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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Better for the registry to be saved?

Is it better for the registry to survive?

Tonight, the House debated a motion from the Public Safety Committee not to proceed with Candice Hoeppner's private members' bill to abolish the long-gun registry.

It was an interesting discussion, which Kady O'Malley pleasantly liveblogged. I will only share one moment from the debate that stood out for me. This was when Maria Mourani of the Bloc Quebecois took her turn to speak and tried to pull a stunt she used in Committee last spring. The reason this moment stood out to me is because I was in the committee room at the time.

Dr. Gary Mauser, an opponent of the registry, was called as a witness. His grasp of the facts and forthright manner were blisteringly refreshing, relative to the anecdotes and fearmongering coming from witnesses supporting the registry. Like other academics I have seen called before committees, he did not seem especially impressed to be in the company of a bunch of elected officials -- though that's not to say that he was exactly disrespectful, either. He just knew his stuff.

When it was her turn to ask questions, Mourani ignored the statistics Mauser had raised and simply brought out the following picture, in large and glossy format. It's one the Liberals now feature on their own website. Perhaps the NDP as well, but I'm too contemptuous to check.


Unless I'm mistaken, Dr. Mauser's finger is not on the trigger. In many places in the United States, that's the only kind of "gun control" the Americans will tolerate.

Mourani claimed the photograph was "scary." She also asked Mauser how many guns he owned -- a question that still seems as impertinent to me as it is irrelevant.

Garry Breitkreuz is the Chair of the Public Safety Committee. From what I gather, props are generally frowned upon in committee meetings, but it's up to the Chair to object to their use. My memory may be completely failing me, but I doubt it. Breitkreuz let Mourani go on, giant photograph in hand, without the slightest hint of protest.

Not tonight. Mourani brought out the same prop and was promptly shut down. Her speech was still inane, but at least she put the damn picture away.

Prior to Mourani, Mark Holland read a long list of names, the organizations that have come out in favor of the registry. He's good at being a fulminating showboater, carefully treading the well-worn line between slimy used car salesman and creepy fratboy.

That's about all I care to say about tonight's debate. Kady covers it much more sympathetically, and likely more objectively.

I have a few thoughts about the upcoming vote, though none of them are that profound. First, no matter how the vote comes down, it's going to be something of a victory for the Conservatives. If the Liberals with the help of the NDP manage to save the registry, it will finalize the narrative of the dreaded Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition. If that happens, expect the specter of the coalition to become a key -- maybe the key -- part of Conservative rhetoric until the next election and probably beyond. The Conservative base will be solidified and Team Blue's fundraising, already fantastic compared to the opposition, will improve still further.

I'm not convinced the Conservatives will be able to pick up some of those rural NDP ridings. It would be a different story if Layton had whipped the vote. I know that the latest polls show a drop in NDP support, but from what I can tell those supporters aren't going to the Liberals or the Conservatives; thus, I simply expect them to come back to the NDP and for the party's numbers to recover.

Still, if the registry is saved because of the opposition parties, I can't see it hurting the Conservatives much. They just need to make sure they loudly put responsibility where it belongs, and I'm certain they'll do just that.

There are "rumours on the Internets" that some Liberals plan to call in sick tomorrow. Whether this will happen, and whether it will be enough to change the outcome is anybody's guess. If it does happen, even if it doesn't change the outcome, it will devastate the credibility of Ignatieff's already shaky leadership. Don't forget that Iggy's had this problem before, with embarrassing results. Given the Liberal Party's lackluster poll numbers, I would be shocked if Bob Rae didn't use such a failure as an opportunity to pull out the knives.

If the registry goes -- unlikely, I think -- it should provide a boost of energy to Conservatives. This may not actually be a good thing. First, that energy will have to go some where, into some policy or program. While libertarians might wish for it to be directed toward the libertarian policies we still secretly hope the Prime Minister favours, it is probably too soon to move in that direction. The Overton Window has moved enough to accomodate the abolition of the gun registry, but only just. My worry is that, in this case, success now might lead to disaster later.

Finally, here is a bit of truly crazy speculation: suppose you were a Liberal with leadership ambition and no conscience. Suppose, also, you have a great deal of influence over other members of the caucus, and can credibly promise to reward them once you gain power.

If you were such a Liberal, then you might think it would be better for the gun registry to die. And you might, being devious, encourage your colleagues to call in sick and miss the crucial vote, thereby killing the registry and irreparably damaging the credibility of a leader few in the party are all that enthusiastic about anyway.

So, saying all that, does anyone know what Bob Rae has been up to lately?


Posted by Terrence Watson on September 21, 2010 in Canadian Politics, Gun freedom | Permalink


It should be interesting and could hold a few surprises. I doubt if all the rural MP's in Iggy's camp like the idea of being told how to vote, knowing they will be turfed out in the next election.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-09-21 11:55:35 PM

What should happen is that failure to abolish the gun registry should be met with vicious force -- against the Conservatives. I find that Harper and is propensity for incremental-ism has taken this issue, an issue which should have a rallied stirring of Liberty, and thrown it to the leftist agenda mob. They have the momentum and the Registry will survive. Harper cowardice on this matter has been extreme. No doubt, now is the time to have an election on this issue and ask the question: do you want the government to diminish Liberty piece by piece with such things as gun registries and their like? Harper could made an impressive cause out of this. Instead, his limp-wrist-ed opposition reveal indecision, even veiled support, for the erosion of Liberty.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-09-22 5:00:50 AM

Mourani claimed the photograph was "scary." Because, as everyone in the deranged dominion knows, Mauser is sighting his revolver on female university students in Quebec. What possible other targets would a white male conceive of shooting at? That one occasionally encounters such ignorant prejudice is one thing, but being governed by it is something out of a Rand novel.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-09-22 11:34:51 AM


I'm not sure I'd blame Harper if the registry survives. What else could he do? I mean, specifically?

Proceeding through a private members' bill was a good choice, in that it forced the opposition to come out in _favour_ of the registry instead of simply against the Conservatives.

Posted by: Terrence | 2010-09-22 11:55:05 AM

If ending the mandatory long form census means we are descending into chaos. Imagine what it would do to end long gun registry , im sure we would all die.

Posted by: don b | 2010-09-22 2:06:29 PM

At least the picture wasn't of bullet-riddled corpses of École Polytechnique. First rule of feminism: Objectification and stereotyping of males is okay, but never females. Women are special. Equal, yet special. Ah, the wonders of feminist "logic."

Too bad Mauser didn't counter with a prop of his own, a bar chart of what Allan Rock said the registry would cost, and what was actually spent on it. Of course, he'd need a logarithmic scale to be able to fit a one-hundred-thousand-percent cost overrun onto anything small enough to be carried into the room without a crane.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-09-22 2:18:32 PM

While libertarians might wish for it to be directed toward the libertarian policies we still secretly hope the Prime Minister favours, it is probably too soon to move in that direction.

And it'll always be too soon. That seems to be how the Tories' relationship with libertarians works.

Posted by: Bradley | 2010-09-22 6:41:14 PM

While libertarians might wish for it to be directed toward the libertarian policies we still secretly hope the Prime Minister favours, it is probably too soon to move in that direction.

And it'll always be too soon. That seems to be how the Tories' relationship with libertarians works.

Posted by: Bradley | 2010-09-22 6:41:14 PM

As a Christian I support people to bear arms- own guns. We need capital punishment to ban murder. We do not need to ban weapons. When the first murder in world history took place, God dealt with the guilty person (Cain), not the weapon. God delegated the magistrate to deal with justice. God places primary the responsibility on individuals to protect themselves from attack. God places the governing magistrate as the authority that dishes out eye for eye in an impartial court trial dealing with evidence. No where in the Bible does God make any provision for dealing with the instruments of crime. God always focused with the consequences of the individual for his crime.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-09-22 7:55:43 PM

Harper has presented himself (and the Conservatives) as utter failures on this issue. What could he have done? Remind citizens -- yes, use the word citizens instead of the generic Canadians -- that their Liberties are being eroded bit by bit by such mechanisms of the state. It would have been a rallying call to those who doubt Harper's commitment to preserving Liberty. Numbers will turn out in their tens of thousands, rising the Conservatives like never before. If there must be an election, let it occur on this one issue: the defense of Liberty. Harper could have defended Liberty. The Liberals would have been revealed as the statists they are. The moment Ignatieff wimpers "Peace, order and good government" he will be revealed for the tyrant he is and crushed. But that will not happen. Harper decides to cow-tow to Ontario and Quebec, and abandons Liberty wholesale. I recall a friend declaring to me some years ago that another Liberal government will drive Alberta to independence. Wrong. The day of Alberta independence will dawn is when a prime minister from Alberta betrays Alberta -- and Liberty.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-09-22 8:18:22 PM

Canada reminds me of ancient Israel in the Bible. Old Testament Israel wanted a king. God replied to Israel in 1 Samuel chapter 8 that a king will enslave them socially and economically, but they insisted and God granted their wish. King Saul became Israel's Trudeau or Obama. Old testament Israel just like Canada, people seem to love statism and socialism and we got it.

Later you get to 1 Samuel chapter 13. There because King Saul disobeyed God, God punished Israel. The enemy nation, the Philistines implemented "gun" control or as back then "sword control" on Israel by shutting down blacksmith operations. Israel had no weapons by these controls and became oppressed by these foreigners.In Canada we got gun control and we have home invasions too.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-09-22 8:28:04 PM

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