Canada – -(Ammoland.com)- Last week was an exciting time for Canadian firearms owners.
Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, moved forward and the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) finally brought down the long-awaited verdict on the Quebec Long Gun Registry (LGR) data.
The news was good on both fronts: the SCC confirmed the final death of the useless registry information, and Bill C-42 passed through Second Reading in the House of Commons, exactly as predicted by the CSSA.
The next step for C-42 is committee stage, the place where the merits of the bill will be debated and the testimony of experts and interested parties will be heard. Recommendations for constructive changes are also discussed at this stage and it can sometimes become a lively affair. Stay tuned to the CSSA E-News for regular updates on the bill’s progress.
The biggest surprise about the SCC’s decision regarding the Quebec LGR data was not the verdict itself (we were quite confident that the court would rule in the federal government’s favour), but the curious 5-4 ruling. In the previously appealed ruling from the Quebec Court of Appeal, the judges ruled 5-0 against the province. Given this ruling from the highest court in Quebec – from the most learned judiciary in that province – it seems almost surreal that the three Quebec judges serving the Supreme Court of Canada could reach an opposite verdict.
While we would never be so disrespectful as to suggest the pall of politics in a SCC decision, it does make one wonder.
We know that all CSSA members share in the joy that our Quebec brothers and sisters feel as they celebrate their new-found freedom from the yoke of registration. We also understand and share their concerns about the possibility of the Quebec government launching its own provincial registry, particularly when we hear the outrageously low cost of $30 million being publicly bandied about.
Are the memories of people so short that they have forgotten the multi-billion dollar boondoggle of the former federal government?
Do they believe that the fiscal competence of the provincial government is so on point that they can create a registry of a quarter of the nation’s guns for less than an eighth of the cost of the federal registry’s computer systems? How about the myriad of other substantial expenses required to register the firearms of 700,000 Canadians, expenses like wages, enforcement, education, etc.?
Since this shiny new registry would be a quarter of the size of the previous federal version, do you think it might be reasonable to assume that it might cost a quarter of the cost? A province with pothole-ridden roads that terminate in crumbling bridges; where unruly university students protest the rising costs of school tuitions; where hospital wait times approach incredulous levels and basic provincial government services cannot be provided without massive transfer payments from the rest of the country? A province like that can hardly afford to drop a half-billion dollars into an unenforceable, airy-fairy “feel good” exercise.
The CSSA would like to think that, politics notwithstanding, the Quebec government would behave more responsibly than that. We are unconvinced that the provincial government will actually follow through with this senseless notion, and that has been the CSSA’s position since the first day Quebec announced its intention to create its own registry. We called them out when the original injunction was filed to preserve the horribly inaccurate data from the previous basket-full-of-stupid. The Quebec government responded with a farcical piece of legislation that, quite frankly, looked like it had been slapped together by a grade eight student.
The CSSA stated then that the provincial bill would never see second reading – and we were right. It died on the Order Paper and was never reintroduced.
So here’s a CSSA Reality Check: Over eight years ago, the minority Harper Conservatives announced their intention to slay the Long Gun Registry dragon. Three years ago, the majority Harper Conservatives kept that commitment. Quebec has had EIGHT YEARS to write a bill, prepare the infrastructure and hire and train its army of staff. But so far … nothing.
This is simply “poker politics” and the Quebec government is bluffing. We predict a cacophony of rhetoric, table pounding and self-righteous indignation – particularly in the lead up to the federal election. But Quebec’s treasury is bare and the good people of Canada’s first province need healthcare and safe roads far more than an expensive, useless gun registry.
It’s high time we move on.
The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities. Website www.cdnshootingsports.org