The Conservative government is set to bring in legislation as early as Monday to formally abolish the federal long-gun registry — even though MPs won't be able to vote on it until the fall, and it may not pass even then.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day will likely claim the reason for introducing the bill now is to give MPs and interested groups a chance to study the legislation over the summer.
But sources say there is also a political reason for the timing.
Backbench Tories, especially from rural and western ridings, want to be able to tell constituents who complain about the registry that the legislative wheels are in motion to get rid of it.
"It's purely symbolic," said one Conservative insider.
Another suggested the timing could be a kind of insurance policy, helping to persuade voters the government is doing all it can to eliminate the much-criticized registry even if unforeseen events force an election before the job is finished.
Unfortunately, it looks like opposition will gang up to defeat it. The Liberals no longer have the rural base to influence them, the NDP loves the gun registry, and the Bloc needs to show that it's not in the Tories' pocket on every issue.
And it's hard to see where there are more votes to be gained by using this as a reason to call for a majority government. Urban voters' fear of all firearms will convince them that keeping the registry was a good idea; there are few rural votes to be tapped that the Tories don't already have, either.
In the bid to win more urban votes, the registry might have to be allowed to survive on life support.
A bitter pill to swallow.
Source: Globe and Mail