Friday, April 23, 2010

Wayne, Whips and Guns

Last evening, it was with great sadness that I read of the passing of Wayne Easter's courageous stand against his Party and leader on abolition of the gun registry.

Now, apparently he's flip-flopped and decided to toe the Liberal Party line again. Mr. Ignatieff left his urban ivory tower long enough to engage the rural Liberal MPs who voted for the private member's bill that would have seen the end of the Liberal's pet gun registry. He informed the 8 MPs that he had decided that he wanted to make the registry more palatable for rural gun owners by reducing the penalties for being caught with an unregistered long-gun and cutting the fees for registration to zero.

Mr. Ingnatieff also announced that voting on the third reading of Bill C-391 would be a whipped vote, that is, all Liberals would have to stick it to their constituents and vote along Party lines. This becomes problematic for Wayne Easter since back in November 2009, he voted against his own Party to better reflect what his constituents have wanted all along, quite a marked change after being one of the most vocal supporters of the registry for 15 years, especially during his tenure as Solicitor General. I guess Mr. Ignatieff doesn't want to take a chance on having some of his rogue MPs vote against party lines for a third time in less than 6 months.

Here's what Mr. Easter had to say to the Globe:

“To Ignatieff’s credit … he came to rural caucus, talked to those of us who had concerns … and over the several months I think we found a solution that in fact works. It’s a reasonable compromise that I think shows leadership on Ignatieff’s part.”

Well, I guess we can see where this one is headed. I had hoped Wayne would stick to his guns (pardon the very weak pun) on this issue but I guess it was too good to be true. Apparently, it's back to business as usual on the Hill.


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