Tax lobby seeks panel opposed to gun registry

Puts pressure on NDP, Liberals

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OTTAWA -- The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is pressuring the Liberals and NDP to ensure anti-gun registry MPs get appointed to the committee that will consider a bill to kill the registry when Parliament resumes in March.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/01/2010 (4697 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is pressuring the Liberals and NDP to ensure anti-gun registry MPs get appointed to the committee that will consider a bill to kill the registry when Parliament resumes in March.

CTF federal director Kevin Gaudet says if they don’t, the bill will likely fail.He argues that as the House already voted in favour of the bill once, it would be anti-democratic of the Liberals and NDP not to give the bill its due.

“I think there is going to be a lot of pressure on both leaders,” Gaudet said.

The legislation in question is a private member’s bill introduced by Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner. It would eliminate the requirement for owners of unrestricted long guns to register each weapon.

The bill passed second reading in the House of Commons in November with the support of 12 NDP MPs and eight Liberals. (Two of the NDP MPs are from Manitoba, Jim Maloway and Niki Ashton).

The bill will now go to the public safety committee for review in March. The committee will have six government and six opposition MPs on it — usually three Liberals, two Bloc and one NDP.

In the last Parliament, all six of the opposition MPs assigned to the committee voted against Hoeppner’s bill. As one of the six Conservatives will be the chairman, who only votes in the event of a tie, if the same six MPs are appointed the committee, Gaudet argues the opposition could work to thwart the bill.

Parliamentary rules prevent a committee from killing a bill entirely, but they can report back to Parliament that a bill should not be passed.

Hoeppner wasn’t available for an interview Monday, but in a written statement said she agrees that since a majority of MPs voted to pass her bill already, it would make sense the committee studying the bill reflect that.

“Ultimately though, it will be up to the opposition leaders to decide which of their members will serve on this committee, and they have been vocal in their defence of the wasteful long-gun registry,” Hoeppner said.

A spokesman for NDP Leader Jack Layton said the NDP has no plans to change their appointee to the committee. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s office did not respond when asked for comment.

Getting rid of the gun registry has been a long-standing election commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Conservatives argue the registry is wasteful, attacks law-abiding gun owners and doesn’t prevent gun crime.

Proponents of the registry, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, believe it helps police know when a weapon might be present when attending a call, particularly in domestic violence cases.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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