Thursday, April 22, 2010

Conservative ironically decries "lack of democracy" at committee

Apparently Conservatives are "crying foul" over a Public Safety committee witness list for hearings on the gun registry. Yes, it's the issue that seems to be shaping up to keep providing lots of interesting fodder in days to come. The Conservative issue with the list is that it is too pro-registry. Not enough Olympic shooters, conservation officials, Alberta attorneys general and Calgary chiefs of police:
...Mackenzie says, "Canadians will find it most offensive to see a lack of democracy in the committee." He says "this side should get some input".
That's funny. Because the Conservatives have not exactly evidenced great concern for democracy and fair inputs up to this point on this issue. Let's recall their playing fast and loose with the RCMP's report on the effectiveness of the registry:
As Parliament resumes sitting this week, among the issues on the order paper will be gun control – specifically, a private member's bill to abolish the long-gun registry. The bill passed second reading last fall by a vote of 164-137 as some Liberals and New Democrats joined the Conservatives in supporting it.

Critics of the long-gun registry insisted that it is of little use to the police and not worth maintaining. This argument was effectively rebutted in an RCMP report on the registry that was released two days after the vote. At the time, Peter Van Loan, then minister of public safety, said the report had been in his hands only for "several days."

Now we learn – thanks to a trail of government emails obtained by the Star's Tonda MacCharles – that it was more like seven weeks, and that Van Loan's officials used every trick in the book to stall the report.
They disputed its statistics and questioned why the report was produced at all. They even launched a witch hunt over an innocuous banquet held by the gun registry's staff. (It turned out that the staffers had paid for the event themselves.)

For the record, the report noted that police use of the gun registry is increasing rapidly – to 3.4 million checks in 2008, up from 2.5 million the year before – and it said this "highlights the importance" of the registry to law enforcement.

But that wasn't what the government wanted parliamentarians to hear before the vote on the gun registry. (emphasis added)
That seems a little more important than who's appearing at committee. Not that committee work is not important, of course.

And do we even need to point out the very thick binder manual thingy that the Conservative brain trust has put together that is devoted to obstructing parliamentary committees.

Crying foul? Cry us a river.