Submitted by MP Jay Hill
Two announcements, exactly one month apart. In the first, our Conservative Government stated we will once again extend the amnesty for law-abiding gun owners so that, until we can scrap it in Parliament, they do not run afoul of the ineffective and wasteful long-gun registry. In the second, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announced his intention to â€œwhipâ€ his MPs into voting to KEEP the registry.
A Private Members Bill by my Conservative colleague, MP Candace Hoeppner proposes straightforward legislation that reflects our Governmentâ€™s long-standing position to repeal the long-gun registry.
Private Members legislation is traditionally subject to a â€˜free voteâ€™ by MPs, meaning they vote according to their own conscience or constituentsâ€™ wishes rather than along partisan lines. Heeding the voice of their constituents who want the long-gun registry scrapped, a group of Liberal MPs, known as the â€œLiberal Eightâ€, voted to support Ms. Hoeppnerâ€™s Bill C-391 so that it could advance to Committee Stage.
Last week however, their own leader gave notice that he will no longer tolerate these MPs carrying out their constituentsâ€™ wishes. The next time THIS private members bill, C-391, comes to a vote, Mr. Ignatieff will order or â€˜whipâ€™ all Liberal MPs into keeping the long-gun registry.
Mr. Ignatieff tried to soften the blow with some suggested â€œtinkeringâ€ to firearms laws. Perhaps, he mused, farmers and hunters could be let off with a fine the first time they violate the long-gun registry.
Are rural Canadians, farmers, hunters and fisherman supposed to thank Mr. Ignatieff for this so-called â€œcompromiseâ€ because he will only consider them criminals when they contravene the long-gun registry a second time?!!
Interestingly, the next day Liberal MP Martha Hall Finley admitted â€œwe really didnâ€™t, when this [the long-gun registry] was brought in, ask the hunters and the farmers for their advice.â€
Well as one MP who was there when the Liberals rammed this firearms legislation through Parliament in 1995, I can tell you that my fellow Reform MPs and I asked hunters, farmers, fisherman and every other law-abiding gun owner across the nation! They told us the registry was a bad idea. We told Parliament. The Liberals and the NDP simply werenâ€™t listening.
Fifteen years later they still arenâ€™t listening. Following Mr. Ignatieffâ€™s edict, the Liberals and their Coalition partners on the Public Safety Committee attempted to hijack all debate on the issue by fixing the witness list for Bill C-391 so that out of the 33 witnesses to appear, 28 were known to be in favour of keeping the long-gun registry.
Mr. Ignatieff hopes by proposing â€œfirst offence finesâ€ in the long-gun registry that he will score political points with rural Canadians, as well as urban Canadians who have been mislead into believing that the long-gun registry will somehow minimize gun fights in their streets by handgun-toting gangs.
In fact, I predict the Liberals will further alienate both rural and urban Canadians by steadfastly refusing to admit that the long-gun registry is a colossal waste of taxpayersâ€™ money that was a failure from the start and does absolutely nothing to keep Canadians safe!
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