Tag Archives: Gun Registry

The Day After Stephen Harper’s Loss.

“Tonight’s vote- a pyrrhic victory of the first order.” – Conservative MP James Moore

Yesterday, the Liberals saved the long-gun registry and Stephen Harper was handed his first big loss in a long time. Not only was Bill C-391 defeated but Stephen Harper also failed to achieve his desired outcome. Harper couldn’t omnibus, confidence motion or prorogue his way out this one.


Yesterday was a hugely bad day for Prime Minister Harper but let me explain why today compounded upon it:

The U.N. Security Council:

The G20 Costs:

  • Thanks to the hard work of Liberal MP Dan Mcteague, the G20 cost breakdown was released.
  • Harper’s Conservatives are back on the summit defensive as they ow have to explain the high price of glow sticks, sun screen and a “living wall” (which, until it was explained to me, I though was the term the PM used to describe his MPs.)

The Liberal’s Census Private Member’s Bill:

So the day after a defeat, Stephen Harper went grovelling to gain a seat at a table that he doesn’t really want, while being slammed again for the summit spending and the census.


Why the Bill C-391 defeat was a defeat for Stephen Harper:

Before the September 22nd vote the media narrative was that repeal or no repeal, Stephen Harper would be the winner. The “logic” was that if it is repealed then the government bill masquerading as a private member’s bill would be a huge piece of red meat to the CPC base while also dividing Liberals/the NDP and attacking Michael Ignatieff’s leadership. If it was defeated then the CPC coffers would swell and rural Canadians (who according to the Conservatives only care about one thing and are rampantly frustrated with having to fill out forms) would produce an unending torrent of anger aimed directly at the Liberals.

Fortunately, none of this really happened:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to push his dumb-on-crime agenda through the back door but was stopped. In game-theory terms his Candice Hoeppner’s bill se up a game of chicken. The Tory car came speeding down the track and Michael Ignatieff took his hand’s off the wheel by announce the vote would be whipped. This forced the NDP to do the right thing and with no other option Harper’s car turned at the last second.

Now the opposition is united and Stephen Harper was publicly embarrassed.

King Pyrrhus was a Greek General. He defeated the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. In both battles the casualties on his side were way higher than on the Roman’s so their casualties did less damage to their war effort than Pyrrhus’s casualties did to his.

Stephen Harper wasted money, political capital, time and the good will of Canadians all to fail to repeal a bill that Canadian’s support. I agree with Mr. Moore, the situation is indeed Pyrrhic for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Coward: a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things. See: Jack Layton.

In 1971 Pierre Berton referred to the NDP as “The conscience of the nation.” Today that emphatic statement would be best phrased as a pertinent question: Does the NDP have a conscience? How quickly we forget that Stephen Harper’s rise to power was only made possible by Jack Layton’s decision that adding more seats to the NDP caucus was more important than working with Paul Martin’s government.

Whatever your answer to my non-rhetorical question, it appears that Mr. Layton has a guilty conscience. Layton/the NDP have taken a page from the CPC playbook and are trying to change reality by preemptively shirk responsibility for the Gun Registry being repealed.

In his blog, Cowboys for Social Responsibility does an excellent job exposing the fallacy that Bill C-391 isn’t Stephen Harper’s policy being sneaked in through the back door. When Stephen Harper last answered questions on the gun registry, as quoted on the CBC website here, he made no effort to separate his government from the bill.

Hiding behind rules and procedure, as Jack Layton is trying desperately to do, is the worst kind of cowardice.

During the second of Stephen Harper’s prorogation, Jack Layton himself attacked the government for using the rules as written to end public debate and pull a fast one on Canadians. Along side this the NDP have repeatedly attacked the Liberals for not forcing an expensive/unwanted election.

Now Jack Layton is refusing to whip the vote on a bill that he claims to oppose. Once again Stephen Harper is jamming legislation through using the same tactics as when he prorogued parliament or tacked on pages & pages of legislation to a budget bill or repeatedly played what Tom Flanagan calls “brinkmanship politics.”

Jack Layton has until late September to exercise his conscience.

Hiding behind this potemkin-private member’s bill is weak. Whip the vote Jack!


On the NDP website under “Governance” is their policy on electoral reform. It reads:

5.2 Renewing Canadian Democracy

New Democrats believe in:

  1. Reforming Canada’s electoral system through mixed member proportional representation.

Online, many New Democrats, have used the specious defense that even though Bill C-391 is a PMBINO (Private Members Bill In Name Only) the NDP is really respecting the wishes of their constituents (ignoring the fact that they are painting all rural Canadians as being of the same mind on this issue.)

How exactly does Jack Layton reconcile advocating for a system where parliament will have MPs who represent no constituents as they were chosen from a list with the flimsy pretext he is using to tacitly support Stephen Harper’s decision to dismantle this efficient and useful tool that police across Canada want to keep?

Opposition MPs who voted to abolish the Gun Registry

NDP Malcom Allen (Welland)
Lib Scott Andrews (Avalon)
NDP Charlie Angus (Timmons-James Bay)
IND Andre Arthur (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier)
NDP Niki Ashton (Churchill)
Lib Larry Bagnell (Yukon)
NDP Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic)
NDP Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Lib Jean-Claude D’Amours (Madawaska—Restigouche)
Lib Wayne Easter (Malpeque)
NDP Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt)
NDP Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing)
NDP Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North)
NDP Mark Maloway (Elmwood—Transcona)
Lib Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
NDP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River)
Lib Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming)
Lib Todd Russel (Labrador)
Lib Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
NDP Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore)
NDP Glen Thibeault (Sudbury)

Keith Martin, Liberal MP who wants to decriminalize pot, I used to think you were cool.


The Liberal Party is the big tent party in Canada. As a life-long possessor of minority opinions I do support health debate. Getting rid of the gun registry is another example of the Conservative Party of Canada’s “Stupid on Crime” approach to legislating. A “Big Tent” is great but there are some policies that are objective bad.