Credits: Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau said Monday in Quebec he'd vote to restore the very same long-gun registry he called "a failure" Friday in Ontario.
As a group, Liberal members of Parliament, including leadership hopefuls Trudeau, Marc Garneau and Joyce Murray, decided after the long-gun registry was killed last spring that they would not seek to revive it. Garneau, Murray and some other Liberal MPs confirmed that decision again on Monday.
On Friday, Trudeau, at a campaign stop in the eastern Ontario town of Hawkesbury, was asked about his position on the controversial registry and replied, "I do see that the long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I am not going to resuscitate that."
On Monday, though, asked in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., by reporters for some clarification on his Friday comments, Trudeau had something slightly different to say: "If we had a vote tomorrow, I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry."
The long-gun registry was more popular in Quebec than in any other part of the country and the province has so far successfully used the courts to preserve Quebec long-gun registry data.
Trudeau was also asked to explain what he meant when he called the long-gun registry a failure.
"The definition of a failed public policy is a policy that gets eliminated when governments change. That is the very definition," Trudeau said. "You can't talk about success because it doesn't exist anymore. It was able to be eliminated, therefore it was a failed public policy unfortunately."
And while Trudeau and many of his leadership race rivals were all in agreement that the registry should not be revived, both Garneau and Murray took issue with his description of the registry as a failure.
Murray said it was "saving lives" and was working.
Murray, Garneau and many other Liberal MPs quizzed on the issue Monday, agreed with Trudeau's assessment that the gun registry was divisive.
Liberal MP John McCallum, a Trudeau supporter, said that if Liberals hope to revive their party's fortunes outside of downtown Toronto and Montreal, they should leave the gun registry alone.
"The gun registry kills us everywhere outside the biggest cities and so if you want to be toast everywhere outside the biggest cities, then say you're going to come back with the gun registry," McCallum said.