By David F. Rooney
MPs, including Kootenay-Columbia’s Jim Abbott, voted 164-137 today in favour of a Private Member’s Bill calling on the government to scrap the reviled Long Gun Registry.
“It has taken an awful lot of work to get it this far,” Abbott said in an interview from Ottawa after the vote. “But it’s not over. It’s still an uphill battle.”
Bill C-391 was introduced by Manitoba Tory backbencher Candice Hoeppner but Abbott said much of the credit for forcing the issue should also go to Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) an avid long-time opponent of the gun registry.
“Gary was tireless over the years and fought back against every spurious bit of innuendo and ignorant comment,” he said. “Candace is not your stereotypical gun owner. She’s a petite blonde and that really disarms some people.”
Private Member’s Bills such as this rarely become law. But Hoeppner’s bill was supported by 18 Liberals and New Democratic Party MPs. The vote sends the bill to committee where MPs will hammer out its details.
Abbott said that when it is returned to the House it will receive Third Reading and will again be voted upon. If it passes that vote, which Abbott suggested would likely be next spring, it will be ushered to the Senate “where it will go through the entire process all over again.” Only after the Senate has approved the bill will it receive Royal Assent and be enacted.
Local hunter and gun owner Clancy Boettger said “it’s about time” that steps were taken to repeal the registry.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “When it happens — if it happens — it’ll decrease the pressure that’s put on hunters and other lawful gun owners. But it still has to get past the Senate.”
No one party controls the Senate but the Conservatives happen to have the largest single block of votes in the Senate.
The Long Gun Registry has often been described as a “billion-dollar boondoggle” because of enormous cost overruns that occurred when it was initially created under the Liberals. Getting rid of it has been a pillar of every Conservative campaign since then.