Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Unloaded Principles: Harper Agreed 'Long-Gun Registry Helpful'

Before he was against the long-gun registry, Stephen Harper was for it.

He was for it when he thought it was good policy, claiming it could be "helpful" and voted for its creation twice; but when his principles conflicted with getting elected, Stephen Harper was quick to unload them.

Stephen Harper as a Reform MP, contrary to his party's stance, voted for bill C-68, the act that established the long-gun registry. He voted for it claiming that the bill could be helpful in reducing gun violence.

On June 12 1995 in the House of Commons during the third reading of the bill C-68 that created the long-gun registry Stephen Harper stated, "From my own personal standpoint I believe there are elements of gun control and specifically of this bill that could be helpful."

And Harper was right, the long-gun registry was helpful. The RCMP report that there has been a decrease in long gun homicides since bill C-68 was passed and Quebec’s Institute of Public Health has credited the registry with preventing 300 long-gun deaths a year. In light of such results and the registry's low annual budget, the RCMP, the Canadian Police Association, and the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs all support the long-gun registry.

However, though the soon-to-be Prime Minister voted with his principles for the long-gun registry twice, at first and second reading, he would oppose it at the third reading, saying his flip-flop was due to the changing opinion of some of his constituents.

Stephen Harper while still admitting the bill had merit, explained he was changing his opinion and opposing it based on certain concerns, concerns that in today's context do not exist.

At the time he explained that there was still support for the registry’s general principles but that “there are some very severe concerns about specific matters, about some of the penalties for non-registration, the confiscatory elements of the legislation and the cost concerns."

Based on those concerns Stephen Harper gave to justify his flip-flop then, and seeing as today the long-gun registry has no penalties for non-registration, no threats of confiscation, and only costs $3.6 million a year, Canadians would expect Mr.Harper to support the long-gun registry, that is if he still had principles.

But as it happened in 1995, it happens today, Stephen Harper's principles lie on the floor like empty shell casings and Canada's public safety, including our police officers, are the ones in the crosshairs.


ridenrain said...

If you go back far enough, you'll learn he was a Liberal too. What's next.. he wears glasses? yawn.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

The gun registry is still the gun registry and he said if it passed it could be helpful and that he supported its general principles. At the very least he's an opportunist, he flip-flopped in 1995 just to get votes. He probably is still doing the samething just to get votes.

Gene Rayburn said...

Shorter Ridenrain: Principles are for other people. We like power. Dig Stevie's new glasses?

ridenrain said...

I might support it too if it wasn't so clearly an invitation to confiscation. Every Liberal who's come close to it has said that they oppose citizens owning firearms.
People clearly don't trust your party and it's ideological madness against legitimate, legal gun owners.

Ted Betts said...

He was only ever an elected MP for the Reform/CA/Conservatives, riden.

And while flipfloppery and broken promises on fundamental policies and principles are something you expect from Harper, this one seems particularly apropos.

But of course highlighting this bit of history runs contrary to three fundamental Conservative rules for politics:

1. What Stephen Harper said 6 months ago (let alone before becoming is PM) is irrelevant.

2. Politics before 2006 does not matter (unless it relates to the Sponsorship scandal, GST promises, the NEP, Shawinigate or anything Trudeau, anything Ignatieff said even in childhood).

3. For Conservatives, the mantra "our principles don't apply to us" rules the day.

Anthony91 said...

It is entirely irrelevant as to whether Harper did or did not support the bill in 1995. Perhaps he saw prospects of it improving Canadian gun control,but over time all that came out of it was an expensive price tag, and insignificant results. There hasn't been a single homicide to date that has been solved by the firearms registry. The only supporters of the registry are urbanized liberal idealists that know nothing of rural struggles. They are not affected at all by the registry as the majority of long gun owners live in communities under 10'000 people. Stop attempting to portray the conservative agenda as something more than simply a logical means to divert funding to more stringent areas of public policy. The Registration itself was designed for a symbolic gun control tool for the liberal party than its supposed preventative capabilities which, as aforementioned, has proven to be useless.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Anthony when you claim something is irrelevant, you should clarify to what it is irrelevant too.

Harper's past support for the gun registry indicated he saw the need for one. Recently the RCMP have stated that the operational cost of the registry is cost-effective. These two factors seem to suggest that Harper is not flip flopping due to new information but instead due to playing politics with public safety.

If you counter that the registry is incurring large costs to the Canadian public, please present any evidence of its current annual cost. We are all aware of its initial price tag to get it up and running, but that is not what we are arguing. So please present current cost figures to justify your claim that the gun registry is costing us too much each year.