Sep. 28, 2005 - Issue #519: The Arcade Fire
For more than two years, Ottawa’s gun registration program has been the lifeblood of countless ultra-right freedom groups looking desperately to find a way to insinuate their libertarian rhetoric into mainstream political dialogue. And every time it looks like the circular conversation is mercifully over, these same groups lurch forth once more to continue the “debate” in which only they seem to be interested in participating.
And so it was that the issue of the “boondoggle” arose again this week thanks to a slow Sunday at the Sun Media chain of newspapers—a search for “gun registry” on Google brings back 17 stories printed that day, and all save one was by a Sun paper—including, big surprise, an editorial in Sunday’s Edmonton Sun saying the registry should be scrapped. Why? Because it’s a waste of $1 billion of taxpayers’ money, you see. (Unlike, say, taking $1.4 billion in taxpayers’ money, cutting into $400 chunks and strewing it across Alberta like parade confetti.)
Moved by the same muse, a reporter for the Toronto Sun felt compelled to ask a local gun shop owner how he felt about the registry in light of the rash of gun deaths in Toronto over the summer. Why, clearly the registry has failed, replied the owner; wasn’t the whole point of the registry, after all, to abolish murder by bullet?
As a result, critics are once again calling for the government to rescind the registry. People are overwhelmingly opposed, they say—despite most polls over the past two years showing support for the program at anywhere between 42 and 77 per cent, depending on how you ask the question. Poor compliance has hobbled the program, offered a blurb in Sunday’s Ottawa Sun, citing that only seven million of Canada’s estimated 7.9 million gun owners have registered. How does an 89 per cent success rate indicate failure? It doesn’t.
Opponents of gun registry hope you don’t notice all this, of course, lest you divine that their battlefield was never based on any special concern for public welfare or better government spending, but rather upon the perceived liberties lost by a few on the fringe who believe the government shouldn’t even levy taxes, let alone interfere with their guns.
This is Canada, after all, not the United States, and Canadians know that in this country gun ownership is a privilege, not a Constitutionally protected right. And maybe it’s time for those who don’t like such regulation in the name of the public good to consider moving south—because frankly, we’re tired of hearing it. V
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