Not any more

Liberals blast NDP on gun registry as Tories pour salt in wound

In Canada on August 30, 2010 at 19:40

Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable

Monday, August 30, 2010 2:59 PM

Liberals blast NDP on gun registry
as Tories pour salt in wound

Jane Taber

BADDECK, N.S. – Blame Jack Layton if the gun registry dies, the Liberals say. And blame the NDP and the Liberals if the program survives, the Tories counter.

The firearms program, long a divisive topic across the country, had opposition parties sniping at each other Monday in Ottawa and on the East Coast, where Liberals are gathering to strategize in advance of the fall sitting of Parliament.

“If the gun registry dies on Sept. 22 it is because Jack Layton and the NDP failed to show leadership,” Nova Scotia Liberal MP Geoff Regan charged. He was reacting to Mr. Layton’s refusal Monday to force his MPs to halt Tory legislation that would kill the registry.

“In fact Mr. Layton is suggesting that the NDP would improve the gun registry after you allow it to be killed,” he said. “It’s an utterly ridiculous suggestion and he knows that.”

Eight Liberal MPs and 12 NDP MPs voted in favour of Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s private members’ bill to scrap the registry. That vote, which took place last year, allowed the bill to be sent to committee for study.

Since then, however, Michael Ignatieff has whipped his caucus, ordering Liberal MPs to vote against the Hoeppner bill.

Mr. Layton has decided not to whip the vote and it’s not clear how many of the 12 New Democrats who originally supported the Tories will continue to support them in scrapping the registry. Without all of the NDP support it is doubtful the registry will survive.

The NDP Leader’s announcement also prompted Tory reaction. Harper strategists issued a memo to supporters mocking Mr. Layton and attempting to reinforce the notion of a “coalition” between Liberals and New Democrats.

The spectre of a coalition makes Canadians nervous, Tories say. In their memo, they note that Mr. Layton’s so-called “compromise bill” on the registry “strangely, looks just like the one Michael Ignatieff has proposed.”

Mr. Ignatieff has put forward a bill the Liberals would table were they to form government. It takes away some of the harsher penalties for those who do not immediately register their firearms.

“In effect, rhetoric aside, both Coalition leaders intend to keep the wasteful and ineffective $2 billion long-gun registry,’ the Tories say. They conclude that neither the NDP nor the Liberals care about rural voters. “Rural Canada: either its voice is important, or it isn’t.”

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