In time for the vote, as it happens -

In time for the vote, as it happens


We learned via the Star’s Susan Delacourt that MP Scott Simms “has a raw, recent and personal reason for his decision to support the long-gun registry in the Commons today. Simms’ father, Reginald, took his own life with a long gun in June.”

After the revelation, delivered in Wednesday’s in camera caucus meeting, “many MPs were in tears and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was visibly emotional.” In a separate blog post, Delacourt elaborates:

Reportedly Ignatieff choked up when it was time to take the floor again and caucus members lined up to embrace Simms.

It makes all the games and the jeering and the attacks look pretty petty.

Indeed: politics can be such a cynical game. Thank goodness, with emotions running as high as they were, somebody found the strength, and the courage, to leak the story to the Star.


In time for the vote, as it happens

  1. Sad story. But are Liberals and the Star trying to cash in on a tragic suicide?
    Considering it's being brought up during a tense political moment. Is it fair to ask if the gun was registered? And how a lgr would prevent a suicide.
    And WTH is this about….
    "Some of the women MPs believe that the woman he was talking about was Suzanne Laplante-Edward,"
    Just crap that is completely unsupported especially questionable coming from Liberals.

    • For "crap that is completely unsupported" it might be better to read Jane Taber's Globe piece which appeared hours earlier, implying that Simms was bailing on the vote because he was not in the frame of a photo with Ignatieff earlier in the day.

      • Jane is always full of crap.

      • It wasn't just Jane Taber either. There were repeat offenders along those lines in the PPG in recent weeks.

  2. Delacourt has had a direct line into the Liberal's caucus for years now. Completely disgusting article.

    • PMO never give leads to reporters?

      • On suicides? Stay classy Liberal supporters…

        • You know what? It only takes one person to leak this story for it to get leaked. If you think it is so heinous then think it of the one person who leaked it and stop extrapolating to the entire liberal party.

          • Yes, it took at least one MP from the Liberal caucus meeting to leak this disgusting story and a Liberal supporter above equating the current PMO of leaking something as distasteful as a suicide.

          • Um. What?

          • Disgusting story?

          • do you have any proof or are you going "with your gut"…because reform/harper supporters seem to like "going with their gut"….

        • So…you'd have preferred to see Conservatives criticizing Simms for flip-flopping, not knowing what happened?

  3. Irregardless time to move on to other things of importance. Harper has no other platforms than the LGR. Move on to other things that need to be addressed.

    • a) You mean: "Regardless,"

      b) I doubt that the registry is the only part of the Tory platform, although it is a juicy one for them.

      c) Since when does the left ever stop until it gets its way? Look up gay marriage in Canada for a recent example. Yeah, I know, rights that you guys made up made you do it. Blah, blah.

      • Actually, the courts of 8 provinces and 2 territories ruled in favour of same-sex marriage PRIOR to the federal Liberals seeking an opinion from the Supreme Court of Canada.

        In other words, "Oh, look, your revisionism is showing."

        • Nobody forced them to seek an opinion from the Court. In fact, they could have appealed all these decisions to the Court, but chose not to. Just like I said, you guys always blame some outside force for your own actions. And please don't make false accusations against me. It only reveals the desperation of your own position. Thank you.

          • Hey! What a great idea! Take a case where you are absolutely guaranteed to lose and fight it all the way to the SCC. That would be a very effective expenditure of tax dollars.

            Or you could just grown up.

          • Yeah, Dennis. Taking matters to the Supreme Court is so immature. Please grow up.

          • Sigh. Taking matters you know you are going to lose just in order to win a couple polical points is indeed immature…and expensive.

            Now you grow up.

          • Fighting it to the SCC would have – fairly – been called the cowards way out by both sides of the debate. Leaving what is essentially a political issue best decided by the legislature entirely in the hands of unelected judges is unfair to both the court and the electorate.

            Referring the actual legislation to the court was a means of insulating it from legalistic attack – the government took a position and supported it.

            I'd also mention that when the government took that position, it wasn't in the form of supporting a Private Members Bill – which to me is the best indication that it has always been the intention of the government to have its cake and eat it too on the gun registry issue. A basket to which we can add 'tough on crime', 'senate reform', and arguably even abortion.

          • Yeah, why would you ask for an interpretation of the charter based on a growing movement within the political body eh? Gee, can't think of a reason. NOT!

            The Feds were very late in addressing that issue, and only moved when it became clear that this was a growing movement.

            They wanted to be sure they wouldn't lose a charter challenge, which is just an intelligent thing to do.

            Honestly, your reach is exceeding your grasp here. Move on.

      • Actually Dennis, if you're going to be an arse and correct spelling, you should at least know that "regardless" and "irregardless" are interchangeable and both are correct.

        Get a grip already.

        • Oxford New Shorter English Dictionary lists it as 'American Non-standard or Jocular'.

          I'd barely call that interchangeable.

          It's also clear to all right thinking people that it is a double negative.

          • Well "irregardless" has been in use since 1874 as an emphasis or blend of irrespective and regardless, so its use is perfectly acceptable and has been for over a century. The basic meaning however doesn't deviate from regardless in any meaningful fashion.

            Besides, correcting spelling is just crass. And lame. Don't forget lame.

  4. "A Liberal spokesperson said that Simms does not intend to share his story with the media or in front of the cameras today."

    Hahahahahahahahahaha. Good thing Liberals aren't playing politics or anything when they leak private grief of their colleague to put pressure on others to vote the correct way.

    • Simms voted in favour of scrapping the registry. Not sure who you think he was pressuring.

      • No he didn't, all Liberal MPs voted to keep the registry.

        • I meant initially, apologies.

      • The other members of the caucus who may have been considering playing hooky? Don't forget the Liberals were afraid of a few no shows.

        • No. Don't forget a few conservatives were pretending they had information that a few liberals would be no-shows.

          Not the same thing.

        • No – the media were hoping for no shows.

      • Oh my…*slaps forehead*

      • "Simms voted in favour of scrapping the registry. Not sure who you think he was pressuring. "

        Simms voted with Liberals today to keep registry. I don't think Simms was pressuring anyone because he's kept his story private – sounds like it was one of his colleagues who leaked to Delacourt about Simms private grief.

        What kind and caring colleagues Simms has.

        "Following their victorious vote, many Liberals stood and cheered and shook each other's hands, while Simms sat solemnly in his seat. Many of his colleagues came over to him, giving him hugs and shaking his hand

        One of Simms' fellow Liberal MPs from Newfoundland, Todd Russell, said the story was shared with grace and courage and that it's up to Simms to share it publicly if he so chooses." Postmedia, Sept 22, 2010

        • I just don't know who was supposed to feel pressure. While I'm sure some were unhappy about voting with the party, there was no open musing to my knowledge of Liberal MPs saying they weren't going to show.

          • No such musing among MP's, but plenty of such musing among clueless reporters.

  5. Coyne, we'd more easily swallow your snarky POV if you had had the courtesy of printing what Delacourt actually wrote following your snippet:

    "We found out about the story and put it up online before the vote — not in small part because the prospect of Simms being jeered in the Commons, when he changes his vote, was too ugly to contemplate. Our condolences and sympathy to Mr. Simms."

    Given the Taber speculation of the day in the G&M was already prepping for the jeers, I can see Delacourt's point.

    • I guess if that's what it takes to restore civility, that's sensible.

    • Thats crap!
      The Star is trying to protect a Liberal MP from hurt feelings. Since when do reporters and newspapers do that. The Star appears to be circling one of their own.

      • "The Star is trying to protect a Liberal MP from hurt feelings. Since when do reporters and newspapers do that."

        Msm protects Liberal MPs all the frakin' time. This is just another example of msm thinking they got skin in game and trying to protect their team.

        • Listen, there are certainly a lot of reporters that are more left wing than right wing and it shows in their work. That being said, anyone who think the media protects ANYONE on the Hill is out to lunch. With blogs, webpages and two 24 hour news channels, these folks need to find something, ANYTHING to fill their days. The media runs with anything and everything.

      • How about since forever? NOBODY attacks a politician in cases like this, and it's only civil to point this out to people to save the embarassment of everyone.

        If the Libs had wanted to use this as a ploy, they would've waited and then attacked conservatives for their insensivity after the fact.

        Honestly, is there no expectation of civility left at all?

    • Lordy, Delacourt is one despicable human being. I need to vomit.

      • I'm not sure what you mean. She's "despicable" because she wrote an article containing the truth, in an apparent attempt to spare a man who recently lost his father from being jeered in the House of Commons?

        Yeah. What a jerk!

        • She's despicable because she published to the entire nation intimate details about the suicide of an individual's father. I don't think it's right to make that information public knowledge. She has no right to do that.

          • OK, fair enough. I'm not personally sure it rises quite to the level of "despicable" but it's clearly not a morally unambiguous question, so if that's the context in which you're calling the move despicable I may not agree, but it's not a crazy thing to believe.

  6. My condolences to Mr Simms for an awful way to lose a father.

    That being said…if we proceed under the assumption that his father's gun was registered, I fail to see how his tragic death in any way makes a compelling argument for the registry. Quite the opposite actually.

    Actually, the case doesn't get much better even if the gun wasn't registered.

    • That's fair, and something Mr. Simms has apparently already admitted. I think sometimes we dive too far looking for answers. If Mr. Simm's situation was not made known, he gets heckled by the Conservatives. (not trying to smear them here, it is what it is, everyone heckles).

      • If he was worried about being heckled, then why not skip the vote and provide a reason why? Instead, this was clearly opportunistic. In fact, it may well have made the situation worse, since it casts doubts on the motivation by the party.

        • Seems like Mr. Simms had an emotional reason for wanting to change his vote, and may have wanted to do so.

          • Then man-up instead of worrying about getting heckled. Instead, the Liberals wanted it both ways on this. They wanted his vote, AND they wanted his personal story out there at the last minute. Not very stoic, if you ask me.

          • hey – it seems it was the MEDIA that was worrying about the speculation and potential heckling, hence protecting Simms with the story

            see – there is a little civility left – even after your jackbooted thugs have been stomping all over the place for years

            just like your comments here, meanie

          • All you know is that one person leaked this vote. Stop projecting your outrage on the entire party.

    • It does seem more like a problem with long-term monitoring of those who get licenses. Although the initial checks into background are somewhat probing, how much do we look at later developments (other than crimes, which usually come with automatic prohibitions) which could make a gun owner more of a risk?

      Although registration would allow people to not follow up with invasive personal investigations when the person was licensed but had no firearms.

    • I don't know the details of this situation. But I do know there are cases where the RCMP finds out someone is suicidal (through threats or attempts, etc.) and realizes they have a registered firearm. I'm not sure what they do with this info – warn the family, etc. – but officers have mentioned it to me.

      • Good for the RCMP. That's the right thing to do in those circumstances. What do they do when they find out someone is suicidal and does not have a registered firearm?

      • If someone is suicidal, posing a danger to themselves or others, I thought they lost their license and the police could remove any guns from their property. Sometimes the registry helps with this, sometimes it doesn't. The licensing always does. As Mr. Simms says, it wouldn't have helped in his father's case – even licensing might not have helped since it's not clear anyone knew he was suicidal.

      • And as tasteless as it is for me to raise it here, it is also appropriate: when conservative MP — mine — Dave Batters killed himself last summer, the police knew — because of the registry — that there were long guns in the house. Don't ask me why long guns were stored in the home of a depressed and suicial man, but they were. The cops shut down the immediate vicinity, and the radio told us there was a stand off in that part of town. The gun registry did not save poor Dave — he did kill himself; but public safety was upheld. And I am not saying he was a threat to the public; but he was indeed mentally ill and unsafe to himself. A nice young guy — and those who know me here know I'm not Conservative. Also, no Liberals or NDP raised this during the gun registry stuff. Neither did the cons.

    • if we proceed under the assumption that his father's gun was registered…

      Uh, no. The way to think about this is: the billiondoggle registry has been in place for years, and, WHETHER OR NOT that firearm was registered, the blessed registry did SFA to prevent this tragic loss.

      UPDATE: Never mind, you make the same point later. I should clear my allegedly clever retorts only after a second reading of the comment to which I am replying…

      • Why the H don't you nitpicking STUPID jerks think a little, before shooting off your nitpicky mouths?. Simms' father killed himself with a long gun and the registry did not prevent it. BUT sometimes people ARE prevented from killing themselves with long guns BECAUSE of the registry which allows police to know the guns are there and to take them away before the person can kill himself.

        OF COURSE Simms voted to keep the registry because he doesn't want others to go through the pain he and his family have suffered. What is wrong with you dimwits who cannot see past the end of your nose?

        • "BECAUSE of the registry which allows police to know the guns are there and to take them away " That pretty much sums up the real reason why the registry exists in the first place.

          • And what is wrong with protecting the public, isn't that the job of the police? SInce 2005; approx 11,000 firearm licences have been revoked because people were deemed to be a threat to public safety.

            When a drug deal is going down or cars racing through the street; should the police just look the other way?

            Besides if a person has a firearm licence, which as everyone agrees a person should have; isn' t it logical the person would have some firearms? Of course without the registry the authorities would not know exactly how many.

          • There is nothing wrong with protecting the public Luke, However, the LGR does nothing to protect the public and doesn't even protect the police. Laval Constable Valerie Gignac was killed by a man in 2005 witha long gun despite having a firearms ban against him.

            I just wish the proponents of the LGR can be honest about it including the cost. For Toronto CoP Blair to claim that the registry only costs $4 million a year to administer is laughable. $4 million doesn't even come close to covering the wages of the 240 or people that work at the firearms centre, unless they all work for less than $17,000 a year and no government union would ever allow that.

        • BUT sometimes people ARE prevented from killing themselves with long guns BECAUSE of the registry which allows police to know the guns are there and to take them away before the person can kill himself.

          Oh for the love of God. "Minority Report" was not a documentary.

          • See my note above re: Dave Batters. The registry did not save Dave, but the knowledge that the firearms were present in the home enabled the police to protect the public in that part of town.

        • A small number people misuse them therefor all people should be inconvenienced, in an effort to save a fraction of that small number? Come on, you know where that argument leads don't you?

          • no more merry-go-rounds in the schoolyard?…….

          • Well, it leads to seat belt laws. All of us have the very minor inconvenience of buckling up and putting children in carseats so that the few who have accidents suffer less injuries. It also leads to insurance of all kinds. All who choose to be insured have the minor inconvenience of paying premiums so that the few who need to collect can collect. We don't know which of us will have an accident or which of us will need to make an insurance claim so we all participate.

            Gunowners also don't know which of them may eventually become a danger to themself or others and may benefit from having their guns removed at such a moment. Long gun owners always say they are law abiding and they are for the most part. But at some point, in some situation, some become criminal. If this weren't true, there would never be a single case of a long gun used in a crime or a suicide. But there are many cases.

          • You can't legislate away stupidity. A person who does not wear a seatbelt and is injured should be punished for it by having to pay significantly higher premiums. It doesn't have to effect everybody else.

            A question for you: What percentage of people, do you think, wear seatbelts because its the law? And what percentage of people wear seatbelts for safety reasons (as presented by public safety campaigns)?

            For what it's worth, Wikipedia states that the Click It or Ticket campaign in the US only increased seatbelt use by 4%.

            If this weren't true, there would never be a single case of a long gun used in a crime or a suicide. But there are many cases.

            I would point you towards statistics. According to the Justice Department, less than 2 percent of homicides are committed with long guns that have been registered.

          • Some Canadian statistics on seat belt use would be more informative. Likely, seat belt use is driven both by personal choice for safety and by the law. Increasing fines increases usage.

            So only 2% of homicides involve registered long guns. Here are some other stats from:

            "Those opposed to long gun registration claim there is a lack of criminal activity involving long guns. This is not true. Of firearm-related homicides in 2008 in Canada, 26% were by rifles or shotguns. Furthermore, long guns were used in 72% of firearm-related spousal homicides.[4]"

            It looks like an awful lot of unregistered long guns are being used to kill. So if all long guns were registered would we save the 24% who are now being killed by unregistered long guns? Would the registry cause long gun owners to be more responsible? Or would the percentage of long gun homicides remain around 26%, resulting in a huge increase in the the number of registered long gun owners becoming criminal?

          • Some Canadian statistics on seat belt use would be more informative. Likely, seat belt use is driven both by personal choice for safety and by the law. Increasing fines increases usage.

            Please feel free to present them. I did a quick search, and that's what I found. Not that I believe that the reasoning would be that much different between Canadians and Americans. As it is, I would suggest that the link I provided points to negligible increases based on fines. You would be much better to focus on public education rather than using people with guns.

            It looks like an awful lot of unregistered long guns are being used to kill. So if all long guns were registered would we save the 24% who are now being killed by unregistered long guns? Would the registry cause long gun owners to be more responsible? Or would the percentage of long gun homicides remain around 26%, resulting in a huge increase in the the number of registered long gun owners becoming criminal?

            You may see a slight rise, but I highly doubt it. The sad fact of the matter is that the majority of homicides are crimes of passion, and / or committed by people who know each other. It is unlikely that these criminals would take the time to consider whether or not they had registered their firearm.

            On the contrary, I would expect that were the registry a deterrent to the use of long guns in the commission of a crime, criminals would simply avail themselves of tools of a different nature. This is why knives are illegal in Canada, as are collapsible batons and mace.

            The latter two, I should point out, being almost entirely defensive weapons.

          • So you say that if every long gun was registered would cause a slight rise. Of what? Do you mean of registered long gun owners committing crimes? That was the context of my previous note. So if there were to be only a slight rise in criminals among registered long gun owners, who would own all of the long guns, as the premise is that every long gun is registered, then there must be a sharp decline in the use of long guns used in the commission of crime. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

          • I'm sorry, my response wasn't clear; I'll blame it on having been late in the day. A couple of points:

            1. You cannot accomplish 100% compliance with the registry. Criminals do not, and will not, register their guns (they are rarely that stupid). Likely, the rate of compliance that you see now will continue.

            2. If we were able, somehow, to register every gun in the country, I would expect that gun crime would go down. However, I very much doubt that you would see overall crime to fall significantly. Criminals would most likely just find a different tool for the job. For example, in the UK (which would, since the country is an island, arguably have a better opportunity to reduce the overall number of guns) knife crime replaces gun crime.

          • So isn't that evidence that registering your gun will discourage you from using it to commit murder?

            If you believe what the Government of Harper says on its crappy partisan website that pretends to be a Government of Canada website.

          • So isn't that evidence that registering your gun will discourage you from using it to commit murder?

            No. It implies that criminals don't register their guns.

          • So isn't that evidence that registering your gun will discourage you from using it to commit murder?

            Last I checked, the Criminal Code addressed murder pretty well, REGARDLESS of the weapon. Look it up.

            My own sense of morality and respect for people discourages me from killing anyone. The registry? Not. One. Bit.

        • BUT sometimes people ARE prevented from killing themselves with long guns BECAUSE of the registry which allows police to know the guns are there and to take them away before the person can kill himself.

          Evidence? Link? Numbers of allegedly suicidal lives saved by this tool — or, at least, number of registered firearms confiscated using this motivation? Number of suicidal lives lost by some other means anyways after the firearms were confiscated?

          And when will the police start confiscating the registered bridges, subway platforms and pharmacies in communities where a suicidal person is identified? "Even if it only saves ONE life…"

          • How about "Even if one paranoid gun nut thinks he's being treated like a criminal…"

          • Maybe that's your motivation for maintaining this billiondoggle burden on law-abiding Canadians. But I sure hope the thirty-plus million other Canadians might be able to think a little more.

          • Women's gropups say the registry saves women's lives. I believe them before any lying Conservative.

  7. Wait, so you people think it's morally repugnant to play politics with a personal tragedy?

    For shame.

  8. I admit that was my second thought, too, Andrew. I really, really hope the caucus member who leaked this was Mr. Simms.

    • I doubt it very much.

      • "Wednesday's in camera caucus meeting"

        Why assume it was even a leak?

        • The phrase in camera does not refer to the use of cameras.

    • It was not. His colleague did. She mentioned a story on Twitter and then Delacourt found the details (I assume from the same MP).

    • I don't know Jenn. If the leak was from him, does it make sense that we'd be hearing about how choked up and teary eyed and emotional everybody got and how everybody lined up for a group hug? I can't imagine a person in that situation being able to describe a story like that for a reporter to run just before a key vote. I think I'd be more creeped out to find out that it was him rather than one of his colleagues.

      More likely a colleague asked his permission to leak the story and used the opportunity to exercise some dramatic license.

      • Frankly, I can't imagine getting the words out to tell my caucus friends, never mind the reporter. But I do take your point.

        • I agree, I can't imagine someone bringing that up in caucus, with a reporter, or in any public or semi-public forum. I can't imagine a colleague passing on that information either. I also can't imagine a reporter actually printing something like that in a newspaper.

          It's all very creepy.

      • Or a colleague did not ask permission and leaked it anyway.

      • From the Star article

        "A Liberal spokesperson said that Simms does not intend to share his story with the media or in front of the cameras today. But his fellow Liberals will be standing to honour him, and his father, when Simms casts his vote in favour of the registry this afternoon."

  9. Mr. Coynes's post suggests that the disclosure to the media of Scott Simms' reasons for voting as he did was an organized move by the Liberals to capitalize at the nth hour on a personal tragedy experienced by a Liberal member. If he is right, I give up on politicians. But I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Simms would have used his own father's suicide to political advantage or to the advantage of the party to which he belongs. Mr. Coyne may be right – but before leveling such a serious charge of individual and collective immorality, should he not have real evidence versus cynical speculation?

    • There's no suggestion in my piece that it was Simms. I've no idea who it was.

      • Here is what you – Andrew Coyne – wrote: "Indeed: politics can be such a cynical game. Thank goodness, with emotions running as high as they were, somebody found the strength, and the courage, to leak the story to the Star.:

        I read your words as implying that you believe that there was an intentional time-sensitive "wink-wink" leak by somebody in the Liberal caucus to a Star journalist. Maybe that is true but you need to present independent evidence. Because the Star did not report the story that way – and the Star was the original source for all the other media reports today on the reasons for Mr Simms' gun registry vote. The Star presented Mr. Simms' story as a counter to other media reports today about how Mr. Simm might be the hold out rebel vote among the Liberals. The Star disclosure expressed sensitivity about how the reporter had come to be aware of the information that led Mr Simms to a contrary vote and also expressed some concern about when and how to disclose it. The Star story was not a slightly rewritten Liberal Party press release. Your post implies that it was and that it what I object to.

        • If you are actually blaming Coyne for being the villain in all this, you've got issues.

          • S/he is not doing that at all.

        • My thoughts exactly.

    • I find it more disturbing to think that another Liberal caucus member would capitalize at the nth hour on a personal tragedy experienced by a different caucus member. But I think John G probably has the right of it. (I hope)

      I also don't think it capitalized anything. I don't think this 'proves' the registry saves lives, nor do I think it 'proves' the registry is a waste of time and money. It does, I suppose, explain one MPs heartfelt change of mind on the issue–but really for more emotional reasons than logical ones.

  10. This was not a "leak" perpetrated by Simms or the Party. I live in the riding and I know Scott and I know he did not want this to be public, and I know the Party had nothing to do with it. Some MP talked to Delacourt (after Tweeting it for God's sake) and was either stupid or insensitive in bringing up Scott's personal story. I have mixed feelings about whether Delacourt should have written about it, but I guess it's hard not to when you're a journalist.

    Mr. Coyne, I wish you had done at least a bit of research before writing this. Did you even try to call Scott? Your title implies that this was orchestrated which is a pretty devastating accusation against someone who has lost a father.

    • Again: There's no suggestion in my piece that it was Simms. None whatever. Indeed, I'd be astonished if it was, for the reasons you cite. Can I be any clearer?

      But to go from that to say it wasn't leaked is ridiculous. Caucus meetings are closed to the press. Their proceedings can only become public if somebody who was there decides to tell somebody who wasn't. In the news business, we call that a "leak."

      • I guess I think of a leak as something orchestrated by either the leader or the party, as opposed to an individual disrespecting someone's privacy, but I guess the outcome is the same. I hope Scott gets an apology.

        • Whoa … what benefit is there to a party to leak something AFTER a vote?

          • Pardon … on the day of the vote?
            Also, as Taber's piece was already fomenting speculations as to Simms' absence from a photo … how is this orchestrated by Iggy?

      • Andrew, can we please have a clearly articulated recap of your position with respect to your post – what are you objecting to? According to your responses, your original post has somehow become a story about some unnamed person's story about some unnamed person's apparently cynical manipulation of Mr. Simms' story. WTF?

  11. Whether it`s a crazy hateful man in Montreal in 1989 or a lonely old man in Nfld. in 2010, when a man`s mind goes completely irrational, It`s totally irrelevant whether the guns are registered or not.
    You cannot legislate against insanity temporary or not.

    But the rest of us should be rational enough to see that you can be compassionate about the tragedy of a situation but still maintain the common sense that will tell us that the filing of some serial numbers on a database would not have prevented the tragedy.

  12. Am I insensitive if I point out how the LGR didn't prevent this?

    Would it have been less tragic if he had hanged himself?

    I know, I'm the a-hole.

    • Everyone feels this way — reluctant to comment because of the sensitivity of the issue. You are not an a-hole. I think it is wrong to use something like this to close down dialogue. You have stated the obvious. Anyone looking at this would have to acknowledge that the emperor has no clothes. The registry does not prevent suicides or gun violence and wishful thinking will not change that.

      • Perhaps a total ban on all firearms will prevent suicides and all gun violence.

        Sending criminals to jail doesn't prevent gun violence either, should we just let them go free. 2 million people have their firearm licence, not one will break the law? Wait since 2005 approx 11000 firearm licences have been revoked.

        NOTE: Reasons for licence revocations include: a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information.

  13. I think a leak was necessary after Jane Taber's piece of gossipy drivel suggesting the exact opposite of the truth. Not sure you're blaming the right side here.

    • Why call a reporter to set them straight when you leak a suicide story.

      • Try again.
        Why call a reporter to set them straight when you "can" leak a suicide story.

        • How could they have set the reporter straight without telling her the real reason why he was changing his vote?

    • You're drinking some powerful kool-aid if you think a leak was necessary in this circumstance.

  14. They say that in cities too.

    • LOL not unless they recently came from the farm.

      • There are many English idiomatic expressions which have been communicated to urban folks thanks to the internets.

        • Idiomatic expressions change with the era. Urban people don't use country expressions.

          • So urban people never say "needle in a haystack" or "make hay while the sun shines" or "you reap what you sow"?

            What do urban people say? "that one file on the f: drive that I know is there but can't find" or "make that call before the train enters the tunnel and you lose the signal" or "you only get out of the pilates class what you put into it"?

  15. Talk about cynical. It seems to me like one of those things that one just doesn't comment on, as a matter of taste. This column was in poor taste.

    From what I've seen in politics, they don't have to "leak" the story – they're all yakking all the time anyway; why doesn't Coyne comment on other "leaks" and their timing?

    • "It seems to me like one of those things that one just doesn't comment on, as a matter of taste. "

      I think what is in "poor taste" is the Liberals using the Simms incident to whip up emotions and justify a totally irrational response to the registry. When emotion is used to defend something that cannot be defended on rational grounds the public that is being abused. It is akin to George Bush defending the war in Iraq because of emotion around 9/11. This kind of thing does not belong in politics.

      • It is like Stephen Harper standing at the site where Jane Creba was killed and talking about being tough on crime.

        Except that is only true if this leak was orchestrated by the liberal party and not by one person who was speaking out of turn.

        • the cognative dissonance projected by Reform?Harper supporters are becoming weird………I just don't understand this bizzare need to defend and attack ALL the time….I am getting weary of it….and Coyne just sounds shrill …………..I want the Tories BACk!!

  16. This is the Liberal party. Sad so very sad.

    As Candice Hoeppner stood up in the House of Commons this afternoon to defend herself against Liberal accusations that her fight to scrap the long-gun registry effectively condones domestic violence,

    Read more:

    • Does anyone know why and how Candice Hoeppner became the grassroots spokes-Tory for scrapping the gun registry, in place of the natural person for the job, Garry Breitkreuz?

      • She was luckiest in the random draw for the PMB list. All the backbencher Tories were hoping they'd get this bill from the PMO, but Hoeppner was first on the list, so she got it.

      • Breitkreutz seems to be a bit over the top on this issue, and would have made it easier for the opposition to distance themselves from it.

        Which is why he let his own bill on the issue die. It went quite a bit further than Hoeppner's bill.

  17. I am considering jointing the Liberal party. I know many of you are at the wtf you are one of those LIBERALS moments. How the liberals deal with this is a defining moment for me.

    • Clarification sought: what is the "this" to which you refer? The grief of one of their MPs? The leak? The report? The denouement from the Commons vote? Something else?

    • +1 on the clarification please. I thought you were a Liberal already; but if you aren't, I can't believe you would become one based on their cynically using someone's suicide to score political points. I thought much better of you than that, so I hope my assumption on what you mean by "this" is way off base.

    • My advice, don't join a political party if this sort of thing is make or break for you.

    • 'Mr Irrelevant" is right: don't paint yourself into a corner that you may soon find is not to your liking. Consider each issue on your own, outside of the restraints of party politics.

  18. It's over folks, move on.

    • Letting your smug show, Emily. Unattractive..

      • Ask me if I care.

        • you think this is over? good luck with that, there, tiger.

    • Oh, how cute! You think it's over!

  19. Yep, and how the left-wing supporters on this board can see this as a victory is beyond me. Here is the best response I have seen(from Alberta's Solictor General):

    "We want to make sure communities are safe, but we think that it is a much better use of resources to put the money that has been put toward the long-gun registry into policing and other forms of community safety initiatives,"

    "So, we are profoundly disappointed that people saw this as an urban-rural issue and simplified the conversation."

    So instead of slapping each other on the back – tell me how this is a Liberal victory, how is this is democracy at work, or good public policy? – You can't

    • How is this democracy at work? Um, well, the MPs voted and the side with the most votes won. For the record, I'm no fan of the registry (although admittedly see little advantage to scrapping it at this point, you're not getting the toothpaste back in the tube on the most egregious part, the cost).

      • MPs were whipped into voting against the wishes of their constituents – that isn't democracy. 22 million a year at least! (excuse my scepticism, I am just considering the history of this program ( one decade = 220 million) – come on

        • You have somehow confused us with the Americans.

          We have a party system, not an individual one.

          MPs don't get to vote based on their constituents 'wishes', since that isn't accurate anyway.

          • No, I am not confused. You are confusing democracy with perfectly questionable procedure.

          • Kindly check the differences between the US system and ours.

            We have a party system, the Americans vote as individuals.

          • You are being silly now.

          • No Tony, you are being ignorant.

            And if you are a Canadian citizen there is no excuse for your ignorance of our Westminister system.

        • I do hope by saying MPs, you are referring to Conservatives as well. Or, are you really suggesting that of 153 Conservatives, not a single one was in favour of maintaining the registry? Frankly, I do not believe that every single riding represented by a Conservative would, by majority, support abolishing the registry.

    • Well it was the Cons who simplified it into a rural/urban issue….part of their 'culture war'. LOL

      And Cons promised more cops on the streets years ago, but have yet to deliver the money.

      Hey…the Cons made this an issue in the first place and lost. Simple as that..

  20. There's a few comments on this page (not many) that clearly identify the writers as Liberals.

    • No, you just see everyone who disagrees with you as a Liberal.

      However, it's not illegal to be one you know. Did you think it was?

    • In other developing news, s_c_f discovers that fire is hot.

    • Some of us are actually unashamed of being Liberals. Though I would point out that the one previous time I actually wore it on my sleave while posting I was labelled as a 'concern troll' – which I had to look up.

  21. Agreed that emotion is certainly a driver on this issue. However, a couple of points. First, it was noted in the one of the articles surrounding his father that he knows the registry wouldn't have helped. Secondly, government funding isn't based on an either/or scenario. Nothing stops government from spending money on mental health or women's shelters, while still spending money to support a registry.

    • But there is a definite opportunity cost to every dollar spent (though in an age of deficit spending it might not seem that way), which is why anytime I see the old "if it can save one life…" canard, it makes me cringe.

  22. Reason over Passion

    That was the personal motto of Pierre Trudeau. If you think of how the Liberals acted in 1995 and today, you can see how far they have fallen since Trudeau`s day.

    The manipulators in the LPC played on the emotions of the compassionate public to push through the LGR in 1995 and it appears there has been some manipulating today.

    A political Party built on manipulated passion may soon have no reason to exist.

    • The Cons biggest wish…but just more fantasy.

    • Now go and cry about how the registry makes gun owners look like criminals and pretend that is not emotional trash.

    • Blue, go out and shoot some varmits. It'll cheer you up.

  23. What a double standard! Earlier today I heard someone on the radio practically crying over some guy having his gun taken away because his licence had run out. Give me a break! We have gun nuts emoting and screeching all over the damn place with their paranoid fantasies ofthe government taking everyone's guns away.

    So it's a refreshing change to see the Liberals expressing common decent emotions instead of the vicious screechy smears rightwingers spew all over the place.

    • "Waah, Waah" the gun nuts have been crying for years "They're treating us like criminals, Waah!"

      But that's not emotional is it, Andrew? Perfectly rational and objective, no feelings expressed there at all.

      • go stand in Owen Sound and say that.

        • Actually, Owen Sound is pretty darned urban these days. Once you put up a couple of Boston Pizzas and Outback Jacks, you forfeit your "rural" card.

          Now, if you stand out near the 8th concession and say that…nobody will hear you. Or you'll get clipped by a guy on an ATV.

          • Drunk, and hunting at night :)

          • Or possibly on a skidoo…

  24. Geez Andrew…how many of you guys (i.e. reporters) hang out in front of closed doors of caucus meetings?

    If MPs leave the room teary eyed, I would think that the first reaction would be of curiosity, because, well, it is _unusual_. And then they ask questions, and they figure out what happened.

    I can understand the cynicism of hanging out around Parliament with the windbags that hold government, but there is no need to invoke this as a "leak" smacking of political opportunism.


  25. Get bent Coyne.

    • Second that one.

      It's situations like this that are really telling about people's inner perspective on life.

      I have a lot of respect for Andrew, but in this case I think he's allowed himself to be far too cynical.

      To choose to believe this was a crass political ploy when it clearly doesn't serve that end, ie it doesn't sway anyone or change the vote or anything really, is an exercise of grand imagination.

      And that's being very kind.

  26. And all these privileged males complaining on twitter about people who would spend money on a gun registry just for the sake of saving one life. Of course some of the lives saved would be women, and they aren't worth so much are they, you smug privileged dolts?

    You are just like the people who didn't want to spend any money on investigating the pig farm, because it's only one or two prostitutes who are missing, no one important. GEt a grip and quit expecting the world to revolve only around your narrow little privileged world.

    • How would a gun registry in have anything to do with what yyou are saying

  27. Andrew, this isn't your finest hour. In fact, this article is despicable.

    • Agreed. To me Coyne's been one of the bright lights of reasonable conservatism for the past few years. A guy you could rely on to be sensible, be rational and to forward an intelligent conservative perspective that can be built on in the future once these crazy social conservatives run out of steam.

      Tomorrow I'm going to intentionally forget this little blog and hope I never see the like from him again.

      • Caucus meetings are confidential.
        For the Star to find out what happened inside the meeting, therefore, somebody in the meeting would have to tell them.
        To sum up: somebody in a confidential Liberal caucus meeting leaked the story of Scott Simms' father to the Star. Which is what I wrote.
        Which part of this do you deny?

        • The problem I have with the tone of your article is that is implies that this was leaked out for crass political gain, ie that it was "conveeeeenient", which is utter nonsense, as it would have NO impact on the result of the vote whatsoever. Heck it would had more mileage if they let the Conservatives heckle him and then came out with it afterward.

          Sometimes highly emotionally charged things come out precisely because they're highly emotional, and perhaps someone really did want Simms spared the indecency of being heckled.

          Unless or until you are prepared to demonstrate something, anything, about this leak that was politically useful enough to justify such a derisive tone in such a sensitive case, I'd suggest you stop trying to defend this slip and just let it fade from our minds as a rare case where you've missed the line between what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

          I'm all the more incensed because I do in fact hold you in high regard as an intelligent and sensible conservative voice in a nutbar wasteland of social conservative dreck.

          • Phil—sometimes people ( the leaker ) do things, when emotions are running high, that can be rationalized as a compassionate thing to do for a victim ( Mr. Simms ) but the leaker also is sufficiently aware to have an alterior motive and in this case that would be to paint the people who are opposed to a gun registry as unfeeling towards Mr. Simms tragedy.

            I hope that awkward wording helps to explain why it was appropriate for Mr. Coyne to have doubts about the motive of the leaker.

          • More than just the "motive" of the leaker, Andrew's column is a bald insinuation that the Liberals, or a Liberal, used Simms' story for maximum dramatic effect. That's the crux of his article, yet is now notably absent from his subsequent comment in which he purports to "sum up" what he wrote.


          • You presume an alterior motive, but if there was one, it made no sense whatsoever. Yeah yeah, I know, your definition of Liberal, but let's move on shall we? LOL

            There was nothing to be gained from this. No vote was going to shift, no hay could be made in any way.

            Sometimes things should be taken at face value. This is one of those cases in my opinion.

            Regardless though, it's not like Andrew to throw out nasty and vague allegations, especially when there's no logic to it. He almost always has a succinct reason for his opinion in his blogs and columns.

            I'm calling this a "venus rising during the sepurnal equinox of eostar" thing or whatever excuse a hippie might come up with for abnormal behaviour and leaving it that.

          • Discomfort with the expression of honest emotions: not just Coyne but various twitterers like Cosh, Gardner and Selley.

          • I think it's more like political paranoia.

            I suspect that at some point you go crazy constantly trying to divine subtext from meaningless comments made by political hacks and eventually lose all sense of perspective.

            I mean really, look at this case. What possible "gain" could be had from it?

            "OMG, they want people to feel bad for him!!!"


            Sometimes people blab, and there's no hidden meaning to it. That's it that's all.

          • Phil_King, it was leaked with a political gain make no mistake about that!

            It is very sad to lose your parents and specially under this terrible circumstances, I just hope Mr. Simms can put this behind him and move on and for whoever leaked it, it was to cause this kind of polemic, how sad that they didn't think of Mr. Simms feelings before hand!

          • Normally when leaks occur it's to gain some benefit for the party with the electorate, or a strategic benefit on a committee or something tangible in some way. In those cases cynicism may be appropriate.

            I can't possibly see how that fits in this case.

          • It figures!

  28. Just for the record, the emotional pandering and pitting of urban against rural in this 'debate' has been a monumental waste of time and energy.

    On one side, we have the noble government so committed to decriminalizing gun ownership, as they see it, that the full weight of his government will support a private members bill. The LGR is tyranny, but not tyranny enough for his government to, you know, actually take strong action against it. The LGR will probably bring in more fundraising revenue than the annual cost of the registry, according to the RCMP.

    The RCMP and Chiefs of Police did not make a strong case for keeping the registry, even though a case can be made. The LGR can factor into court cases, suicide prevention and many other things but there was no effort to explain through examples what the 10,000 searches a day MEANT to law enforcement.

    On the other side, people liken the LGR to fighting crime, including domestic violence. Family members of victims were involved. In theory, the LGR can be used to help convict criminals and prevent crime, but examples are not forthcoming. A LGR probably would not have prevented the École Polytechnique massacre.

    This whole 'debate' reminds me of the quote "It is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

    This debate resolved nothing, but does remind us that a stupid LGR can come to signify the petty differences that exist in different groups in society and the emotionally charged empty rhetoric so many are willing to expel to make something symbolic take on greater meaning.

    /end rant

  29. Read the full post by Delacourt, she explains their reasoning for putting the Simms story online ahead of the vote, and I see no reason not to take her at face value.

    Having read Taber's breathless speculation in the G&M (is there any other kind from her?) earlier in the day about what Simms' absence could mean, and you might want to cut Delacourt a bit more slack and instead go after the truly awful journalists on the Hill.

    • I also have no reason to believe Susan Delacourt was misleading or being biased; it was a nicely written and empathetic piece.

      I feel sorry for Scott Simms.

  30. Tsk tsk: what an unkind article. I guess you can say whatever you like in your influential national column — Simms told the caucus only, and in no way used his own sad personal story to forward the argument or sway any votes. If that's what they wanted to do, they could have mounted an entire emotional campaign the past month or so.

    What did you write about the letters Helena Guergis's friends sent about her miscarriage as a reason for her behaviour?

  31. Any column that makes the jeering politicians look as idiotic as they are, is a column worth more than most these days.

  32. Witty AND classy? You're a real peach, you are.

  33. Instead of taking the Liberals to task for being "cynical" (I note you have made no critique of the cynical lies and misuse of statistics of the Harper Conservatives in support of abolishing the long gun registry) you should be taking to task your "journalist" colleague Jane Taber, who is nothing more and nothing less than a gossip columnist who wouldn't know a fact if it jumped up and bit her in the seatcushion. I am very surprised that you are defending Taber's gutter "journalism". She is one the reasons that political discourse in this country takes place at such a desperately low level.

    • Sorry, exactly *where* do I say anything about Taber's journalism?

      • The only reason Delacourt's story has any context or makes any sense is in view of Taber's story (and it truly was a 'story' in every sense of the word, just like everything she writes) implying that Simms was going to refuse the Liberal whip and vote with the Harper Conservatives, based on nothing more substantial than him being absent from a photo opportunity. Your acid sarcasm is directed at the Liberals (and apparently at Delacourt) for being cynical, but nowhere do you mention anything about Taber's original story. You are in fact defending her right to spread nonsense under the guise of "journalism".

    • Well I don't neccesarily think it's fair to say he's defending Taber's national-enquirer-esc style so much as unintentionally emulating it. Let's be fair, it's a 140 word piece I suspect was written in about ten minutes halfway through the first coffee of the day right before walking the dog in his house coat and slippers.

      Besides, we all get to claim a mulligan now and then right? LOL

  34. ahh Reformer/harper supporters and their witty repartie………sigh

  35. pretty silly reason to vote aginst scrapping the registry, even if it is sad.

    one would imagine his dad would off himself another way if there wasn't a rifle around. people were killing themselves successfully before guns ever came into being.

    • People who commit suicide generally aren't masochistic. They want a quick way out.

      Men in particular are most likely to do so via violent methods, and guns are number one. 56% of all suicides for men in fact.

      So rather than be dismissive, I think we should do something about that fact, and a registry is one small part of doing something.

      People don't go loopy all in one go. There's usually a ton of signs, and giving family members, doctors and the like a means of effectively getting guns out of the house helps.

      • Long ago a course about suicide that I took taught that men are statistically more likely than women to actually kill themselves because of tending to use immediately lethal means such as guns, rather than pills. Also that a delay may help a suicidal person to get past the urge to kill oneself.

  36. It is reasonable to presume that a coalition gov`t led by an unpopular Liberal leader that would have to cater to the wants and desires of a socialist Party and a separtist Party would be scary for the country.

    It is not reasonable to presume that the continued pouring in of tax-payer monies to a 2 billion dollar sinkhole of a long gun registry will ever make that registry any more useful then it has been for the past 15 years.

  37. I've lost a friend to suicide with a long-gun and I'm sure everyone can understand how painful it is for Mr. Simms and his family. That said, the existence of the long gun registry did not save Mr. Simms father, nor did it save my friend. Thats the point: the long gun registry, in its current design is completely useless.

    Personal tragedies like these, which are trumped up to illustrate the need for the registry do exactly the opposite by demonstrating that the registry didn't help or save anyone.

    • That's the point though Brian, nobody was trumping anything up as far as I can tell. It can't be demonstrated to have had ANY influence on votes or opinion whatsoever in any meaningful sense.

      This is a case of something that I believe can be taken at face value. People felt bad for him, because it was somewhat related to the matter of the vote. I would have a hard time even wanting to show up to vote in that case if my normal stance was to vote against such a motion.

      I think it was the right thing to out this and spare him the jeers, and spare the conservatives the embarassment.

    • BTW, suggesting that the registry is useless because it didn't save so and so is silly and anecdotal. You have my sympathies, but there are a whole host of good reasons for the registry and some people's lives could be saved in cases of suicides.

      That said, I also agree that there are a number of problems with the registry, such as having to register repeatedly, immediate criminal sanctions for older guns not having been registered etc.

  38. Spot on. The suicide isn't the result of a long-gun issue it's a mental health issue.

  39. Please, illuminate me: exactly how is the long-gun registry, in either its present or an altered version, expected to prevent someone from committing suicide? This assertion is farcical and, with all due respect to MP Simms and his family, ridiculously misplaced within the scope of the Registry Debate. If I am to be blunt, it reeks of opportunistic political-emotional blackmail. For Simms, and even worse the Liberal caucus and "Leader", to use this display to further their political ends is the height of heartless disrespect to Simms' father and the many Canadians who have to live with the spectre of suicide. Shame on them.

    • Get stuffed, smearer.

      • How am I a smearer? By pointing out that the suicide of Simms father is both completely unrelated to the Registry debate and that use of it as a focus of sympathy by the Liberals is opportunistic? Please.

  40. Uh – yeah, a sad story…BUT:

    what difference would the Registry have made in THIS case ? NOTHING !!

    What a bunch of left-wing cow plop !

  41. Dear Andrew:

    Like many others, I enjoy your take on the world and particularly enjoy your video bouts with colleague Wells. Anytime you are up for returning to the debate, I will be reading and watching.

    Sleepless in Canada

  42. The extreme left passion in fighting against the abolishment of the tax dollar wasting long gun registry is additional confirmation that socialists strive to completely control all aspects of society, even to the extent that they are willing to use the prison system to enforce their excessive commands.

    After already wasting billions of tax dollars, experts now estimate that another billion dollars will be wasted to register the remaining guns owned by law biding farmers, sport shooters and hunters even though all rational persons apprehend that the registry doesn't save lives; it is a tool to criminalize innocent hunters and farmers.

    Harper should begin shutting down this humiliation by defunding it as part of his deficit cutting program.

  43. Hi Andrew,

    I just heard you on the CBC National. I am opposed to mandatory voting as I don't feel our current voting system is democratic, nor are any of the major parties advocating changing the way we vote. If voting were made mandatory, I would refuse to vote. I would also refuse to pay a fine. I guess the Canadian regime would have to send me to jail.

    Our current voting system discourages young people from voting as political parties do not give young people meaningful roles to play. Young people are mean to hammer signs and deliver pamphlets. Yes, these are needed. However, young people should play an active role in shaping party policy. That means every day, not just once every year or two.

    I don't expect the Conservatives or Ignatieff's Liberals to support proportional representation. I wish they would. However, their self interest precludes them from supporting voting reform with proportional representation. I do expect the NDP to actively support voting reform. I will not vote for the NDP if voting reform is not one of their top five issues in the next election. I will not vote at all. In fact, if no major party advocates for voting reform, I will actively call for a boycott of the next federal election.

  44. Last post in Sept. ? You get paid for this?