Thursday, November 05, 2009

The reports of its death...

The private members bill to abolish the gun registry passed last night by a 164-137 vote. However, it may not be time to stick a fork in the registry quite yet .

From second reading it will go to the Public Safety and National Security Committee, which, if I'm reading parl.gc.ca right, has the following members:

Yea
Garry Breitkreuz - CPC
Shelly Glover - CPC
Dave MacKenzie - CPC
Phil McColeman - CPC
Rick Norlock - CPC
Brent Rathgeber - CPC

Nay
Don Davies - NDP
Mark Holland - Liberal
Andrew Kania - Liberal
Serge Menard - BQ
Maria Mourani - BQ
Robert Oliphant - Liberal

So the committee would appear to be locked 6-6, but Breitkreuz is the chair, which means MPs who voted against abolishing the registry have a voting majority on committee.

What they do with that majority remains to be seen, and will likely depend on how Layton and Ignatieff decide to play their cards. Which has been somewhat haphazard to date.

Back in April, Ignatieff was proclaiming he wouldn't let the registry die, and then last night he let his MPs vote to do just that. He also made some noise about decriminalizing the registry although, him being Michael Ignatieff and all, it's not exactly clear what he's proposing or when he's proposing to do it. Perhaps it's another piece of the super-secret platform (since, you know, the Tories might steal his idea to keep the registry alive). Layton, by virtue of his caucus being even more split, has been tap dancing even more feverishly than Ignatieff.

So the decrim option does seem to be the logical path since it gives Layton and Ignatieff an out, and finds one of those good old Canadian sunny compromises. If the Bloc can be brought onside (debatable), they could effectively kill the current bill in committee or third reading, and then re-introduce new legislation.

Of course, there might be an election before then, but I can't see the decrim position hurting the Liberals or NDP dramatically - it gives rural MPs a leg to stand on, while at the same time attacking urban and Quebec Tories for wanting to kill the registry.

So, stay tuned. The registry is far from dead.

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21 Comments:

  • That presupposes the NDP and Liberals have the wit to maneuver. Yesterday does not fill me with confidence.

    By Blogger Greg, at 10:36 AM  

  • That also means that my CPC donation dollars will be going into more advertising in opps ridings. Well spent IMO.

    When the rural MPs vote to abolish the gun registry,
    and then their city brethren in committee vote to keep it,
    rural Canadians may be rather ticked, don't yah think?

    Decriminalizing the registry is not abolishing it.
    Maybe Goodale and Easter will decide to decriminalize the CWB...not good enough.

    By Blogger wilson, at 11:04 AM  

  • The only thing that gave me hope yesterday was that I heard Comartin might be on committee. Maybe the NDP are going to do their constant "switcheroo" between members again, so their one competent, intelligent MP can interrogate witnesses and conduct committee business properly. I can't see MPs engaging in Con disruption tactics, given internal & external dynamics (I take for granted now that ethics, parliamentary precedent, and coherence vs. hypocrisy count for nothing). Proposed amendments could be declared ultra-vires by Con Chair if subvert Bill intention, could be overruled by committee, but new scandal re. overriding popular will (ha!) as expressed by Commons on 2nd reading. Can't stop Bill forever, will come back for 3rd reading, any "unfriendly" amendments that Opp have managed to create will be refused by mover, and back to original question. Then Senate, and new Cons. Election over Olympics? No. Budget timed to coincide? Maybe. Next chance to defeat govt, in Spring? And poll numbers then? I'd be more than happy to have Martin-type hot-button election on value issues if need be. But don't think Iffy has the stomach for it. Know all the others do. (That may be to Iffy's credit in some ways, but sometimes, you've got to be willing to get on a soapbox and shout. Rae could and would do it. Basic political skill.)

    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 11:12 AM  

  • Any movement to save the registry will make the Cons. richer.

    I don't know enough about the procedure here but if there is an attempt to use the senate as a way of denying the wish of parliament on this issue you might end up with a constitutional crisis (or perhaps headache). At some point people will stop being angry and take action.

    Iggy does not know what he is doing. He is playing with fire with his hint at trying to save the registry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 AM  

  • The Senate killed the abortion bill (also a free vote, and certainly freer then the "private members bill" farce that the CPC did with this bill) that Mulroney tried to pass when the Supreme Court ruled Canada's then abortion laws were unconstitutional - so there is precedent for the Senate to vote this down.

    As I said.. I'll wait to see whether the Committee's NO majority can amend this bill enough to make the registry stay intact.. I'd love to see the Conservatives vote against their own bill because the amendments keep it.

    And Wilson.. I could care less if rural Albertans or rural Canadians and such are displeased if the registry is saved. Most of them weren't going to vote Liberal anyhow, and I'd rather have a bill that does the right thing then worry about what the redneck constituencies don't like.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 12:57 PM  

  • Do we really know where Ignatieff stands on the gun registry issue? After all, his master plan to topple the Government at the first opportunity lasted all of a month before he reversed himself yet again.

    Maybe Iggy wants the registry gone, but doesn't want to be seen pulling the plug. After all, he's supposed to be looking to expand his Party's appeal.

    And, is it just me or does Iggy look like he hasn't had any sleep in about a month? Has he seen more recent poll numbers than we have?

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 12:58 PM  

  • scott T.;

    Wow great way to build a nation.
    Now you know why it is called the "Bloc Torontois".

    Good riddence to you and your party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:02 PM  

  • I'd really like to know what "decriminalizing the registry" means.

    As someone who, after some thought, really can't give an opinion on the long gun registry, this option seems interesting. I mean, I've always loved our sunny compromises.

    Oh, and CG, have you seen the latest Alberta polling? 308 has it up; its quite the massacre.

    By Blogger Volkov, at 1:43 PM  

  • Volkov,
    As it stands, anyone in possession of an unregistered rifle, gets you 6 months in jail and a criminal record.

    So Iffy is suggesting taking the 'criminal' part out, but leave the registering in tact.
    He better ask those 8 Lib MPs that voted with the govt if that's gonna fly in their ridings.

    Something else you may not know, is the Canadian Wheat Board,
    also criminalizes the selling of grain anywhere to anyone except the CWB monopoly.
    But that ONLY applies to Western grain farmers, Eastern farmers are free to sell at will.
    Goodale sent 6 W Cdn farmers to jail for selling their wheat outside the CWB.

    By Blogger wilson, at 2:20 PM  

  • ''..And Wilson.. I could care less if rural Albertans or rural Canadians and such are displeased if the registry is saved. Most of them weren't going to vote Liberal anyhow, and I'd rather have a bill that does the right thing then worry about what the redneck constituencies don't like...''

    Heh Scott,
    and that is exactly why your party is called the Liberal party of Toronto.
    This mentality is working well for Liberals,
    keep it up.
    And forget about those 8 redneck Liberals that voted against the Chretien legacy,
    who needs 'em, right?

    And did you notice a wee bit of overlap between the Danny's 6 and the Harper 8?

    By Blogger wilson, at 2:26 PM  

  • Wilson;

    I appreciate you explaining what "decriminalizing the registry" means.

    If that is the case, then I can agree with such an endeavour; making the registry voluntarily instead of forced seems like a nice way to say, register your guns with us and we'll be happy. I'm sure most farmers don't have a problem noting what guns they have, as long as they're given the chance to come forward, instead of being forced to.

    I see what CG means by "sunny compromise"; making it voluntary allows farmers not to be treated like criminals, and keeping the registry alive allows urbanites to feel a little safer.


    I must note, though, that when you say "voting with the government side" in relation to the Liberal MPs that did as such, you're subtly giving legitimacy to the idea that this was not a private member's bill, as made out to be, but indeed a piece of government legislation. Which means that while the Conservatives were all whipped, the Opposition was told they had a free vote.

    Dirty, dirty tactics if I ever saw one. But, I suppose that's politics for you.

    By Blogger Volkov, at 2:35 PM  

  • Well, the vote was officially a private members vote. But the Bloc made it fairly clear their MPs were wipped against it.

    And, although it hasn't been said overtly, it seems likely the Tories were also wipped on this one - it's hard to see not one CPC MP from Quebec, or urban Ontario voting against this motion if it truly was a free vote.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:02 PM  

  • Oh, and I'll post up thoughts on the Alberta poll tomorrow.

    Seeing Wildrose ahead in Calgary has got to be a fairly horrifying sight for the PCs - this is probably the worst poll they've seen since 1993.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:04 PM  

  • "it's hard to see not one CPC MP from Quebec,"

    Name him or her, CG. While Quebeckers support "gun control" in principle, the long gun registry is not more popular in Quebec than anywhere else.

    Just because we are from Quebec, doesn't mean we all spend our time at swingers clubs!

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 3:28 PM  

  • And I challenge you to name the MPs on the Conservative benches who wanted to vote against this Private Member's Bill.

    No.

    The Conservatives made clear that every single one of their MPs wanted to be on the record as voting in favour of this Bill. So much so that nobody was available to pair with a Bloc MP who had flu symptoms.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:09 PM  

  • As I understand it, if the Conservatives win one of the by-elections soon, CPC members will represent the majority in committees (determined by the % of seats held in the House). In which case, your argument gets turned upside-down.

    The opposition won't be able to count on its majority in committees anymore.

    By Blogger Mike514, at 8:45 PM  

  • Wilson said;That also means that my CPC donation dollars will be going into more advertising in opps ridings. Well spent IMO. Good for you Wilson as long as my tax dollars are not used for Harpers endless campaign. Harper,Keep your sticky fingers off my money andlet Wilson do all the donating.

    By Blogger marie, at 9:20 PM  

  • Decriminalization is a dumb idea - it takes away the one thing that (in theory) might make the gun registry work. It means that police will have woefully inadequate records of guns because people aren't going to voluntarily register their weapons (particularly if there were already enforcement problems when it was mandatory). Either keep the registry or don't - decriminalization is the worst of all three options.

    Sometimes reflexively driving in the middle of a road can lead one to drive into a tree.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:45 PM  

  • The idea of getting permission to own anything is revolting.

    They can register my guns when they pry them from my cold dead fingers.

    I do want to know where all the money that the liberano's stole is going to be paid back.

    FREE

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 AM  

  • "The idea of getting permission to own anything is revolting."

    Would you extend that analysis to drugs or alcohol? What about say, owning a loud motorboat on a lake shared with neighbours? How far are you willing to take your view of ownership - should individuals be allowed to own tanks?

    I think any absolute right of ownership ends when:
    1. we cannot expect people to exert discretion (so addictive hard drugs, plus age limits on certain products).
    2. when their ownership directly and negatively impacts other people (eg. a loud motorboat on a lake).
    3. when their ownership seriously challenges the very premise of all laws - that the state must have a monopoly (or near-monopoly) on force (so if say, I owned a nuclear missile silo, that would be a pretty big challenge to the ability of the state to govern me effectively).

    Now, I salute you if you are willing to make a consistent libertarian case for all of those things. Assuming you are not, however, you also believe that people need permission to own things - where we differ is a matter of degree.

    Opponents of the gun registry make a point that it is an onerous process for gun-owners, that is unlikely to be complete (they also make a bad argument about past cost overruns that have no bearing on the present). Supporters can point out that it saves lives and helps police (they also make a bad implicit argument that guns are bad - there are many people that enjoy gun ownership, and, if they are responsible, we are better off for the existence of guns. I fired some WWII guns at paper cutouts of terrorists and muggers in Vegas - it was indeed good times and it made nobody else worse off).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:17 PM  

  • So what hosertohoosier is basically saying is that if you have a nuclear missile silo you can get as loud a motorboat as you want.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 2:02 PM  

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