The Day Progressive Bloggers Exploded in a Partisan Frenzy (updated–again)

Bang!  Boom!  Shriek!   Owwwww!

Progressive Bloggers exhibits all the signs of a collective nervous breakdown as it spins into a frenzy of partisan rage over the long gun registry, with Liberal bloggers hammering Jack Layton and NDP bloggers returning fire.   Check it out, but keep your head down and don’t get caught in the crossfire!

Ironically, most of the people slugging it out on the progressive blogs sort of want the same thing — to keep the registry happening. Layton himself will vote against the bill that would kill it… he just won’t crack the whip and dictate that his caucus do the same (which to me sounds like the populist, grassroots, democratic thing to do, but I would think that, now wouldn’t I?).

Apart from how ridiculous this all looks to us non-partisan types, and how awesomely wonderful it probably looks to Steve-o, it’s even more interesting that this burst of partisan fury should explode the same day as the publication of the much-vaunted Second RCMP Report that was expected to Completely Vindicate the registry and definitively prove that it “Saves lives!”.  It was a report so explosive, so incendiary, so positive to the pro-registry case, that the officer responsible for it was sent away to Francais Camp, a move that seemed suspiciously designed to keep him from presenting it at a Coppapalooza shindig last week.

Today as partisan bloggers sparred viciously over the registry, the publication of the report that Liberals were screaming for last week was met with great…


Um err yeah, okay.  What?

UPDATE: Et tu, Heather?

Mallick’s column shows exactly what’s wrong with this whole debate — inasmuch as one could call two sides shrieking past each other a “debate” — the hysteria and perpetuation of myths. Consider these spittle-flecked little gems:

They will help turn Canada into an unregulated gun zone that is especially dangerous for women.


The corpses of the Montreal Massacre are silent and the yapping gun-freedom brigade is so very loud.

This is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.  While she doesn’t come right out and say that ditching the registry would mean the End of Gun Control! or that the registry would have saved the Polytechnique victims, both provable falsehoods, the inference is definitely there and the uninformed eat it up.

I have said many times that I am not opposed to gun control in principle, just this registry.  I think gun control is a valid discussion for Canadians to have.  But it often feels as though this debate is dominated by two extremes:  those who think their rights are being trampled if they can’t stroll through the mall with an AK47 strapped over their shoulder and claim the registry is totally useless, and those who insist that to oppose the registry is to spit on the graves of everyone ever killed by gunfire, and that the registry is so useful it does everything but give you a BJ.  Most of us dwell philosophically somewhere in between, and that is really where the discussion should take place, don’t you think?

UPDATE II (Sept.2):  In fairness, a few words from the other side of the spittle-flecked divide — CPC MP Garry Breitkreuz dons his tinfoil hat and without further ado, gets his freak on:

Why are the police chiefs so strident in their quest to keep the registry in place? They won’t admit it, but it appears they don’t want Canadians to own guns. To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.

While there’s good reason to be concerned about police powers of search and seizure, Breitkreuz is engaging in some pretty frantic fearmongering there.  Of course police would probably prefer citizens to be unarmed — it would make their jobs a lot easier.  But so too would submitting our fingerprints, DNA and retinal scans, and opening our homes for weekly police inspections.  And maybe microchipping our bad selves — why not?  We do it to our dogs! Fortunately, I think we’ll start doing those things about the same time as police start confiscating guns due to lapsed registrations.  It’s unlikely such an offense would merit any worse retribution than the good old “strongly-worded letter”, perhaps including the always-useful “veiled threat”.  Oh and of course, the ever-popular “Fine”.

And anyone who wonders why this debate seems to generate so much more heat than light need look no further than those articles.

24 Responses to “The Day Progressive Bloggers Exploded in a Partisan Frenzy (updated–again)”

  1. 1 Jymn Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    In this climate of all out war, does the report mean anything? That’s the scary part. The Conservatives will spin it with the complicity of the media and the game is over. I thought they were the enemy but it is us.

  2. 2 Thor Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I hear you and agree with you for the most part.
    I wasn’t going to write anything back at the Liberal bloggers, but after so many days of Liberal bloggers bashing the NDP and Jack Layton, I had to say something.

    Suffice to say, I think we (Libs and Dippers), for the most part, want the same thing. We both want a gun registry. And, I think we both want a registry that works and is not a big hassle for rural gun owners.

    Without a doubt the registry has been proven to help with fighting crime and saving lives. But also, the way it is currently set up, makes it difficult for many rural gun owners to register, and it criminalizes those who fail to properly register.

    Instead of raging against one party or another, why not start a campaign together, writing to all MPs of all parties to a) not scrap the registry and b) improve it so it works better overall. This would make more sense than all this fighting amongst the registry supporters. Harper is loving that.

  3. 3 JJ Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Jymn – Interesting comment… what is this climate of all-out war? Where does it come from? Who started the war? I’m not sure I get it.

    In spite of the war, I thought this report was supposed to be some kind of slam-dunk — that’s why the anti-registry cons sent Cheliak away, no? At any rate, I thought it would have been important enough for someone to blog about and explain it. Now I’ll have to read it myself 😦

  4. 4 JJ Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Thor – Oh, I don’t blame Dippers for hitting back when Layton’s being pummeled. It must be irresistible, since the libs are such big fat hypocrites — they think the registry is important enough to use the whip, but not gay marriage? Not that ridiculous “unborn victims” bill that would have eroded abortion rights? The only reason they’re whipping is because the registry is THEIR program, and once again they’re pandering to their urban anti-gun base. They knew it would be a good wedge issue when they first brought it in, and 15 years later it still is.

    Instead of raging against one party or another, why not start a campaign together, writing to all MPs of all parties to a) not scrap the registry and b) improve it so it works better overall.

    Fill your boots! (I’m opposed to the registry, always have been.)

  5. 5 Skinny Dipper Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 3:20 am

    With the Liberals attacking the NDP over the gun registry, the Liberals negate Harper’s assertion that the next election will be a choice between the Conservatives and the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition. The Liberals need to be seen as being on their own. I do think that the Liberals want to make the narrative of the next election as being a choice between the Conservatives and Liberals. This is why they are doing their best to weaken the NDP right now. They don’t want the NDP in the election picture.

  6. 6 Chet Scoville Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Also? If Layton were to whip his caucus on this, the Liberals would just pull out their patented not-showing-up-for-the-vote trick to enable the Cons’ bill to pass anyhow. It’s what they do.

  7. 7 JJ Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Skinny Dipper – Yeah but, THIS is the issue the Libs want to run on?? 🙄 I’m only guessing, but I think Canadians would rather hear about jobs and the economy, not this wedge-issue crappola.

  8. 8 JJ Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Chet – LOL, great point. It is What They Do, as they’ve shown time and time again.

    I suspect the LPC doesn’t really care if the registry survives, and this whole “whipping the vote” thing is just for optics.

    EDIT (a few hours later):

    I’ve been thinking about this a little more, and it actually is something the Libs could run on and maybe even win on. If the registry is killed, maybe the Libs could run on the fact that the CPC and NDP did it, and that if elected, they would reinstate a better registry, one that addresses peoples’ concerns?

  9. 9 Calgal Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    If the registry is so useless, then why is it used as much as it is? Why do most police chiefs and the latest RCMP report maintain it is put to good use? I don’t understand the hysteria around registering your guns. It makes at least as much sense as registering your vehicle, or your dog. Fix the registry’s problems, then get over it!

  10. 10 Bleatmop Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, are there ever pot shots going on. I’m sure the CPC crowd is loving this. The more the LPC and NDP tear each other to shreds over this, the better it is for Harper et al. I was having a hard time trying to figure out why this is such a big deal, but the above comments about how this is the LPC’s bill, that’s why they are so upset makes it all clear to me now.

    I too am not opposed to gun control, but I find this bill abysmal and punitive to people who simply own a .22 rifle for shooting tin cans and gophers. Or a shotgun to protect your livestock. There is a reasoned approach to this, but punishing farmers for a psychopath using assault weapons 20 years ago hardly seems the right way to do things.

  11. 11 JJ Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Calgal – FTR, I’ve never claimed the registry is *useless* — I’m sure any database full of citizens’ personal information can be put to use by government and police in some way or other.

    I do however dispute the claim that the registry, which is just a list after all, prevents crime.

    Fix the registry’s problems, then get over it!

    That sounds suspiciously like “STFU” 😯 Not just for cons anymore, eh? 😉

  12. 12 JJ Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 6:45 am


    I too am not opposed to gun control, but I find this bill abysmal and punitive to people who simply own a .22 rifle for shooting tin cans and gophers. Or a shotgun to protect your livestock.

    Everything about it is abysmal. From the fees — charging me $60 each to register my guns is like charging me $60 per T4 slip to file my income tax return. (The fees are currently waived, but for how long?) — to the extraordinary powers of search and seizure of private property it gives the cops. (Of course, some people are okay with seizure of legally-owned private property when it’s property they don’t happen to like.)

    That’s the elephant in the room, and why nobody can ever explain exactly how the registry “prevents crime” — one can only make this claim if one condones the pre-emptive seizure of private property.

    Also, the thing was foisted on us without any consultation with the rural communities for whom a gun is just another tool like an axe or a chain saw. Maybe a little discussion with someone other than rabid anti-gun urbanites would have helped make this thing a little more workable, eh?

  13. 13 Cornelius T. Zen Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Yeah, you’ve all heard the cliches:
    “Guns don’t kill people – nutbars kill people!”
    “You can take my gun from my cold, dead fingers!”
    “Gun control is hitting what you aim at!”
    Actually, they’re right – guns don’t kill people. Ammunition kills them. The police would be better off registering ammunition. No shoot, no kill, no problem.
    “In the news today, a gunman walked into a church, and beat several parishoners with the butt of his Winchester. He was disgruntled because he was on a waiting list for ammunition.”
    The real reason is fear – on both sides.
    The government fears an armed public, because they can shoot back. The public fears a government that takes away their guns, because that’s the public’s only real defence against a government and police that are determined to subjugate them.
    What the governemnt REALLY fears is an well-informed citizenry.
    That’s what progressive bloggers want to be – the voice of a well-informed citizenry.
    It’s kind of funny – neither the left, nor the right, have any reason to trust the government. Which is the most sensible stare of affairs. Can you think of any government that has ever trusted its own citizenry?
    No trust, no peace, no solution.
    Guns don’t kill people – stupidity does – CTZen

  14. 14 Patrick Ross Friday, September 3, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Without a doubt the registry has been proven to help with fighting crime and saving lives.

    This comment isn’t even remotely true.

    Not only can the registry not be shown to have saved a single life, or prevented a single gun crime, it can be shown to have not saved lives, and not prevented gun crimes.

    Consider the case of Kimveer Gil.

    Walks into Dawson College with a registered Beretta Cx4 rifle, opens fire.

    The gun registry neither aided police in identifying Gil as someone who shouldn’t have owned a gun, or in preventing Gil from pulling the trigger.

    I would say that a strong argument exists that the complacency accompanied by blatant cosmetic gun control measures like the long-gun registry has taken the urgency out of properly screening individuals like Gil.

    Pre-screening and licensing are the gun control measures that work, and save lives. The Kimveer Gil case shows us that these measures are not nearly strong enough in Canada.

    In closing, cut the bullshit, let the useless long-gun registry die, and address the real problem.

  15. 15 Dr.Dawg Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I’m opposed to the registry too. I’ve just kept my head below the metaphorical trench this time.

    I have no idea, frankly, what to say about the non-whipped NDP vote. I don’t like whipped votes as a rule, but on some other issues (SSM, abortion) nothing else will do. I guess I don’t see the registry as a human rights issue. A lot of our mutual friends seem to, though.

  16. 16 fhg1893 Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    JJ – Thanks very much for pointing out the big-fat elephant in the room! Here I thought I was the only one who understood that so long as the Cons et al blather on and on about the registry, we’ll never get to the real issue: gun control. It’s a hell of a lot easier to get traction on a political issue when an absurd sum of money is involved, but sadly, much more difficult when the government might start talking about ending the ridiculous practice of punishing the law-abiding, and rewarding the law-breaking.

    I don’t know what reasonable gun control looks like, but I know what we have in Canada sure as hell ain’t it!

  17. 17 JJ Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm


    It’s kind of funny – neither the left, nor the right, have any reason to trust the government.

    Bam! Right on.
    It’s amusing to watch the authoritarian CPC playing Freedom Fighter with this issue, when they probably don’t want citizens armed any more than the Libs do. Maybe less so.

  18. 18 JJ Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm


    I’m opposed to the registry too. I’ve just kept my head below the metaphorical trench this time.

    Yes, you’ve been conspicuous by your absence 😛

    I kind of wish I’d followed your lead and declined to comment on this issue this time around as well — the closer the vote gets the more the eyeball-bulging hysteria ramps up, so there’s no point in trying to have any kind of reality-based discussion. The general tone is “Don’t ask how the registry saves lives — it saves lives because we say it does!! And shut up!!!”.

    I guess I don’t see the registry as a human rights issue. A lot of our mutual friends seem to, though.

    Well, some of those same people also think there’s some kind of Charter right to not be offended, and they’re wrong about that too.

  19. 19 JJ Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 6:10 pm


    Thanks very much for pointing out the big-fat elephant in the room

    Oh, I’m sure we’re not the only ones who picked up on it 😉 Some of the pro-registry people are even starting to openly admit that what they really want is to ban gun ownership altogether — Wow, what a surprise. NOT.

  20. 20 Brian Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    … the more the eyeball-bulging hysteria ramps up …

    LMOA. That’s really fun imagery. Thanks for it.

  21. 21 JJ Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Brian – I aim to please! Sometimes 😉

    Since I’ve got your attention, I’m going to veer way off-topic here for a second and ask for your counsel as an American conservative*: do you think it’s proper to ask & discuss what should be done with the Ground Zero site?

    As the years go by I sometimes wonder about it and this Islamic Centre frenzy has made me wonder about it again. I hesitate to post about it because it’s an area of such great sensitivity to so many Americans (and understandably so). But it’s something that will have to be addressed sooner or later, what to do with the rest of the property, or whether the whole thing should be off-limits in perpetuity.

    I haven’t done a Sept.11 post for a few years, but with all the frenzy around the Islamic Centre I’m thinking about doing one this year, and that this might be a topic worth discussing.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    *EDIT: Not that 9/11 is only a sensitive issue for conservatives, it’s a sensitive issue for everyone, but I already know more or less what progressives think.

  22. 22 Cornelius T. Zen Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Good morrow, all!
    My father taught me rifle safety many years ago. He told me two important things that I never forgot:
    1. Always treat a rifle as though it were loaded, cocked and ready to fire.
    2. Never point a rifle at anyone or anything unless you intend to shoot.
    Education in gun safety saves more lives, because educated gun operators become safe gun operators.
    Anecdote: When I was about fourteen, my father and I went fishing. The fish weren’t biting, so we did a little target practice with .303s. I was about to touch off a round when something made me bring the muzzle up and open the action.
    A heartbeat later, a guy stuck his head out of the very spot where I was aiming and yelled at us to get off his property.
    My dad’s endless lectures about the safe handling of a weapon saved that man’s life.
    The most logical step following registration is confiscation. History shows us this lesson at so many junctures.
    So, where are the laws that would increase the penalty for committing a crime with a gun? The law isn’t there to make the police’s job easier. It’s supposed to make the rest of us feel safer.
    When you live in the drive-by capital of Canada, that becomes a source of amusement more than comfort.
    Gun control? Pull the other one – CTZen

  23. 23 fhg1893 Monday, September 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    @ Cornelius –

    If there was a single defining moment of clarity to be had during the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security’s deliberations concerning bill C-391, I think it had to be the exchange between Doctor Gary Mauser and Bloc Quebecois MP Maria Mourani. She held up a picture of Doctor Mauser holding a revolver, and asked several questions. Dr. Mauser explained the photograph thusly:

    “You will notice, first of all, that I’m not firing. Secondly, the finger is not in the trigger guard. Thirdly, the photographer asked me to pose like this and I resisted, but obviously I should have resisted harder.”

    To which Mme. Mourani concluded sarcastically:

    “You did put up a struggle, my dear sir. But, you are the expert advisor as far as firearms are concerned. I must admit to you that I am scared.”

    I drew two conclusions from that exchange. First, the one that occupied most of my thoughts was that the only people who care about firearm safety in the least are gun owners. People like Doctor Gary Mauser care about safety, because they understand firearms. Mme. Mourani didn’t care that Dr. Mauser’s finger wasn’t on the trigger, she only cared that Dr. Mauser had in his possession a revolver. But this is the lesser of the conclusions. The other conclusion that I’ve come to comes from Mme. Mourani’s final comment to Dr. Mauser – “I am scared.’

    You see, I’ve come to the conclusion that what is being Mme Mourani is expressing in her exchange with Dr. Mauser is not that Dr. Mauser has a vested interest, and therefore cannot be objective. What is being expressed here is that Dr. Mauser is for Mme. Mourani a PROBLEM. Dr. Mauser is a gun-owner, and therefore a PROBLEM, and one that must be solved by turning him into a former gun owner. This is something that JJ has pointed out many times.

    The idea that gun-owners are a PROBLEM that must be solved by turning them into former gun-owners is not freedom, it’s a prelude to fascism. I think that for far too long gun-owners have been unfairly targeted by the authorities and used as political pawns by the ruling parties. The question debate must be re-constructed into one where the central question isn’t why a person should be allowed to own guns, but why they should not. Let the prohibitionists make their case, rather than force gun owners to constantly defend their choices.

  24. 24 Brian Monday, September 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I do think it is proper to discuss what might take place at the ground-zero site.  I don’t know that doing so would be fruitful, but that does not mean that it would be improper.

    I don’t think it will be fruitful because of the sophistication level of modern online discussions.   when one person says they have a certain position, other that don’t share it will call them racist or unpatriotic, etc.

    As an American conservative, I would like to see far more discussion of issues.

    As you might recal, about a year ago (I think) I diligently reiterated the position that sees abortion as taking an existing human life, rather than a potential human life.  I stated again and again that my goal was to foster an understanding on the part of pro-choicers what the sticking point was.  That, then, was an example of what I just said above, that I would like to see far more discussion of issues.  A fair proportion of the other conservatives I know share that desire.  Of course I know some who don’t think things through very well;  every political “camp” has members like that.  But I would say, by and large, conservatives are not opposed to issues being discussed.

    They might vehemently oppose the content of what some “discussers” have to say, but not the idea of speaking on the topic.

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