November 05, 2009
For the sake of the West, long-gun registry must be abolished (published in the Edmonton Journal)
With few members of Parliament from the West, the Liberals had little understanding of how we live and the things that are important to us.
One issue revealed the alienation between Ottawa and the West more than any other: the incredibly costly and utterly ineffective federal long-gun registry.
Flawed from conception, it was an insult to law-abiding Canadians and a particular affront to people who live in rural areas. It was aimed squarely at farmers and hunters instead of criminals, and in the 13 years since it was implemented in 1996, the gun registry has failed to prevent a single crime. How could it?
According to the RCMP 94 per cent of all guns used to commit crimes are smuggled into Canada illegally. Yet taxpayers have spent billions on the registry and, even today, less than half of all the legally owned guns in Canada have been registered.
Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our Conservative government is committed to scrapping the wasteful and useless gun registry.
Achieving this goal is no easy task in a minority Parliament, but we are now at a crucial point in our ongoing fight to stop this multibillion-dollar bureaucratic boondoggle.
Candice Hoeppner, Conservative Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar, has put forward Bill C-391 to repeal the gun registry. This bill has the full support of the Conservative caucus, and I am looking forward to standing up with all my colleagues and voting for it in the House.
Of course, Conservative support alone is not enough to ensure passage of the bill.
We hope that some Liberal and NDP members, especially those who represent rural areas, will listen to their constituents and vote with the government.
Some have tried to have it both ways on the issue; they publicly oppose the registry when they're at home in their ridings but they quietly support it when they're in Ottawa.
These MPs will now have to stand up and be counted. I sincerely hope enough of them will do the right thing and side with our government to help us pass Bill C-391.
Our determination to scrap the registry is partly about cutting unnecessary spending and saving taxpayers money, but it also reflects our values.
As Conservatives, we believe government that governs least governs best. There is a legitimate role for government in many areas of society, including health, education, welfare, economic regulation, national security and maintaining the rule of law.
But government must recognize that individual freedom is paramount in a healthy democratic society, and minimize its infringement on our freedom.
Our Conservative government trusts and respects Canadians. That is why we believe in repealing the long-gun registry, lowering taxes, and reducing business regulation. It is also why we introduced the Universal Child-care Benefit, giving Canadians choice in child care.
We Conservatives believe in a robust role for government, but not one which robs individuals, families, and communities of the opportunity to make their own choices and to use their own money to pursue their dreams.
I sincerely hope enough of my parliamentary colleagues in the opposition parties will join me in voting against the federal gun registry.
Doing so would save taxpayers billions and send a positive message to all Canadians about the proper role and responsibilities of government. And it would bolster Canadians' trust in and respect for government, which has been sorely tested by misguided policies like the gun registry.