From the start it was clear there would be no triumphant political win in scrapping the federal long-gun registry. Canadians were divided on the issue.
No matter which side you took on this one, you could be assured that many other Canadians opposed your view.
In the latest volley in the battle, the Quebec Superior Court sided with the provincial government Monday and ordered the federal government to hand over that province’s registry data. In wake of the federal government’s scrapping of the registry earlier this year, Quebec fought to maintain its portion of the controversial system. Political parties there and the public largely supported it.
Quebec taxpayers helped pay for the system. Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard ruled that the registry data cannot be viewed as being strictly “federal” and said Quebec has a right to it.
Following Monday’s decision, the federal Conservatives indicated they would continue pursuing the matter. Supreme Court of Canada, here we come.
Originally, in response to Quebec’s request, the federal government flippantly claimed it hadn’t the jurisdiction to hand over the registry information to a province. But an earlier ruling declared that wasn’t so.
So the feds had to change tack. They dug in to fight Quebec’s move anyway.
The money to compile the registry is money already spent, so the ‘wasteful’ argument is largely behind us. What remains is more so saving face.
Why can’t the federal government just bow to Quebec’s wishes? Retaining the registry there apparently has widespread support. Yet the feds would drag the issue out and spend more taxpayers’ money to fight it in Supreme Court.
This demonstration of the public’s will in one province simply emphasizes the fact the decision to scrap will remain up for debate.
The Conservatives are fond of claiming they had a “mandate” whenever they do anything, as if support for every initiative is implicit in an election win. They should realize not all their moves are roundly embraced.