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Tories triumphant as gun registry killed



OTTAWA - Triumphal Conservatives are celebrating the success of a 17-year effort to scrap long-gun registry.

Armed with a majority in the Commons, the Tories were able to pass Bill C-19 to end the registry which is so hated in much of rural Canada - something they weren't able to do in their previous mandate.

MPs had several parties planned to celebrate.

A cheery Conservative MP Leon Benoit cracked a pun about the drinks that would be served at one of the parties he'd attend.

"There may be some shooters there, so I'll have a couple of those myself," he joked.

The parties put Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett in a dour mood.

"They're going to have some big celebration instead of going to work running the country," she said. "This is really appalling."

The Conservatives even rubbed the noses of opposition parties in the bill, with Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner using a morning news conference to call on seven New Democrats, including Charlie Angus and Niki Ashton, to buck their party line in the vote on C-19.

"These are Members of Parliament who very clearly committed to their constituents that they would vote to end the registry," Hoppner said.

"Obviously I'd be very pleased - we'd all be very pleased - if we had more NDP (MPs) supporting this bill, so we just wanted to remind them of what they said and also remind them of who they're serving."

Two northern Ontario NDP MPs, John Rafferty and Bruce Hyer, heeded Hoeppner's call and voted with the government.

In the backdrop of the news conference was a silhouetted photo of what appeared to be a duck-hunting father and son holding firearms.

"It looks like home to me," said a smiling Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

"This is a natural part of rural life, and unfortunately Liberals and some New Democrats have attempted to turn a whole way of life into some kind of criminal conduct."

Toews also said there was no way to end the registry while saving its data, arguing that would be like selling a farm, but keeping the land.

The minister confirmed the data would be destroyed as soon as possible after C-19 receives Royal Assent.

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