Partisanship on a smoking issue
he sides are lining up as the time narrows for a vote on the long-gun registry. It’s turned into the predictable partisan issue – with the exception of the NDP – but it merits open, unbiased deliberation.
Parliament will vote today (Wednesday, Sept. 22), on the private member’s bill, Bill C-391, presented by a Conservative that calls for scrapping the long-gun registry. As expected, the Tories are squarely behind the bill. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has called on his caucus to vote against it. NDP Leader Jack Layton has said he’s allowing his MPs a free vote.
With Liberals voting as a team, the Bloc Quebecois against scrapping it and pressure on NDP members, it’s shaping up to be close.
What is impossible to ignore - although the Conservatives are doing just that - is the call by the RCMP to keep the registry. They say they rely on it constantly to do their job.
This makes the Tories’ position puzzling. They’ve been all about law and order in their get-tough-on-crime legislative agenda. To contradict those in charge of keeping the law makes little sense in that context.
This has long been portrayed as a rural-versus-urban issue - aimed at duck hunters and farmers rather than gun-toting criminals, who typically don’t register arms. Police counter that when they report incidents of domestic violence involving guns and people who had no criminal record.
Health professionals running emergency rooms have also added their plea to maintain the registry to help counter domestic violence.
True, Canadians are divided on this issue. But many of those who have voiced criticism in the past were those shocked by revelations of the ‘boondoggle,’ with setting up the registry – what was projected then by the Liberals to cost a couple of million ended up in the $1 billion-plus range.
If lawkeepers value it, shouldn’t the discussion be about ways to streamline it, make it more efficient and minimize costs? Additionally, why do the Conservatives continue to put on blinders to any compromise?