Justin Trudeau and the long gun registry


Over the weekend, Justin Trudeau used the word “failure” to describe the long gun registry.

The fact that we have a government, or successive governments, that have managed to polarize the conversations around gun ownership to create games in electoral races when you don’t have to have a … There is no concept, no idea, that gun ownership is ever going to be under attack for law-abiding hunters and farmers across this country. But we need to keep our cities safe and I don’t see that that’s an unsolvable solution but I do see that the long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I am not going to rescuscitate that. But we will continue to look at ways of keeping our cities safe and making sure that we do address the concerns around domestic violence right across the country in rural as well as urban areas in which, unfortunately, guns do play a role. But there are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry…

In response, Vic Toews and Candice Bergen tweeted their indignation. Pierre Poilievre and Francoise Boivin are dismayed.

Mr. Trudeau voted against C-391, Mr. Bergen’s bill that would have eliminated the registry, in September 2010. And afterwards he apparently had this interaction with protesters on Parliament Hill.

At the time of that vote, it should probably be noted, the Liberals were promising to reform the registry in response to “legitimate criticisms” of it. (Michael Ignatieff whipped the pivotal vote on C-391, but Mr. Trudeau also voted no at second reading.)

So is this a flip-flop? I’m not sure. It sort of depends on what Mr. Trudeau means by “as it was” and “failure.” In other words, it requires a follow-up question. (Like, “what do you mean it was a failure?”)

His campaign attempted to explain on Sunday (though without quite answering that proposed follow-up).

Trudeau’s spokeswoman, Kate Monfette, said Sunday Trudeau and his party fought to maintain the registry “given the absence of any responsible approach to gun violence by this government.” “We were not successful in that fight, the registry and its data are gone, so we now have to develop a new approach.”


Justin Trudeau and the long gun registry

  1. Less than a year ago, Trudeau was claiming that “references, research, and evidence” led him to conclude that he should oppose the decision to get rid of registry and now he is saying it was a failure and won’t resuscitate it.

    And of course Wherry cant decide if this flip flop – Wherry does months long monomaniacal posts about Cons changing their minds about taxes on carbon but he’s being rather coy when it comes to colossus Libs like Trudeau.

    Someone ask Trudeau what “references, research, and evidence” he has read in the past year to change his mind about efficacy of the gun registry.
    Globe/Mail Nov 2011

    This week, the Montreal Liberal MP tweeted about his opposition to the Harper government’s legislation to scrap the registry ….

    “Unlike the PMO, I tend to like to back up my statements with actual references, research, and evidence,” he said, adding that if the Conservatives have problem with the picture of the gun he circulated, they “can shift their concern to their friends at CanadaAmmo.”

    Mr. Trudeau has been pushing hard against the bill to abolish the long-gun registry. In addition, the Quebec government has expressed its opposition to a part of the bill that calls for the destruction of the registry data.

  2. Well if there’s polarization and misunderstanding, that is pretty much 100% Harper and the gun lobby’s fault.

    2000 firearms licenses get revoked a year in Canada. Think it’s helpful police know what guns are attached to those licenses? Think maybe it’s useful to be able to know where a gun came from if it turns up inovlved in a crime? Concerned that when the registry was scrapped a whole bunch of “law abiding gun owners” started websites for the sole purpose of trading long guns so that they couldn’t be traced by police?

    Trudeau is on the wrong side on this one.

  3. it should probably be noted
    Thank you, Aaron, for putting his comments into context. It’s refreshing to see an impartial blogger consider both sides of the argument.

    • It should also be noted that I was being sarcastic. Wherry putting on the kid’s gloves when dealing with the Liberals seems to be a feature of this blog.

  4. Clearlt BieberTrudeau means “The Long Gun Registry if necessary, but not necessarily the Long Gun Registry” – or in other words, he will take whichever side seems opportune at the moment.

    But to GMFD, while the HarperCons and the NFA did everything they could to polarize the debate, they had plenty of help from idiots like Allan Rock and Wendy Cukier who frequently opined that private firearms ownership should be banned.

    • Even if we take this at 100% face value, the registry would then be a compromise then that preserves 100% of what gun owners wanted. And they still whined.

      • Actually, no. The registry legislation itself included draconian provisions that essentially overturned the Charter – ie, moving the requirement for warrants.

        All of which leaves unaddressed the stion of whether registering long guns actually enhanced public safety in any meaningful way compared to the status quo ante where only registered individuals could legally own a firearm.

        • I’ve heard it the warrant stuff, strongly suspect it’s misleading crap. And the need was pretty clearly spelled out below.

          • Looked up and sure enough the warrantless search thing is indeed crap. Unless it’s the same circumstances that warrantless searches are allowed for essentially any crime, warrantless searches can’t be executed on a dwelling house (ie, where people are living in their home), or during unreasonable hours, and it also looks like it also can’t be done where there is only one gun.

            had to pile through an enormous amount of commentary by nutsos who automatically assumed it meant inspectors would be coming into their homes. The right aren’t just dumb, they’re GULLIBLE.

  5. Only hyper-partisans find this “confusing”, and its oh so convenient that they do.
    Trudeau long said the registry needed to be reformed. Not elimnated. Not left as is: reformed.
    So how is that not exactly the same position he still holds?
    OF COURSE he didn’t vote to get rid of it. Besides the whipped vote at the time he clearly never wanted to get rid of it, but reform it.
    Wow, how complicated. (eye roll)

    • Pls. show me the quote where he said he wanted to reform it. If he did what was his idea on reformation. Yes he got whipped but so what.

  6. The folks in the PMO — Flip Flop Central — are now worried about consistency?

  7. Out of curiosity, is there anything Trudeau could have said with regard to the gun registry that Conservatives would have been happy with? When asked a question about the registry, I’m not sure Trudeau could have given an answer that wouldn’t prompt Conservative outrage.

    • Either he supports the registry or he doesn’t. It’s not complicated but like most Liberals he wants to sit on the point of the picket fence until he absolutely has to get off because it hurts too much. Like most politicians he wants to have it both ways. Life does not work that way and he will learn to take clear unequivocal positions or he will be seen to be a panderer.
      By the way he doesn’t have to prove anything to Conservatives. He needs to be honest in his opinions and frank with the Canadian people.

      • Point taken. Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping and pandering in the recent US election shows us the danger of taking that approach.

        And, indeed, Trudeau is showing himself to be a pathological panderer, and this might be (probably is) one of those instances. That being said, I believe one could take the credible position of being in favour of the gun registry but, now that it’s been relegated to the dustbin, be opposed to reviving it. I also believe that someone who was opposed to the gun registry might be in favour of some other regulatory regime.

        And, my original point still stands. Trudeau would have caught hell no matter what he said on that issue.

        • That sounds vaguely like the Harper government’s position on abortion. Now that it’s allowed, they’re opposed to re-visiting the issue.

        • All politicians run the risk of being called a flip flopper when they take positions and then reverse themselves in the future. However, why not admit that you have changed your mind and give a reason why your mind changed. Then move on. Not everybody will accept it but that’s life. However, politicians sometimes when they are in a hole forget to stop digging. He simply should have said he would not resurrect it now that it is gone.
          It depends on the regulations being proposed. However, we will never eliminate guns. You cannot legislate them out of existence. That’s not realistic. There has been a ban on unregistered hand guns since the 30’s. I suspect most gun crime is committed by a hand gun versus a rifle.
          I will repeat it doesn’t matter what the Conservatives/NDP say. They are going to milk it for all it is worth. It is all about establishing credibility with the Canadian people for Trudeau/Liberal party. What he says has to make sense. Suggesting that the Conservatives ignore gun crime is stupid and nobody believes that.

          • I hate that logic. Yes, enforcement will never be perfect. Does that mean we abandon any attempts to enforce?

          • I did not nor does anybody suggest enforcement should be abandoned. However, the long gun registry failed miserably and we all know it. It did not stop one death. If you have proof then pls. provide it. You put sufficient regulations in place to ensure that there is licencing, storage requirements and stiff penalties. There are bad people in this world and nothing is going to change that. So usually the government is in the position of reacting after the fact.

          • Do we have proof that the police having tazers has stopped a single death? I mean, we know it’s *caused* at least one, which is actually a hell of a lot worse than we can say about the gun registry.

            Of course we don’t have proof, because, like tazers, it’s a tool that they have at their disposal. And if it works right, no death occurs — but there’s no way we can really narrow it down and say “This particular tool saved this guy” because it’s a combination of everything used.

            Removing a tool from a toolbox is a lousy thing to do if you want them to be fully effective.. so there better be a damned good reason to do so. I’ve yet to see one provided.

          • We could lock you up in a cell, knowing that you will never commit a crime, or even a misdemeanor, if we do that. I’m all for that.

          • Say what?

    • No.

      The Conservatives would have been happy had he said something like this back when it actually mattered. Why would the Conservatives be happy with what he’s saying now, knowing that it’s all complete BS? Actions are louder than words, and we know how JT voted when it comes to the gun registry.

      • Point taken… but you missed mine by a mile.

        • You’re saying there’s no answer Trudeau could have given that would have not been ridiculed? Well, I suppose he could either stick to his original statements over the years and avoid the flip-flop, or if he wanted to flip-flop for a valid reason, then he could have presented that valid reason.
          He did neither.

  8. So is this a flip-flop? I’m not sure.

    Oh for the love of God, you Liberal shill. Read the last line of the quote you appended.

    “But there are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry…”

    That has been the Conservative position from day 1 since the registry was introduced. DAY 1! If you don’t know if that’s a flip flop or not, then it is not possible to be any more willfully blind than you clearly are.

    On a related note, you should stop using the word “farce”. You clearly don’t know what it means, or when to apply it.

    I’ll go back into self-imposed exile now.

    • Then he suggests that the Conservatives are not doing enough. What is the tough on crime agenda all about. The Libs have not supported it and have ridiculed the government since they were elected in 2006 calling measures draconian (my word). You cannot get rid of guns. That’s the short of it. The only thing you can do is make the legal system reflective of the seriousness of gun crime. One day the Libs will wake up.

    • How can I miss you John if you never go away?

      • John’s point is relevant….ever notice how only blatant leftists attempt to defend your partisan postings? And even they do not deny your blatant political bias they only point out that because it is your “blog” it is acceptable. Do you not agree that professional media should either be non partisan or disclose that they are of “progressive” (in your case) political bias? Surely you are capable of such.

        • Gee Bill.. How come I never see you over on Stephen Gordon’s stuff protesting his blatant partisanship as well?

  9. Remember the Association of Canadian Police Chiefs who lobbied front and centre FOR the Registry. Media types trotted them out daily at the height of their outrage. However, the trifling details include that the massive and lucrative database management program being used for the Registry was being furnished by CGI…the very same lobby group which supplies over 50% (or $180,000 annually) of the total budget for….the very same Association of Canadian Police Chiefs. Liberals public and privately profited in so many insidious ways under the former Liberal federal government.

    • So you’re basically accusing every police chief in the association of being corrupt?

      You do realize a tinfoil hat isn’t supposed to cut off circulation to the brain, right?

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