Candice Hoeppner, political scientist


Speaking in the House before the vote to eliminate the long-gun registry last week, Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner recalled how she had introduced similar legislation in the last Parliament. She then proceeded to gloat.

Unfortunately, some individuals on the other side of the House broke faith with their constituents. They told their constituents they would vote to end the long gun registry but they did not. Instead, they voted in the interests of their party bosses. However, every cloud has a silver lining. We decided that we might have lost a battle but we were determined that we would not lose the war. We made an effort to get out and talk to Canadians. We knew that we needed a majority government. We needed a mandate from Canadians in order to end the wasteful long gun registry, and that is exactly what we received.

Listening to Michael Ignatieff’s demands that all Liberals vote to keep on criminalizing law-abiding gun owners meant that we exchanged Liberal Larry Bagnell for the Conservative member for Yukon. It meant that we exchanged Liberal Anthony Rota for the Conservative member for Nipissing—Timiskaming. It meant that we exchanged Liberal Mark Holland for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, the Conservative MP for Ajax—Pickering. They were great trades.

It was not only the Liberals who lost. Listening to the big union bosses in the backroom of the NDP did not work out so well for some of those members either. The good people of Sault Ste. Marie made what some would call an MP upgrade from Tony Martin to the Conservative member for Sault Ste. Marie.

This is an interesting version of recent electoral history.

A total of six New Democrats who originally opposed the long-gun registry subsequently voted against Ms. Hoeppner’s bill. All six were reelected, four of them by larger margins.

Of the seven Liberals who were whipped into voting against Ms. Hoeppner’s bill and subsequently ran for reelection, three were reelected. Keith Martin did not seek reelection, but his riding was subsequently won not by the Conservatives, but by the NDP.

Ignoring all other factors then, the long-gun registry could only, conceivably, be said to have swayed four of a potential 14 ridings to the Conservative side.

The references to Mark Holland and Tony Martin are curious. I don’t ever recall it being suggested that Mr. Holland once wished to eliminate the long-gun registry, so it’s unclear how he could be accused of breaking faith with his constituents. Presuming he supported the registry all along, it’s equally unclear why he would have been elected in 2006 and reelected in 2008 if eliminating the registry was the forefront of concerns in Ajax-Pickering.

Mr. Martin’s story is complicated. He opposed the registry in 2004 and 2006 when he was elected and reelected respectively. In 2008, he supported the registry and was reelected with a larger share of the vote. In 2011, while still supporting the registry, he was defeated. Cause and effect would seem rather difficult to prove.


Candice Hoeppner, political scientist

  1. NEVER, NEVER let the facts get  in the way of a good story….

  2. Cons rewrite history as they go along.  Saves time later.

  3. “This is an interesting version of recent electoral history.”

    Thomas Macaulay ~ The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion

    • Lies, damn lies, and CPC facts…

  4.  The CPC don’t need no stinkin’ facts!!

  5. She and Shelly Glover – blond jokes apply to these two. 

  6. I believe Candice Hoeppner`s point was that the only way the gun registry would be eliminated would be with a Conservative majority. 
    It was obvious that the opposition parties would continue to ignore the facts that the gun registry was an expensive and ultimately useless tool for police forces. The opposition parties would continue their tight-rope walk trying to garner votes from the uninformed who thought by forcing duck hunters to register shotguns there would be less gun violence in our cities, while at the same time trying to hold onto specific NDP and Liberal seats by allowing some MP`s to say they would vote with the wishes of their constituents and then changing their vote.Candice Hoeppner did an admirable job of showing how the Liberal-NDP strategy was a failed one while demonstrating that only the Conservatives were consistent throughout the debate. A good example of Democracy at work.

    • Every word of your post is untrue. 

      • Actually, I would bet that the “I believe” part was true, at least

        • 50/50, you never know what comes from CPC HQ!

      • Feel free to tell us how the Gun Registry was useful for police forces.

        The Gun Registry was a vote-buying tool of the Chretien government.


        • it made it possible to enforce cases where firearms licenses were revoked, and aided against trafficking to the unlicensed.  And all just by filling out a sheet of paper! 

          •  Every word of that comment is untrue.

        • The long-gun registry was established to track weapons by tying them to their owners. The need for the long-gun registry has been repeatedly demonstrated by the 2010 Evaluation Report by the RCMP and the various enquiries and commissions over the last decade. The long-gun registry is used, for example: when intervening with people at risk of suicide or domestic violence; executing prohibition orders; tracing guns recovered from crime scenes and seized from criminals; cracking down on the black market and gun thieves when discovering stolen guns being registered again; reducing accidents and dumb shootings by making it more likely for people to comply with safe storage laws since the guns that kids or amateur hour thieves might get into can easily be traced; prosecuting various gun-involved crimes; etc. With Bill C-19 these provisions have been seriously undermined.

           And, Bill C-19 removes the requirement that has been in place since 1977 that gun dealers record purchaser information. It also makes any private sale acceptable if the seller has no reason to believe that the buyer is not licensed. No evidence of compliance is needed and it is illegal to retain such information. 

          Instead of wasting so much wind on telling us what the long-gun registry fails to do, and cannot do, it would be more useful to actually look at what it was designed to do and why it is actually needed

          • Wasting a little wind yourself there Ward.
            Rather than argue for the registration of long guns your comment seems to suggest that the best route would be to ban guns, all guns, throughout the country. That would solve all gun crime, right. No,  don`t forget about those illegal guns out there. They would still be used for the vast majority of crime.Actually, I believe the government should now devote some energy to fighting the illegal gun trade. It won`t be easy, but unlike the old gun registry, you can be sure that they will be fighting crime.

          • You do seem to have a problem focusing on what is said  preffering to talk about things not said. Really, where to these thoughts come from? Isn’t your tin foil hat meant to block those voices? Perhaps you need an upgrade or a reline with heavy duty foil.

          • Ah yes, the old tin foil comment.
            One of the 10 signs a lefty is losing.

          • Ellen’s reading comprehension tends to be somewhat selective Ward.

    • I’m not sure why the issue about the gun registry is always framed in terms of “violence in our cities.” Both Liberals and Conservatives seem to do this. It was, and is, ridiculous to assume that city violence, which is so often gang related, relies on a steady influx of legally purchased long guns.

      But that is a very separate issue from that of domestic violence, which doesn’t discriminate between rural and urban areas, and which arguably has been both prevented, and made safer for police officers to deal with, via the long gun registry. Sometimes men get upset and threaten or shoot their wives. Or vice versa. And knowing that the police know that you have a gun is arguably a deterrent here, and also allows police called to domestic disputes (which is a large part of their job in certain jurisdictions) to be aware that there are firearms present before opening the door.

      Like most government services, the LGR cost too much to set up, and probably didn’t need to involve the amount of paperwork it did. But I have never understood why making someone register something which can be used to kill or harm people is “criminalizing” them, or why guns should be any different than cars in this respect. Unfortunately, though, this issue is so divisive that I’m sure there is no hope of reasonable disagreement here. The gun registry either criminalizes hunters, or it single handedly puts an end to gang wars.

      • I suppose my reason for using the term ” violence in our cities ” was because the vast majority of gun crimes do occur in cities, and the gun registry was a result of a particular evil crime that took place in Montreal. I do agree with you that one reason why the gun registry had little effect on gun crime in cities was the easy access to illegal guns there.

        I can`t agree with you that the gun registry acted as any type of deterrent that may have prevented a crazy man from shooting his wife. It is not as though he is going to look at his registered firearm and think—-I better not use that registered firearm. The  victims of gun crime with registered guns over the past 17 years are every bit as injured and dead as those before that.

        I`m not sure if the gun used in Mayerthorpe to kill the four Mounties was registered. It doesn`t matter. The gun registry didn`t help those guys. 

        • But the gun registry was used to convict the two guys that helped him. 

          • That`s it?
            A billion dollar gun registry is a useful crime tool because it enabled the RCMP to spend millions more to convict two stooges who were intimidated into driving a crazy man back to his home?
            That whole Mayerthorpe story was a tragic and disgraceful time for the Mounties, right through their questionable conviction of those young stooges.
            And the gun registry doesn`t help that story one bit.

          • So now you’re a policing expert? 

          • That`s all you`ve got?

  7. Conservatives lie, it’s what they do
    They lie to me, they lie to you.
    They lie about the gun vote
    Trading public safety for a vapid gloat.

  8. Should do well in the fiction category.

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