“I am quite eager to cast a vote to abolish the Long Gun Registry” – John Rafferty MP


John Rafferty MPTHUNDER BAY – Leader’s Ledger – Before I begin this week’s column I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to write, visit one of my offices, or speak with me about the Long Gun Registry issue this past week. I was very encouraged by your support and believe that I have a clear mandate to vote to abolish the Long Gun Registry when I return to Ottawa.

I am quite eager to cast a vote to abolish the Long Gun Registry not just because an overwhelming majority of the constituents in our riding want it gone, but also because there are far more pressing issues that should be front and centre in Ottawa, namely the economy.

If you think the Harper Government is the best positioned to run our economy, then you may want to reconsider this belief in light of recent evidence to the contrary. In October Canada shed 71,700 full time while the “struggling” US economy added 80,000. If the scale of Canada’s job losses were increased to fit the size of the US economy, then Canada would have shed 717,000 jobs. US media outlets would have rightly called a catastrophe.

Delving a little into the jobs report we find some very discouraging details. Ontario alone lost 39,000 jobs, and our province’s unemployment rate rose by 0.5% to hit 8.1%. The manufacturing sector in Canada shed a staggering 48,000 jobs while construction shed 20,000 jobs. These losses are of particular concern because manufacturing and construction jobs are particularly well paying which means that spin-off losses in affected communities are likely to add up as that money is taken out of the economy in the coming months. These numbers are also eerily reminiscent of what happened on the eve of the 2009 recession that the Conservatives apparently “never saw coming.”

Jobs aren’t the only problem confronting the Canadian economy though as growth is also lagging most other industrialized countries – contrary to Conservative talking points that say we are doing better than others during the recovery. In fact, Canada was very nearly the first industrialized country to fall back into recession last month. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. Over the last two quarters, Canada’s economic growth was found to be (-0.1), and 0.3 respectively. A close call to be sure, but especially when no other industrialized country was even at risk. It wasn’t even a possibility in the US.

Basically, the big problem is that the Harper Government is playing a game of bait and switch in Ottawa. The ‘bait’ in this case are Conservative talking points that say that Canada is better off than other countries when it comes to the economy and jobs – which the mainstream national media happily regurgitates without investigation or analysis. The ‘switch’ then follows with a manufactured crisis of sorts on another subject, such as their decision to ram through a Long Gun Registry bill in a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months. It certainly made for a good media circus and an awkward moment or two for the Official Opposition, but is that really what we should have been focusing on with huge job losses and the third largest economy in Europe on the verge of bankruptcy? I don’t think so, but the mainstream national media fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

In closing, I want to again thank everyone for their support and for providing me with such a clear mandate on the Long Gun Registry issue. I can’t wait until the final vote on that issue finally comes later in the month so we can get back to work on the most important issue facing Canadians – namely the stumbling economy and a do-nothing government that is failing to protect the jobs, pensions, and economic well-being of families across the country.

John Rafferty MP
Thunder Bay Rainy River

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