An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

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Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
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Quebec gun registry spared (very) temporarily

Yesterday, a Quebec Superior Court judge granted a five-day injunction against the Harper government’s attempted early destruction of the long gun registry. You’ll remember that I reported back in December that they were totally going to go ahead and destroy it once the law passed even if the court case was ongoing. Well, the court case has at least another four days now, and the government is disallowed to jump the gun, so to speak.

Via the CBC:

The Quebec government sought the injunction in court in Montreal Thursday, in anticipation of royal assent for C-19, the Harper government’s legislation to fulfil a longtime campaign promise to scrap the registry.

The injunction granted Thursday applies to the data collected on residents of the province of Quebec, but also covers the accessibility, availability and integrity of the system holding the registry, as well as the equipment and tools that allow access to the Quebec data. That means the federal government can’t take further steps on ending the registry while the injunction is in place. And Quebec can keep adding data to the registry.

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Vic Toews: Gun registries are invasion of privacy. Internet snooping is great though!

During the Conservative fight to fool everyone into believing the long gun registry is a bad idea, one of the most frequent and most proximate reasons the CPC and their spambot flaks gave for dismantling and bonfiring the database was that it served as an invasion of privacy that allowed the government too much insight into its citizens’ lives by telling them who had guns and where. One of the folks touting this line was Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who primarily expressed concern that an NDP or Liberal government would get their hands on that info.

He said then, “In order to protect the privacy of law-abiding, long gun owners, those whom that member and his party subjected to gross violations of their privacy, records held by the Canadian firearms program on currently registered long guns will be destroyed.”

Fast forward a few months, and Vic Toews has introduced the Tories’ newest salvo on freedom in bill C30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
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The numbers don’t lie: as many long guns in Toronto as in rural areas

The impending destruction of the long gun registry has been touted by conservatives (and most especially conserva-bot sockpuppets) as being primarily intended as a sop to the rural voters who are “disproportionately affected” by the long gun registry is another demonstrable falsehood. As it turns out, there are 287,000 long guns in the Greater Toronto Area whose registration information will be bonfired when the Conservatives’ plan is carried out.

Most of the “nonrestricted” firearms registered within the GTA are in the possession of individuals — 263,000 guns — while a smaller number (nearly 24,000) are held by businesses (not including police agencies) or museums.

There are tens of thousands of urbanites — more than 85,000 — legally licensed to possess a gun in Toronto, a number that may include some police officers who possess personal firearms.

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Canada about to lose any vestige of internet privacy

Despite how pro-privacy the Harper government has claimed to be, with the destruction of the long gun registry out of privacy concerns, it is absolutely no surprise to me that they’re total hypocrites when it comes to actual privacy concerns, like warrantless information-gathering from ISPs.

Suppose you read an online article – not this one, hopefully – that makes you so angry you post a comment under your online pseudonym, “Irate Canuck,” saying that someone ought to shoot the author. The police notice.

Under legislation that the Conservatives will soon be introducing, the police could order your Internet service provider to hand over your personal information so that they could have a talk with you.

If they are sufficiently concerned, they could get a warrant and begin tracking your every move. You really should have turned off the GPS on your smart phone.
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Conservatives preparing for blowback on new Office of Religious Freedoms

As reported by the CBC, a document was obtained through access-to-information laws which was evidently designed as a cheat sheet for potential questions John Baird might soon face regarding another of the Conservatives’ campaign pillars that is about to come to fruition, the creation of an “Office of Religious Freedoms”. This document suggests that the Tories are afraid that the new office might be seen as a creeping invasion of religiously partisan programs designed to encourage certain religions via government funds.

And well they should, because that’s exactly how I view this nonsense.

Updated: inserted links I’d missed in draft when I wrote this on the plane.
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Ending the Canadian long gun registry means more domestic murder

On December 6th, 1989, a virulent misogynist named Marc Lépine entered a school in Quebec and murdered fourteen women and wounded ten women and four men with a long gun — a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic .223 calibre rifle, which he obtained and owned legally. He hunted women explicitly, screaming “I hate feminists” as he mowed them down, separating men from women before shooting them en masse.

In 1991, in response to this massacre, a number of long guns became restricted weapons including semi-automatics and the class of gun called “sniper rifle”, generally any rifle built for accuracy over long range and/or fitted with scopes for precision firing. And in 1995, a federal long gun registry was established, so owners of any long gun would, like owners of handguns have had to do since the 1930s, register ownership of these longer guns. Any transfer of ownership would be recorded and kept in a database that law enforcement could use to trace the gun to its owner. In addition, to legally obtain the gun, a license proving your competence was required, and the gun registered on purchase.
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