Bagnell in Conservative crosshairs

Yukon’s Member of Parliament doesn’t yet know how he’ll vote on a private members bill that calls for the abolition of the federal long-gun registry.

Yukon’s Member of Parliament doesn’t yet know how he’ll vote on a private members bill that calls for the abolition of the federal long-gun registry.

The Conservative Party has singled-out Larry Bagnell with a local radio ad that calls on him to support Bill C-391, tabled by Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner, which will receive second reading on November 4.

“Bagnell has thus far been unwilling to stand up to his political boss in Ottawa, Michael Ignatieff,” states a Conservative news release. “Ignatieff is firmly on record as supporting the long-gun registry and opposing the

Conservative government’s action to scrap the failed, wasteful Liberal legacy.”

Bagnell says he hasn’t yet read Bill C-391, which would remove the registration requirement for long rifles.

But he’s long been on record opposing the registry, putting himself at odds with the Liberal Party’s support of it.

He knows one thing: he won’t quit the party over the issue.

So how he will vote on the bill will largely be determined by whether the Liberals impose party discipline. If so, he’ll toe the line.

But if it’s a free vote – as is usually the case with private members bills – he’ll consider voting in favour.

And, in private, Bagnell says he will continue to twist Liberal arms to try to end the program.

The gun-control law, introduced in 1995, has been maligned for a number of reasons. Conservatives hate the program’s runaway spending. It was expected to cost $2 million and then pay for itself with fees. Instead, costs

have soared to more than $1 billion.

And it was meant to curb crime, but the law has done nothing to prevent a spike in recent years of gang-related shootings in Canadian cities.

Instead, the law has become a spectacular example of how to upset farmers, recreational hunters and aboriginal subsistence hunters, who all insist the registry binds them in unneeded red tape.

So it goes in the Yukon, where rifles are seen less as weapons than as tools by many rural residents, said Bagnell.

The Conservative government has made several failed attempts to kill the law. In the meantime, they have crippled it by granting long-rifle owners amnesty on registering their guns since 2006.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.