Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking a few bullets from the Conservative rifle on the registry

As a Liberal who grew up in a rural riding I’ve never been a big fan of the long gun registry, and not just for political reasons. It was an issue that spoke to the ongoing urban/rural divide in the Liberal Party, a well-intentioned piece of legislation that didn’t consider the legitimate concerns of rural Canadians – most likely because their perspective just wasn’t present at the table when it was drafted.


If anything, for rural Liberals, it exposed a chicken and egg paradox – are Liberal policies not considerate of rural Canadians because we don’t have many rural Liberal MPs to offer input, or do we not have many Liberal rural MPs to offer input because our policies aren’t considerate of rural Canadians?

So I wasn’t optimistic when I read that Michael Ignatieff was offering some proposals on the gun registry he hoped would appeal to rural Canadians, or at least to those eight Liberals that voted to scrap the registry on second reading of Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s (not really) private members bill. But after hearing that all the caucus is apparently on board with the changes and will now vote against the Hoeppner bill, I took a look.

Essentially, the proposed Liberal reforms are as follows:
*First-time failures to register firearms would be treated as a simple, non-criminal, ticketing offence, instead of a criminal offence as they are currently;
*Fees for new licenses, renewals and upgrades would be permanently eliminated; and
*The registration process – especially the forms – would be streamlined to make registration as easy as possible.
I wasn’t optimistic at first, but I actually like these changes. When you talk to anti-registry folks they have a lot of arguments against it, some legitimate and some not. I think these reforms address nearly all of the legitimate concerns I’ve heard against the registry, or at least those I’m inclined to agree with.

Their big argument was criminality: why should I be a criminal if I forget to register Great-Grandpa’s old rifle from the Boer War? OK, it’s now a non-criminal, ticket offence. Another argument was I have a large rifle collection, you’re going to gouge me with fees? OK, no more fees. And all that paperwork? There’ll still be some, but we’ll streamline it.

The arguments that are left tend to lose steam:

Why should I have to register my gun? Well, why not? You register your car and your dog.

Criminals won’t obey the law and register! Criminals by definition don’t obey laws. Does that mean we shouldn’t have any?

It's too expensive? Yes, building it went over budget but that money is spent, the operating costs are actually low. If a house went over budget during construction, do you tear it down once built?

The police don’t use it! Tell that to the deputy commissioner of the RCMP and scores of police chiefs and officers across the country who say otherwise. Not all police support it, true, but many do. So if even half find it to be a useful tool, should we take it away for ideological reasons?

From there we descend into the conspiracy theories, about gun registration being the first step toward the government rounding up all the gun and marching us off to socialist work camps or something. I actually think that’s only if Obama gets a second mandate, actually.

The politics in Parliament

So with these proposed reforms, I understand that the entire Liberal caucus is now supposedly onside against Hoeppner’s bill. Reportedly Ignatieff will whip the vote, and I’m sure OLO wouldn’t whip it if they didn’t have them all onside. Well, one would like to think so, at least. It would be a pretty dumb move otherwise.

Even if all Liberal MPs are whipped, present and accounted for, and the BQ again votes no, it’s not enough to defeat the legislation though. Some 12 NDP MPs broke ranks and voted to kill the registry on second reading, mainly from rural ridings. The NDP says while it supports the registry, but it allows its MPs to vote their conscience on private members bills. Joe Comartin told Power and Politics Monday that while they’re trying to convince the 12, leader Jack Layton isn’t likely to whip the vote. Unless he changes his mind or convinces his 12 MPs to change theirs, the NDP will let the registry be killed. Indeed, they’ll help kill it.

It is a tricky situation, trying to bridge those cleavages within a caucus. We’ve been there. But hiding behind the “it’s a private members bill so it’s a free vote” line is a cop-out. The Conservatives are pushing this legislation; they did it as a pseudo private members bill PRECISESLY BECAUSE they wanted to peel off enough Liberal and NDP votes to pass it, because they knew they couldn’t pass it as a government bill. This is what the Conservatives want.

And if you believe the Conservatives aren’t whipping this vote on the down low, you’re hopelessly na├»ve. Not one Conservative MP from an urban riding (there are a few) or Quebec supports the registry? Well, all-righty then.

If the NDP really supports the registry, they need to either work with the Liberals and BQ on reforms that can get their caucus onside, or bite the bullet (to use a metaphor) and whip the vote. But it’s hard to have it both ways.

And the politics in Canada

Interesting to consider how this will play outside the Queensway. Let’s start with rural Canada. Will the Liberal reforms be enough to appease registry opponents? Not all of them. But some of them. There are those who will accept nothing less than abolition. They’re not likely to vote for Liberal for a boatload of reasons no matter what. But I think for many rural voters, the reforms address enough of their concerns to take this issue off the table for them. Getting them to vote Liberal will take a lot more, but it removes a roadblock and is a step in the right direction.

In urban Canada there’s probably no change as they support the registry and don’t think it should go anywhere, and I don’t think they’ll see the reforms as diminishing the effectiveness of the registry.

Now, what if the registry is killed by the Conservatives, with NDP support? Well, in rural Canada I’d see it as status quo. Could our rural MPs that voted to save it in vain be punished for trying to save the registry? Maybe. I’m sure the rabid registry haters would try to whip up some anger just out of spite. But given that they’d have won – the registry is dead – it’s likely most people who wanted it killed would be glad it’s gone and would cast their ballots on other issues.

In the cities, though, where support for the registry is strong, it’s another story. If the Liberal caucus unites in favour of the registry and the NDP splits to let it die, I wouldn’t want to be campaigning for the NDP in many urban ridings next election. What will they say in Surrey and Burnaby, in Vancouver-East, in Trinity-Spadina, and even Toronto-Danforth. Heck, how about Outremont?

And what about the Conservatives? We hear a lot of spin about how the Liberals are out of touch with rural voters on the registry. Well, aren’t the Conservatives then out of touch with urban voters on the registry? Hasn’t hurt them to date as they’ve taken no high-profile steps to kill it. Pass Hoeppner’s bill though and it’s another story, and I don’t think the “it’s a private members bill” line will fly with many urban voters. The Conservatives need to gain urban seats to move forward. This would make that dammed hard.

Were I a conspiracy theorist, I'd posit that the Conservatives want the NDP to defeat this bill. That lets them say to their base "we tried our best" while not pissing off the urban voters they need for growth purposes. And it lets them keep the registry alive as a red-meat issue, which has been their modus-operandi on justice issues from day one -- favouring politics and the appearance of progress over actual action.

So we’ll see how this all plays out. Right now, the ball is in the court of Layton and the NDP. Were I a betting man, I’d wager they find a way to get their caucus onside with some amendments. With the Liberals no longer to give them cover, being seen killing the registry would be unthinkable.

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25 comments:

The Rat said...

Jeff, the "compromise" isn't really a compromise, it's just a continuation of today's status quo. Yes, it removes one of my main objections in that the fees were punitive and intended to force gun owners to sell or destroy their guns. But the main objection I have is that the registry continues to be a shopping list for confiscation. Paranoid, you say? Well, the RCMP just reclassified two legal firearms, one unrestricted rifle and one restricted shotgun, as prohibited and demanded registered owners turn them over for destruction without compensation. That is confiscation and it is likely the first in a long list of "re-classifications". If you want to have any hope of appeasing us gun owners how about you guarantee that there will be no more confiscations?

Jeff Jedras said...

The thing is, Rat, what compromise would you be willing to accept? Because it takes two sides to truly compromise, two sides that are each willing to give. If you don't have that, it's hopeless, and I'd rather just address the concerns I can and then fight on that ground rather than try to compromise with a group that never will.

Which raises the question, what's your position? Do you insist on abolition, or is there something short of killing the registry you'd be willing to accept? If so, what would that be.

I'd not familiar with the RCMP action you speak of, the particulars, or the process of how guns are classified in this country.

If this isn't how it works already, I think classifications should be either an executive matter or a legislative matter.

As you describe it now it could well be an executive matter. After all, the RCMP falls under the executive, so it may be a decision the attorney general and cabinet has delegated to them. So the solution could be to take it back. Make it a decision of the AG/Justice Minister, and therefore subject to political scrutiny by parliament in committee, and by voters at the ballot box.

Or make it a legislative issue (and maybe it is already, and legislation vested the power with the RCMP, in which case it can be changed by legislation): require parliament to pass legislation on classifying weapons. I believe this is the case in the U.S. This makes the most sense, the danger is it risks taking a public safety issue and making it a political football.

Those would be my suggestions though to the concerns you've raised. And if something is going to be reclassified and confiscated, I think fair compensation should be due.

I don't think it's realistic or wise to "guarantee" no more confiscations, but I think promising transparency and due process would make sense.

CanadianSense said...

Jeff,

I agree the CPC may not want this bill to pass so they can use it again during the next campaign.

The NDP have nothing to fear from the Liberals on flip flopping or not whipping their MP's on a private members Bill.

Can the NDP protect their rural gains from the CPC if they follow the Software Gun Registry Lobby?

The Registry is deeply flawed. See Sheila Fraser Report. Cosmetic changes will have NO impact.

The false "hits" strawman for Registry validty are used to check on speeding and parking violations.

So the 2 million morphed to 2 Billion annual $ 3 million open sore is simply a failed policy.

Are the Liberals unable to hold their urban ridings if they allow their rural MP's to excercise their own interests?

The Duck hunter, farmer was never a problem.

Jeff Jedras said...

CS, you use flip-flop so much it loses meaning. Save the wolf crying for when there really is one. The Liberals got together, listened to the concerns of all their caucus, and came up with a position that meets the concerns of all of them. That's how grown-ups do it.

The NDP have much to fear if they aid and abed the Conservatives in killing the registry. I think it's hard to argue otherwise. If the Liberals gave them cover, not so much. But now they're exposed, and that wouldn't play well from them.

As for the registry, no government program is perfect. The AG writes many reports on many programs. But it is up and running and used, every day, and the police tell me it's needed. I'm going to take their word on this one.

RuralSandi said...

Well, I live in rural Ontario and I think ALL should act like adults and compromise.

I've spoken to a few cops in my little town and they are for the registration.

So, can rifle folks grow up and compromise?

We have to register cars, land, etc. even though most of us are good citizens.

The argument used to be the criminalization aspect - that's been removed be the Liberals.

Little story - a guy down the road from my dad, an old friend of my dad - his son was a jealous type person. He accused his wife of cheating and shot her with the rifle. The police knew he had two rifles in the house which helped them plan how to get in the house. She died and when the facts came out she never cheated at all. My dad's friend was never the same after that - he became a hermit. A very nice man - so sad.

The Rat said...

Jeff, the compromise is already in place and it is called licensing. The car registration thing is a huge red herring. I most certainly can own a car without either a license or registration, I just can't take it off my property or drive it. Just like I can borrow or rent a car, I can borrow guns. The registry cannot tell you what guns I actually have because I may have loaned or borrowed, but licensing will tell you everything else you need to know. In fact, like the car analogy, it is the driver's license that is most important, not the car's registration. With guns licensing the person, and not the object, meets all the criteria of gun control. The only thing that it doesn't do is provide that shopping list for confiscation.

CanadianSense said...

Jeff,

Don't own a gun, don't live in a rural riding. I also don't have ANY conflicts based on political affilations on this item.

You dismiss the Sheila Fraser Report as an opinion.

To make the database accurate hundreds of millions would be needed to update, correct it.

50% of Long Guns are NOT in the system.

How are you going to get compliance, what about the Aboriginals, the policy of enforcement, registration if we don't even collect taxes on illegal smokes?

Instead of taking a cheapshot at my posts, look at the issue without any blinders. It was never going to work, was created for political advantage (purposes- Montreal Massacre)

Your fallback, a Police Chiefs' Association backs, it is an interesting point.

Do you agree with this Special Interest lobby group on their other policies?

http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/2010/978.pdf

Robert said...

You Miss WHY the NDP can't whip votes on Private members bills. Like the Liberals always like to point out they have never been, and in the foreseeable future will never be in power. So how do the NDP effect change?

Well they do it through private members bills. That is how the NDP make NDP law. IF VOTES ARE WHIPPED on private members bills they are dead in the water. Often times the NDP are able on Private member bills pick off progressives. However that is impossible if people start to get whipped on Private Member bills.

The NDP CAN'T set that precedent, they just can't. Liberals don't get this because they always think someday they will be in power again. The NDP CAN'T think that way.

I have no problem with the NDP letting their members represent their constituents you should have a problem with the Liberals not doing the same.

zeppo-marx said...

What the Rat doesn't address is that, registration or not, if the RCMP reclassifies a weapon then a law-abiding citizen is obliged to dispose of it.

What is he advocating? That citizens should hide their weapons?

Registration is hardly the issue then. And I might even agree with him that some of this reclassification is unwarranted.

But the notion that, if he doesn't register the weapon he gets to keep it.... right up until he gets that prohibited weapon charge ... is entirely beside the point.

The Rat said...

"What the Rat doesn't address is that, registration or not, if the RCMP reclassifies a weapon then a law-abiding citizen is obliged to dispose of it. "

My point is it's not nearly so easy for a government to seize property, regardless of what that property actually is, if they don't have an itemized list of who owns what. I consider it a small logistical check on certain bureaucrats' grasping nature. If it's not easy maybe they just won't bother.

Luke said...

Rat if your firearm license is revoked the registry will tell the authorities how many firearms you own and must dispose of. If you have them loaned out you’re going to have to get them back.

From 1999, approx, 16,000 firearm licences have been revoked from people who were deemed to be a threat to public safety. If there is no registry how would the authorities be able to ensure those people legally disposed of their firearms?

Check out th MNR and see how many hunting violation take place.


If a person is not responsible enough to renew their firearm licence can they be trusted to own a firearm? It’s the firearm owner’s responsibility to renew their own firearm licence, not the CFP.

Fred from BC said...

Why should I have to register my gun? Well, why not? You register your car and your dog.


"Why not?"

That's an incredibly weak argument. You register your car and your dog to two separate reasons, neither of which is applicable to guns. But let me ask you this: why not allow the police to make random searches of your person? Your car? Your house? How about your computer?

Why not? Your computer could have kiddy porn on it, couldn't it? Or links to a terrorist plot to poison a water supply or something? It's possible, isn't it?

Fred from BC said...

Paranoid, you say? Well, the RCMP just reclassified two legal firearms, one unrestricted rifle and one restricted shotgun, as prohibited and demanded registered owners turn them over for destruction without compensation.

Allan Rock did the very same thing when he was in power, only with a longer list of guns. First they asked gun owners who had these particular rifles and shotguns to voluntarily register, them, then reclassified them and sent the RCMP around to collect them (the Franchi SPAS12 shotgun was one of them, for no other reason than it LOOKED military).

How would anyone here feel if you spent almost 2000 dollars on something, legally bought, taxes paid and all paperwork filled out, only to have the government show up at your door a few months later and demand that you hand it over to them WITHOUT COMPENSATION?

Carl said...

Jeff,

This may be a pretty clever move on Iggy's part, but it coul also be a potentially disastrous one. If Iggy's proposals are enough to satisfy the Gun registry's opponents, of at least to ensure that his eight MPs have a chance to keep their seats after voting for it, then it's a good move.

But consider the down side. Right now the Tories have 144 MPs in their caucus and 2 "independent" MPs who will probably vote with them on most issues (Guergis and Andre Arthur). In a 308 seat parliament with a Liberal as the speaker, that leaves them 8 seats short of a (very slim) majority government.

Hmm, how many Liberal MPs voted to quash the gun registry? 8? If the gun registry is a deal breaker for some of those MPs, you wonder if the Tories wouldn't be all to happy to offer them a nice cozy home on their side of the house.

Sure, Keith Martin, Wayne Easter or Anthony Rota might not be likely to jump ship (though Martin was a Reformer), but who knows about the others? (And, presumably, this would be a concern for Jack Layton if he tried to whip some of his rural MPs). Similarly, after Iggy's brain fart over abortion you wonder if other socially conservative Liberal MPs might be inclined to take their chances with the Tories.

Granted, this might not be the most likely scenario, but it would be a coup for the Tories if they could pull it off, as it would cripple Iggy's leadership and give themselves a, more-or-less, free hand for the next 2 and half years. And I suspect the Tories are thinking precisely that, as that would explain the ad campaign they launched today in the ridings of the 8 Liberal MPs.

Fred from BC said...

Granted, this might not be the most likely scenario, but it would be a coup for the Tories if they could pull it off, as it would cripple Iggy's leadership and give themselves a, more-or-less, free hand for the next 2 and half years.


Agreed. I don't understand the Liberal thinking on this one, since it will only appeal to the voter base that they already have (urban Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver) and not to the voters that they need (suburban, rural). Is Ignatieff getting bad advice again?

Jeff Jedras said...

Rat, I don't think that's much of a compromise at all, frankly. I'm curious, do you apply your arguments to hand guns as well? If not, how do you justify registering hand guns but rifles? I think the arguments you make could be applied to both, but as far as I know there's no wide-spread movement to end the hand gun registry -- we're only talking long guns.

I'm willing to look at changing the rules around confiscation, but I disagree ease of confiscation is a reason for ending the registry.

I'd actually view classification and confiscation as a separate issue, that should be addressed separately.

We can debate which weapons should be banned, and how that process should work. But as another commenter pointed out, registry or not, weapons will be classified and some will be banned. And if you own a banned weapon, even without the registry, you have a legal obligation to turn it in.

Now, yes, the registry does make it easier for the police to know who owns, and hasn't turned in, banned weapons. But is "it will be harder to hang on to my illegal and banned weapons" really an argument against the registry? That seems like a weak one to me.

I'm prepared to take many steps to address the concerns of law-abiding gun owners. But when you start talking about banned weapons, well, they're not law-abiding anymore, are they? So you lose me there.

Jeff Jedras said...

CS,

I would argue that if the database has become so hopelessly out of date, that's for two primary reasons: the Conservative government has ended any meaningful efforts to maintain it, and the gun lobby has launched an expensive and extensive campaign to encourage gun owners to not register.

It would have been a lot more honest for the government to move forthrightly at the beginning of their mandate to kill the registry. Instead they didn't even try, instead continually throwing wrenches into the system so they could then turn around and exclaim how broke it is. Frankly, I'm not inclined to reward such behaviour.

As for compliance, I still fail to see why the heck this is so onerous. No fees, no criminal punishment for non-compliance, a streamlined process.

While some people yes will never accept it, I firmly believe the majority of citizens are civic minded and law-abiding.

And I've tried to refrain in my reply here from "partisan shots" but if you're really going to call police officers a special interest lobby group, I may not be able to stop myself. I call people like the deputy commissioner of the RCMP learned experts.

Were I to dare question the stated opinion of a military leader on, say, the handling of Afghan detainees, the immediate retort from many Conservatives would be to ask why I hate the troops and question my patriotism. Yet police officers are just another special interest.

I'll admit, these distinctions at times are unclear to me.

Jeff Jedras said...

Robert,
Putting aside the premise that the NDP has given up on ever forming government, I have to say I disagree. This is not really a private members bill. As I said, the Conservatives have gone this route precisely because they knew they could get enough Liberal and NDP votes to pass it this way, but couldn’t as a government bill.
It’s all a farce, and Hopener is merely the front-person for the government. The Conservatives are now buying radio ads to target the 8 Liberal MPs. That makes it plain as day this is no private members bill.
So the question is, do the NDP call their bluff, or do they hold true to their stated position and let the registry die in hopes of keeping future private member’s votes party-line free and helping them pass future hypothetical legislation?
Let me ask this. Let’s say you let the registry thing go, and it dies. That sets a precedent too for every divisive issue the Conservatives want to ram through. Just do it as a private member’s bill. How about ending all pay equity laws? Capital punishment? Abortion? At what point do you step in and say “this principle is more important than the sanctity of supposed private members bills?” Layton did whip the same sex marriage bill, and as I recall he kicked someone out of caucus for not towing that line. It was a government bill, but point being he does believe some things are about principle.
Anyway, the NDP will do what it will. My point is just they can’t hold themselves up as strong defenders of the registry while at the same time aiding its destruction. They need to pick.
And finally, this isn’t being forced on those 8 Liberal MPs. They all sat down as a caucus, put the concerns of their respective constituents on the table, and reached a consensus on reforms they think will satisfy the concerns of a majority of both their urban and rural voters. I have some confidence the NDP could do the same.

Jeff Jedras said...

Carl,

I find it useful to look at voters in pools, or groups. There will be a group that will never be satisfied, even with abolition. There’s a group that isn’t opposed in theory, but has very legitimate concerns. I don’t think we can every hope to appease that first group. The second, though, I think we can address their concerns, and I think these reforms do go a long way in that regard.
If you look at the case of those 8 MPs in particular, I’d argue most of the swing voters they’d be concerned with fall into group two. Group one would never vote Liberal under any circumstances. So I think we’ve done enough to convince the majority of group two, but of course the proof will be in the pudding.
As for the caucus, we’ll see. I’m told they all hashed this out and are on board; if that’s the case whipping it is really academic. If they’re not, then yes, you’re running a risk. I’d like to think they’re smart enough to have worked this all out behind the scenes with their MPs, minimizing that risk. But you do never know.

Jeff Jedras said...

Fred,

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the flip-side of that argument. How would successfully killing the registry play with the Conservatives' urban/suburban voters? And is that/should that be a concern for the party at all?

CanadianSense said...

Jeff,

Let's agree to disagree with costs to fix the Registry or Political will.

I accept your criticism about the CPC not collecting fees, have no interest in the program. (See campaign)

We are talking about long gun registry.

(Plan B, loss of senate majority, fallout from Liberal (progressive) urban voters.)

This is NOT about handgun or banned weapons.

I don't accept your premise the CPC since 2006 would be responsible for the LGR being a complete and utter failure. I clearly stated 50% were NEVER registered.

This is NOT the same as Chalk River or Maple Three Reactors lack of maintenance issues.

I have asked specific all the PRO-Registry folks 50% are NOT or NEVER WERE registered and we have already spent $ 2 Billion.

How much more to register the other 50%?
Do you believe we have more than 50% compliance? (Links)

Are you suggesting Police Chiefs Association are not a special interest group?

I would say the Teacher's Union is also a special interest group.

You may have a different definition of what we classify as special interest group. (I did not use the term to denigrate the Police Chiefs)

( Definition Special Interest: I am referring to the size and interests of the group that may or may not be compatible with the larger majority).

You work in software, are you going to suggest those companies who are developing, selling software would not benefit from donating to this group to keep or expand the use of software?.

Lastly reminder "10,000 hits" include routine speeding, parking required to boost validity on database by Chiefs that may be getting donations to their association.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation has a few posts on this usefulness of the Registry.

The Rat said...

Sorry Jeff, but you aren't offering a compromise, either. To quote you:

"I'm prepared to take many steps to address the concerns of law-abiding gun owners. But when you start talking about banned weapons, well, they're not law-abiding anymore, are they? So you lose me there."

When I start talking about banned weapons what I am actually talking about are legal firearms that magically become banned every time the Liberals are in office. In the 1970 the Liberals banned and seized hundreds of thousands of guns. Then you guys did the same in 1994. And you have never, ever paid compensation. So when we talk about "banned" guns you are projecting into the future after your guys, like Paul Martin and his total handgun ban, have made more private property "illegal" with the stroke of a pen.

I wonder how happy you will be if we Conservatives happen to check the car registry and ban cars favoured by Liberals and then confiscate them without compensation? Will you happily turn in your car? It is "illegal", you know.

Jeff Jedras said...

Actually Rat, I gave you lots of compromise. We gave you changing non-registration from a criminal to a ticketed offence. We gave you no more user fees. And we gave you a streamlining of paperwork. And I've given you a willingness to change the classification and confiscation process with an eye to transparency.

That's a whole heckuva lot of compromise. It's not at all clear to me where you've moved at all from your original position -- kill the registry all together -- and you've not indicated how you'd be willing to move from that position, or even that you would.

If you're not willing to budge, that's fine. Just say so. For many people nothing but abolishment will do. But don't pretend otherwise, nor pretend my side hasn't moved.

And seizing cars? Be serious. Make me a public safety argument for why a brand or model of car should be seized and we'll talk.Other than those Toyotas.

And by the way, the Cons have been in power for, what, four years? Why haven't they unbanned any unfairly banned weapons? Or paid out compensation that should have been paid? Or change the rules on how that's done? Maybe because they either agree with what was done, or don't have a problem with it?

Apparently all it takes is a stroke of a pen. But your stated issue is that the registry makes it easier to seize banned weapons. I'd submit again then that, if that is your concern, then you should direct your energies to the classification and banning process. Because it's a weak argument for killing the registry in my view.

Yes, the registry makes it easier for the police to do their job. Should we really be making it harder? That's a tough platform to run on.

CS,

Maybe it depends on the motive you ascribe to special interest group. Are you using the term in a positive or a negative context?

What's the special interest of police officers? I'd say it's keeping the public safe and keeping themselves safe while doing it. Is that wrong? Yes, they do have an interest -- law enforcement.

Is there some other motive you're ascribing to police here, one that invalidates the opinion of police officers on policing issues? If so, could you provide a little more detail? Because it escapes me.

CanadianSense said...

The Police Chief Association represents the rank and file? The (Police Chiefs) executive may or may not represent the interests of the majority of police chiefs.

I don't need to explain how a small cabal (executive, riding presidents, large donors - 500?) make decisions not supported by rank and file. (Ask grassroots Liberals about Ignatieff)

Next.

You repeatedly ignore the significant costs and errors in Sheila Fraser Report and other stories highlighting the lack of compliance as high as 50%.

..the Liberals would maintain the registry but make it easy for gun-owners to ignore it, and add to the cost of running it by eliminating fees..National Post Kelly McParland.

Jeff you are too smart to play this game on this issue. I can readily admit when the CPC make mistakes, I disagree, or they are playing games. Why can't you?

Fred from BC said...

Jeff Jedras said...

Fred,

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the flip-side of that argument. How would successfully killing the registry play with the Conservatives' urban/suburban voters? And is that/should that be a concern for the party at all?


It would be the fulfillment of a long-standing campaign promise. Very important to some, not so much for others. I can't think of anyone I know who votes Conservative that would object to it.

More importantly: is this really the hill that Michael Ignatieff wants to die on? Aren't there more pressing issues and more relevant subjects for the Liberal Party to tackle?