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Green candidate offers gun to MP

Glen Hallick

When it comes to the long gun registry Matthew Friesen said he is putting something very precious at stake.

The Green party candidate in Portage-Lisgar is offering his Ross M10 Mark III rifle in a challenge between himself and Conservative incumbent Candice Hoeppner.

Friesen believes the Conservatives - despite all of the party's rhetoric - really aren't overly interested in disposing of the long gun registry.

"I'll put my money where my mouth is: if the Conservatives do what is necessary to abolish the long gun registry, I'll give Candice Hoeppner my Ross rifle," Friesen wrote on his campaign blog on April 7.

During the last Parliament, Hoeppner sponsored Bill C-391, a private members bill to dismantle the registry.

After a great deal of passionate debated and backroom machinations, C-391 was defeated by the opposition parties.

"Simply, if the Conservatives were serious about abolishing parts of the registry, they would have introduced the bill as a government bill, and made it a confidence motion. Kill our bill, 'trigger' an election. That's putting your money where your mouth is," Friesen asserted.

"Instead, they let an MP from a very safe riding introduce it as a private members bill. They didn't take any risks, and neither did Ms. Hoeppner. That's called political grandstanding. It was done for appearance's sake only, with no care for the issue at stake and the consequences it might ever have for Canada. The Conservatives just don't seem to care about what Canadians want. You might call it contempt."

The Ross rifle was originally issued to Canadian troops during the First World War and proved to woefully inadequate for the rigours of the muddy trenches of in Belgium and France.

However, when kept clean of mud and grime the Ross rifle had superb accuracy.

"The design turned out to not be suitable for the mud of Flanders, but as hunting and target rifles they gathered many accolades, including top honours for three years at the Bisley shooting matches, then the foremost competition in the world," Friesen wrote.

No comment?

A spokesperson said Hoeppner was unavailable for comment, going on to suggest that Friesen's challenge may be in violation of firearms laws.