The Reformers used every trick in the book, to have it abolished, and some of those tricks were revealed by the Toronto Star today.
Critics of the long-gun registry insisted that it is of little use to the police and not worth maintaining. This argument was effectively rebutted in an RCMP report on the registry that was released two days after the vote. At the time, Peter Van Loan, then minister of public safety, said the report had been in his hands only for "several days."
Now we learn – thanks to a trail of government emails obtained by the Star's Tonda MacCharles – that it was more like seven weeks, and that Van Loan's officials used every trick in the book to stall the report. They disputed its statistics and questioned why the report was produced at all. They even launched a witch hunt over an innocuous banquet held by the gun registry's staff. (It turned out that the staffers had paid for the event themselves.)
For the record, the report noted that police use of the gun registry is increasing rapidly – to 3.4 million checks in 2008, up from 2.5 million the year before – and it said this "highlights the importance" of the registry to law enforcement.
This was certainly not the first time that the Reform-Conservatives resorted to dirty tricks to convince Canadians that the gun registry was a waste of money. Susan Delacourt reported in May of 2007:
OTTAWA–The Conservative government's firearms advisory committee, appointed and operating in virtual secrecy, is made up almost entirely of pro-gun advocates opposed to the firearms registry.
Its dozen members include a man who argued that more guns in the hands of students would have helped in the recent Virginia Tech massacre, in which 32 people were killed, and another shooting aficionado who described a weapon used in last September's Dawson College killings in Montreal as "fun."
And remember Van Loan's horrendous interview when he tried to spin his sitting on the report for seven weeks:
IS THIS REALLY YOUR CANADA?
Garry Breitkreuz Stacks Firearms Advisory Committee
Reformer Garry Breitkreuz Has Suggested That the RCMP Have Fallen From Grace
Shooting off Their Mouths Over Gun Registry
Police Chiefs Blast the Harper Government Over Gun Registry
Reform-Conservatives to Run Attack Ads Against the Police
The Real Story Behind Guns and Reform Conservatives
Gun Ownership in Canada is a Privilege, Not a Right. WHAT DON'T YOU GET?
Before You Lambaste Jack Layton Remember This is a Democracy