Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shouldn't the RCMP Mind Its Own, Long-Neglected Business?

I have found it puzzling that the Commissioner of the RCMP, the federal top cop, is writing letters to provincial chief firearms officers (CFOs) warning them not to start setting up provincial long gun registries.

First of all, isn't this a matter for the guy who oversaw the scrapping of the federal long gun registry, Vic Toews?  If Toews doesn't like what they're doing, don't we have courts to handle that sort of complaint?

I'm not sure Toews would succeed if he took it to court and I'm guessing he's got his doubts too.   When the feds chose to legislate provisions for the registration of long guns, the courts upheld the federal power concluding that the act had a valid criminal law purpose because control of firearms had traditionally been a criminal law purpose.  In that case Alberta was arguing the jurisdiction was theirs, not Ottawa's, under the "property and civil rights" power.

But what's never been tested, certainly not to my knowledge, is today's situation in which the federal government has specifically chosen not to legislate controls over ownership and registration of long guns.   In other words, those matters are no longer what could be termed an "occupied field" which might then give rise to a right on the part of provinces to maintain their own long gun registries along the same lines as the federal registry only without the same criminal law sanctions.   There are other ways to skin that cat.

Yet that's for our courts to decide if Vic Toews really believes he's right.   To me, there's something eerily politicized in the federal top cop jumping into this fray.  It's his job to enforce the law, not meddle in laws that have ceased to exist.

We've had enough politicking by the RCMP going back to Zaccardelli's apparent gambit to skew the election against Martin by smearing Ralph Goodale in mid-campaign.    The level of confidence and trust in the RCMP in my province is at rock bottom, coming in around 30%, and for very good reasons.  Maybe the Commissioner should concentrate on restoring some integrity and public respect in his own force and forget about being Vic Toews' water boy.


Anonymous said...

Why is the head of our supposedly apolitical, arms-length federal police service busy politicking for the governing party of the day?

When one of the main lobbyists for the destruction of the gun registry (the CSSA) was a witness before a parliamentary committee, from their testimony they were under the impression that Canada would go back to pre-registry laws&regulations, where gun shops did keep paper records. A little green book or something like that. The "kill-the-gun-registry" guys were okay with this, and they were okay with gun sellers having to phone in to make sure a presented license was valid. (ie: to keep criminals with faked papers from buying guns)

In fact, previous attempts at ending the gun registry had regulations like these spelled out in black&white. So the question becomes who wanted it changed and why?

Anonymous said...

pogge said...

Not sure who first suggested it but I agree with the theory that the Conservatives are making a fuss about this so they can continue to fundraise from it. But the way the RCMP commissioner is obediently issuing instructions based on directions from the minister and not the law is more than a bit worrisome. There's a term for a country where the police enforce instructions from the government without regard for the law: a police state.

Anonymous said...

The police were also sent to spy on, the F.N. protest, of the Enbridge pipeline. Herr Harper's uses them as, his brown shirts. Harper is the one who is, going to be served a summons, for war crimes and crimes against says the ICC's Chief Prosecutor. The RCMP are only too happy to comply with, scum Harper. Millions of Canadians, don't even want the RCMP, as icons for Canada. Their image is in tatters. The citizens of BC, wanted the Provincial Police, instead of the lowly RCMP.

kootcoot said...

"The citizens of BC, wanted the Provincial Police, instead of the lowly RCMP."

What the citizens of BC want is completely irrelevant, we didn't want BC Rail sold, we didn't want the HST, we never elected Christy Clark and we don't give a f**k what day in February is family (is that the Soprano Family?) day!

The Phantom said...

I was just reminded of your blog by some spam from a comment back in 2010.

As it happens, I am one of the majority of Canadians who wanted the gun registry killed and won't put up with the -unlawful- action of the Ontario Firearms Officer. There is no law, federal or provincial, that says the OPP or the POF has the power to dictate what paperwork shall be kept by gun shops. This action is entirely improper and counter to the stated (and obvious) goal of the federal legislation.

The RCMP is entirely right to send that letter, and you sir are entirely wrong about what the majority of Canadians want from their government. What we want is less of it, and that is what the CPC is slowly and carefully delivering. Less government at less cost.

By the way, any registry of firearms that McGuinty comes up with will be three things. Illegal, useless and expensive. The first two of my assertions can be debated I suppose, but the third is a matter of simple fact.

It might interest you to know that it costs a government bureaucracy about $100 every time they handle a record, whether to create it or to edit it. There are likely three to four million guns in Ontario. There's three hundred million bucks right there. Then there is the computer system to be considered. The feds spent a billion dollars on theirs, Ontario has demonstrated with the medical records fiasco that they suck at computer systems twice as bad as the Feds.

How much money are you willing to pay for the useless information about what's in my gun safe?

The Phantom said...

Oh, and by the way. If Harper was The Pharaoh back in 2010 with a minority, what is he now with a majority?

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Phantom, you have some strong assertions but, not surprisingly, offer little to back them up beyond your "say so." That, I find somewhat less than persuasive.

Now, on what constitutional basis do you contend a province may not enact some form of long-gun registry? I'm certainly open to an informed, intelligent discussion but if you're not prepared to get into constitutional matters, your opinion is, how can I put this politely, irrelevant.

On what basis is the RCMP "right" to send that letter. Where does the RCMP acquire the power to intercede on behalf of the Minister of Family Values? Or are you again just blowing smoke?

And do please tell me on what basis you speak for the "majority of Canadians"? Does that include the three out of five voters who chose not to support the Harper Conservatives?

You, sir, are making a groundless screed.

And, in answer to your follow up question, a despot.

The Phantom said...

"You, sir, are making a groundless screed."

This from the guy who calls the democratically elected Prime Minister a "despot". If Harper is a despot then Paul Martin and Jean Chretien were as well, and whoever follows on of whatever party after Harper will be as well. Logic much?

I hadn't planned to write a dissertation in your comments, but if you want one I suggest you look up Gary Mauser's work on the subject. Oh, but Gary Mauser is a ConBot right? Ok then, you can surf up the US National Academy of Science meta-analysis of the question from 2004, which found there is -zero- credible evidence that gun control policies have any effect on crime.

Here's a linky, happy reading:

A government list of people who legally own guns does not affect crime. All it does is cost money and add government jobs. That's the optimistic outcome historically.

The less optimistic outcome can be seen getting played out in Mexico right now. They have a very harsh set of gun control laws. 47 headless bodies left by the roadside this week I think it was...

If you have evidence that says otherwise, go to 'er. Fair warning, I've probably read it already. There's little I haven't read, this is a particular interest of mine. It cuts to the core of what constitutes a free country, you see.

As to the legality, I'm not a lawyer. I go by what seems reasonable, and as the law is frequently an ass I am frequently wrong. Control of firearms is historically a Federal power and not a provincial one, so absent some new legislation granting that power to Ontario I can't see the province's action here as anything other than illegal.

If not, it -will- be illegal if I have anything to say about it. And being as how MY party has a majority, I think you'll agree that I do.

As to "majority of Canadians", more people own guns in this country than you seem to think. Outside the three big cities most households have at least one, and most households did not register either. Those are two more facts you don't have to take my word for, they are matters of record and readily available on the web.

You can claim he's a liar, but then you have to prove the RCMP lied back in 1974 too.

Why do you think the CPC won, anyway? People are tired of this Big Brother crap, they want to be left alone with some money in their pockets after the taxman is done.

Bottom line my friend, the facts do not support you and they don't support Liberal Party policy these last thirty years. Its a -snow job- and always has been. An excuse to steal two billion dollars from the taxpayer.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks, Phantom, for confirming my assumptions.

The Phantom said...

Which were?