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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on Sept. 22, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on Sept. 22, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Caucus Discipline

Newfoundland MP skips Ignatieff event <br/>ahead of gun-registry vote Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff held a short news conference Wednesday morning to show his support and concern for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, who have suffered the effects of Hurricane Igor.

The Liberal Leader was surrounded by five of his six MPs from the province. Curiously missing in this show of solidarity was Scott Simms, the young MP from Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor.

He is believed to be struggling with the decree by his leader to support the long-gun registry. Mr. Simms was one of the eight Liberal MPs who voted with the Tories on second reading to scrap it.

A call to his office was not answered Wednesday morning although Mr. Ignatieff did indicate when asked by reporters that Mr. Simms was in town. And a Liberal spokesman told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Simms is, indeed, in Ottawa but is meeting "with constituents."

The vote on the registry's future is coming down to the wire. Still, Mr. Ignatieff said again at his quickly called scrum that he would have his MPs with him for Wednesday night's vote.

He said Liberals would "work to heal any divides" and get the registry to "work for all Canadians."

And that wasn't all he said. The Liberal leader also questioned Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's overheated speech Tuesday to the Canadian Club in Ottawa, suggesting he was trying to scare Canadians off democracy.

Mr. Flaherty raised the spectre of a coalition of Liberals, NDP and Bloc trying to grab power to ruin the economy.

"Mr. Flaherty got very excited yesterday," the Liberal Leader said. "I was surprised he was in such an agitated emotional state. We want calm in our leaders. I don't know what they put in his coffee."

Mr. Ignatieff warned this is the way in which the Harper Conservatives govern _ using scare tactics.

"They first try to make Canadians afraid of the census. You know, they're all going to be taken away in a ball and chain and made to break stones because you won't answer questions on the census. Ridiculous," he said.

"And now, amazingly they are trying to make Canadians afraid of an election. They're trying to make Canadians afraid of democracy. I just find that one of the most amazing things that has happened all week."

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