Long-gun registry battle comes to B.C. legislature
B.C. Liberals and New Democrats have traded fire over the impending abolition of the long-gun registry.
The exchange was triggered by the filing of a private member’s motion by Eric Foster, B.C. Liberal MLA for Vernon-Monashee, which expresses support for the federal Conservative government’s move to scrap the registry.
The debate that occurred on the floor of the legislature on November 14 was characterized by Victoria-based political observer Norman Ruff as “mischief making” on the part of the ruling party.
According to the former political-science professor, B.C. Liberals were “trying to drive a wedge…on the presumption that most of the [B.C.] NDP would be in favour of the gun registry”. Ruff told the Straight in a phone interview that the B.C. Liberal Party, which is basically an alliance between federal Liberals and Conservatives, was also trying to undercut the resurgent B.C. Conservative Party.
“The abolition of the long-gun registry has long been symbolic for Conservatives across the country,” Ruff said.
A Conservative bill that would scrap the registry has passed second reading in the House of Commons. Two federal NDP MPs in Ontario have been disciplined by their party for voting in favour of this measure.
Burnaby–Deer Lake NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan insisted in a phone interview with the Straight that there was no point in discussing a federal concern that has proven to be a divisive issue, especially between rural and urban Canadians. “They have completely failed when it comes to the criminal-justice system,” Corrigan said of the B.C. Liberals.
B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins noted with amusement that the B.C. Liberals are “trying to appeal to Conservatives in British Columbia”.
“But certainly…federal Liberals who are involved with the B.C. Liberal government here are obviously not going to be very happy because, for all intents and purposes, the Liberal Party of Canada brought in the gun registry,” Cummins, a former Conservative MP, told the Straight by phone.