We have handed Harper an election issue for rural Canada. They may not hype it much but they will use the Gun Registry to to keep their base going and to attack the NDP in those rural areas. The matter was very close and I am sure Harper was getting worried. Not to say he wouldn't have been okay with the Registry falling, its just easier to reel in the voters if you have the right bait on the hook.
Harper of course is not the first Prime Minister to catch onto this. Jean Chretien was a master at this. He managed to promise a national child care plan for three elections and never delivered it. Paul Martin learned this as well. He held out that same national childcare plan, he even negotiated with some provinces. For good measure, he made a deal with Aboriginal folks in Kelowna.
All Paul Martin had to do after that was put it all in a budget or government bill. That would all be in place today if he had. The problem was that Martin wanted an election and going into an election, you need to have some bait. The NDP and BLOC of course supported the Childcare plan and the Kelowna Accord, so what could he do to cause an election.
Martin inserted big tax cuts for business in the budget. He knew that the NDP would not support it. The poison pill worked and the Martin government set out on the election trail with what they thought was pretty good bait. The Childcare plan and the Kelowna Accord would be dangled before the voters. If only the NDP had held the net a little longer,Martin would have introduced them. I need more LIB MPs he said and NDP voters need to support the Libs this time.
It didn't work for Martin as we all know.
The bright spot here is that it may not work for the Conservatives this time out. They have held out this bait for many elections. If the Gun Registry survives on September 22 and the NDP or Liberal bill to modify the legislation passes, enough rural, northern and aboriginal voters animosity toward the registry may well cool down.
Now we wait for the next election, likely next spring after a "rosy" budget picture is presented. We will hear all about the need for a national childcare plan and an end to making gun owners criminals.
Harper could have accomplished his goals of ending the registry a while ago. He could have jammed it into a budget bill, (thanks Kady) when the Libs voted more than 120 times on confidence motions. Do you really think Harper wanted to see the Gun Registry gone before an election?