Throwing the gun registry under the bus

Chris Selley mocks Justin Trudeau’s latest comments on the gun registry.

On Sunday Team Trudeau tried to soften the blow. Liberals supported the registry, a spokeswoman told Sun Media, “given the absence of any responsible approach to gun violence by this government.” Now that they lost the fight, now that “the registry and its data are gone, … we now have to develop a new approach.”

Rubbish. There is no way to square Mr. Trudeau’s previous statements with his current position. The portentous, reverential terms in which Mr. Trudeau, Dr. Bennett and so many other Liberals described the registry a year ago, and before, demand they either support its re-establishment now or explain why they were in error before. Or they would if this was a debating society; in politics, you can change your mind, fudge your reasons outrageously and never have to say you’re sorry.

I’d still like Mr. Trudeau to explain his latest remarks, but Chris is right that the “portentous, reverential terms” in which the gun registry was described don’t really square with the word “failure.” The Liberal position in 2010 and 2011 was that the registry was necessary, but flawed (see page 56 of the party’s platform). And thinking about it last night, my feeling was there was a little bit of wiggle room left by Mr. Trudeau’s qualifier (“as it was”) and the lack of an explanation as to how precisely the gun registry had failed. Failed politically? Failed entirely? (Though I do enjoy pointing out contradictions, I also do tend to fuss over the details.) But maybe I was unnecessarily splitting hairs. Thinking about it now, my feeling is Chris is right: you can’t really say the gun registry “saved lives” and say it was a “failure.”

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