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NEWS RELEASE · 22nd September 2010
MP Nathan Cullen
Gun registry debate needs serious overhaul

It’s been a busy summer for people with an opinion about the long gun registry in Canada. I have received hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters and faxes from folks right across the country. Here in the Northwest, people have been stopping me at farmers’ markets, fall fairs, on the street and in the coffee shops to tell me what they think and what I should do in today’s vote.

I am writing to you today in an effort to begin to reframe the debate around the long gun registry. I have always called for this honest debate about better gun laws in Canada. Laws that don’t criminalize honest hunters and farmers. Laws that make our streets safer and crack down on the import of illegal assault weapons. Laws that work in the real world and are not just symbols that make some people feel safer while having minimal actual impact.

Today’s vote is on a Liberal motion to kill Bill C-391 (the Conservative private member’s bill to scrap the long gun registry), and not on the gun registry itself. By the time most of you read this, the vote will have happened and, one way or another, we’ll be into the next phase of this very hot debate. For the record, I do not support the Liberal motion. I want to see our country have a real debate about the registry, reframed so that we can talk solutions and leave the political spin doctors on the sideline.

What we’ve seen over the past six months has been anything but a productive and meaningful debate. Contrary to their rhetoric, the Conservatives have actually been working against the interests of those Canadians who want the long gun registry scrapped. Conservative MPs have accused our national police force of plotting to confiscate all guns across the country in some sort of midnight raid. This kind of conspiracy thinking is not only dangerous, but also downright insulting to the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day. Other offensive Conservative tactics involving attack ads and taking tips from the US National Rifle Association on how to run the anti-registry campaign have also worked to drive Opposition MPs against the anti-registry cause.

The Liberals, meanwhile, say a debate about guns is too sensitive to allow their MPs a free vote. This is a real tragedy for our democracy and a failure of leadership by Mr. Ignatieff. A good leader trusts his or her team, and a real democratic party believes the link between an elected representative and voters must be strengthened, not weakened. I’m proud that the NDP has honoured the ‘Democratic’ that’s enshrined in our name and allowed a free vote on this issue.

I also believe the first priority of any government should be to help unite this broad and diverse country. Driving wedges might help parties raise money and scare votes their way but the end result is a weaker, divided and more suspicious Canada.

We must move beyond the poisonous bickering that has marked the gun fight and start a real conversation that brings rural and urban Canadians together instead of driving the country apart. We can and must do better for rural Canadians offended by the expense and ineffectiveness of the long gun registry.

Differences of opinion do not overshadow our shared values and a lasting resolution to the gun debate is within reach if we’re all willing to start a real discussion.
To the Editor
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-Soos on 24th September 2010
Another long story Mr. Culen! Amazing!
How did you vote??

Some sources say that there are 2 mil. guns smuggled into Canada per year I am sure that you have already "debate" with those involved??

You shot so many times from the hip Mr. Culen,have you registered " Your Gun" Yet??
Thank you

What is the difference?
Comment by Daniel Carter on 22nd September 2010
Nathan, I agree with what you stand for in the Northwest. You have spoken good on this region for some years now and that I appreciate. I do not support your party on a federal level however. I do not agree on Jack Layton's outlook on the LGR. Micheal Ignatieff was just plain and simple for himself by whipping his MLAs into voting for the LGR whether they agreed with it or not. I can only fear that NDP MLAs were threatened in some way to be able to change the minds of some that were formerly in favor of the LGR. This vote on the registry did not speak for the people. This vote only spoke for the party leaders to perform any way possible to defeat anything the Conservative government is for. As far as I am concerned, there is no path as long as there is other parties such as the NDP, Liberals and BLOC out to screw with democracy.
Why does the existing Possession and Acquisition Licence need to be accompanied with the LGR? In Toronto, 2000 guns have been confiscated by the Toronto police. They knew exactly where to go to find those guns on the already fully functional PAL, NOT the LGR which is dysfunctional at best! WHY do we need the LGR? Ask me that!
If only one person is killed by a long gun that is registered in the name of crime, this whole registry will be a complete failure. I have my strongest doubts that is is going to make even the slightest difference other than irk the lawful responsible gun owners of this country.