The Report, January 6, 2003, p. 25
The gun debacle badly damages
Allan Rock's prime ministerial hopes
By PETER STOCK
Allan Rock's bid for the Liberal
leadership will be lucky to survive his latest foul-up. On December 3, Canadian
Auditor General Sheila Fraser revealed that the controversial firearms registry has been
disastrously mismanaged from the very start by the justice ministry. Mr. Rock, a
former justice minister and the leading leftist contender to succeed Prime Minister Jean
Chretien, immediately came under assault from many directions, including previous
sympathizers. In response, the Toronto lawyer claimed that the firearms-licensing
project has been "saving lives."
Leading the Rock hunt is Benoit Serre, a Liberal backbench MP from northern
Ontario who is now calling for the industry minister's resignation. Mr. Serre claims
to have told Mr, Rock in 1995 that the gun registry could cost close to a billion dollars.
"He's the one that was told by caucus members, and he's the one that did not
listen to caucus members. Bottom line: he created a monumental fiasco of $1
billion," the frustrated backbencher complains. "Think of it. That's
a thousand millions. How many hospitals could we have built with that? How
many doctors? How many nurses? How many schools? So it's a fiasco."
Mr. Rock objects that his critics are motivated to trash him because of leadership
politics. Counters Mr. Serre: "If he wants to say it's a leadership issue, then
certainly I'll go with that and tell Canadians how incompetent he would be as prime
Media commentators were no less harsh. On December 5, Chantal Herbert, who
works for the leftist Toronto Star, told a CBC national news audience, "Frankly, Mr.
Rock's leadership aspirations took enough of a hit with the gun registration, and he was
so far back already that nobody needs to worry and sit in a back room to kill him.
It's like one of my colleagues put it not very nicely, putting a knife into a dead
body." One member of the parliamentary press corps, who asked not to be
identified, suggests, "[Mr.] Rock has been faltering for sometime. He seems to
be accident-prone. Consider the Airbus lawsuit with Brian Mulroney, the hepatitis
compensation controversy and the Apotex drug purchase. It seems he has the reverse
Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to dirt."
Canadian Alliance MP James Rajotte is the industry minister's opposite number
in Parliament. "I know Mr. Rock says this is about leadership politics, but I
think it's more about frustration. It's a question of ministerial and managerial
competence. Look at the multibillion-dollar Technology Partnerships program.
Only 2% has been returned of what's been loaned out. It's not simply a case of him
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The firearms registry is only the latest
example. The fact is, he didn't deliver with some sort of fiscal probity."
To deflect criticism away from the Justice Department's out-of-control
spending on firearms registration, Mr. Rock asked the media, "What is the value of
300 lives a year?" Statistics Canada data does show that 1,564 deaths involved
firearms in 1989, compared to 1,006 in 1999. However, the minister failed to mention
that about 80% of deaths involving firearms in Canada are suicides. True, the number
of homicides involving firearms also dropped over that ten-year period by 100 deaths
annually. But the Liberals' licensing program can hardly take credit, since it had
not yet been implemented. Concludes Mr. Rajotte, "He [Mr. Rock] continues
to refuse to be held accountable."
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Shot in the foot by
their gun registry
Auditor general confirms Liberal boondoggle has cost us at least $1B, by
Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal, 2002 12 04
The Website of LUFA (Law-abiding
Firearms Association "25,000+ Members and over 5 million unlicenced
supporters!") LUFA constructed a new tourist attraction on
Highway 16A West, near Edmonton (Stony Plain), thereby commencing its National Billboard Campaign.
Their website is full of very interesting
and well-documented facts about the federal gun registry fiasco that you are not very
likely to find reported in the Liberally-dominated and -controlled major daily papers or
on TV channels funded through the federal government and promoting federal gun registry
The White Rose
Thoughts are Free