Harper reaffirms vow to scrap gun registry
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is again promising to eliminate Canada's long-gun registry.
"When it comes to the wasteful and inefficient long-gun registry, you know where the Conservative party stands. We stand with farmers and hunters and we will scrap the long-gun registry," Harper told a group in Welland, Ont., Monday.
The Conservative Party has promised before to get rid of the registry, but hasn't yet introduced government legislation — supported by cabinet — to do so.
Canada Votes 2011
Last year, a bill introduced by Conservative backbencher Candace Hoeppner came close to passing, but failed on its last vote.
Some NDP and Liberal MPs, including Welland MP Malcolm Allen, voted against Hoeppner's bill, "even though they had promised their constituents they would scrap the registry," Harper said.
Six NDP MPs from rural ridings joined the majority of NDP and Liberal MPs to vote to put an end to Hoeppner's legislation last September. Allen won the riding by a narrow margin in 2008.
A Conservative government would also introduce a new hunting and wildlife advisory panel, Harper said, to bring "common sense" to crime and gun issues.
"We have to make this common sense more common in Ottawa," he added.
People in rural Canada aren't opposed to gun control, he said, with a hand gun registry and licensing rulesdrawing little opposition.
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"What people don't accept is going out and registering millions and millions and millions of long-guns where you already have all this other information. It's wasteful, ineffective, and it has treated rural people, farmers and hunters as if they are criminals at the same time by governments who will do absolutely nothing about gun crime," Harper said.
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, commenting before Harper spoke in Welland, said the Conservative leader is trying to impose a U.S.-style mentality.
"It doesn't fit with us, it doesn't fit with us," he said.
New information about ex-PMO adviser
Amid new revelations about Harper's former senior adviser Bruce Carson, Harper said he was learning about them for the first time Monday.
The Canadian Press reported Carson had disclosed five fraud convictions before he got his job in the Prime Minister's Office. He also disclosed he was ordered by the court to undergo psychiatric treatment, according to his lawyer.
"Had I known these things, obviously I would not have hired him," Harper said.
"I don't know why I did not know. Obviously we're going to have to go back, look at our systems, the Privy Council Office [the PMO's bureaucratic wing] is going to have to look at its systems."
"But I think it's important to remember Mr. Carson is not accused of anything that has to do with his employment in my office."
No economy talk: NDP
An NDP news release says Harper isn't talking economy in Welland — despite focusing on it during all his other campaign stops — because the unemployment rate in the riding is nearly two percentage points higher than the Ontario average.
The farm Harper visited featured three distinctive green John Deere tractors parked outside, an iconic symbol of farming in Canada, but also of unemployment in the region.
In 2009, a John Deere plant that had operated in the riding for almost 100 years closed down. The closure put 800 people out of work, with the jobs moving to the U.S. and Mexico.