Bagnell will help prop up gun registry

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell once again finds himself in the sights of Conservative advertisements calling for the abolition of Canada's long-gun registry. The radio spots call on Bagnell and other rural Liberal MPs to break rank and support a private members bill.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell once again finds himself in the sights of Conservative advertisements calling for the abolition of Canada’s long-gun registry.

pushed by Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner to repeal the registry.

But that won’t happen, said Bagnell, because of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s decision to enforce party discipline on the forthcoming vote.

“Unfortunately, it’s a whipped vote so I won’t have a choice,” said Bagnell.

He voted in favour of the bill during second reading in November and has long expressed doubts about whether the registry is an effective way to fight crime.

But Bagnell points to amendments proposed by the Liberals as a “mini-victory” belonging to the party’s rural caucus. The changes would decriminalize first-time infractions of the registry, remove all fees and streamline paperwork that gun-owners must file.

While this falls short of abolishing the registry, “It’s a lot better than what we have,” said Bagnell.

On Tuesday, the Yukon Party joined the Conservatives in daring Bagnell to support Hoeppner’s bill in the forthcoming vote, with a motion tabled by MLA Steve Nordick.

Bagnell dismisses Conservative criticism of his decision to stick with his party.

“Nobody takes that seriously,” Bagnell said of the federal Conservatives. “They’re probably whipped more often than anyone.”

Besides, he added, Yukoners don’t like being told what to do, especially in radio advertisements that are paid for with tax dollars. “I think it backfires on them,” he said.

The Conservatives have made several failed efforts to kill the registry. In the meantime, they have crippled it by offering long-gun owners amnesty on registering their guns since 2006.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.