Blasting Bad Democracy
The Liberals are using undemocratic tactics to save Canada’s wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry.
Conservative MP, Portage-Lisgar.
My Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-39, passed second reading in the House of Commons last November, with 20 Liberal and NDP Members of Parliament voting along with our Conservative caucus to bring an end to the long-gun registry.
Canadians have always expressed strong opposition to the previous Liberal government’s long-gun registry. That opposition became even more vocal when Canadians learned about the spiraling costs of running this program – from original estimates of just over $2 million to the current $2 billion and counting.
The long-gun registry has proven to be a divisive caucus issue as well for both Liberals and New Democrats. Last Monday, much to the dismay of some of his caucus members, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said he would whip the vote and prevent Liberal MPs from voting to represent their constituents’ wishes when the bill returns to the House for final reading.
Later that week, the Liberals continued to manoeuvre by trying to stack the witness list in the Public Safety Committee to avoid a fair discussion of my bill. The Liberals, with the support of the NDP and Bloc, attempted to use their combined majority in the committee to ram through a pro-long-gun registry list of witnesses.
Fairness at committee is apparently not a relevant topic for the Opposition.
The Liberal tactics were blatantly undemocratic, trying to do an end-run on the committee’s responsibility to hear witnesses on both sides of the issue. But Canadians aren’t fooled. They see it for what it is – just the latest trick to derail ending this wasteful and ineffective legislation.
It all sends a clear message that the Ignatieff Liberals and their coalition partners do not care about the issues and concerns of rural Canada, and don’t care much for democracy either.
The Liberals must be equally afraid of what I might say on the topic because they’ve decided to restrict my time to half an hour to introduce the bill. It’s standard for an MP who introduces a bill to be allotted a full hour to properly present their legislation. Instead, in a highly unusual step, I’m being called as a witness.
My opponents keep saying that police officers don’t want to see the registry scrapped, but I brought forward a list of officers who are eager to stand up at committee and call for an end to the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry. My opponents don’t want to hear those voices.
They certainly don’t want to hear the voice of Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson, who called the long-gun registry a “placebo,” and said the gun registry “sure as heck didn’t help” when referring to weekly gang shoot-outs in downtown Calgary.
Let’s be clear. My bill will only end the requirement to register long guns. Stringent licencing requirements will continue for all firearms, and police will still know who has a licence to own a gun and where that person lives. My bill is a common-sense bill, and it makes no sense to me to think that, by forcing law-abiding hunters, farmers, and sport shooters to register their long guns, we can somehow prevent a gun crime from taking place.
The long-gun registry doesn’t make Canadians safer. To make our communities truly safer, we need to strengthen the Criminal Code, enact tough anti-crime and anti-gang measures, and make sure convicted criminals serve the time they deserve; and our government is doing that.
Members of Parliament need to remember that at the end of the day, we came here for a reason – to represent our constituents. Liberal MPs who supported ending the long-gun registry last November need to now stand up to their leader and stand up for their constituents. Their voters deserve nothing less.