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The Winnipeg Sun reports that the Conservatives in Canada await more than just one report next winter that could alter the trajectory of Canadian politics. While Judge Gomery writes his report on the Sponsorship Programme, the auditor general has quietly performed her investigation into the controversial gun registry that the Liberal Party imposed on its citizens, and the results could produce some uncomfortable moments of its own for the Grits and the Martin government:
Critics of the gun registry are eagerly awaiting Auditor General Sheila Fraser's "Canadian Firearms Program" audit which is scheduled to be released in February -- if we're not in the midst of a federal election campaign.
Fraser isn't doing interviews about the audit, which has been underway for months.
The last time her office attempted to look into gun registry spending was 2002 and the results were explosive. In fact, her team was forced to abandon its attempts to follow the spending on the gun registry because of the absence of records.
"The information on cost recovery provided to the government changed as the program developed," Fraser wrote at the time.
Originally expected to be self-financing by 1999-2000, Fraser and her auditors discovered the target for the firearms program to break even was pushed to 2013 -- an assumption that the program collect $419 million in fees in 2002-03 and about $828 million by 2007-08.
Canadians can expect the Conservatives to attack the gun registry on two bases: its cost overruns and its ineffectiveness. Like most gun-control programs, it has done little to remove weapons from the hands of criminals, making the overall effect of the registry more onerous on law-abiding gun owners. It also cost much more than the Liberals acknowledged at the initiation of the program; the registry has drained finances from other law-enforcement efforts.
Some Conservatives will say that this was the entire point of the Gun Registry all along. The RCMP, which administers the Gun Registry, has the only law-enforcement portfolio to independently investigate the Canadian executive. In the Canadian political system, the executive comes from Parliament and does not have checks or balances as the American executive does in Congress and the judiciary. The only such check comes in a no-confidence motion, which a majority party can easily squelch, or in the national law-enforcement agency of the RCMP. However, burdened by an underfunded mandate in the Gun Registry and the loss of high-ranking professionals over the last few years, the RCMP no longer has the resources nor the clout to exercise that check on executive power.
What happened as a result? Some would point to Adscam, which put a lot of money into the pockets of Liberal Party backers as well as the Party itself.
Conservatives hope that Adscam and the Gun Registry audit will provide a one-two punch that will inspire a no-confidence motion in the Commons to launch new elections. If so, they had better hope that the electorate has a longer attention span that they did with the initial Gomery revelations, which only provided a window of a few weeks this past spring where the Tories could have grabbed control of the government.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Oh Canada! from Brainster's Blog
Work it out--they estimate that the collections will almost exactly double in 5 years which implies compounded annual growth of 14%. If we assume that will continue going forward, the estimate is an incredible $1.65 billion in fees in 2012-2013. [Read More]
Tracked on September 26, 2005 12:32 PM
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