A call from Jack Layton and a reminder to thank the MPs who did the right thing

Hey, remember the letter I sent to Jack Layton to thank him for the work that he and many of his MPs did to save the long gun registry? Well, I hope he won’t mind if I mention that he took the time to give me a call on Friday to let me know that he appreciated my letter, and to talk about the future of the issue.

I have to admit that I was touched. Jack certainly wasn’t obliged to take the time out of his busy schedule to make that call, and I’d have to be incredibly cynical to suggest that his motives were anything but genuine. He fought a long and difficult battle to get enough of his MPs onside on the Bill C-391 vote, and he ran the risk of paying a severe political price for it. But he took the side he took, and he approached it the way he did, because he felt it was the right thing to do and the right way to do it.

Not to gush, but that takes character, not to mention a respect for the public that you wouldn’t exactly associate with other party leaders.

And Jack wasn’t nearly the only one who exhibited that sort of respect and character. We owe the same gratitude to the MPs who rose above tremendous pressure to vote against the bill despite their earlier positions, and to the police chiefs and other law enforcement officials and community leaders who took their own controversial stands in favour of the registry, as we do to Jack.

One thing I haven’t yet done in the wake of the vote is take the time to thank the six NDP MPs out of twelve who chose to vote to save the registry. And frankly, it seems like the right thing to do. It’s one thing to tell your MP and/or a bunch of other MPs that you want them to take a stand on an issue you care about, but it’s another to write to the ones that do and show your appreciation.

And by the way, both of those instances are counted as evidence that you as a constituent feel the way you do about the issue in question. MPs keep track of that stuff, and they take it into account when they determine their positions on the issues. Peter Stoffer certainly did – and if he hadn’t, the vote on Bill C-391 would have been a tie, which would likely have led to House of Commons speaker Peter Milliken casting the deciding vote in favour of the bill.

Isn’t that enough of a reason in itself to take the time to thank all the MPs you hassled about saving the gun registry? Isn’t that generally enough of a reason to thank an MP who takes a stand in your favour?

What do you say we all ake a moment this evening to thank our representatives who reversed their earlier positions on the gun registry instead of taking the easy way out? And while we’re at it, why don’t we offer our thanks and condolences alike to Liberal MP Scott Simms, for example?

In the meantime, there’s already a lot of speculation about the ways in which the gun registry vote is going to help or harm our various political parties. But there’s another standing issue threatening to represent another shift in the balance of power, and we’ll get to that in due time.

Posted in Save the Gun Registry