to consult or get his dissenting MPs onside with this before announcing how it is to save the day?

      As the blogger below notes (cut & paste the various bits of the url into browser; full links delay posts) at least 3 of the 12 “No” vote NDP MPs have already complained this is news to them & they’re unlikely to go along.

      http:// cowboysforsocialresponsibility.blogspot.com/
      2010/09/on-buying-and-selling-bridges.html

      • I call “Jack’s 11th hour Hail Mary” more of an effort than the Liberals were prepared to allow for the past 15+ years. Indeed, during committee, the Liberals and Conservatives conspired to ensure that no registry reform options could be discussed. After all, both old line parties prefer it be a “clean” wedge issue since any nuance would inhibit their fundraisers.

  • PCR

    Scott, have you considered the possibility that Harper is gaming you over this issue? In the last few elections, Liberal and NDP rural candidates have plausibly claimed that they would vote against the gun registry if given the chance. But by whipping the Liberals and convincing NDs to support, this advantage will disappear in the next election, spelling real trouble for these rural candidates.

    And with respect to your claims about urban MPs, the problem is that urbanites don’t vote on the basis of the gun registry, whereas many rural voters do. Ask any rural MP how often they hear about the registry. All the time. But how often do urban MPs hear about it? I doubt much at all.

    This might change a bit if the issue is highly politicized as it is now, but I just can’t see a scenario where Harper isn’t the winner here. In fact, it is probably in his best interest to lose this vote. And he knows it.

  • Al

    Two good reads on the gun registry issue today

    Jack Layton and guns-I’ve had enough
    http://tiny.cc/0zb0z

    A gun toting skeptic recants
    http://tiny.cc/78eq0

  • EFL

    Excellent suggestion. And though I know you mean it in good faith, given intransigence of NDP gun nuts, clever if one’s objective was to further expose NDP fatuousness. My kind of politics: be of such open good faith that exposes others bad faith. OK, Jack, you can get all you claim you want, as long as every single one of your caucus shows up and votes to save registry…deal?

  • Redrum

    The mysteriously delayed Evaluation of the Firearms Program is finally now up, at:

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/fire-feu-eval/eval-eng.pdf

    nothing definitive in terms of # of lives saved; lots of areas missing they should have looked at (like, firearms injuries with LG’s? no. of times police were shot at with LGs? before & after LGR; no. of LGs used in crimes that were registered, etc.)

    but some interesting tidbits like half the guns seized were registered; that a lot of the rifles & sawed-offs that end up in hands of criminals in To. were stolen from people’s cabins in cottage country; the no. of women who are killed by their ‘law-abiding duck hunters & farmers’ LGs; and some more compelling anecdotes / illustrations of the LGRs uses in dealing with unstable people, etc.

  • Greg

    I think your proposals are good, Scott. However, I am not sure the rural NDP caucus any more interested in saving the registry in any form, than the Conservatives.

  • [...] For those of you looking for a solution to the Gun Registry situation, Scott Tribe posts a compromise recommendation for Jack and Michael to consider. [...]

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