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MPs Wrangle As Divisive Gun Registry Bill Comes To A Vote

Quebec’s public safety minister is asking MPs to vote against a private member’s bill which would shut down the long-gun registry.

Just hours before a key vote on the bill, Jacques Dupuis released a letter to his federal counterpart, Peter Van Loan, which was copied to all Quebec members.

Dupuis says Quebec strongly supports the registry, which was set up after the tragic 1989 slaughter of 14 women at L’ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

The letter asks Van Loan and other MPs to vote against the abolition bill introduced by Tory Candice Hoeppner.

The bill is also being debated in weekly party caucus meetings.

Hoeppner’s legislation can’t pass without a handful of opposition votes, but she says she’s won enough Liberals and New Democrats to get the bill through second reading, approval in principle.

Success at this stage doesn’t make the bill law, but it will move it forward for committee study.

Repealing the registry would still leave registration of hand guns and restricted weapons intact and rifle and shotgun owners would still need licences.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser has documented massive cost overruns in the registry, totalling almost $1 billion through 2005.

However, the continuing cost is relatively modest – between $2 million and $5 million a year.