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Radio ads target Liberal MPs who broke ranks on gun registry

Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable

The Globe and Mail

Stephen Harper's Conservatives launched a radio ad campaign today, targeting the ridings of the eight Liberals who voted with them to scrap the gun registry.

In the ads, the Tories say the eight MPs have been ordered by "Liberal boss Michael Ignatieff" to vote to keep the registry.

The ads emulate a news story, featuring the anticipatory-breaking news music and the booming voice of a radio news anchor: "We have breaking news out of Ottawa," it says. "Plans to scrap the wasteful long-gun registry are now in doubt. The reason? Local member of Parliament (the name of one of the eight MPs is inserted here) has been ordered by Liberal boss Michael Ignatieff to vote to keep the registry."

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The voice then urges "local citizens" to call the MP with their concerns. The MPs' number is provided, with the ads tailored to each individual riding.

The eight who supported Tory MP Candice Hoeppner's private member's bill to scrap the registry were: Scott Andrews, Larry Bagnell, Anthony Rota, Keith Martin, Wayne Easter, Jean-Claude D'Amours, Todd Russell and Scott Simms. Most represent rural constituencies.

As a result of their support, the bill passed into committee last November; it is expected to come back to the House of third reading either in May or June.

Mr. Ignatieff reignited the issue this week when he spoke to a meeting of police. He said his caucus members would not support the bill. This means he is whipping the vote and forcing all of his MPs to vote against it.

However, he outlined changes a Liberal government would make to the registry, which are proving to be acceptable in some of the rural ridings.

Say the Conservatives in an internal memo sent out about the radio ads: "Ignatieff's definition of getting 'tough-on-crime' is to punish farmers and duck hunters."

(Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

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