McGuinty plays wedge politics while accusing Tories of wedge politics... brilliant!
One thing about the Liberal party, in its currently-weakened state, is that it has forgotten one of the most basic precepts of day-to-day life:
Look both ways before crossing.
This is something Liberal House Leader David McGuinty almost certainly failed to do when he accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of using the long-gun registry for wedge politics.
Hilariously enough, while doing this McGuinty invoked the Liberal Party's own favourite wedge: the American Republican Party.
“Mr Harper is having a wedge politics debate," McGuinty insisted. "It’s the worst of right-wing Republican wedge politics.”
"You pick an issue, you sensationalize the issue, you try to remain above the fray ... and you keep everyone else distracted with debates that are divisive,” he continued.
McGuinty clearly didn't bother to check what's actually going on in the United States before he made these comments. President Barack Obama, who came to power with massive majorities in both houses of Congress, is on his way to experiencing the swiftest political turnaround in US history.
The Democrat response to this has been to attempt to utilize wedge issues to divide Americans against the Republican Party, and Republicans against one another; blatant wedge issues like racism, weaponized for petty political gain.
McGuinty also frantically pointed to an equally-frantic CBC report that the National Rifle Association has been active in the debate over the long-gun registry.
Mc Guinty's description of the report is actually misleading. The CBC reports that the NRA has given "logistical and tactical support" to the Canadian Institute for Legislative Action, a group dedicated to abolishing the long-gun registry.
Moreover, members of the CILA have reciprocated that support by appearing in televised messages for the NRA.
The story also features former Ontario Governor General Michael Bryant -- whose "No Gun, No Funeral" campaign arguably violated election law -- raising the alarm about NRA involvement in Canada.
"I got elected in 1999 and I became aware soon after of the NRA's involvement in the debate — not in a huge way, but in a significant way," Bryant explained.
"For a lot of people in Canada, if they knew that the NRA was part of the effort to get rid of the gun registry, they would think more about their views," he said. "And they would think, 'well, wait a minute, I thought this was about, you know, wasting taxpayer dollars. The NRA's involved? Really? That makes me very uncomfortable … '"
The problem for Bryant and other proponents of the long-gun registry is that the NRA's involvement hardly changes the facts about the registry.
Not only is the NRA merely a political wedge the Liberal Party wishes to use to divide Canadians, it's also a distraction tactic they use to give themselves an excuse to ignore the facts.
Facts such as the fact that the long-gun registry has never prevented a single gun crime, or saved a single life. Facts such as the fact that front-line officers denounce the registry as useless to them. Facts such as the fact that the registry itself is an absolute mess.
“We are a sovereign country,” McGuinty concluded. “If the NRA wants to fight its good fight over its views on guns it should do so in the United States. We do not need an expansionist NRA on Canadian soil.”
If the NRA were directly involved in the debate, McGuinty may have a point. But he's mischaracterizing the NRA's involvement.
After all, the NRA is not directly involved in this debate. The CILA is. The CILA asked the NRA for strategic support, and the NRA provided it.
If David McGuinty really objects to wedge politics, one would suggest that he should avoid relying on them himself -- particularly when his would-be wedge is on the right side of the issues, and he himself is so very, very wrong.