Tags: Canada's Firearms Act, Candice Hoeppner, Disarming Domestic Violence, domestic violence, Garry Breitkreuz, gun control, IANSA
On June 30th, I wrote an email to Garry Breitkreuz, who has to date been the most vocal Member of Parliament to oppose the long-gun registry provision contained in Canada’s Firearms Act. Mr. Breitkreuz has repeatedly introduced legislation to scrap the registry, and I wanted to hear from him directly and also share his opinion on my blog.
Garry Breitkreuz, Member of Parliament
I understand that to some I am just a grad student working with the Advocacy Project ‘to change the world’, but I thought Breitkreuz might recognize the importance of healthy debate and take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk with me, or at least to return my email. What was I thinking? I never heard back.
On July 14th, I followed up. This time I included a link to my blog, so that he would see that many of his supporters have been leaving comments in support of him, and against the registry. Of course this time, his office replied. It was a polite reply, albeit generic. Not once in the email I received was it mentioned that I had requested a brief interview.
Instead, to help me in my “quest to determine the legitimacy of the firearms registry,” one of Mr. Breitkreuz’s assistants invited me to read an essay that clearly states his position. I am already aware of his position. During the two weeks I patiently waited for a reply, I had already read the article, more than once. I wanted to talk to him.
I was also kindly directed towards Mr. Breitkreuz’s website, in order to take a historical peek at his involvement in firearms issues. In addition, I was provided the link to a publication that contains comments from frontline police officers on their feelings towards the registry. I have already seen these things.
I can take a hint. I know what a response like this means. His assistant did his job well by successfully deflecting my request for an interview. Having to talk to someone who disagrees with him would have been an inconvenience for Mr. Breitkreuz.; pointing me towards websites and suggesting others that I may want to contact was a much easier route to take.
I must say that I am disappointed in the response I received, as I think that individuals who strongly disagree with one another are more easily able to find common ground when face to face (or in this case, phone to phone) dialogue takes place. Additionally, Mr. Breitkreuz spent an impressive number of years teaching before entering politics, which led me to believe that he might understand the importance of engaging students.
I sent the same request and follow-up email to Member of Parliament Candice Hoeppner. Ms. Hoeppner has essentially taken over the fight for Mr. Breitkreuz through her introduction this session of a bill that would eliminate the registry. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Mr. Breitkreuz. At least his office responded to my request, something Hoeppner’s office has yet to do.