Thursday, October 29, 2009

Police Chiefs Blast the Harper Government Over Gun Registry

I came across this old video which apparently was made as a warning to Americans that they could be next if they didn't join the NRA. What a load of crap. Some of them were practically in tears because 'heavy handed' government agents were going to swoop down in the night and take away their 'freedom'.

They even complained that our government at the time, believed the only ones who should be armed were the police and the military. Duh! Of course they're the only ones in Canada who should have the right to bear arms.

Something else I noticed; one of the men crying the blues was ex-Reform Party MP Art Hanger. He may not have been the 'kookiest in the caucus' but he was out there. As justice critic he took a little 'tour' of Toronto where he asked a store keeper "Do you notice that in Toronto there has been increased crime from certain groups, like Jamaicans?" Then while Reformer Myron Thompson suggested lowering the minimum criminal age to ten, Hanger was planning a trip to Singapore, to examine corporal punishment, including caning.

Ironically, Stephen Harper voted in favour of Bill C-68 at the second reading, because that's what his constituents wanted. But then he realized it might be a 'hot button' issue he could score a few points with, so said the heck with his constituents and voted against it.

It passed because that's what Canadians wanted. We are not a nation who feels the need to arm ourselves. It's not part of our culture. But from the beginning, the Reform Party made getting rid of this registry a priority.

What's interesting though, is that despite all the doom and gloom shown on the video, Canada's crime rate did not go up because of the gun registry. In fact, it has been consistently going down.

"At a rate of 7,518 reported incidents per 100,000 people, the crime rate in 2006, the latest year for which there is statistics, was the lowest crime rate in twenty-five years. The province with the lowest crime rate in 2006 was for the third straight year Ontario with 5,689 per 100,000, followed by Quebec with 5909 per 100,000. The province with the highest crime rate for the 9th straight year was Saskatchewan with 13,711 per 100,000.

All these so-called 'tough on crime' measures are just for show. The Reformers refuse to tell us how much their new crimes bills will cost, calling it a cabinet secret. However, they are now threatening opposition MPs, saying that if they don't vote to scrap the Canadian gun registry, they will run personal attack ads against them. At one time that would have been classed as blackmail, but under the Harper government, it's just business as usual.

Well the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police had something to say about these latest tactics.

Keep gun registry: Chief
By ROB LAMBERTI, SUN MEDIA
October 29, 2009

Toronto Chief Bill Blair fired a shot across the bow of a federal government wanting to scrap the national gun registry by showing off a cache of 58 unregistered firearms seized as a result of the system yesterday.

"Public safety is not supposed to be a partisan issue," Blair said standing behind an array of firepower he said could start a street war. "Public safety is not a political issue. Public safety is every body's issue."

The firearms were discovered Tuesday by officers reviewing registry files under Project Safe City, said Supt. Greg Getty, of the organized crime unit.

The cache was found stored in a two-bedroom apartment in an undisclosed part of Toronto, which police described as an area that has seen firearm-related violence on the streets.

DIDN'T RENEW

Gun and Gang task force Const. Nadine Teeft said records showed an unnamed man had at one time legally owned 25 firearms under the now defunct Restricted Weapons Registration System.

The man didn't renew the registrations with the new long-gun registry when they came due in 2002.

When police arrived to check on the weapons, they instead found 58, including a machine gun, a sub-machine gun, 17 handguns, 35 rifles, four shotguns, 36 high-capacity magazines, more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and 4.5 kilos of gunpowder, Teeft said.

The man surrendered the firearms to police.

How he got the firearms without proper documentation is being investigated but no charges have been filed.

Blair, who chairs the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said the government's drive to scrap the registry would be disastrous.

CHALLENGED MP

"It was the existence of a previous database that provided our investigators with information" where the guns would be, Blair said.

"They not only found the ones that had been previously registered in 1998 and not registered since," but even more police didn't know about, he said.

Blair challenged claims made by Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner, who said the CACP doesn't speak for all the chiefs of police.

She tabled a bill to scrap the registry that is now in second reading with an open vote to be held Nov. 4.

"The opposition's main argument in maintaining the long-gun registry has been that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and the Canadian Police Association (CPA) support it," said Hoeppner in a release.

"I have spoken with many chiefs of police and front-line officers who disagree with their associations and unequivocally support my bill to end the long-gun registry."

But Blair countered, "We believe the firearm registry is an important tool in helping us keep communities safe," he said.

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