On the day the NRA advocated having an armed guard in every American school, Thomas Walkom wrote that the gun issue could come back to haunt Stephen Harper. For all of his bloviating about the long gun registry, Walkom reminds his readers that Harper originally voted for it:
Certainly, Harper was careful. Then a Reform MP, he broke ranks with his party to vote with the Liberals for the gun registry.
He claimed at the time that he was following the wishes of his Calgary West constituents. But, as he would explain later and in a different context, he was also uncomfortable with emotional, populist issues.
A party that wanted to govern, he liked to say, couldn’t waste its time on marginal groups.
But for Harper, policy is all about votes. His uncritical support of Israel is about votes in Canada. His rejection of the BHP bid for Potash Corporation was all about votes in Saskatchewan. His recognition of Quebec as a "nation within a nation" was about votes in that province -- even though Quebecers soon figured out that his declaration -- like his apology to Canada's native peoples -- was just hot air.
Now the National Firearms Assocication has Mr. Harper in its sights:
"The price of our freedom is unceasing vigilance,” declared one recent editorial in the NFA’s official magazine. It warned that “fifth-columnists” inside the federal bureaucracy — in alliance with the United Nations — were plotting to keep alive the Liberals’ insidious “social engineering experiment.”
These days, the people he courted as allies are turning against Mr. Harper.