Ignatieff Misses the Target – Demonstrates Rural Divide

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THUNDER BAY – Hunting Season is getting into full swing across most parts of Canada. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has spent a summer hunting for votes, and likely has no clue that tens of thousands of Canadians are headed to the woods to hunt and put meat in their freezer for winter.

So just as all those hunters are dusting off their rifles and shotguns, and thinking about all the rules that the Liberal’s gun registry places in their path, there is the Liberal leader out fighting to save the whole mess.

The timing likely has Conservatives gleeful to see their political opponents so out of touch at what really is, for many hunters the one time a year that they really think about their guns. It shows that Ignatieff and his team remain out of touch with rural Canada.

The Liberal leader got lost in his rhetoric even more this week. Ignatieff stated in a television interview last night on CBC Television that the NRA should not be involved in Canadian issues or the debate on firearms.

One wonders whether the Liberal leader holds the same view about IANSA, one of the pro-gun control groups which has been helping the Canadian anti-gun lobby.

If Ignatieff does not want outside groups attempting to influence Canadian policy, then certainly he must be opposed to any outside group? Or is the Liberal leader simply targeting the American National Rifle Association (NRA)?

If, as Ignatieff has said, this is a policy direction that should not admit any outside influences, then perhaps he might want to consider that under the IANSA umbrella are 800 groups attempting to influence governments in a number of countries around the world.

The IANSA website states, “The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is the global movement against gun violence – a network of 800 civil society organisations working in 120 countries to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW).”

It continues, “IANSA participants in Canada are working to:

  • defend the new gun registration law from attempts to overturn it
  • educate the public and policymakers on further measures to reduce gun violence
  • engage in international efforts to achieve stronger regulations of the arms trade

In Canada, the IANSA members are:

Coalition for Gun Control
Project Ploughshares
South Asia Partnership

In May 2008, Wendy Cukier, a professor at Ryerson College in Toronto, and President of the Coalition for Gun Control, writing for Project Plowshares stated, “SAWG seeks to engage the Canadian peace, disarmament, human rights and development NGO communities in the development and promotion of national and international policies and measures to reverse the diffusion and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Project Ploughshares is the coordinating agency of the working group.

“Through meetings, workshops and roundtables on small arms, the Working Group provides a forum, which encourages members to exchange information, share lessons learned and explore specific areas of collaboration and serves as a link between the NGO community and the Canadian government by engaging in small arms policy dialogue with relevant departments.”

SAWG is an acrynom for Small Arms Working Group.

Sharing information, lessons learned, and working with each other is exactly what the CBC and Michael Ignatieff are complaining about Canadian groups and the American NRA.

If the Coalition for Gun Control is lobbying the federal government, they may be doing so without having registered as lobbyists. While they have registered in the past, they do not show up presently on the federal registry.

Perhaps in the past, under a Liberal Government the lobby group had far greater success, leading Canada into the two billion dollar fiscal mess that is the gun registry’s real legacy.

If the Liberal leader is serious about his assertion that this should be a made-in-Canada issue, then perhaps instead of limiting his comments to one side of the debate, he might wish to expand it to embrace all sides of the groups receiving outside support to lobby the Government of Canada, or the Liberal Party.

International experts tell NetNewsledger.com that IANSA is unable to show any evidence whatever that the methods it proposes actually do work to lower violence. In fact, they have a decades-long worldwide record of failing to do so. But what do you want to bet that Michael Ignatieff won’t deliver both sides of this issue?

James Murray

News Director