, 09.06.2021 04:31 AM

My latest: Tories shoot themselves in the foot. Again.

Bang bang.

Let’s get this out of the way because it’s apparently necessary.

I’m a gun owner.  I own guns.

Took the course, passed, got a gun.  Now own guns, plural.  I know how to use them. Trigger locks, gun safes, secure and separate storage: know all that, too.

But if I were still running the war room of the federal Liberal Party — and I was, in the ones where we won big majorities in 1993 and 2000 — this gun owner would be sitting in front of computer screen in downtown Ottawa this morning, typing up a script.

We’d be using the script to produce an ad that would run in every urban centre in Canada, over and over, until people could recite it by heart.  It would show footage — some old, some not so old — of bodies being carried away.  Canadian bodies.

Then the narrator’s voice — a woman’s voice — would be heard.  Here’s what she would say, over top of the images of murder victims in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“This is the Ruger Mini assault rifle.

It was used to murder 14 women in Montréal.

It was used to murder 22 people in Nova Scotia. 36 Canadians.

Justin Trudeau wants to ban it.

Erin O’Toole wants to keep it around.

On Sept. 20, remember those 36 Canadians.  Be their voice.

On Sept. 20, vote Liberal.”

That’s the ad, more or less.  I’m confident something very much like it is about to show up on every TV screen, and every computer screen, many times between now and voting day.  That’s a fact.

And here’s another fact: I had written a not-bad column for this newspaper saying that I thought Justin Trudeau was done like dinner.  That — over everyone’s expectations, mine included — it looked like Erin O’Toole was going to eke out a win.

And then — boom! — the gun issue came back.

Incredibly, improbably, the Conservative campaign had again decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  I asked my editors to hold the column because I no longer thought it was true.

Here’s the problem, O’Toole folks: you can’t wiggle your way out of this one, as your leader tried to do at the end of the French debate.  You can’t say you misspoke, or say you were misquoted.  You can’t spin it.

Here’s why.

It’s right in your damn platform, boys and girls.  It’s right there, in black and white:

“We will start by repealing C-71 and the May 2020 Order in Council.” The “May 2020 Order in Council” statement sounds innocuous enough — but that’s the cabinet decision that was passed to ban the Ruger Mini that was used in the mass murders in Montreal in 1989 and Nova Scotia in 2020.

How do you walk that back, when it’s right in your party platform?  Take it from a guy who still hears about the “replace the GST” promise in the 1993 Liberal Red Book: big political graves are dug with little shovels.  That’s the political reality.

This, too, is political reality: politics is all about symbols.  Not words, not policies: symbols.  And the Ruger Mini is a symbol — to most Canadians (because only about 5,000 Canadians actually own one), the Ruger Mini is not even a gun anymore.  It’s part of our history.  It’s a serpent, spitting death.

Another reality: the gun nuts will tweet their usual ungrammatical, misspelled crap about gangs and farmers and freedom and whatnot.  But the gun nuts don’t win national political campaigns, do they? They lose them.  They’re really, really good at it.

I’m a gun owner.  I’m a gun owner who believes, deeply, that Justin Trudeau is the worst Prime Minister we’ve had in generations.  I believe he must, must be defeated.

But thanks to a few short words in the Conservative platform, I’m no longer sure he will be.

Bang bang.

— Kinsella was former prime minister Jean Chretien’s special assistant


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    Peter Williams says:

    Agreed that O’Toole shot himself in the foot.

    But I note that under Justin Trudeau, shootings are up in Toronto. Way up. Almost doubled.

    More people are being shot and killed under Justin Trudeau’s leadership. And sentences for gun crimes are reduced by Trudeau.

    If you’d like more shootings, and earlier releases for gun toting criminals – vote Trudeau.

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    Gilbert says:

    I suspect very few Canadians have read the CP platform. Crime has surged under the Liberals.

    The Conservatives need to go on the offensive. Justin Trudeau was slow to close the border, to stop international flights and implement screening of visitors at airports. He negotiated with China for vaccines, and under his leadership, dangerous viral samples were sent to the Wuhan Lab.

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    PJH says:

    I think Mr. O’toole saved the day with his recanting in Vancouver of the gun policy of page ninety of the Conservative Party platform….I suspect the electorate will give him a pass, just as the issue of Lib Candidate Raj Saini has gone away.

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    A. Voter says:

    This would be a good time to point out that if Canadians are opposed to weapons being used to commit acts of violence, they should be opposed to the Trudeau Liberals selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to slaughter people in Yemen. I believe the NDP has an opinion on this.

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    George Colgan says:

    Trudeau’s main focus is on guns not on crimes that’s why crime has surged under the Liberals. Mr. Kinsella is right in assuming that the Liberals will attack the Conservatives for not outright condemning the legal assault style guns the Liberals have banned but in doing so they expose themselves to their lack of illegal handgun control at our borders which are directly linked to the murders in Toronto.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Absolutely, this election is now 50-50 as to whether the Conservatives will win. Maybe this can be defused in time and maybe not regardless of Script III. For sure, O’Toole has to continue taking on Trudeau on every front systematically every day remaining in this campaign. Erin will still win if voting Canadians’ priority is still ditching Trudeau. If it’s guns safety — or something else the Liberals brought in, then the CPC is already in very serious trouble.

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    A. Voter says:

    Warren, in your column you fail to mention what Thomas Mulcair brings up in his article linked to your website. The Liberals have been disinvited to the memorial for the Montreal massacre victims because of perceived Liberal weakness on gun control. The NDP may come out the winners on this issue.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Just one more example of this Prime Minister’s phoney baloney: remember when the Trump Administration brought in a 25% tariff on Canadian steel and a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminium on June 1, 2018? On June 29th, this government brought in retaliatory tariffs. Both were removed on May 17, 2019. Then the United States brought in a 10% tariff on some Canadian aluminium exports on August 16, 2020. Before the Canadian government could retailiate, those tariffs were removed by the Americans on September 15, 2020.

    Now, guess how many Canadians companies have been reimbursed even one dime for having paid money to the Trudeau government when its retaliatory tariffs were in place. Exactly. Not one. Trudeau took their money and never paid them back. They’ve been waiting since 2019 and are STILL waiting. Is that leadership? No, but it is typical TRUDEAU-STYLE “leadership”…

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      Peter Williams says:

      Trudeau taking our money? Get used to it.

      …You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Mainstreet: Conservatives +3

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    Gilbert says:

    If I were Erin O’Toole, I’d point out the Liberals have broken their promises. They’ve had six years. Talk is cheap. Remember the promise to plant a billion trees? How many have they planted?

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    Fred J Pertanson says:

    If we look at, by province/territory, the percentage of the population that reports as being a member of a FN versus the homicide rate, you get the following ranking, high to low for homicides per capita: NU, NWT, MB, SK, YT, AB.

    So the parts of Canada where the segment of the population that is still legally allowed to use assault rifles is highest, correlates with the level of homicides per capita.

    Also, “First Nations, Métis and Inuit make up only 5% of Canada’s population, but in 2018 they made up 22% of the country’s homicide victims. Of the 651 murders that took place in Canada in 2018, 140 were of Indigenous people: 96 men and 44 women.”

    Correlation isn’t necessarily causation. However, Justin has chosen his criteria for gun bans as “legal, but scary-looking” and has not even looked at the data I presented, nor has he looked at homicide rates by handguns vs other guns.

    We have disproportionate problems with FN homicides and gang homicides. The former are allowed to use assault rifles (I do not know the stats on how many FN members were killed with rifles). The latter are not considered in JT’s gun control rules, but they are getting lighter sentencing guidelines.

    So, O’Toole is right that this needs a deeper analysis.

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