The fate of Canada's long-gun registry will be decided in the House of Commons Wednesday, but the political recoil will last for months to come.
Though nominally a private member's bill sponsored by Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner, the Harper government has thrown its full weight behind the legislation, which would abolish the law requiring owners of shotguns and rifles to register their weapons.
Although a number of Liberal and NDP backbenchers, principally in rural ridings, also want to see the registry abolished - because it offends hunters, farmers and others who fear the government's real agenda is to confiscate their weapons - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has ordered his MPs to show up and vote to save the registry.
NDP Leader Jack Layton, who faced a split within his caucus on the issue, has convinced enough registry skeptics to support it to defeat the bill. Or so it seems. Who votes how, and who shows up to vote in the first place, will be carefully scrutinized by pundits and politicians.
Meanwhile the Conservatives, salivating at the prospect of picking up rural ridings from the Liberals and the NDP, are waging a relentless campaign to embarrass the opposition flip-floppers. The result of Wednesday's vote could resonate in the federal election expected within months.
With all this in mind, Globe parliamentary bureau chief John Ibbitson joined Tuesday for a live discussion. You can review that conversation in the panel below. Mobile users can click here for a BlackBerry and iPhone-friendly interface.