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Yesterday a very difficult vote took place in the House of Commons regarding the long-gun registry.  In a very close 153-151 vote the registry was kept.  Various parties agree that there are changes that need to be made to the registry but for now at least the registry stays.

This issue truly divides Canadians.  In this riding I have received impassioned calls from good people on both sides of this issue.

Brant Riding in some ways is this perfect little version of Canada.  It is rural and urban, it has a mix of cultures, a strong Aboriginal population and a variety opinions on a variety of subjects including the long gun registry.

I have also received threats from local voters that support for our Federal campaign in Brant would be pulled no matter which way the vote went.  That is unfortunate but understandable.  People are entitled to their strong feelings on this issue.

My take on registry is simple:  gun control works but there are many problems with this registry. However these problems could be easily fixed if those in Ottawa could see past the politics of the gun registry and the fundraising opportunities it provides and instead work towards real discussion and compromise. 

Canadians say please no more hiding information and no more refusing to negotiate.  There is no need for this all-or-nothing brinksmanship that is currently being played out.  That is exactly the kind of wedge politics that people in this riding are sick of.

When I read about our current MP’s comments in The Expositor on this issue I was troubled (http://bit.ly/9Ahlkp).  I have a great deal of personal respect for Mr. McColeman but I am very disappointed with how he has framed this issue.

He speaks of 2500 “extensive” surveys that went out in Brant Riding.  Most of which went to Conservative supporters. Non-random, non-mandatory mail-out surveys have very skewed results. Not surprising survey methodology from someone who does not believe in the census.

I received one of these “surveys” from a former local Conservative supporter who was disappointed with the tricks being used in it’s wording on the long-gun registry question among many others.

The registry question alone is particularly biased. I write it in full for you to decide on your own:

“Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner, has brought forth a Private Members Bill to repeal the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, which has been described as a ‘placebo’ that unfairly targets Canadian farmers and hunters. After years of operation and billions of dollars spent, the registry has not saved a single life. Our government feels that strengthening the firearms licensing process would be a more effective way to prevent violent crime. Do you support the repeal of the long gun registry?”

As someone who has done research work for The Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health as well as some local community agencies I can tell you that this survey would be rejected as unethical.  It skews so hard towards one point of view that the results are laughable. 

Another mail-out that wastes our time and money without providing needed information.

This is a troubling step towards the American-style politics we have seen creeping into Canada.  This issue deserves better than political spin and I encourage all voters to stop the wedge politics that are being cultivated in this country and instead demand discussion.

Voters can see that we need more honesty and less tricks from our elected officials.

In my opinion it is time for a new kind of politics in Brant and beyond.

MARC LAFERRIERE MSW, RSW

Brant Riding Candidate

Canada’s New Democrats

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Web: www.brantmarc.ca

E-mail:  marc@brantndp.ca

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