Leave no trace behind

by Aaron Wherry

In addition to eliminating the long-gun registry, the government’s new legislation will destroy all records related to the registry.

The government’s lead minister declared he wants to thwart the ability of any other party, such as the NDP, to recreate it as well. “We won’t have these records loose and capable then of creating a new long gun registry should they ever have the opportunity to do that,” ” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews at a news conference at an Ottawa valley farm.




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Leave no trace behind

  1. Why not blow up the parliament buildings? It’s clear they’re of no use anymore.

    • Hey! That’s my job. – G. Fawkes

    • If the Tories had run on a platform of getting rid of the Parliament buildings in numerous elections, and then won a majority government in an election in which they pledged yet again to get rid of the Parliament buildings, are you really arguing that it would somehow be wrong for them to actually get rid of the Parliament buildings?

      The implication of your argument is essentially “How dare the government do the thing that they promised they’d do during the election!!!”  Have we really become so unused to governments doing what they said they’d do on the campaign trail that the notion of a party doing what they said they’d do is shocking?

      • When did they actually say during the campaign that they would be destroying the database?

        • What part of “We will end the long-gun registry once and for all” was unclear exactly? More importantly, what part of “We’ll scrap the long-gun registry” made so many people think they meant “We’ll keep the long-gun registry, but prevent it from being further updated”???

          • Colloquialisms. Perhaps you understand precisely what I mean by what I haven’t said. You seem to be able to parse much.

          • I’m not sure I needed to parse much to determine that “end it once and for all” meant, I don’t know, END IT ONCE AND FOR ALL.  Not, “keep it around but stop updating it”.  Not, “keep it around, but stop updating it and stop letting anyone access it”.  I think “end it once and for all” was about as clear as they could get without bringing out puppets.

            Honestly.  How could people think that the party that has argued that the information never should have been collected in the first place, that the collection of the data was a gross violation of the privacy rights of the people who’s data was collected, and who argued that the very existence of the database was an affront to the constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens of Canada were going to keep the database intact???

            As I’ve said elsewhere, I feel like this is analogous to the Tories spending three whole election cycles arguing openly and vociferously for the reinstatement of capitol punishment, and then as soon as they get their majority and table the bill reinstating capitol punishment suddenly everyone yells “My God!  You mean they want to EXECUTE people?!?!?”.

      • It’s more akin to running on the platform of ‘cleaning up Parliament’ and then, once elected, saying ‘…as in clean it right off the map. What did you think we meant?’

        The fact is this legislation seems to go beyond what was proposed and supported by the government in the last Parliament. They’ve made no indication of this plan until the day before they introduce the legislation – let alone promised it during the election.

        • They Tories said “We will end the long-gun registry once and for all”. They ran pretty explicitly on a platform of “scrapping the long-gun registry”. I don’t understand how so many people appear to have gotten the impression that when the Tories said that they’d end the long-gun registry once and for all that what they really meant was was that they’d KEEP the long-gun registry, but prevent it from being further updated. It’s always been perfectly clear to me that the Tories have a problem with the EXISTENCE of the long-gun registry, that they view the very existence of these records as an infringement of the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens, and that they feel that the government was wrong to have been collecting this information from said citizens, and that they intended to scrap the thing.

          I really don’t think they were hiding this.

      • Here, again, you quite unsuccessfully and incorrectly attribute meaning and intent to another’s words. Clearly, I mean what you want me to mean.

        • Well, you asked if the Tories said during the campaign that they would destroy the database, and I say, yes, as to my mind saying “we will put an end to the registry once and for all” is saying “we will destroy the registry”. 

          True, “end” may be a less dramatic word than “destroy” but in this context I fail to see how they’re not synonymous.  They didn’t say that they were going to put an end to the use of the registry.  They didn’t say they were going to put an end to the updating of the registry.  They said they were going to put an end to the registry itself, once and for all (emphasis added).  They may have even been more explicit than that on the campaign trail, and I’ll look if you’re not yet convinced by the above argument, but are you really saying that when the Tories said “We will put an end to the registry once and for all” they didn’t mean that they’d “destroy” the registry?  ‘Cause if Khan says to Captain Kirk “I’m going to put an end to you, once and for all” I personally don’t interpret that to mean “I’m going to take away your job as a starship captain”, or “I’m going to make sure you spend the rest of your life behind a desk at Starfleet Headquarters”.  I take it to mean that Khan intends to kill Captain Kirk.  To me that’s the clear implication of ending something for once and for all.  That it will be ended, and not just for now, but for ALL TIME.  And I don’t think you can end something for all time if you actually leave it intact.

          • But the whole ‘shutting down the registry’ is a misnomer to begin with.  There is no such thing as a long gun registry.  There is one registry for all weapons.  And we now know that both police associations  and the Province of Quebec had asked that the data be saved so it was on the table and unaddressed by the Cons.  So I don’t agree that they were totally upfront about what their plans were.

          • we now know that both police associations and the Province of Quebec had asked that the data be saved so it was on the table and unaddressed by the Cons

            Well, as to that point, if I ask you to marry me, and you leave the question unaddressed, that doesn’t mean we’re engaged.

            And I still don’t think that “we will end the long-gun registry once and for all” leaves much wiggle room as to what the Tories meant. I’m still not sure I understand how one could fulfill the promise of “ending the long gun registry once and for all” while leaving all of the records that constitute the gun registry intact and in the registry (let alone allowing police to still access them!). Having said that they intended to “end the long gun registry once and for all” the hypocritical thing to do, to my mind, would be if they left the registry intact. I think people who thought that “end the long-gun registry once and for all” meant that the long-gun registry would be ended for once and for all would have a stronger argument against the Tories if the registry remained intact than people who apparently thought “we will end the long-gun registry once and for all” left some hope that the long-gun registry would be preserved have that the Tories are obliged to preserve it. If I were opposed to the long-gun registry and the Tories pledged to “end the long-gun registry once and for all”, and then once in office with a majority they left the long-gun registry intact I’d be LIVID.

  2. “The government’s lead minister declared he wants to thwart the ability of any other party, such as the NDP, to recreate it as well.”

    Well there goes another principle the Tories might have been able to point to with some pride…no govt shall bind a future govt with legislation that cannot be amended or repealed. Cept this time they’re gonna burn the manual to be sure. Goddamn political vandals. Another decade or so of this and they may well be able to toss the charter on the bonfire as well.

    • Lay off the dramatics. They’re destroying records of a registry that was always incomplete, always suffered from huge resistance on the part of the registered, and spent the last several years not really being enforced. 

      As such, these are not really records useful for their stated purpose of a comprehensive registry scheme. If a future government decides to institute a new registry, they’d basically have to start from scratch anyway. However, the government no doubt knows that the data is worthless now, and will only be more so in the future…they’re mainly doing it to get a rise out of you people, and only secondarily to frustrate possible future abuses of even fragmentary records.

      • The charter bit was a poor joke…still it would make for an interesting straw poll amongst Harper’s boys and gals.

        Lot of assumptions on your part, few of which i buy given this govt’s track record. If the records are essentially useless why bother destroying them? As for getting a rise out of folks like me…well that would be a comfort to know they even care that much about my opinion – unlikely not to mention juvenile. I’m more interesting in evidence – what do the police chiefs think of the decision to destroy $ 2 billion worth of data?

        • Sure, the records, when viewed as a collection, as a system, are probably not very useful.

          But many of the individual records are still valid and accurate, and represent a potential privacy breach – as such it makes sense to ‘destroy’ them to reduce the possibility that they could be acquired by folks who might use them inappropriately.

          OTOH, I’m disappointed by the ‘vindictive’ overtones of the comment – it appeals to some Canadians, but unnecessarily offends other Canadians – from the government that represents all Canadians.

          • Yeah it is sort of in your face; which seems to be the way they prefer to operate. The privacy issue you raise would simply be a reasoned response. But here they clearly are saying, nyah nyah, we can do what we like and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

          • Ahhh crap, you got a bonus thumb up – I’m trying to be more ‘sparing’.

            Anyhoo, be strong, you CAN resist the taunts, and you will be stronger for it!!

          • They obviously want to fuel the idea that the NDP want to take their guns away for use in the next election.  It’s all politics, all the time.

      • Head of the Chiefs of Police says the records should be kept for investigative purposes, but what the hell does he know eh?

        • Police always want more information rather than less. That’s not a good thing. If they could put a CCTV camera in every home, they’d find that footage useful for investigative purposes too.

          • So now the police are thrown under the bus?  Kind of hard to run a ’tough on crime’ agenda without working with them isn’t it?   

          • I support the gun registry too, but I wouldn’t call this “throwing the police under the bus”. 

            AVR’s right.  The police would probably argue that a national DNA database would be awesome to have, so could everyone please drop by the station and drop off a blood sample? 

            You and I may draw a line between the national DNA registry and the national long gun registry and say that one registry is on the good side of the line and the other is on the bad side of the line, but the Tories are entitled to draw the line in a different place and argue that BOTH registries constitute an unacceptable violation of the privacy of law abiding citizens.  I think the line should be drawn where it allows the gun registry but disallows CCTV in all our homes and a national DNA data-bank, but the Tories don’t agree, and they ran in multiple elections pledging to get rid of the long-gun registry, so I’m a bit perplexed at the seeming shock from some people that they’re going to get rid of the long-gun registry.

          • Police are like attack dogs –  unpleasant, aggressive, and occasionally necessary. Like attack dogs, it’s not a good idea to let them run free.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            Totally agree with your assessment as it relates to a DNA registry, CCTV and a gun registry.  I’ll just add that none of those public policy options should be taken as ‘obviously worthy’ nor as ‘obviously unworthy’.

            My quibble with your note would be around the motivation of some of our fellow commenters – not so sure that they are surprised that the CPC is actually following through on this promise as much as hoping against hope that they can actually convince the CPC to leave the entire registry or at least some remnant of it intact.  Well, that and some folks are ‘dismayed’ that Toews in particular seems to be so proud(?) of the scorched-earth characterization of the records destruction aspect.

      • Ah. Good to know you’re in favor of a government doing something “to get a rise out of you people” aka, to be spiteful.

        I trust then you’ll have no complaint later should it be turned around?

        • You say that as though policy as a tool of politics is new, and has never happened going the other direction before.

          • No. I say that as though policy as a tool to simply piss off other people is new.

          • Your naivete is charming.

          • This isn’t policy just to piss people off though, it just happens that the way the Toews FRAMED the policy has pissed people off.

            Anyone who thought that the Tories were planning on leaving the long-gun registry intact have clearly been ignoring the entire Tory campaign against the long-gun registry for the past SEVERAL election cycles.  You don’t campaign against something as an infringement on the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens, explicitly promise to “end it once and for all”, and then get in to office and leave the thing intact.

            It’s as though the Tories spent years advocating for a return to capitol punishment, and then as soon as they got in to office everyone suddenly cried “My God!  You mean they plan to EXECUTE people!?!?!?!”

          • ‘cept that wasn’t what AVR was claiming, and that’s what I was responding to.

            I do tend to agree that destroying the records is a logical part of ending the registry. And while I think it’s a shame to think of all the money spent setting it up now going up in complete smoke, this isn’t unexpected.

            I do wonder though, what Toews hopes to gain by doing it in this manner? Does anybody over there actually think this will somehow gain them a vote they don’t already have? Or somehow lessen votes for any of the opposition groups? I can’t understand, beyond simple stupidity, what would be the reason for burning a bridge like this.

          • I do wonder though, what Toews hopes to gain by doing it in this manner?

            I think your problem is that you’re assuming that Toews thought before he spoke. I see no evidence from prior history on which to base that assumption.

          • Unfortunately, that leads us to the next question: Why does this guy have a cabinet position and access to a microphone?

          • I’ve been wondering that for a LOOOOOONG time.

    • That’s two different things.  You’re comparing apples and oranges.

      The government can’t pass a law that stops a future government from creating a long-gun registry (well, they could, but it would not be binding on said future government).  It does not follow from that that the government is obliged to keep the old gun registry around just in case a hypothetical future government wants to use it as a base upon which to build their new registry.

      Not being able to prevent a future government from building a big wooden bridge is not the same thing as being obliged to leave the current big wooden bridge intact.  The Tories can burn the bridge, they just can’t pass a law that says “no future government shall build a new bridge”.

      Harper’s constitutional point is not germane to this conversation in the slightest.

      • I’m aware of the distinction.I just think it is a difference that makes no differnce. It is germane in the sense both govts were/are trying to hinder future govts from pursuing a policy that the GOTD does not want to see reinstated or pursued. This is inessence likely a more effective deterrent then binding a future govt legislatively. Their comments today couldn’t be more plain; if we burn all the records up to now it’ll likely make pursuing this policy a little less then cost effective. It is, absent any reasoned arguement[ see philCP above] purely and simply HS level political vandalism.

        • See, you’re still being ridiculous. This no more frustrates a future government than any past law has frustrated any present government from effecting any other legislative or regulatory change.

        • Sure, it’s arguably a more effective deterrent than passing what would be meaningless legislative bars, but that’s only because any legislative bars would be constitutionally meaningless. Doing something real is always more effective than doing something illusory. Virtually every government does things to try to prevent future governments from reversing their decisions, that’s par for the course. However, the constitution says a present day government cannot bind the hands of a future government, not that the present government must use their own hands to safeguard the policy preferences of a hypothetical future government.

          I just think that the description of this as “political vandalism” is way over the top (and I supported the gun registry). This notion that today’s CPC government is somehow obliged, if not legally, then ethically, to preemptively act in ways that will make it easier for some hypothetical future NDP government to enact future NDP policy is just silly. Suggesting that the Tories have any obligation whatsoever to preserve the records of a registry that they’re legislating out of existence makes no more sense than suggesting that the Tories have some obligation to start preparations for the introduction of a carbon tax, because some future NDP government may want to enact such a tax, and it would be obstructionist not to preemptively help them out.

          • Somehow we’re still talking past each other, abit anyway:)

            Virtually every govt tries to prevent their pet projects being overturned or policy being reversed you say.Has any govt ever gone as far as to destroy $2billion worth of data simply to forestall a future govt?
             I have not said that the Tories are obliged to in any way to make it easier for a future govt to renact the LGR. Sorry but that’s a misrepresentation.I am saying they are obliged to NOT destroy those records if there is a rational case for them being useful to the police NOW! If it is the case that there are privacy concerns that outwieigh any benefit in keeping the records intact, or if the records will somehow become irrelevant over time then that is fine. I only hear posters here making those arguements; the minister couldn’t be more clear why he wants to destroy the records – hence my charge of vandalism. In effect i’m saying they may be unecessarily throwing the baby out with the bathwater for purely politically partisan reasons. No doubt the relevant ministers will catch up on the appropriate rationalizations tomorrow.

          • I am saying they are obliged to NOT destroy those records if there is a
            rational case for them being useful to the police NOW! If it is the case
            that there are privacy concerns that outwieigh any benefit in keeping
            the records intact, or if the records will somehow become irrelevant
            over time then that is fine.

            I don’t think the utility of the records to the police is really going to have an effect on a government who campaigned against the registry partly on the argument that the police shouldn’t have been given access to this information in the first place.  The Tories aren’t just offended by the notion that the registry is ineffective against crime, they’re offended by the notion that law-abiding citizens were asked to provide the state with this information to begin with, and I think they’ve been reasonably clear about that in the past.  If one believes that the existence of these records is an infringement of the rights and freedoms of the citizens who are the subject of the record keeping, then no utilitarian argument is going to sway you to keep a bunch of records that you believe never should have been collected in the first place.

            That said, I certainly agree that the Minister’s petulant framing of the issue above isn’t helpful, and misconstrues the Tory argument for getting rid of the registry entirely, but I’m also confident that when they campaigned on a platform that said “”We will end the long-gun registry once and for all”, it should have been pretty clear to all of us that their intention was to end the long-gun registry once and for all; not, “keep it around, keep using it, and just not update it any more”, nor  “not use it, not update it, but keep it around in case someone else wants to use it again in the future”.  “End it once and for all” was pretty clear imho, and their rationales for doing so were hardly some big secret.

          • LKO

            Now you’re making an arguement i can fault only with difficulty – they’re being consistent and keeping their promises. I still contend that if it makes sense they should still compromise on the data – it looks like Quebec might force their hand in any case…who couldn’t see that coming?

            http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1076005–destined-for-an-unmarked-grave

            Came across this editoria this am. Pretty well sums up my position really. I’m not by any means generally an avid reader of Star editorials or any editorials for that matter.

          • Again, my argument is simply that from the Tories perspective, and they’ve always argued this openly, and I think pretty honestly, there’s no sense in “compromising on the data” (i.e keeping the data) if their argument is that, ethically, no one should EVER, EVER, EVER be allowed to look at that data.

            This notion that the Tories should consider preserving data that they feel A) shouldn’t have been collected in the first place, B) the collection of which violated the rights of the people from whom it was collected, and C) should never be used by anyone, let alone the state, for any purpose whatsoever is, imho, ludicrous.

            Back to my DNA example, it’s like asking a government that feels that we never should have collected blood samples from every citizen; that it was a gross violation of citizens’ rights to collect blood samples from them; and that no one anywhere should ever be allowed to access those ill begotten blood samples and the data related to them, ever, under any circumstances, or for any purpose, to nonetheless preserve the blood samples and all of the associated records in case some future government holds a different view.  It’s nonsensical.

          • Destroying the data may be a violation of the Access to Information Law.  This is an interesting read –

            http://afewtastefulsnaps.net/?p=1365

          • This is comforting.

            It’s good to know that if the government ever amasses a whole bunch of private data on me that they arguably have no right to have that there’s a legal argument out there that could be used to compel them to never, ever destroy it, and people willing to make sure that they don’t.

            ‘Cause the notion of the government one day grossly violating my privacy was never scary enough for me. If the government ever does get a massive treasure trove of personal private data on me, I’d like to rest assured that they could be forced to keep those records forever.

  3. Stephen Harper: ” … the law of our constitutional system is extremely clear.  A previous government cannot bind a future government to its policy.”
     

    • Better burn them just to be sure though.

    • I’m noticing that some people don’t seem understand what Harper meant when he said that.  It’s not controversial in the slightest.

      • I’m not saying it’s controversial at all.  I am, however, pointing out that, as is so often the case, the Conservative’s actions are miles apart from their rhetoric.

        • I don’t disagree that it’s often the case, but how are the actions miles apart from the rhetoric in this particular case?

          • Well Vic Toews just said, “We won’t have these records loose and capable then of creating a new long gun registry should they ever have the opportunity to do that,”

            Stephen Harper says a government can’t bind a future government in its policy.

            That seems to be at least as far apart as a bullet can be fired out of a registered rifle.

          • They’re not binding future governments to any policy.  Future governments are perfectly capable of starting a new long gun registry, if they so choose.  Future governments would probably have to start again from scratch anyway, given that the current registry data is already out of date and would be  obsolete by then.

          • @Crit_Reasoning:disqus Obsolete how? does a registered gun change hands that often?

          • @google-7764e89375197a56fc2c368410de3204:disqus 

            All the records would have to be re-checked for accuracy.  Some rifles would have changed hands; others wouldn’t. The process of verifying every single record isn’t that much different than starting a new set of records from scratch.

          • That’s two different things.  The government can’t pass a law that stops a future government from creating a long-gun registry (well, they could, but it would not be binding on said future government).  It does not follow from that that the government is obliged to keep the old gun registry around just in case a hypothetical future government wants to use it as a base upon which to build their new registry.

            Not being able to prevent a future government from building a big wooden bridge is not the same thing as being obliged to leave the current big wooden bridge intact.  The Tories can burn the bridge, they just can’t pass a law that says “no future government shall build a new bridge”.

            Harper’s constitutional point is not germane to this conversation in the slightest.

          • You have a bizarre definition of the word bind.  Sort of like the opposite of the usual meaning of the word. Removing a law and destroying any last vestige of said law is not binding anyone to anything, it’s doing the opposite.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus @s_c_f:disqus Okay, bind is too strong a term but I would say that is definitely their intent.  They want to make it far too expensive for any future government to contemplate.

            It is as if they are dynamiting the land so that any future bridge building become nigh impossible.

          • Sure Farandwide, but so long as the government has the confidence of the House of Commons, and can pass a law that authorizes the dynamiting of the land, well, then even if I oppose the dynamiting of the land I have little choice but to completely acknowledge the right of the government of the day to light the fuse.

            Kaboom.

            Also, we can’t just pretend that past governments haven’t blown up their fair share of the landscape, effectively making it impossible for the Tories to make all sorts of changes they’d probably love to make.  What’s good for the goose…

  4. Guns have been registered and controlled by authorities in Canada for decades. Legal gun owners were/are known to authorities regardless of nonsensical gun registry – it is not like Canadians could walk to corner store and buy guns/ammo without bureaucrats knowing before registry was implemented and same now. 

    Chretien’s registry was superfluous because gun owners were already highly regulated. 

    Destroying some paper and wiping hard drives will forever more stop governments from implementing another registry? Have any studies been done on affects to our health of having to listen to asshatery like Toews is peddling?

    I think it was Wells today tweeting about style over substance and gun registry is great example of government wanting to appear to be doing something.

  5. “This program is such a waste, let’s spend more money to make sure it doesn’t waste our money again.”

    …it didn’t work for Diefenbaker…

  6. More scorched earth politics… it’s not enough to kill the program, you also must dance on it’s grave.

    • And salt the earth so that nothing can grow there again. Carthago delendum est.

      • That should have been ”delenda’. Sigh.

      • Salting the earth???  Really?  Nothing’s ever going to grow there again???

        How did the Liberals ever create the long gun registry in the first place if there wasn’t already a long gun registry for them to build on?

        If a future NDP government wants to create a long gun registry they’ll create a long gun registry, just like the Liberals did.  And Demeter won’t have to come down from the heavens to remove a blight from the land first for them to do it.

        • It was just an attempt at a light-hearted response to lgarven’s alluding to scorched earth policy, referencing Roman policy toward Carthage. Not really suggesting that a future government would be unable to recreate the registry. Sigh.

          • Fair enough. I did think it was clever btw, but given what I think are some pretty shocking (and unintentionally funny) responses to the government’s decision to do EXACTLY WHAT THEY CAMPAIGNED ON, it’s a hard file for me to figure out who’s joking and who’s being serious, lol.

  7. Does Toews really think that this stops the NDP (or some other future government) from ever being able to create a new long gun registry?  ‘Cause it doesn’t.  All this means is that when a future government wants to create a new long gun registry they’ll have to start over again from the beginning, and build it from scratch.

    • To that extent the CPC is probably doing a favour to any future party that chooses to make another attempt at preventing the Ecole Polytechnique (Marc Lepine) murders.

      Specifically future parties won’t be obliged to take the (existing) registry and manhandle it to make it work better – instead they can take the best of the registry (a little or a lot, up for debate) and combine that with the legitimate concerns about the current incarnation, and come up with a proposal that might be X times more effective.

      • I don’t see it that way – they’ve simply moved to make it so expensive and intrusive an endeavour no future govt will be willing to waste precious political capital in the resulting barny. 

        • Big picture question for you:  How effective would you say the gun registry was, as it relates to preventing a Marc Lepine type individual from acquiring a weapon, which was the event probably more than any other factor that spawned the long gun registry?

          And, regardless of the actual effectiveness (high or low), can ‘we’ think of any other laws/regulations/etc that night actually be more effective and maybe even cheaper and less offensive than the registry?

          I have suspicions but no answers myself…

          • Big prisons, big sentences, big press…

            Is that the suspicion you had?

            I’d opt for “Are you a raging psychopath?” brochures.

          • Not sure on your level of jesting/sarcasm/what-have-you…..but no.

            I suspect that big prisons, big sentences, big press will be similarly ineffective at preventing a future Marc Lepine from performing a future ‘Ecole Polytechnique’ as the gun registry.

            Something along the lines of the brochure – even with the tongue in cheekiness of that idea – would be more effective, and certainly more cost-effective.

          • No. Future Lepines will be prevented when all of us become good parents and our crazy culture stops sending kids mixed messages: as in it is wrong to beat up women,be nice to your sister but you’re free to enjoy all the misogynous crap you want on any given night on more then a hundred different channels,

          • Are gun wielding sociopaths purely a consequence of nurture?

          • Doug rogers –

            I’ve no idea…probably not.

      • Damned straight they are, because the expense of it can be squarely laid at the feet of this government (whether altogether fairly or not)

        • Ummmm, you mean that a party might campaign on “We’re going to rebuild the long gun registry, basically like it was before, and yes, it will cost millions of dollars, but that expense is the fault of the bad old CPC?”

          Oh my, I hope not.

          • Yes, that is what I mean.  And it does bring up the interesting point that six million dollars for a man seems cheap now.

          • Really? You’re really running with that? So is it the fault of the Liberals for not having a more-laws-more-jails crime policy, thereby causing additional expense in building more prisons now, compared to building them in 1995 or so?

          • Whoa!  Hey, I’m not “running with that” if you mean “running on that” or my party running on that/advocating that/considering it, etc.

            But it is exactly what our system tends to set us up to do now.  One party does something, the next one spends a ton of money taking that thing down and building up something else, only so the next one can spend even more money restoring the original or something similar.

            And to answer your example.  Yes, yes it is exactly the Liberals fault.  This is what we’ll get more and more often now.

          • That’s just government, though. Parties run on a platform to change X, Y and Z. When they win, they try to change X, Y and Z. That it costs money to change things is not an argument for the status quo, because it would condemn us to permanent legislative paralysis otherwise.

            Again, if you don’t like that kind of change back and forth, then devise a way of convincing voters to back the party you prefer forever. If you can’t do that, then this line of reasoning is just contempt for the electorate.

    • Of course he doesn’t. The witch hunt theatrics are as honest as the motion to destroy the records.

      It makes for a good rally cry though.

    • The Tories can no more stop a future NDP government (shudder…) from enacting a gun registry than a gun registry can stop an unregistered firearm from killing someone.

      Does that about sum it up?

      • Yup. Though I’d have worded it: “The Tory majoruty government (shudder…) can no more stop a future NDP government (shudder…) from enacting a gun registry than a gun registry can stop an unregistered firearm from killing someone.”

        • But you guys are simply missing the point – yes they can attempt to renact the registry, but this action will now make it much more unlikely, due to costs both poitical and fiscal. Oh course that would still be their right. However they haven’t even come up with a good set of reasons beyond spiting a future govt. I’m mainly hung up on the chief of police objections, which are, if you really think about it given we have a conservative govt quite extraordinary – perhaps without precendent. And they don’t appear to be backing off.

          • It sounds like what you’re really decrying here is that there isn’t actually enough popular support for a long gun registry to create it anew, and therefore an NDP government would be forced to make the political calculation that it’s not worth re-establishing. How is any of that Harper’s fault?

          • No that’s not what i’m saying. That might well have been the case anyway, that there wouldn’t have been enough support. This way the govt gets to make it much more likely – perhaps needlessly so. That is self evident in the minister’s remarks. You’ve simply twisted my arguement out of all recognition to the one i’ve just made. To be clear it is not Harper’s fault for pursuing his political objective, neither is it his obligation to leave any handholds for a future govt; but it is his responsibility to take away anything out of the GR that may be useful to the safety of all Canadians right now. Your cynicism frequently misleads you down this line of arguement. Harper has an obligation to look to the wider good of the country and not simply  focus all of his energy on those who voted for his party. I believe it is called statesmanship.

          • they haven’t even come up with a good set of reasons beyond spiting a future govt.

            You’re basing your assessment of the government’s rationale for scrapping the long-gun registry on one petulant comment by one Minister.  The Tories campaigned pretty openly about their multiple objections to the registry, including their belief that the very existence of such a registry is an infringement of the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens.  Their platform openly stated “We will end the long-gun registry once and for all”, and they have argued that the very existence of the registry was an attack on law abiding citizens on numerous occasions.

            I think you have a good argument against the FRAMING of the move by the Minister in the quote above, but I don’t think you have a very good argument against the legitimacy of the government making the move.

  8. The Harper government is implementing a strange kind of “scorched earth” policy with respect to the long-gun registry, even before they have lost the next election. Their boastful proclamation of this action is crass, ruthless and politically barbaric: “Burn the records before the enemy takes over or before the Canadian people wake up and realize what kind of government we have.”  Burris Devanney, Halifax.

  9. “We won’t have these records loose and capable then of creating a
    new long gun registry should they ever have the opportunity to do that,”

    A masterpiece. Even in majority, the Harper government leads from its rightful place on the cross, ever-vigilant against the destructive hordes that form the other so-called “parties.”

    Righteous victimhood: if your “base” buys in, it’s a priceless political tool.

    • Yes - ’we have to ensure these records never get in the hands of those who wish to take your guns away’.  I say the base will not only buys it, but will likely reward them with a donation, if asked.

    • I hate that you’re right. 

      Men and their toys…

  10. Why on earth would they keep the records if they were opposed to their creation?  If there won’t be any new records, there shouldn’t be any old records either.  Nobody has the right to these records when the law is changed.

    • So do you also favour destroying all the census data collected over the years using the tyrannical mandatory long form?

      • The long form was not eliminated. It was made voluntary. If it were eliminated, then I would favour eliminating the data if it were not anonoymous. But since it is anonymous (I believe it is), then no, there would be no reason to eliminate the data. By definition, a gun registry record is not anonymous, it is a personal record tied to an individual.

        • Though StatsCan only publishes de-nominalized data, the individual long form census had to include the name of the respondents.

          This being so, I think far-out libertarians everywhere have a responsibility to now demand that all census data ever collected that came from identified persons be destroyed.

          This would pretty well eliminate most census records, but what the heck, only commies need data .

          • If a political party had been arguing since the very first census was taken that none of this data should be collected, that it’s an affront to law-abiding citizens to collect this data, and that if elected they will end the census once and for all, and then that party was elected to government on a platform that included that commitment, then how could one possibly object to said government destroying the records they believe never should have been created in the first place and that they campaigned to get rid of?

            I actually LIKE the long-gun registry, but I think I’d be more offended by the Tories preserving the thing that they pledged they’d destroy than I am by them enacting a pretty clear commitment they made repeatedly on the campaign trail over more than one election cycle.

          • Your analogy to the Census if flawed.  With the Census, private data is protected so that the data can’t be tied to a specific individual.  With the long-gun registry the WHOLE POINT is to tie data from the registry to specific individuals.  If the Census worked the way the long-gun registry works then I WOULD support deleting all of the Census data that was collected involuntarily and could be tied to a specific individual.  As that data is protected by Stats Canada in accordance with statutes, it’s not a problem, but protecting the privacy of people in the gun-registry the same way that people in the Census are protected would negate the whole purpose of the gun registry.

            It’s apples and oranges from a “protecting the privacy of the individual” standpoint.

      • Yes, we should destroy all the long form data collected involuntarily over the years.     It was  eliminated despite being collected “anonymously” , wasn’t it?
        We should also destroy all the data associated with the ozone monitoring program that is being eliminated.
        What we shouldn’t eliminate is the database of medical marijuana licensees when we eliminate licensing.   It’ll be handy to have a list of folks to fill the new prisons.

      • Here’s the difference between the long gun registry and the census data Ottawa Guy.

        The Tories can feel comfortable with the ability of Stats Can to segregate any personally identifiable data collected for the Census, and to only allow the public to get the aggregated data for statistical uses.  I’m sure if the Tories could be convinced by someone that the long gun registry could be set-up in such a way so as to protect the privacy of people in the registry they’d be fine with it, but of course that’s the problem, isn’t it?  The WHOLE POINT of the long-gun registry is to have a database of records with ties to specific people.  The point of the Census is to aggregate the records of specific people to come to broader conclusions, while protecting the privacy of individuals.  It’s apples and oranges.  If the Census worked the way the long-gun registry works, even I would be against the Census, and I’m a huge supporter of the Census!

  11. So my question is, why not handguns as well?

    Overall though, the damage lies mostly in that police may not respond with as much urgency as needed in some cases, and are going to be wasting resources tracking down long-guns used in crimes.

    So long as “destroy all records” specifically means the records of people who have long guns and not the records of how the system was established and the lesson’s learned in its creation, it shouldn’t be hard to correct once we’ve gone through these guys.

    • I wouldn’t count on it. I’d bet my next mortage payment all records means just that.

  12. Keeping the records after legislating the registry out of existence not only makes no sense, it’s arguably unjust. 

    The Tories’ argument (whether you agree or not) is that it was none of the government’s damned business in the first place who owned these weapons, and essentially, that creating the registry was a violation of these citizens’ right to privacy.  Keeping the records simply creates two classes of long gun owners; new owners, who’s privacy is intact, and old long gun owners that the government is still technically keeping track of, even if they promise never to look at the records again.

    If a previous government had collected DNA samples from thousands of law abiding citizens, and today’s government pledged to get rid of the DNA database (as they argue it was a terrible abuse of the rights of law abiding citizens to collect the information in the first place) would people really think that it was OK for the government to shut down the national DNA database, but to preserve all of the DNA samples and records just in case a future government might want to make use of them???  Really?

    People may well disagree with the Tories that the registry trampled on the rights of law abiding citizens (I do myself) but the Tories actually believe that it did.  Shutting down the database but keeping all the records would be the height of hypocrisy.  To do so would be to implicitly acknowledge that there was nothing wrong with compiling the records in the first place, and while we may vehemently disagree with the Tories on this point, the Tories actually believe that compiling the records in the first place was WRONG.  You can argue that the policy the Tories are implementing now is wrong, but arguing that the Tories are entitled to shut down the registry, but that destroying the registry is somehow a bridge too far is nonsensical. 

    Many people here are essentially arguing that the Tories are fully entitled to get rid of the registry, just so long as they don’t actually get rid of the registry.  Well, the Tories don’t just have a problem with the USE of the registry, they have a problem with the EXISTENCE of the registry.  They also made that perfectly clear during numerous election campaigns.  Suggesting that the Tories have some sort of obligation not to get rid of something that they openly pledged to get rid of is ludicrous, and all of the people arguing nonsensically that the Tories are somehow binding the hands of a hypothetical future government seem not to have realized that they’re essentially arguing in favour of binding the hands of the CURRENT government.

    • “If a previous government had collected DNA samples from thousands of law abiding citizens, and today’s government pledged to get rid of the DNA database (as they argue it was a terrible abuse of the rights of law abiding citizens to collect the information in the first place) would people really think that it was OK for the government to shut down the national DNA database, but to preserve all of the DNA samples and records just in case a future government might want to make use of them???  Really?”

      Can’t fault your logic..but the question isn’t simply mere convenience for a future govt – it is any of the data worth preserving because it gets results. Presumably the DNA data would have a rational basis to be set  up, beyond merely intruding into peoples lives arbitrarily, as did the gun registry. A case would have to be made for this infringement of ;our privavcy, and it had better be a good one. Similar case for the GR; it didn’t happen in a vacuum. If a case could be made, particularly by some knowledegable body[ in this case the police chiefs] for retaining some of the DNA data  because it had proven itself invaluable, it might give a responsible national govt pause – that is if it wasn’t a provincial evidence allergic govt such as the one we have. 
      Not the strongest arguement admittedly since the case for the GR hasn’t been conclusively proven either. Best i could manage at 1.00am

      • You’re suggesting a permanent veto on ever abolishing any government policy, as long as some spokesman or expert can be found that makes a “rational” argument for keeping it.

        That is simply not how the legislative aspect of democratic governance works. The legislature is entitled to enact or revoke any policy or program for any (constitutional) reason, and if you think they did it for a bad reason, well, make sure that your party wins the next election. This is nothing more than sour grapes over the fact of a majority government.

        • The Conservatives have every right to do what they’re doing. No question.

          But if the grapes are sour, it’s probably because the Conservatives are busy sowing salt in the vinyard to ensure the nines never agin produce fruit. It;s a classic case of being in the right and doing the wrong thing. Spiteful.

          • As LKO best and repeatedly explained up the thread, this does nothing to prevent a future government from re-establishing the registry. Nothing at all. It doesn’t even make it more difficult.

          •  ”It doesn’t even make it more difficult”

            now you’re arguing against basic logic. Why have the minister state this is specifically to prevent another govt taking action? It is almost as if we are getting to read/hear what the cons would say to their base in a party email: “We intend to make sure no future govt can ever revive this policy again”. It is possible to view this as simply being refreshingly honest or simply so arrogant that they don’t give a F’k what their opponents think.[ probably  abit of both IMO]
            Both Yourself and LKO have repeatedly missed the other point here, that it was needly vindictive and there might well have been something positive to be saved from the mess of the LGR.

            This thread makes an interesting reread in that it is amazing how often we are simply speaking right past each other. I can’t find one person for instance seriously trying to argue that the govt doesn’t have the right to take this action.
            As for sour grapes – maybe; but as mostly civil states they’re not entirely without justification. This govt has a track record of petty, vindictive actions.  

          • Well, it makes it SLIGHTLY more difficult.

          • It’s not “spiteful” of the Tories to destroy the long-gun registry, it’s WHAT THEY CAMPAIGNED ON.  Admittedly, the Minister’s framing of the issue above is petulant, and makes it sound as though they’re only destroying the records to stick it to the other parties, but the Tories EXPLICITLY campaign on the proposition “We will end the long-gun registry once and for all”.  Not “keep it around if it’s at all useful still”, not “stop people from accessing it, but keep the records around in case someone else wants to start using it again in the future”, “END IT ONCE AND FOR ALL”.  Beyond being ineffective against crime, the Tories believe that the very existence of the registry is an affront to law-abiding citizens, and they’ve made that clear on NUMEROUS occasions.

            The Minister’s comment above may be petty and unworthy of his position, but anyone who didn’t realize that the Tories intended to destroy the long-gun registry completely wasn’t paying attention to what the Tories have been saying on this file throughout the last SEVERAL federal elections.

            It’s not “wrong” to salt the earth if you campaigned on a promise to salt the earth.

          • Really? If this govt for some reason should campaign in the next election to never implement a carbon tax because they’re convinced it would destroy our economy and they happened to win that election would you applaud them as merely being consistent if before leaving office they ordered all govt data and research pertaining to a carbon tax put in the shredder?
            Granted the anology is a stretch. There being no infringement of privacy rights or infringement of civil liberties associated with a carbon tax. They don’t have equal resonance. Nevertheless this govt has given signals that it considers the economy and “its”view of its well being to trump other considerations ie., the envronment, collective bargaining rights. If this stays a one time case of trumpeting the brand, then perhaps it  is what it is. If it is a template of some kind…watch out!

          • would you applaud them as merely being consistent if before leaving
            office they ordered all govt data and research pertaining to a carbon
            tax put in the shredder

            The Tories are putting the long-gun registry itself in the shredder, as far as I know, not “all govt. data and research pertaining to a long gun registry”.  If someone wants to build a long-gun registry again, I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to figure out how.  If they’re REALLY stumped, why not base it on the handgun registry?

  13. “Hello there, my friends.

    I don’t often make mistakes, but when I do, I like to make them unfixable.”

    - dos Equis spokeman.

  14. As LKO best and repeatedly explained up the thread, this does nothing to prevent a future government from re-establishing the registry. Nothing at all. It doesn’t even make it more difficult.

    • Well, it arguably makes it SLIGHTLY more difficult.

    • That depends. If “all records” includes the records as to how the registry was established, and the lessons learned in that period, then it does make it somewhat more difficult – politically if nothing else, because the government building it might make the same mistakes.

      If, on the other hand,all records simply means the database of what gun lives where with who, then you’re correct.  

      It’s a shame that we’ll be wasting more police resources tracking down long-guns, but that’s what people wanted, I guess. 

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