Conservatives limit debate on long-gun registry
A Conservative backbench MP raised eyebrows Tuesday when he compared the long-gun registry to Nazi Germany.
OTTAWA — The contentious long-gun registry is getting closer to its date with the firing squad.
Candice Hoeppner, parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, said in a statement that the government is "one step closer to eliminating the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry once and for all."
The Conservatives won a motion late Tuesday evening to limit debate on the long-gun registry repeal bill to one day at report stage and two days at the bill's third and final reading.
The time allocation motion to limit debate during the bill's report stage received 152 votes, with 131 MPs opposed. Bill C-19 will now be up for third reading. Afterwards, it will reach the Senate.
Last June, the Conservative government introduced a bill to end the requirement for gun owners to register their firearms which are not restricted or prohibited in Canada. The bill would also erase all Canadian Firearms Registry records.
"As you have heard, members on the Government side say time and time again — the long-gun registry was a $2-billion boondoggle created by the previous Liberal government and it has wrongfully targeted farmers, ranchers, hunters, trappers and sports shooters who have broken no laws," Hoeppner said in statement.
The registry is ineffective, she said, because of "faulty" logic.
"We know that criminals do not register their guns," Hoeppner said.
Meanwhile, an issue related to the bill was causing online buzz, a few hours before the vote.
A Conservative MP compared the long-gun registry to Hitler and the Nazis in the House of Commons. Opposition MPs were quick to pounce on the comments, saying they were aimed at muzzling debate about the program, which has pitted some rural and urban voters against each other.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said Ontario MP Larry Miller's comments were part of a "prepared speech" and accused the Harper government of shutting down discussion on the controversial plan to scrap the registry.
Miller, an MP for Bruce Grey-Owen Sound, did a fast retreat Tuesday over the comments he made in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon, withdrawing the statements after question period.
Miller, an opponent of the registry, opened his statement on the registry by quoting former Liberal justice minister Allan Rock as saying, "I came to Ottawa last year with the firm belief that the only people in Canada who should have firearms are police officers and the military."
"Sound familiar?" Miller asked. "Adolf Hitler. 1939," he said.
Miller also quoted former Liberal senator Sharon Carstairs as saying that "the registering of hunting rifles is the first step in the social re-engineering of Canadians."
"Mr. Speaker, can you believe that statement? The social engineering of Canadians. Mr. Speaker, that is what Adolf Hitler tried to do in the 1930s," he claimed, over a chorus of catcalls in the Commons.
"The long-gun registry is at its core solely about an idea that the Liberals had that guns are inherently evil and must be taken out the hands of the general population. Again, who does that sound like?" Miller said.
Rae and other MPs took offence at Miller's use of Hitler's name. Invoking Hitler, Rae alleged, "is to use a word of violence, of hate."
"How could the debate go this far that someone would think that this is an acceptable way to carry on this discussion?" he said after question period. "That the women who are in favour of controlling arms for a variety of reasons — the majority of Canadians' public opinion — who support it. That they're somehow comparable to Adolf Hitler."
"The sense of triumphalism which they've had in the House on this question," Rae said. "They have a complete lack of understanding, a complete lack of sensitivity to how a great great many Canadians feel about violence."
Official Opposition justice critic Jack Harris said he found the comparison "obviously disgusting" and "clearly unparliamentary."
The NDP MP said the Conservatives are out of touch with the concerns of "a parade of victims of gun violence" who spoke at a parliamentary committee supporting the registry.
Calls to Miller's office were not returned.
Meanwhile, some took to Twitter to voice their outrage over Miller's comparison, including Quebec Liberal MP Justin Trudeau who doubted the sincerity of Miller's apology.
"Weak and insincere apology by Larry Miller. It sounded like he apologized to Hitler for using his name," Trudeau tweeted. He said Miller's comments were directly targeting the Liberal Party: "Larry Miller, CPC, just twice compared the Liberals to Hitler on the (long-gun registry). Sorry Larry, first one to bring up Hitler in a debate loses," he wrote.
Conservatives limit debate on long-gun registry (external - login to view)