(Note: I already posted most of the following in a comment on Victor Wong’s blog The Phantom Observer. Victor is a partisan Tory and I am not, but as a person who has campaigned for the right in the past, and as someone who is very much still interested in Canadian conservatism, I very much like Victor’s fair-mindedness, notwithstanding our difference of positions on this issue.)
The House of Commons yesterday thankfully voted to keep the long-gun registry. Why this even came to a vote in the first place I don’t know, though. In fact, I don’t understand why the “Conservative” position on the issue of the long-gun registry came to be identified with scrapping the registry. Stephen Harper once voted in favour of this registry. The police chiefs of Canada have spoken loudly and clearly in favour of keeping the registry. The police forces of the country query the registry thousands of times per day. The registry has assisted investigations, and can also be used to confiscate illegally-owned guns; it may also have the advantage of deterring gun ownership in the first place.
In Canada no one has the “right” to “bear arms” as American citizens in the US do. Canada was not a country founded in war, and that’s a good thing: just look at our crime rates compared to theirs, and how many people guns kill in America compared to most other western countries; the differences are out of proportion to the large US population. I’d sooner live in gun-less Japan than in gun-toting America.*
Furthermore, in an urban environment, the presence of a large number of guns cannot but lead to an increase in suicides, thefts of guns, homicides committed out of passion, and even accidents. 90% of Canadians no longer live in the forests surrounded by prowling bears. Those that do can pay their license fees and register their guns.
I’m glad the registry was kept, and I’m a bit upset that the Tories arm-twisted their MPs into voting along party lines in favour of this position. In fact, I’m disturbed that amidst the global economic crisis, when a recession has been playing havoc with us all, the government could think of nothing better to do. Really, the Government ought to be ashamed of themselves!
Finally, the conservative movement in the US is now being led by simple-minded idiots including an ex-witch and a Pentacostal acrobat; if Canadian conservatives go down the intellectually-shallow, short-sighted, and mean-spirited path of their southern counterparts, they will lose the ear of the country remarkably quickly. I really think that if this gun-control business is pursued any further, the conservatives in Canada will need to start asking themselves some hard questions about where they are headed. In the meantime, I very much hope that the government can get back to the business of governing properly.
For now, then, all I can say is thank the gods for Ignatieff and Duceppe, and, to a lesser extent, Layton!
*Incidentally, large numbers of the guns that the Mexican drug cartels are using are legally made in the US. American gun culture as an awful lot to answer for–I see it as the Babylon Mystery of the new world right now.