Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So do we want the gun registry or not?

In the end, nobody is going to remember exactly how Harper dismantled the gun registry, only whether he did it in spite of having a minority government.
If the registry is dismantled, that the Tories abused the Private Members Bill to trick the NDP into abandoning their rural members will be portrayed by the media as an example of Harper's masterful parliamentary finesse.
In retrospect, the bill should not have made it through second reading last fall. But by promoting the mantra about how private members bills are "free" votes -- as though that is some kind of inviolate rule --Harper got just enough Liberal and NDP support.
Yes, usually PMBs are free votes, because PMBs are not supposed to be used to implement government policy. But in this case, dismantling the registry is definitely a Tory policy.
So Michael Ignatieff basically had to decide whether the Liberals wanted a gun registry in Canada or not. As the Liberal leader, he had to take the pressure off his MPs by taking the heat himself, and whipping the Liberal vote to support the registry.
Its a decision Jack Layton should be making.

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