Tories party after gun registry vote

Prime minister Stephen Harper last week challenged opposition parties that support the long gun registry to have the political courage of their convictions.

“If the NDP really believes and the Liberal party really believes in the long gun registry, then I challenge them to come to the House (of Commons) every day from now until the next election and tell Canadians they will bring it back,” Harper said in the Commons Feb. 16.

“We would be happy to take them on.”

The previous evening, Harper and his Conservatives achieved a long-time goal by voting to abolish the 16-year-old registry created by a previous Liberal government.

The party has argued for years that the registry unfairly targeted law-abiding farmers and hunters while doing nothing to fight gun violence.

The Feb. 15 vote, 159-130, sent Bill C-19 to the Senate for final hearings and debate. It marked a major step in the campaign.

The Conservative-dominated Senate is expected to pass the bill and send it to the governor-general for proclamation into law by spring.

Once the legislation is law, the RCMP will quickly begin to examine data in the registry to determine what should be erased.

While a potential Quebec court case and its attempt to create a provincial registry will keep the issue alive in the political debate, Conservative MPs last week were celebrating an important victory in their battle against the registry.

They mingled with their allies at a Parliament Hill reception soon after the voting ended.

The celebration raised the ire of opponents.

“Shamefully, as we saw last night, the (Conservatives) celebrated the loss of one of our most effective gun violence prevention tools,” Ontario New Democrat Rathika Sitsabaiesan said Feb. 16.

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