Liberal MP Jennings Takes Shot at Rural Ontario Values


THUNDER BAY – Kenora MP Greg Rickford has come under attack from the Liberals, and the Toronto Star over a meeting the MP will attend in Dryden this weekend.

Rickford’s office issued an advisory earlier this week which said, “Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora, will hold an information session to update constituents on the status and future of Private Member’s Bill C-391 to end the Long-Gun Registry. A question and answer period will follow.

Please join us: Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010
Location: Dryden Agricultural Fairgrounds(½ km north on Hwy 601 off Hwy 17 and turn left on Wice Road)
Time: 5:00 pm”

The event will include a spaghetti dinner, and proceeds from the event will go to the Dryden Agricultural Society and the Dryden Gun Club. It is a move supporting local charities that many MPs make on a regular basis. In fact Prime Minister Harper just finished coaching a hockey game with Don Cherry. The proceeds from that event go to charity.

In the Toronto Star article, it states, “Liberal MP Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce/Lachine) said on Friday she will send a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons asking him to examine whether this violates the rules governing use of parliamentary resources”.

The Star article, one of only three total articles which mention the Town of Dryden goes on to state, “Rickford did not respond to a request for more information about the event or why he promoted it the way he did. But he did issue a statement via email dismissing the issue as “yet another Liberal attack on gun owners and rural Canada.”
“The Star did not yet have the chance to tell him about the formal complaint from the Liberal MP.”

Although the report in the Toronto Star is a “news report” the comment that the newspaper “did not yet have the chance” to tell Rickford about the “formal complaint” makes their bias as obvious as possible.

If the paper reported that there was no comment from Rickford over “formal complaint” from Jennings, it would seem more like news reporting?

The entire uproar over an MP supporting the abolition of the very expensive long gun registry, which is part of the Conservative platform appears as much as anything to be as Rickford stated to the Star, an admission that the Liberals still don’t understand rural Canada.

The reality looking at Canada’s political map is once you leave Toronto, and head west, finding Liberal Members of Parliament becomes increasingly rare.

The Liberals have, for the most part become the Party of Toronto, with small pockets featuring MPs in Montreal, Vancouver, and isolated spots in between. There are no Liberal MPs in Alberta, only five in British Columbia, one in Saskatchewan, and only one in Manitoba.

In Northwestern Ontario, former MPs Roger Valley and Ken Boshcoff were defeated in the last election. Joe Comuzzi who had been elected as a Liberal was kicked out of the Liberal Party by then leader Stephane Dion over an announcement he was supporting the riding and a Conservative Budget that was providing funding for Thunder Bay’s molecular medicine research programs.

The gun registry, which the Liberals when they brought the scheme forward was budgeted to cost $2 million dollars has ballooned into a $2 billion dollar morass of funding that the Auditor General in 2002 stated was impossible to audit because the records were so bad.

In 2005 the Auditor General stated, “We examined the progress made in the management of the Canadian Firearms Program since 2002, when we reported that we were unable to complete our audit of the cost of implementing the program. We said the financial information was unreliable and did not fairly present the net costs of the program. We also reported that the Department of Justice was not giving Parliament enough information to allow for effective scrutiny of the program or to explain the dramatic increase in its costs. We made only one recommendation in 2002: The Department of Justice should rectify these gaps in financial reporting.”

In terms of overall costs, the Auditor General has stated, “In 1995 the Department told Parliament that the Canadian Firearms Program would cost $119 million to implement, which would be offset by $117 million in fees. We requested the Department provide us with information on Program costs and revenues for the period 1995-96 to 2001-02. The information the Department provided states that by 2001-02 it has spent about $688 million on the Program and collected about $59 million in revenues after refunds. We believe that this information does not fairly present the cost of the Program to the government.

“In 2000, the Department of Justice estimated that by 2004-05 it would spend at least $1 billion on the Program and collect $140 million in fees after refunds. This amount does not include all financial impacts on the government. The Department also did not report to Parliament on the wider costs of the Program as required by the government’s regulatory policy.”

The gun registry remains a hallmark of the Liberal government, and supporting that program appears to remain bedrock Liberal policy.

Perhaps the idea that people in rural Canada own and use rifles and shotguns to hunt, protect livestock, and many times those rifles and shotguns are family heirlooms, escapes the Liberal Party.

What also seems outside the realm of Marlene Jennings is that outside of Toronto, many police officers are members of clubs like the Dryden Gun Club and that is where they practice.

Gun clubs across Canada have been in place for generations, and it is where countless law-abiding Canadians have learned gun safety.

Perhaps for the Toronto Star, the real news is that their Ottawa Bureau Chief has discovered that Northwestern Ontario exists.

The sad part is that the Toronto Star has missed that life in rural Canada is far different that on the streets of downtown Toronto.

Of course, based on their possible source for their attack on the people of Dryden and rural Canadians is an urban Liberal MP.

Maybe the real issue here is far more simplistic. Greg Rickford was the MP who blew the whistle on Liberal MPs who were using their parliamentary websites to raise money for their failed leadership races. This attack on the Kenora MP is likely no more than a retaliation by the Liberals for making that issue public.

That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.

James Murray

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