Debate needed

Sept. 22 will mark an important date for Canadian Firearms Program legislation.
On that day, Members of Parliament will either choose to support the private member’s bill of Candice Hoeppner of Manitoba which would allow for debate on the legislation to kill the long-gun registry or to kill the legislation which would maintain the current legislation.
The Conservative, Liberal and Block Quebecois members will be whipped to vote along party lines. Only the New Democrats will have a free vote.
It has placed many rural NDP and Liberal politicians on the hot seat. John Rafferty campaigned to do away with the current registry legislation and has supported the private member’s bill to this date.
Along with 11 other NDP members, he now finds himself under pressure to follow his leader’s direction to kill the private member’s bill.
Two Northern Ontario New Democrat MPs have chosen to change their vote to maintain the registry.
Throughout the history of the long-gun registry, many myths and misinformation has been created.
True, the creating of the registry ended up costing Canadian taxpayers almost $1 billion dollars, but today, the registry operates for less than $4 million annually.
Police chiefs across Canada are divided on the success of the registry and its usefulness in protecting Canadians. The country remains divided along rural-urban lines with regard to the registry.
Since its inception, deaths by firearms have declined. In their place, knifing deaths have risen to be three times greater than long gun deaths. The highest proportion of long gun deaths is by suicide.
When long-gun registration came into effect, the “Firearms Acquisition and Possession License” became mandatory and has to be renewed on a regular basis. To own or acquire a long-gun, one must possess such a license.
Currently, all debate is in the public through various forms of media. But a proper and full-ranging debate would be worthwhile in the House of Commons to assist Canadians to fully understand the value of the current registry and legislation.
If the debate shows the long gun registry is doing its intended job, and is being effectively used by police forces across the country, then the House of Commons should kill the legislation.
If, on the other hand, the debate shows that the long gun registry is a waste of taxpayers’ money, the registry should be killed.
But until the debate and facts are out in the open for all Canadians to see, the long-gun registry will continue to surface at every election. And every leader should give every member a free vote on this bill.