T-Minus 9 (Updated)

(Not a long gun, but whatever)

Bang!   (Whoops, I mean Bam!)  Only 9 days until the vote on the notorious Bill C-391 that would scrap our beloved long gun registry and turn Canada into a dystopian badland of unthinkable brutality and savage lawlessness where the sound of gunfire rages constantly in the background like dumb white noise… “Mad Max” on maple syrup-flavoured steroids.  In cities across the soon-to-be-beleaguered nation, survival kits of canned food and kevlar are being feverishly assembled even as we speak.

I have my own suspicions about what will transpire on September 22 — aside from a huge outbreak of Parliamentary Flu, I strongly suspect that when the dust settles and the drama concludes, we will all rise from the fainting couches to find that the long gun registry lives to pander another day.  The registry is far too valuable a wedge issue and fundraising tool for either of the two major parties to let it go.  The Liberal government of the time knew that when they created it, and Stephen Harper knows it too.

As for the media campaigns being run against the registry, the phrase “sound and fury” comes to mind…

Whichever way it goes, the vote will likely be a squeaker.  I invite you to prognosticate…

UPDATE (Tuesday): Did I call it or did I call it?

22 Responses to “T-Minus 9 (Updated)”

  1. 1 fhg1893 Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    JJ – Sorry, but the bill to scrap the registry is very likely to make third reading. Regardless of whether Niki Ashton changes her vote, or not, assuming all hands are on deck for the vote, it will go to third reading, barring of course a last minute flip-flop by someone who’s already pledged how they’re going to vote. My count is 152 vs 151 with 1 undecided. In the event of a tie, the Speaker votes to continue the debate. Of course, a tie at third reading changes that vote, but we’re not there yet…

    There is something else however.

    The Supreme Court ruling concerning C-68 applies to this situation. IF the vote to scrap the registry passes, it appears as though the gun-control scheme in Canada will be undermined. This warrants explanation since it’s very rarely, if ever, articulated.

    The Supreme Court appears to have held, though it doesn’t exactly state that:

    The law, the firearms act, stipulates that all those who possessing a gun (restricted, or not) must be licensed to do so. Without registration however, licensed gun owners can effectively sell guns to unlicensed people without any sort of verification or oversight.

    For instance: Hypothetically, I go to sell my shotgun, which I’m allowed to own because I’m licensed to my brother, who isn’t licensed. At present, the transfer is vetted by the Canadian Firearms program, if only to ensure that my brother is duly licensed. Without a license however, the transfer gets denied. Without phoning Miramichi for the transfer however, the licensing scheme is effectively undermined. Who’s going to know, and how are they going to find out? Nobody outside of the transaction will know if I sold a gun to someone who wasn’t licensed to own one.

    Does that make sense?

    I’m opposed to the registry, as I’m sure you’re aware. What I’m pondering at the moment is that since C-391 is not explicitly intended to substantially change the gun control scheme in Canada, and assuming it passes, I expect that Quebec will mount a challenge in the courts. The courts will issue an injunction preventing the gun-registry from being disbanded which will eventually end up before the Supreme Court which will need to decide on the supremacy of parliament vs. using a bill to change the Canadian gun-control scheme without passing a bill for that purposes. I believe that it will be argued therefore that the bill goes beyond its intended scope and therefore might be unconstitutional. I don’t know how such a scenario would play-out – perhaps it’s already been decided that the only thing that matters in this case is the supremacy of parliament, and whatever parliament decides within the confines of the constitution is legally binding, period. But I don’t know…

    Thoughts? Is there a provision that parliament can’t sneak what amount to major changes through the back-door by way of a private members bill?

    Thanks very much for any insight.

  2. 2 Bleatmop Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 4:50 am

    I suspect there will be tears on one side and jeers on the other side. What side is which will be left to the imagination for another few days.

  3. 3 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Bleatmop 😆 Tears of frustration if the bill is voted down, and tears of paranoid hysteria if it passes. Oh wait, the paranoid hysteria train has kind of left the station, hasn’t it?

    Shorter Progressive Bloggers this morning: “The NRA!!! SHRIEEEEEK!!!!11!” 🙄

    Because the Canadian far left would never let Americans get involved with one of their causes 🙄 🙄 😆

  4. 4 Peter Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 8:27 am

    JJ, I just love this line from that link: “The channel…will be funded with money from our cable TV fees!”

    I mean, we all know that NAFTA sucks, but what is even worse is that we are subsidizing American fruit growers with money from our grocery budgets.

  5. 5 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 9:01 am

    fhg – Thanks for such a thoughtful comment, lots to think about there.

    Sorry, but the bill to scrap the registry is very likely to make third reading.

    Don’t be sorry 😉 If you’re right, I won’t be, that’s for sure. But the cynic in me is strong.

    Yesterday I did a similar tally to yours and came up with the bill passing by 2 votes, but with 8 days left to go, that isn’t encouraging. Especially if what I suspect is true — that nobody really wants the registry scrapped, preferring instead to use it as a political football & fundraising tool forever.

    But assuming it does pass 🙂 you raise some interesting points about where it goes from there, and what the repercussions would be to gun control in general.

    I need to give it some more thought. To be continued…

  6. 6 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Peter – Ha! There are a lot of frantic little gems in there… “Hate Media” etc. Geeeeeez 🙄 Teneycke and the guy who runs the petition were on Evan Solomon’s show last week, and regardless of where you stand on this thing, I think it’s safe to say Teneycke won this round —

  7. 7 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Peter – Oh well, a commenter at Scott’s place has shot down the NRA/Avaaz analogy. To wit:

    there’s a fundamental difference b/w the two: Avaaz wants us to pressure the gov’t not to bend the rules by replacing the senior civil servants with puppets, to try to keep us safe from the type of fact-mangling, hate-mongering media that’s been ruining their country

    Get that? The government’s job is to put its hands over our ears lest we hear anything offensive.

    I give up!!!

  8. 8 fhg1893 Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    JJ – Thanks.

    It gets even stranger.

    There’s a perception among gun-enthusiasts that safe-storage, magazine limits, and pretty much everything that frustrates gun owners about the Firearms act, C-68, and the Liberals is codified in the Firearms act.

    But this isn’t so! Safe storage regulations, magazine limits, authorizations to transport, authorizations to carry and pretty much everything EXCEPT registration is a function of the regulations associated with the Firearms act. And those regulations are codified by Orders in council, and are therefore changeable by the government of the day WITHOUT needing the approval of parliament. In other words, if the Cabinet decides that a ban on high-capacity magazines for instance is no longer needed, it only takes the stroke of a pen; there’s no need for a big fight in the commons.

    Therefore, Harper has had the power to fix about 90% of what is wrong with our gun control regulations for over four years, and has done NOTHING. Not one iota of the draconian regulations brought in by Chretien have been changed by a Harper government, which leads me to conclude that the Conservatives are not the friends that gun owners think they are.

    I haven’t got the heart to tell the gun-owners who are Conservative apologists…

  9. 9 Bleatmop Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    FHG – “Not one iota of the draconian regulations brought in by Chretien have been changed by a Harper government, which leads me to conclude that the Conservatives are not the friends that gun owners think they are.”

    I would certainly agree with you there. I actually disagree with the conspiracy theorists that say this is Harper trying to do this while distancing himself from it. I think this, along with the not so veiled anti-abortion private members bill, are actually a CPC caucus openly defying Harper. Harper wants nothing more than to get a majority government and I think that his party is getting tired of “incremental” changes that involve outspending and generally acting just like the LPC. Of course, that’s my own conspiracy theory, but I think it’s the more likely of the two. Playing these particular wedge issue cards are not winning issues in Canada like they are in the US.

    That, or Harper has a problem with an internal consistency of trying to do everything to no upset the electorate while simultaneously upsetting the electorate.

  10. 10 Peter Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm


    It seems that for more than a few leftists, the definition of “hate” and “racist” is expanding in proportion to their desire to silence opinions they don’t like without being accused of advocating censorship. They remind me of a certain type of old-fashioned conservative who, when he found himself losing a debate on obscenity vs. artistic expression, decided to drop all intellectual pretense and just start screaming “FILTH!”

  11. 11 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Peter – Make no mistake, you will find some of the most INtolerant, prohibitive and censorious little nazis around under the Pwogwessive banner. That’s not to say they all are, but some of them, wow 😯

    Today there was news that the National Post has offered its staff buyouts. To me, it sounds like creative downsizing, but at ProgBlogs celebrations immediately got underway at the prospect that this might mean the NP was shutting down. Great, just what we need, one less point of view! I don’t agree with much of what I read at the NP, but so what? It’s a different POV, and that makes life interesting.

    They remind me of a certain type of old-fashioned conservative

    You mentioned that before and I was impressed enough to start writing a post about that allegory. Because it goes right along with the theme that’s been irritating me so much lately, the left’s loss of working/middle class support.

    But it’ll stay in the hopper for a while, I think I’ve pushed my luck enough 😉

  12. 12 fhg1893 Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Bleatmop – That actually makes a lot of sense, though I’m not sure it’s a show of open defiance so much as partisan frustration with the glacial pace of legislation that accompanies minority governments. Harper’s kept his caucus under the thumb for so long that it’s possible cracks are starting to show. In the past Harper has at least maintained the appearance of cautious, intelligent pragmatism, but that’s obviously changed a bit over the summer, with mis-step after mis-step. It sure seems like the social conservatives have finally started demanding some concessions and surprise, surprise, other than the gun registry where response has been mixed at best, nothing this summer has really played well with Canadians, especially the census debacle.

    That means that in order to consolidate his position, Harper is going to need to go to the polls before he bleeds more support wasting political capital on silly ideological projects.

    … I knew that there was talk of an election coming this Fall, but in light of new considerations, I’d say that if the Cons fail to get C-391 through… Looks like a Fall or Spring election is immanent now.

  13. 13 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm


    Therefore, Harper has had the power to fix about 90% of what is wrong with our gun control regulations for over four years, and has done NOTHING.

    😯 Seriously??

    But I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve said before that I don’t think any of the parties, including the CPC, want citizens armed, and that this gun registry comedy that’s been playing out for the last year has been mostly BS to get everyone riled up. It gets the CPC base angry, it throws the Liberal base into freaking paroxysms of hysteria, and prepares everyone to go to the polls. If you ask me, none of the partisans involved ever intended to allow the registry to be repealed 👿

    Meanwhile, our civil liberties continue to erode…

  14. 14 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm


    Harper wants nothing more than to get a majority government and I think that his party is getting tired of “incremental” changes that involve outspending and generally acting just like the LPC.

    Well said. The way he’s spending, he’s got to find some way to ingratiate himself with the base though, and this is a pretty good issue to play them on. All those rural conservatives, and a fair chunk of urban conservatives as well who just see the registry as a waste of money we don’t have.

  15. 15 fhg1893 Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    JJ – I was a little shocked myself.

    What bothers gun owners about gun control?
    – Registration of non-restricted firearms
    – Authorizations to transport
    – Authorizations to carry
    – Restricted transfer clusterfucks
    – Safe Storage, Transport, and Display regulations
    – Prohibited items regulations

    Only the registration part requires an act of parliament to change!
    Every other item on that list is subject to change by an order in council alone!

    See for yourself:

    Anything that falls under the heading “Related Regulations” can be changed by an order in council – issued by the Privy Council Office, and therefore NOT subjected to the will of parliament.


    To be fair, some gun owners acknowledge that gun owners have no friends in Ottawa, but this position is considered very controversial amongst gun owners themselves because the only apparent breath of fresh air on this issue comes from the Conservatives. The ONLY way that the other parties will even talk about gun control, as opposed to the Conservatives, is when the Conservatives are THIS close to killing the long-gun registry. The only reason this is an issue is because the Conservatives are in power; no other party would even be willing to talk about this if it wasn’t for the traction that the Conservatives have gotten on this issue.

    And that just sucks.

  16. 16 JJ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    fhg – Eventually it becomes such a hassle that you stop going to the rifle range, stop sport shooting, stop hunting… then after your guns have sat around not being used for a few years, you get rid of them. That’s how a government disarms an entire nation without lifting a finger, by “permitting” it to death.

    I’m amazed at the level of ignorance that exists around this issue, and the apathy about civil liberties. Nobody cares about the excessive search and seizure powers it gives police, nobody seems to mind intrusive personal information being on a website cops can access without even having probable cause… etc.

    I’m disgusted. Oh well, I opted out of the registry when it was first created and will continue to do so. Or maybe for fun I’ll register my staple gun.

  17. 17 fhg1893 Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 2:51 am

    JJ – Don’t despair, there is some hope. The Liberals and the NDP wouldn’t be talking about a compromise concerning the registry if it wasn’t for the efforts of gun owners. I’m reasonably sure that the NRA has been involved in this fight, but they haven’t projected themselves into it; they were invited in by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and the National Firearms Association.

    To me, what that means is that our “gun lobby” really consists of small groups of shooters and sportsmen. Now, if they weren’t having any effect, the Liberals and the NDP wouldn’t spend more than five seconds talking about the registry.

    Layton was on the CBC last night chatting with Evan Solomon, very vocally touting the NDP’s compromise private members’ bill, and hurling insults and invective at the Conservatives with one breath, and the Liberals with the next. Joe Comartin was on earlier doing the same thing. What was curious about the interviews was that they both claimed to have the votes, but they refused to state whom or how many had changed their minds. But it was their repeated assurances that a private members’ bill would be forthcoming to fix the registry. Well Jack, like Steve, you’ve had four years to introduce something like that, yet it’s taken this long for the NDP to get around to it?

    No, what’s really going on here is that the NDP is bleeding support in both directions over the registry. The NDP stands to loose both rural and urban seats because people vote with their passions, and not their heads – the NDP is actually the only party that has even considered allowing members to vote their conscience – the other three are whipped votes, even if in some cases they won’t say so. They are even trying to play-down just how bad the situation is by droning on about how their constituents are really interested in jobs, and the economy, and the registry is really just a minor issue. In other words, the NDP is running scared over this; their constitution prevents whipped votes on a private member’s bill, and that position has cost Jack Layton a substantial amount of political capital. And it’s all thanks to the “duck hunters and farmers.”

    Gun owners are starting to have an impact. It just sucks that none of the parties has really taken a strong stance in their favor, and that includes the Conservatives.

  18. 18 JJ Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 7:47 am

    fhg – I wonder which NDP MPs are still voting for c-391. The NDP MPs out here in BC, especially in the north, will suffer badly if they flip flop on this issue, and those seats will go Blue. There are a lot of one-issue voters out here. It’s one thing to say “We’re working on getting rid of the registry” to keep voters happy, it’s another to actually have the chance to get rid of it, pledge to your constituents that you’ll vote to get rid of it, and then reneging on that promise.

    I give Jack Layton credit for not going the undemocratic route and whipping his caucus, but he’s obviously been doing some very intense lobbying which almost amounts to the same. The constituents’ wishes are still put aside in favour of party policy.

    If the NDP wants to grow as a political force their only hope is to compete with the CPC for traditionally conservative ridings — anti-gun registry ridings — they’ve made all the impact in urban areas that they’re going to, IMO. I thought that was the idea behind letting MPs vote per their constituents’ wishes.

    Gun owners are starting to have an impact. It just sucks that none of the parties has really taken a strong stance in their favor, and that includes the Conservatives.

    It does suck, but it’s not even just that… the civil liberties aspect of this goofy legislation should be disturbing for gun owners and non-gun owners alike. But people seem to think that it’s okay to harass gun owners and seize their legally-owned property, because they themselves don’t own guns. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, “First they came for the gun owners, and I did not speak up because I was not a gun owner…”

  19. 19 JJ Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8:05 am

    fhg again

    Well Jack, like Steve, you’ve had four years to introduce something like that, yet it’s taken this long for the NDP to get around to it?

    😆 Seriously… it makes you wonder why someone like Nathan Cullen (NDP-Skeena Bulkley Valley, Northern BC) hasn’t introduced a private members’ bill that would at least get rid of the outrageous police powers of search & seizure that the registry facilitates. After all, it’s obviously not against party policy just to *fix* the registry instead of (my preference) *getting rid of* the registry.

  20. 20 fhg1893 Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Well, there may be something for our civil liberties yet to come. Tomorrow we will find out if the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Bruce Montague vs. Her Majesty the Queen. Now a refusal gets us nowhere, but since this is the first time that C-68 has been challenged on the basis of the Charter, I’m hoping that the court will agree to hear the case. I’m a little skeptical concerning Montague’s case its self, but, I have no doubt what so ever that the Firearms Act has a number of key sections that constitute gross violations of the Charter, Magna Carta, and the Canadian bill of rights. There’s a very long, very detailed paper on the subject here: http://www.lowe.ca/Rick/FirearmsLegislation/charterViolations.htm

    While Montague’s appeal, if it is heard by the court may not be successful, I hope that the court will agree that much of the Firearms Act is in violation of the Charter, and that those violations cannot be sustained under the Oakes test.

    If however the court refuses to hear the case then I am deeply afraid that I shall have no choice but to conclude that civil liberties in Canada are illusory, and have zero safeguards, save those that we the citizens TAKE for ourselves. Therefore, the phrase, “When they finally take gun from me, it will be hot and empty,” seems rather applicable.


  21. 21 JJ Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    fhg – Molon labe indeed! I have a hat that says that 😆 Come and take them!

  22. 22 fhg1893 Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    JJ – 🙂 I got so angry today when I heard Taliban Jack touting his so-called “compromise” I ordered one of those hats.

    Sort-of fitting for a borderline Hellenic re-constructionist.

    Now for the movie 300 again…

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