Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More juxtaposing and other gun registry follow-up

Update (4:20 p.m.) below.

The PM yesterday on one of the motivations for his government's support of the axing of the long gun registry:
Canadians have been very clear. They want us to spend our time and our money focusing on the criminal misuse of firearms and not going after law-abiding duck hunters and farmers.” (emphasis added)
Ah, so he claims that Canadians have been very clear and he is therefore listening to them. Well if that's the standard the PM has for his government's actions, then surely we can expect the government to pay attention to Canadians who have indeed been very clear on the preservation of the long form census. Those numbers continue to grow.

But let's get real, what Canadians are deemed to be clear about, after all, will vary from issue to issue with this PM, depending on his party's political views and necessities.

A few other points on this gun registry story as it developed yesterday...

It's worth reminding ourselves that it's really a sight to see the Prime Minister and his MPs seeking to undermine the police chiefs on the issue and seeking to sow division between the chiefs and the rank and file in order to get a political win. The Canadian Police Association wrote to MPs and Senators back in the spring pushing back against this notion of a supposed divide in the ranks. They're the representative body for Canadian police officers and that either means something or it doesn't. Surveys have shown that police do say the registry is useful to them.

It's not to say that the Conservatives can't disagree with the utility of a tool that police use and seek to change the law. They can do so but their tactics should bear scrutiny. This is theoretically a private member's bill, yet it's apparently going to be coming at quite a cost with this divisive strategy now being pursued.

One other thing about what Harper said yesterday...
“There are some police officers who disagree with the government’s position,” he said. “On the other hand, all of the elected police officers in the Parliament of Canada support the government’s position."
So on the one hand, CACP, the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Police Boards. Yet on the other hand he offers up the "elected police officers in the Parliament of Canada" who support the government. Those MPs would be all of 4 in number and all Conservative: Glover, Kramp, Mackenzie & Norlock. Craftily stated by Harper that might convey some political legitimacy and high road to the government, yet it's hard to see how the point holds up. Expect more of this sleight of hand rhetoric, it's now less than a month until the C-391 vote occurs.

As for Constable Kuntz and his sudden baffling escalation to the national scene as an unscientific taker of surveys, by media far and wide, who wonders about the registry: “I don’t know how you’d use it as a crime-fighting tool. I’ve been straining for years trying to figure that one out.” He should start here and here.

Looks like it's going to be quite the month...and it really doesn't need to be this way.

Update: Almost forgot...one other thing Harper said yesterday was illuminating as well:
The only question that matters at this point is whether those members of Parliament who represent areas where this is an important issue are going to vote for their constituents or not for their constituents.
MP Glen Pearson has related that Conservative MPs have told him they are being whipped on the gun registry against their own preferred voting stance. Which is likely a function of what their constituents want. So will Mr. Harper let his own members be free? That seems to be the follow through to what he is saying.

Update II (4:20 p.m.): From an email, I did miss this:
Robert Clarke, CON, Desnethé--Missinippi--Churchill, was an RCMP officer for many, many years before turning to politics. Did you miss him off your list of Harper's tame police officers, whose vast bulk negates the thousands of police officers around the country not fortunate enough to be an elected Conservative?
Yes, he was. Thanks and appropriately put. That makes a whopping 5.