THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Federation of Anglers are expressing frustration over Northern Ontario NDP MPs who have declared that they will vote to keep the federal long gun registry.
With the notable exception of MPs Peter Stoffer, John Rafferty and Bruce Hyer, NDP members who previously supported Bill C-391 and scrapping the long gun registry, will ignore the views of their constituents, the outdoor community, hunters, farmers, recreational and Olympic shooters and thousands of front line police officers across Canada, and back a Liberal motion to kill the bill.
“The complete abdication of responsibility by these NDP Members of Parliament, who were elected to represent their constituents is disappointing but not unexpected,” said Greg Farrant, Manager of Government Affairs and Policy, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. “Threats by the Liberal opposition; intimidation by the NDP leader and caucus colleagues; misinformation by anti-gun lobbyists; and a propaganda campaign under the guise of ‘public information’ by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) appear to have done the job.
“These MPs have abandoned their principles, betrayed their constituents; ignored the overwhelming results of eighteen national and regional public opinion polls in favor of scrapping the long gun registry; placed their faith in half-baked ‘compromises’ that are neither workable or constitutional; overlooked the fact that the long gun registry has neither saved lives nor enhanced public safety; and supported the continued waste of taxpayers’ dollars on a badly flawed system that places front line officers in jeopardy if they rely on the information it contains.”
Ontario NDP MPs Carol Hughes, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing; Claude Gravelle, Nickel Belt; Glenn Thibeault, Sudbury; Charlie Angus, Timmins-James Bay; and Malcolm Allen, Welland each supported Bill C-391 on Second Reading. In fact, some went so far as to indicate that they intended to keep doing so until the bill was passed.
“I was happy to cast a vote in support of C-391 on behalf of the people of Nickel Belt, and I am pleased that this bill is moving forward to committee… I will continue to support this bill through the rest of the legislative process, and I look forward to casting a final vote to abolish the Long Gun Registry when it comes back to the House.” Claude Gravelle, November 2009
“I’ve got to go with what the people who brought me here (to Parliament), what they say. I’m the MP for Sudbury and my constituents are telling me that’s what they’d like.” Glenn Thibeault, December 2009
Thibeault has said he received more than 500 phone calls and e-mails in favor of eliminating the long gun registry. He received roughly 50 responses from constituents who wanted to keep the registry.
“Jack Layton stated he would allow his caucus to vote their conscience on this issue. If that’s the case, why the bullying and intimidation of NDP members by their caucus colleague MP Joe Comartin, Windsor-Tecumseh to switch their vote,” Farrant asked.
“The Liberals claim that the RCMP report is proof that the registry works. If they’re so convinced of that, then why have two previous Liberal reviews of the long gun registry never been released and remain protected by Cabinet confidentiality? Former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin said the registry was badly flawed, and promised the outdoor community that he would fix it. He even appointed a Minister to review the registry and make recommendations, which were dismissed in Cabinet and buried out of sight.
“The hypocrisy on the part of both the NDP and Liberals in this debate is staggering. Liberal and NDP members who voted in support of Bill C-391 and have now flip flopped, have abandoned their principles and thrown their constituents under the bus in the name of political expediency.”
The O.F.A.H. offer up a list of facts on the issue:
- The Auditor General of Canada reported in 2002 and 2006 that the Canadian Firearms Centre was unable or unwilling to demonstrate how the long gun registry had enhanced public safety or saved lives.
- Crimes using long guns have been declining since the early 1970’s long before the registry ever existed.
- The rate of firearms related death declined from the mid 1970’s to 2002 but has increased by 24% since the introduction of the long gun registry, largely due to the increased use of illegal firearms smuggled into Canada to commit crime.
- The female spousal murder rate fell by more than 50% between 1979 and 2000, the year before the long gun registry began.
- Between 1995 and 2008 the use of knives were used more often to kill women than firearms.
- The firearms used by abusive spouses are almost all possessed illegally, something that the registry has no effect on.
- Over 400,000 are prohibited by court order from possessing firearms, including 36,000 with restraining orders, but are not tracked by police.
- Instead of tracking legal firearms owners, Police in Baltimore, New York City, New Jersey and Virginia have instituted prohibited offenders registries targeting those prohibited from possessing firearms because of criminal activity – crime rates due to firearms violence have decreased dramatically in these cases.
- The Coalition for Gun Control says the long gun registry has saved lives, but offers no fact-based evidence to support that contention.
- A recent RCMP report indicated that police are divided on the registry.
- The report contained the admission that the registry contains inconsistent and contradictory data.
- The report noted that the long gun registry costs $23 million annually to operate, not the $4 million claimed by the CACP.
- The report stated that the registry has an error rate of 1 – 2% = 70,000 to 140,000 inaccurate entries in the database.
- Police associations in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton have supported scrapping the registry, as has the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers.
- There is only a 30 – 50% compliance rate after 15 years.
- The Department of Justice found that 84% of firearms used in the commission of crimes were unregistered, and overall 74.9% were illegal guns smuggled into Canada.
- A new report in the Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice found that about 2/3 of the firearms seized in Canada were smuggled in from the U.S.
- Illegal handguns are responsible for 92% of gun crime in Canada, despite the existence of a handgun registry since 1934.
- The CACP claims that Chiefs attending the recent CACP meeting in Edmonton unanimously supported the registry when in fact, the report they were asked to endorse contained not one mention of the long gun registry.
- The CACP claims that police use the registry 11,500 times a day – Figures on the Canadian Firearms Centre website indicate that the real number is actually less than 20 times.
- Ottawa Police Chief Vern White disagrees with the CACP, adding that most hits to the registry are automatically generated and not an actual check of the system.
- Calgary Police Chief Rick Hansen thinks the registry is flawed and fails to tackle the real issues of gun violence.
- Abbotsford B.C. Police Chief Bob Rich believes we are having the wrong debate and the gun registry misses the real gun crimes plaguing the community – 90% of firearms used in crime in his jurisdiction were smuggled in from Washington State – the number of smuggled firearms used to commit crime in Toronto is 70%.
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visitwww.ofah.org.