Out with a whimper

As word came that the ruling federal Conservatives would once again introduce a motion to end the long gun registry, we expected a little more fanfare. It was pretty subdued.

With a majority at hand, the passage of that legislation is pretty much a sure thing. For Canadian farmers and long gun enthusiasts that is good News, albeit too late in terms of the massive amount of money spent on setting up the system. Tens of millions in annual operating expenses stand dwarfed by the $2 billion reputed to have been spent to date on this project.

It’s been a boondoggle that illustrates the difficulty that politicians have in reacting to issues. The gun registry was an urban machination by urban politicians to counteract horrific shooting events in cities, most notably the Just Desserts shooting in Toronto.

Many other senseless shootings had the public on edge looking for an answer. Instead of pursuing the criminal element and insisting on real jail time, the registry concept was developed as the answer to indiscriminate street warfare.

Of course, as most farmers and sporting enthusiasts predicted, the criminal element never did register their weapons. Instead, ordinary men and women across Canada went through the motions of registration and lavished the bureaucracy with fees and their time. It was quite shameful, really.

But for those of us who have been around a while, the bungling of good ideas with bad policy goes on all the time. E-health, Waste Diversion Ontario, the Clean Water Act, the Green Energy Act, the Greenbelt Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and so on, are all examples of good ideas that easily can get out of control.

Perhaps an even better local example this week is the Full Day Kindergarten program, which will see millions of tax dollars pumped into what is essentially an expensive babysitting service.

One thing stands certain. The costs for flippant courses of action are a burden for taxpayers with little or no recourse against those who make poor decisions for political effect.

The gun registry might go out with a whimper, but the many other policy directions initiated in recent years will be far harder to shut down than that one.