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Memo To John Baird from the Toronto elite

In Canada on September 20, 2010 at 10:27
Back to Fiorito: Memo To John Baird from the Toronto elite

Fiorito: Memo To John Baird from the Toronto elite

September 20, 2010

To: John Baird

From: The Toronto Elite

Re: The Long Gun Registry

It pains me to say this, because I prefer to err on the side of respect for those who hold public office, but I think you are a dangerous man.

You may have your reasons for wanting to kill the gun registry. That’s fine; progress is made by the push and pull of opinion. But the politics of division have no place in the discourse of a great nation.

The long-gun registry has a purpose.

The way I read that purpose: a cop ought to know if he or she is going on a call where weapons may be present, a whacko ought not to be able to get a gun and some guns ought not to be gotten.

You may think that penalizes the legitimate gun owner. But you are a member of the government. You have a responsibility to be, well, responsible.

To all of us.

A while ago, you chose to tell the people of Toronto to “f— off.” Now you say the “Toronto elite” is interfering with your government. That’s not just wrong, it’s unhelpful.

Yes, there are problems with the registry:

The city is not the countryside.

The registry is of no use when it comes to crimes committed with illegal guns.

And the registry does not distinguish between my hero, the Olympic trap shooter Susan Nattrass, and the weirdo who thinks it is his right to own all manner of assault weapons whose only purpose is death.

Tune it, don’t scrap it.

On the subject of making distinctions, you would do well to note what my pal Chantal Hébert observed: the registry resonates more deeply in Quebec than it does in Ontario, yet you are silent on the subject of the “Quebec elite.”

You, however, seem happy to sneer at me on behalf of the “rural elite.” In doing so, you make for me an enemy where I prefer to have a friend. And in addition to my friends in Parkdale, I have friends in Northern Ontario and in Nunavut. Gun use differs in each place but armed robbery, suicide and spousal assault are similar; so is death by cop.

Wedge politics?

So American.

Here’s what I don’t get: You fellows are big on punishment, but threats have never worked at any time in human history. You are also big on building prisons but jail, without meaningful rehab, merely creates smarter criminals.

For a law and order guy, you seem curiously unwilling to listen to what your chiefs of police have to say about the registry. There must be other voices, ones only you can hear. The voices of the victims of unreported crimes, perhaps?

I might trust you more if you seemed interested in cutting down gun crime in ways that are not so obvious.

Why don’t you start with national daycare, so that kids from troubled families can learn how to get along with others as they get ready to start school?

Then work with the provinces on improving remedial education, because kids who can’t read at the level of their peers by Grade Three will never catch up, and a kid who can’t catch up will always be a dollar short.

Devote a little more time to job creation — and to keeping jobs in Canada — so that all our kids can have realistic access to the rewards of society.

Spend less money on jails, and more on rehab.

And rethink your approach to illegal drugs, because all you’re doing now is helping dealers make more money.

These things, plus the registry?

Nuance isn’t easy.

Sneering is.

Joe Fiorito appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Email


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