Junius explains that gun-registry math

How journalists and politicians got the idea it costs just $4 million a year

The Globe and Mail has finally explained where a Toronto Chief of Police and dozens of gullible journalists and politicians got the idea that the national firearms registry costs $4 million a year. I’ve watched this figure get repeated countless times over the past month or so, and every single time I kept returning with furrowed brow to the Treasury Board estimates, which put the combined operating and transfers cost of firearms registration at $22 million, just to the RCMP, for 2010-11. (The overall cost for registries and licensing infrastructure comes to $78 million.)

That’s not counting the costs to other federal agencies—most especially the cost to Corrections Canada, estimated loosely at $10 million for fiscal ’08-’09. Certainly the commentators who were soiling themselves over the PBO’s estimates for penological costs of Conservative law-and-order measures wouldn’t want to just ignore the money spent on keeping gun-registry offenders locked up longer, would they? Including the cost in registrant time and effort would drive the figure higher still; surely the Globe is bound to be giving the program a break in only revising the cost upward by a factor of 16½.

If the Globe is right, it seems only a bit of sloppily written verbiage in the new report on the registry—interpreted by dissimulators with badges, and faithfully broadcast by writers with poor financial instincts—could possibly have led anyone to believe the gun registry is a bargain. (The Firearms Centre in Miramichi has 240 federal employees, guys! $4 million wouldn’t cover 12 weeks of payroll expenses, right?) And maybe I’m just some Western flake, but in retrospect it does seem as though the propagation of $4 million figure was possible only because the RCMP played undisguised politics with the report, dawdling over a “translation” (a tactic that the Conservatives somehow ended up taking most of the blame for) and making sure to pass it around to friendly, gullible media outlets in a timely way before the vote on C-391. All of which, now, can serve only the electoral interests of the Conservatives themselves—keeping alive the hated totem and allowing them to exploit the real financial numbers in their search for a Commons majority.

[UPDATE, 10:22 am: Or not. The Citizen's board smacks down the Globe this morning, and the Globe seems to have mis-identified the source of the figure within the report—the actual source being a reference to another report to the RCMP by a government IT consultancy, Pleiad Canada. So could we have that document, or is it already too late to bother?]

Junius explains that gun-registry math

  1. Colby Cosh nails it. The truly amazing part is that this is the very first time I've seen someone in the Canadian media challenge the $4 million figure, which is obviously bogus.

    • Exactly. The old story about how a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets out of bed would seem to apply here. But I don't find it particularly amazing that our media didn't bother to correct the figure. It's par for the course. I believe most of our media knew full well that the $4 million figure was bogus and reported it anyway. Our media are in full support of the gun registry, so they are as selective of the facts that they report about it (and as careful with the truth) as any politician would be.

      • "Our media are in full support of the gun registry, so they are as selective of the facts that they report about it (and as careful with the truth) as any politician would be.

        I dunno – Occam's Razor suggests sheer laziness as more likely than deliberate manipulation.

        • Well part of Colby's assertion is associated with the costs to Corrections Canada as report by the Treasury Board Estimates. From the Treasure Board Report

          "CSC continues to anticipate a requirement to accommodate (e.g. housing, provision of health care, food, clothing) the equivalent of approximately 275 bed-years related to convictions of firearms offences under the Criminal Code in their NCAOP."

          We really are throwing 275 people a year in jail for failing to fill out the registry paperwork?… WOW no wonder people are pissed. I thought we only did that for the census. My understanding is that the math on this is complicated by the fact that the registry is not operated completely stand alone and the $4mil (as posted below) is the savings expected annually if the bill currently under consideration passes. (More precisely, the bill to kill the bill fails & then the bill to kill the reg. passes) I honestly don't know if the $4mil figure is right. I do know Colby is wrong, and that his cheerleaders should click on some links before attacking my beloved CBC.

          • No, the $4M is the savings from transferring the firearms [program to the RCMP. It has no connection to the savings from killing the registry. As Colby points out, the true costs of the registry should be at least enough to pay the salaries of the people implementing it…

          • Fair enough, is their sole task running the registry? Frankly I find the need for 240 full-time employees to manage a data base the size and complexity of the registry more than a tad over-staffed.

          • I`m shocked—-imagine a Gov`t Department over-staffed.

          • Never mind the cost of the staff…Supposedly the major cost overrun for the initial setup of the registry was the computer system, which ended up costing well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

            Anyone who has worked in IT for any amount of time can tell you that it is pretty much a financial impossibility to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IT in one time costs, and have ongoing costs of only $4 million per year. This simply does not compute.

          • I really should check Colby's math, but I'm going to assume he's roughly right that $4M would cover 12 weeks salary for 240 employees. That's 2880 people-weeks, or 55 full-time employees. Is that a lot to cover the database? Sure. But that's assuming the only cost of the database is the related employees at the firearms centre in Miramachi – no tech support, no forms etc.

          • As far as I can tell, the cost of $4 million was supposed to be the costs imposed on the taxpayer, while the remainder of the costs were borne by the registration fees. Even then, it's hard to believe it's only 4 million.

            I guess even that assumption was incorrect.

            And along those lines, I don't think it's right to say that you count the money that is handed to the government and then to the registry people, but you don't count the money handed directly to the registry people.

            Costs are costs – what we really want to know is the costs, not some absurd figure of 4 million which makes no sense. So apparently it's 66 million. That's a lot of money. That's what, nearly a thousand police officers?

          • I don't think we are putting anybody in jail – my understanding is that Harper passed an order-in-council so that this wouldn't happen. I don't think it ever happened prior to the order, either, as I think the timeline was such that the full set of penalties didn't come into play prior to that time. Perhaps someone here has more info on that, as I'm a little fuzzy on that.

    • You also geat an F in economics.

      • I don't "geat" Fs in anything, Dot ;-)

        Just pointing out that on the eve of the gun registry vote, the G&M editorial and Cosh's blog post are the first time I've seen the $4 million figure being challenged by the media.

        • "Nails it." = "challenged"?

          Better update my thesaurus.

    • And I've only ever seen one journalist question the 2 billion figure the conservatives throw around. I would say laziness, unfortunately.

  2. The real question is why the media (or anybody) was willing to take the word of the guy who admitted he claimed legal powers he didn't have on the justification that this prevented people from doing the very act that he claimed as illegal.

  3. Maybe we can start dismantling the CBC or the RCMP to pay for our new sacred cow.

    • Look who's talking about sacred cows.

    • Or maybe we could just use the government's advertising budget. That alone would pay for almost two years of the registry.
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/cons

      —–

      edit: I was a bit confused by the wording in the post – the $78m quoted is the overall cost for registries and licensing infrastructure. If we take the Treasury Board's figures for the registry in 2010-11, $20m, then the advertising budget of the government for last year would pay for roughly 6 years of the registry.

  4. Anybody with half a brain would know the $4 million number was bogus. However, like the fake lake costs the media is prepared to accept anything as long as it does not favour the Conservatives. They are desperate to see the government lose this vote so if they can do their part to persuade Canadians that the registry is a benign thing then they (the media) will be happy. However, as Cash says it will only help fundraising and gives an issue to exploit in rural ridings in the next election. Good work Colby in exposing the true annual costs.

  5. Nice try Colby, but the long gun gun registry and firearms programs are not interchangeable words. The higher costs include more than just the long gun registry. Since none of them would be repealed by Hoeppner`s bill they are irrelevant to the cost and the discussion.

    • I can't believe I had to get so far down the thread to see something like this.

      The LONG-GUN registry is one part of the FIREARMS registry, and suggesting that the long-guns should bear the full cost of the firearms is just a little bit . . . oh, what's that word, disingenuous, maybe? Nevermind how ridiculous it is to compare the costs for the entire firearms package to the long-gun portion of the registry.

      Having said that, I have no information on whether the 4 million is, or is not, accurate.

      • Jenn—-use your sense of logic to figure why it would be advantageous for the Police to manipulate the figures.

      • What's the word for letting people believe the cost savings of $4M are the full costs of the long-gun registry? It's been widely reported and it doesn't seem to have any basis, according to one of the widely-reporting papers involved. It seems like somebody from the RCMP could have found an opportunity to point out this confusion…

        • Blue and Style, you make a good point. As I've said, I'm not wedded to 4 million because I actually have no idea how that figure was arrived at. But to suggest, as Colby does, that the cost is more like $22 million, and then to add in the costs to Corrections Canada–what is he talking about here? The cost of jailing non-registered guns owners?? Because a) I didn't think any licensed gun-owners with non-registered long-guns have been jailed (as yet, or at least that being the 'only' crime) and b) that's quite the stretch. Shall we include the costs of court-houses throughout the country as well?

          EDIT: Forgot something. Both sides of the debate have reasons to make the cost higher or lower. I'd like to know reality. And I gather that is something that is hard to quantify since it is one part of a much bigger entity. I know I want to know the information, but I don't want to double whatever it is, trying to keep track and separate out each penny.

          • I'd like to know reality.

            If only we could establish some sort of independent office of like, budgets and stuff.

          • Colby might be trying to make the point that there's a cost of enforcing the registry, as well as the cost of operating and maintaining the registry (but, really, who knows what he means and who wants to risk provoking him into wrathfully "explaining" it). The Globe has explained where the $4M came from for their reporting, and pointed out that it's just completely wrong and has no connection whatsoever to whatever the costs actually are. The PBO works with publicly available information, and this information doesn't seem to be publicly available. But the RCMP have, ever so innocently, allowed people to think the information is well-known and is $4M. I agree with you – it would be nice to know the actual number. And it's admirable that the Globe has stepped up and at least acknowledged that we don't.

          • What isn't admirable is the way they also misled the reader into thinking the figure they quoted, $66.4m – was the actual price tag of the long gun registry and not the cost of the whole firearms program (which, if I'm not mistaken, includes licensing, training, and the hand gun portion of the registry).

          • At least they're misleading them with a conservative estimate – $66M is the *net* cost of the program, after license charges etc. are recovered from users. Since the registry is one of the CFP elements which is not cost-recovery, it should be a big piece of the $66M. We should still count it as an improvement that a random number has been replaced by a number with some meaningful relationship to the cost of the registry.

          • I'm not sure how much cost recovery is involved in any of the other parts of the Firearms Program. The licenses are $60 and last for 5 years – so that's $12 per year per license they're recovering. The safety courses seem to be subcontracted out to provincial organizations, so I'm not sure how much of the $130 fee the Firearms Program recoups. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/safe_sur/cont-

            I think the most meaningful figure is the one the Treasury Board cites (and Cosh links to) that places the cost of the firearms registry (not including licensing and infrastructure) at $21m for 2010-11, which is obviously higher than the oft-quoted $4m, but does also include aspects of the registry that aren't on the chopping block (as it were ;)

          • Thanks. The $21M figure seems reasonable, and TB is usually a good source for estimates. I don't know what it means by excluding infrastructure – do you know if that includes IT?

          • THIRD TRY!

            I thumbed you up specifically for the Colby comment. That made me laugh out loud.

            I'm not disagreeing with your basic points, more like quibbling over details. It is admirable of the Globe to undertake their own investigation–too bad they got it so horribly wrong. Still, with the Burns "death" still fresh in our memory, kudos for any news organization for double-checking reported facts and figures. Now do it better.

            In Colby's update (also linked down thread by C_9 earlier) is a link to the Ottawa Citizen, who link to an RCMP report, which references the source of the figures. That is something called “Risks and Benefits of New Legislation – Canadian Firearms Centre Registration Services”. Now, I could be way off here, but that title sounds like something that would be commissioned by lawmakers rather than law enforcers (caveat: the RCMP have certainly been known to go far above their mandate when commissioning studies) and if my assumption is correct, the people who have the report detailing the real numbers are, uh, the government! And if the numbers for the long-gun portion of the registry were much higher than media has been suggesting, don't you think the Conservative government would be crowing those higher numbers all over the place?

          • The Pleiades report was not commissioned by Parliament, it was commissioned by the RCMP or whichever department was looking after the registry at the time (with our Parliamentary system of government, there isn't really a distinction between the government and the civil service, which does include the RCMP (whatever they like to think)). Since Pleiades is an IT consultancy, I think Colby's request that we see the actual report to know what it covers is pretty reasonable.

            As long as the Conservatives benefit from the 'billion dollar boondoggle" talking point, I don't expect them to worry about putting out any other dollar estimates. I didn't realise before today that the AG suggested a criminal investigation of GroupAction based on her initial audit of the registry – no wonder the Conservatives like to come back to this.

          • "Since Pleiades is an IT consultancy, I think Colby's request that we see the actual report to know what it covers is pretty reasonable."

            Oh, I think its reasonable, too. I was just trying to imagine why we hadn't/couldn't.

  6. The willingness to believe even the most inane logic or non-sensical figures tossed about by the Media and the Liberal and NDP Parties to shine a favourable light on this useless gun registry tells me they only want to keep it because Harper wants to get rid of it.

    And where are all the truth-finders that inhabit this site ?
    Why are they not up in arms when they see it is obvious that the RCMP have been manipulating the truth about these figures ?
    Where`s Johnny Geddes and Aaronny Wherry ?
    Where`s all those good commenters who can disect a distant whisper from a cabinet minister if it suits their agenda ?
    That`s it isn`t it. If the truth doesn`t fit their agenda, what the hell good is it ? Just ask the RCMP.

    • Wherry's not a truth-finder and never has been. He's a Liberal Party of Canada shill masquerading as a journalist (cf. "Lawrence Martin").

    • Of course, if the Conservatives (who have access to all the files) had made the strategic choice to argue for the abolition of the registry based on the money that would be saved annually, none of this would have been an issue would it?

      Instead the decision was made to obscure the operational savings that would result from scrapping the registry and instead talk about the larger amount required to set it up.

      In essence, it was a strategic decision to emotionally convince people to scrap the registry by making them angry rather than rationally convincing them by laying out the facts. This may or may not be good politics, it is certainly bad governance.

  7. I never agreed with one of the main reasons the Liberals have given for keeping the gun registry and that is that the Police like it, therefore it is good.
    15 years ago you give Police extended power to collect info about the general populace and even if the average Cop knows it is useless info. the Police Chiefs would never give up their territory, their control over the citizens. Because that`s what Police Chiefs do—they are all about power and politics.
    So, you would not really expect them to say we didn`t receive any real benefits from all those times we accessed the Long Gun Registry after pulling over Joe Suburbia for doing 60 in a 40.

    • class, can anyone help out Blue here?

      • Perhaps if the government distributes his confidential medical files, we can help save him from himself.

      • Miked——def: to close out an argument with one who disagrees with your assumptions by calling that person a Liar.

        This is a variation of the name-calling method of smugness practised by those on the left as they become aware they are losing an argument.

        Mike will probably find an opportunity to call someone a liar before long. In the meantime he will try to ally himself with some like-thinkers on this site.

  8. The $4 million is, I believe, the subset of costs estimated for the long gun registry itself. Colby, I believe your larger numbers encompass all spending on the firearms program. Take for example the 240 employees: their duties are not solely dedicated to the long gun registry but to the whole firearms program which includes licensing of all guns and gun owners, safety training and programs, etc.

    The Conservatives are not trying to dismantle the entire program and have only targetted the long gun registry in their attacks, so it is fair to isolate the costs of the long gun registry itself and alone.

    What the actual cost of the long gun registry on its own actually is would be difficult to calculate because, for example, you would need to know how much time was spent by each employee on it during their day, etc. So it is not nefarious or even complete laziness for media to accept a calculation presented to them.

    And if you follow the true sequence of events: the dollar figures are in reaction to lies and fudging perpetrated by the government itself about the costs and effectiveness of the long gun registry.

    • This was what I believed – that the whole Firearms Program was in the tens of millions to maintain and run, but that the Registry alone was only a small subset of that.

      This being said, I have a hard time believing that it's only $4M – unless it's gone next-to-dead since the massive cost overrun in its first year.

      • Is it possible the first year figures you are referring to included the intitial captial outlay for setting up everything? I remember part of the problem back in the mid-90s (back when Harper was a registry supporter, actually…) they scrapped the computer system they were using and had to pay for a whole new one.

        • yes, by "first year" I mean it to include the capital outlay.

          Ideally, maintenance costs for a registry of this nature would decrease year-over-year until the number of new applications/registrations approaches a constant and the bugs inherent in any computer system are discovered and resolved, but again, $4M still seems a little low.

    • Right. So, the RCMP deliberately lied to the media to get back at the gov't "lies and fudging".

      Usual BS in the RCMP. Most of us out West have pretty much had it with that work program for idiots.

  9. Colby, Colby, Colby.

    Robert McClelland got it right. It's the marginal cost of running the long gun registry when you already have a firearms registry up and running. Didn't they teach you basic economics anywhere?

    • It's not even economics so much as reading the title of the chart provided.

  10. Despite obvious political leanings I've always found Colby factual and non-partisan. I can't figure out what's happened here. He's either deliberately misrepresenting the overall cost of firearms programs as that of the long-gun registry, or he is as clueless as he accuses his colleagues in the media of being.

    • A third possibility would be that he is absolutely correct.

      The 4 million figure was arrived at through an a$$-covering method using past false-justifications and the fear of future budget cuts.

      Cosh just happens to be the first in the media to question their methodology.

      • Or, if we want to deal with reality, we could admit the $4M number comes from Stockwell Day and what the Treasury says will be the savings if the long gun registry is abolished.

        That is not the best way to calculate operating costs, but surely it is not nefarious to use the anti-gun registry Conservatives' own numbers as a general base for approximating the costs of the long gun registry. Surely even you can concede that, Blue, others.

        Funny that only Cosh has pointed this out and no one else. Not even the Government.

        • Although if the main issue is bottom line savings, then $4M, if correct, would be the best figure to use, right?

        • You will have to show us how your logic managed to tie together Stockwell Day and the 4 million figure.

          • Didn't the $4million figure come from the Treasury Board?

            Isn't Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board?

          • They added $15M/a and still kept the total at only $4M? That's impressive.

          • Stockwell Day, as president of the treasury board, has said there would be a $4 million savings.

            Please do keep up, Blue.

          • Only a Liberal would waste my time by sending me to a CBC story that implies that a one Billion dollar plus Useless Registry should be kept around because it forces lawful citizens to pay registration fees.

            Also, obviously I don`t follow Stockwell Day around as diligently as you do, so could you provide us with the quote where he " has said there would be a $4 million savings. "

          • So we've subsiding long gun owners, to give the Conservatives political cover. Where's my striped t-shirt and eye patch?

          • Long gun owners will pay for their own licences.

            Abolish the long gun registry and nobody will have to subsidize.

  11. Obvious question I hadn't thought of until just now:

    Are there seperate registries for hand guns and long guns? Or are we referring to the "long gun registry" as a handy way to denote that portion of the firearm registry that Hoeppner is proposing to scrap?

    • I just assumed that someone who was so sophisticated that he could cross-reference advertising budgets with long gun registrys would know that the hand gun registry in Canada was started up in 1934.

      Maybe your confusion is a reflection of those who don`t really understand, they just oppose any CPC initative.

      • Right, and is the long-gun registry part of that pre-existing registry or is does it stand alone?

        I would expect someone as sophisticated as yourself wouldn't have problems with reading comprehension.

        • RSA—just thought you knew something the rest of us did not. You know the way you were able to tie together advertising budgets and the long gun registry.

          • Again, I asked what I thought was a fairly simple question. Twice.

            You've responded with a non sequitur. Twice.

    • I don't know. Doesn't the AG's original report explain this? I can't imagine how you spend a billion dollars adding new users to an existing database.

  12. If the true figure of the cost of the long gun registry including all the useless accessing done by every-day police is 30 million dollars, and the registry is abolished then the budget in that RCMP Dep`t should be reduced by 30 million dollars.
    If the RCMP say the registry only costs 4 million dollars then they would hope their budget would only be reduced by 4 million dollars when the registry is abolished.
    Use the logic portion of your brain to calculate why the RCMP would want to manipulate the figures.

    • By your "logic", it would be in the RCMP's interest to inflate the number if this is about preserving budgets. So by your "logic", the actual cost of the long gun registry could be less than $4M.

      Well done, Blue!

      • tb—-for someone who just talked about reading comprehension, it appears you`ve got yourself all twisted up over this issue.

        How could the RCMP preserve a budget for a Registry that no longer existed ?

        Reread my previous comment and get back to me.

  13. Yeah! The police should spend less time enforcing laws and more time fighting crime!

  14. Colby Fail. G&M Fail. The OC has it right <a href="http://;http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/edboard/archive/2010/09/22/what-the-registry-really-costs.aspx” target=”_blank”>;http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/edboard/archive/2010/09/22/what-the-registry-really-costs.aspx.

    Two confounding issues: (1) costs of Firearms Program vs. Long Gun Registry (a subset of the former); and (2) operating cost of LGR (claimed not identifiable) vs. estimated annual savings from termination of LGR, maximum $4M.

    We can argue over the credibility of the estimates and the appropriateness of using savings estimates as a proxy for operating cost but let's not deliberately or carelessly conflate Firearms with Long Guns.

  15. Thank you for posting that link to the Treasury Board's estimates for the RCMP. That firearms registration is anticipated to cost $21m out of a total $2.8b budget (which, if my admittedly shoddy math is correct, equals 0.8% of the total budget) certainly puts things in perspective.

  16. They also say it is effective in promoting gun safety.

    But maybe we should follow your logic and get rid of the sex offenders registry and the fingerprint registry and any collected data on DNA they may have. It's all used as a tool for Reactive response , NOT a tool for any Proactive initiative .. It's ALL About More Power over YOU for the police, and always will be.

    • Look LaserGuy has an important point. We clearly need a lot more Caped Crusaders, Webheads, and guys in flying iron suits nabbing the bad guys in the act. Indeed …."LaserGuy" could be just the answer (assuming he doesn't run into copyright issues with that guy from X-men.

      • And here I was thinking "LaserGuy" was just some lab technician at The Lazer Eye Institute trying to sex up his lifestyle with a nickname, sort of like "CashMan" is the guy on those annoying Toronto TV ads trying to get you to sell him your jewelry. Or that maybe it was a shortened nickname for the guy in the office whose name no one can remember so they just call him "the laser copier guy" or "laserguy" for short, in a sort of ironic mocking fashion.

        As usual though, I would defer to your greater insight into such matters.

    • Neither the sex offenders registry nor the fingerprint registry nor the DNA registry collect the data on everybody who has a fingerprint, a double helix, or a penis. The firearms registry uniquely aims (it fails, of course…yours truly for a minor example) to identify every person and indeed every gun. It would be like a sex registry that gets serial numbers off of dildos that could be one day used to commit a sex crime.

      If you asked for a registry of people who had committed crimes with guns, then perhaps your argument would be analogous. Of course, they already have one of those.

      • I haven't ever committed a crime. My fingerprints are registered with the RCMP because of some work I did, as a lawyer, for a casino.

        They are very analogous.

        • You're welcome, then, to randomly decide to register yourself and your firearm(s) with the RCMP on your own time.

          But I object wholesale to you trying to keep it a legal requirement that I do so.

  17. This is ridiculous. On the day of the vote we learn that no one can tell us how much the long-gun registry costs???? The government has been sitting on this for four and a half years. Still, it’s a private member’s bill. If the government had the courage of its convictions it would have prepared the file properly and presented a bill to scrap the long-gun registry. Instead, everyone – but the government in particular as they have run on scrapping the thing – is playing political games in which taxpayers are the pawns.

    I’ve had enough of this incompetent, bumbling government.

  18. Interesting strategy – he party of law and order fostering distrust of the police. A lot of thought must have gone into that. Or at least the same amount of thought they put into other issues, i.e. none.

    • Interesting strategy–assume our Police forces are all working at maximum perfection and accept that what Police Chiefs say is Gospel.

      • I'm just not sure if making drive by smears during political campaigns goes along with the governments supposed emphasis on law and order. Meanwhile, there appear to be serious problems with the RCMP that are going unaddressed. So, it's not that the government shouldn't evaluate law enforcement, it's that is should be done for non-partisan reasons.

        • I`m not sure which " drive by smears during political campaigns " that you are referring to—the only one I recall was made by Goodale supporters in the last campaign.

  19. Don't know why I keep reading these posts. A constant reminder just how truly stupid and dishonest the left wing loons are. Can't remember the last time I ran into an honest lefty. Probably never have.
    Being completely controlled by liars in the media, police and politics and the braindead legions that follow the elft doesn't speak for much of a future. By the way, how the heck has Colby Cosh managed to hold a job at Mcleans.

  20. That might be a good point – the registry is a very effective tool for enforcing laws compelling people to comply with the registry. What better tool for discovering if someone has registered their long-gun than a register of long-guns? That actually sounds like fairly standard police-officer logic.

  21. The way this government operates it is a safe bet that the cost for the combined licensing and registration program will actually INCREASE if the registry is scrapped. They have already promised to keep all the employees that work on the registry so those costs just get shifted somewhere they aren't needed. The software system used for the registry is the same one used for licensing, so that cost won't change.

    I think the Harper government has purposely confused the costs of the registry with the revenue the CPC gets from registry haters and right wing pundits just keep repeating it.

  22. A different sort of question for the partisan crowd. Why do the Conservatives have such a hard time pulling out numbers?

    For the Great Fake Lake it took way longer than it should have for them to get the correct number out. john g could perhaps step in with a recount of all the times the Conservatives have been hard done by through over-reporting/ underreporting $ in the press.

    This is perhaps the most extreme case, the $4mil seems low, the Globe's number are wrong, Colby's numbers are bs (Nailed bs, but still bs). I don't think that makes the Liberals (for the $4mil), the Globe, or Colby stupid; it makes the Conservatives seem unprepared. They are essentially making a fiscal case that the registry costs too much. They have been making that case for weeks, months, years. Why didn't they make that case by bringing forward numbers that could be backed up for the savings i.e. the relevant numbers for making the decision?

    Every Conservative has the billions of dollars wasted in its creation memorized. None of them have an accurate answer for the savings. Do they really not know the number? Is the number damningly low? I am perhaps most concerned that they have gone so far down this Tim Horton, non-elitist road that even when the straightforward facts back them up, they are loath to present them.

    • Is the number damningly low?

      Well, if the total cost of the Canadian Firearms Program is $66.4 Million, and if the maximum savings from trashing the long-gun portion is about $3.65 Million, then that means it only represents about 5% of the spending.

      So yeah, damningly low. Low enough in fact to make the economic argument look like complete nonsense really.

      Which leaves them defending not registering deadly firearms because… I don't wanna?

      • Well to be fair to them, they have a two prong argument, 1) it is a waste of money and 2) it makes farmers who refuse to follow the law and register their long guns criminals.

        • Yeah I don't get the second argument much. I mean I do understand how a farmer or hunter might be annoyed at having to do something new that impinges on their time and reduces their freedom relative to the past, but frankly we're talking deadly weapons and public safety here. There needs to be some form of censure for failing to register.

          There's a lot of things that can go wrong without the gun owner being a criminal.

          That said I respect people's culture and gun culture is big in the rural areas, so my preference at this stage would be to hold town councils in rural areas and come up with a compromise that works for everyone.

      • "Which leaves them defending not registering deadly firearms because… I don't wanna?"

        And the equally damning "even if you could it wouldn't achieve anything". Lets not forget a healthy dose of "you can't anyways"

        • I can easily agree that criminalizing gun owners is silly, but somehow I don't think increasing the ability for the police to investigate and track guns is really all that crazy an idea in and of itself.

          I can see why it's divisive, and my rural relatives are certainly split on the whole thing, but most of all the handling of this basically good idea has been atrocious from the start.

          But in the end I'd rather not throw the baby out with the bathwater but find a way to fix the mess amicably.

    • Are you sure you want to argue the Registry is a winner for the Liberals because of good fiscal management on their part and poor fiscal choices on the Conservative part.

      It was the Liberals who initated the part of the Registry that cost the initial 1 Billion Dollars.

      • No, it was a smart-assy way to ask a serious question. How come everyone is still speculating about numbers? Why didn't the Conservatives bring forward the numbers in a straightforward, transparent way?

        • —don`t know, but I`ll guess. I would think the whole Dept. of Registrations is so full of people who firmly believe in their positions that the chances of a Gov`t inquirer getting accurate info out of there is just about nil.

          Of all gov`t depts. that one is probably the most uncooperative.

          • Well, I doubt we will ever know now…. it will be full-blown campaign rhetoric from here on.

          • . . . like many of the comments on this site these days (sad to say).

  23. Am I missing something here? The only debate of substance in parliament or anywhere else I see is concerning the long-gun portion of the registry, so isn't that the figure everyone should be talking about, ie the savings from the dismantling of that portion?

    If so then the amount saved would be $3.65 million, which doesn't seem like a lot of money one way or another relatively speaking.

    I was never under the impression that the entire Canadian Firearms Program was costing $4 million a year. Without seeing a single document that number is obviously incorrect.

    I don't get it, are we now discussing the entire program as a way for Conservatives to confuse the debate and inflate the numbers we're talking about?

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