Susan Delacourt, writing on iPolitics, reviews the sad story of gun control in Canada and concludes that “guns are back in the Liberals’ political sights, even if the Prime Minister didn’t aim them there.“
The catalyst is, of course, the recent Toronto shootings, but it also speaks to the Liberal party’s vote-rich, urban base.
The debate has raged for decades as Canada became more and more urban … there is a growing sense in urban centres that guns, all guns, are dangerous and unnecessary, while farmers and people in rural Canada simply regard them as tools.
The late and unlamented long-gun registry was a fiasco which did nothing at all to curb urban gun violence but managed, instead, to make law-abiding farmers into criminals.
There is no doubt that Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal and Ottawa, too, have a gun problem … but the problem is that criminals are never deterred by regulations and they will, always, buy guns that were (very often) stolen in the USA and smuggled into Canada ~ crime piled upon crime and none of them being, even remotely, amenable to enhanced gun control. The solutions involve better border checks ~ especially on the sorts of people who are known to smuggle guns, which includes our own, sovereign, First Nations, and on gangs in cities. Attempting to crack down on either will bring howls of protests and cries of racism. But (Conservative) Mayor John Tory and many Liberals, including, I suspect, Bill Blair and Ralph Goodale, understand that fear now grips Toronto and it will spread … they want someone to do something … even if it’s wrong. The pressure for action is strong .. too strong, I expect, for Prime Minister Trudeau to resist. The Liberal and bureaucratic answer is always regulation … actually taking meaningful action is usually too dangerous ~ see the link to Tim Harper’s column in The Star, above. Cracking down on Toronto’s gangs will annoy Black Lives Matter and worry young voters. And trying to intercept the guns that come into Canada through First Nations channels is fraught with legal, political and, perhaps, even Constitutional dangers … better to penalize hunters, recreational shooters and farmers, instead, because that will really stop Grandpa from using his 12 gauge bird gun in Toronto.
But there’s an election in only a year and the Liberals, feeling some heat, are very, very likely going to do the wrong things and to do them wrong, too. The Conservatives must let them. Talking about the real problems that create urban gun violence will not do any good and will just alienate some voters that the Conservatives need.