Conservatives target gun registry again

The Conservatives are once again promising to kill the gun registry. And Ryan Leef, the party's candidate for the Yukon, is using the pledge to take potshots at Larry Bagnell, the territory's Liberal MP.

The Conservatives are once again promising to kill the gun registry.

And Ryan Leef, the party’s candidate for the Yukon, is using the pledge to take potshots at Larry Bagnell, the territory’s Liberal MP.

“We were told one thing at our doorstep and another thing in Ottawa,” Leef said on Monday. “What an MP tells you, Yukoners should be able to take to the bank.”

Bagnell, who was first elected in 2000, has long opposed the gun registry. But he helped prop-up the registry during a whipped vote in September after he was warned by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff that he’d be turfed from the party if he didn’t.

It wasn’t an idle threat.

When Bagnell previously broke party ranks to vote against the registry, he lost his job as chair of the rural caucus as a result.

It’s hard for a rogue MP to accomplish much, said Bagnell. To be banished from his party over a gun registry vote “would be bad for the Yukon.”

Bagnell has always told voters that he wouldn’t split from the Liberals over the gun registry, he said.

Leef vowed to honour the wishes of Yukoners ahead of his party.

“I think that’s pretty naive,” said Bagnell. “There’s not a single Conservative MP that’s stood up to Stephen Harper.”

The Conservatives also promised to create a hunting and wildlife advisory committee. It would be comprised of members of hunting, fishing and conservation groups, and would make recommendations to government on endangered species, wetland protection and nature conservation, said Leef.

“For too long, government caused problems for rural Canadians that common sense could solve,” he said.

Leef made the announcement from his campaign office on the corner of Hanson Street and Second Avenue, surrounded by about 25 supporters, including Yukon’s Senator Dan Lang, a Conservative appointee.

It was Leef’s first campaign announcement since winning the Conservative nomination. Peppered with conservative talking points, much of his speech sounded like it had been written by Harper.

Leef warned the economic recovery was “fragile,” criticized the decision to topple the governing Conservatives as “unnecessary,” and encouraged voters to send Conservatives back to power with a “strong, stable” majority government.

Leef also echoed Harper’s assertion Ignatieff would form a “coalition” with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

Ignatieff has ruled out forming a coalition – although he hasn’t excluded the possibility of striking a loose partnership to form a minority government.

Leef attacked the Liberals’ pledge to build a new hockey arena in Quebec City as a “billion-dollar waste,” adding, “I want an arena in Ross River, not a coliseum in Quebec.”

Naturally, Leef also blasted the federal gun registry as a “wasteful” assault on hunters and farmers. The Conservatives have unsuccessfully tried to kill the registry several times.

Police chiefs argue the registry is a useful law-enforcement tool. Some frontline officers dispute this, noting that few criminals register their weapons and that urban gangs prefer illegal handguns to hunting rifles.

Liberals note that all types of gun deaths have declined since the registry was brought into force. They neglect to mention that gun deaths began to fall in 1979, well before the Liberals’ introduction of gun registry in 1995.

What is indisputable is that the registry has infuriated the many rural Canadians who have refused to register their firearms.

If Conservatives succeed in removing the gun registry, Canadians would still require a licence to obtain and use a gun. Existing safety rules for storing and transporting a firearm would stand. And separate rules would apply to restricted weapons, such as handguns.

Bagnell estimates a “slim majority” of Yukoners continue to support killing the registry, although he’s seen the number of vocal supporters grow since last autumn. If he had another free vote to cast on the matter, he suspects he would oppose the registry, but he said he would consult with Yukoners first.

But Bagnell prefers to talk about the many spending announcements in the Liberal platform, which was unveiled Sunday. They include money for green home renovations, support for seniors and students, affordable housing, and a lot more.

Bagnell’s already visited 12 communities and all of Whitehorse’s subdivisions. He plans to hit Carmacks, Ross River and Faro this week.

“I run all campaigns like I’m one vote behind,” he said.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

Just Posted

The Fireweed Market in Shipyards Park will open on May 13. Joel Krahn/Yukon News
Whitehorse’s Fireweed Market opens May 13

The Fireweed Market will return with ‘exciting’ new and returning vendors

Ron Rousseau holds a sign saying ‘It’s time for a cultural shift’ during the Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny rally on May 11. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Protest held to condemn Yukon Party MLAs’ texts

A rally was held outside of legislature to condemn the inappropriate texts messages of Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 12, 2021.… Continue reading

Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley announced youth vaccination clinics planned for this summer. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon government file)
Vaccination campaign planned for Yukon youth age 12 and up

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger people on May 5.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.
Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Most Read