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Rifles line an Ottawa hunting store's shelves on May 16, 2006.


Over in the National Post, Don Martin suggests that the federal Conservatives deliberately sabotaged the vote against the gun registry, so they could keep it alive as a political issue.

Much the same thought has occurred to me - and, I suspect, to many others familiar with how this issue has played out over the years. But my one quibble is that I doubt Stephen Harper's strategists are under any illusion the gun registry will somehow deliver them a majority. If it hasn't yet, it's hard to imagine it ever will.

Where it does come in handy, so far as I know, is with fundraising. This is one of the issues that's helped the Conservatives vastly outperform the Liberals since the parties started relying on small individual donations rather than corporate ones. Not to say they wouldn't still be leading the pack even without it - that's a long way from happening - but they'd lose one of their key drivers.

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If they ever do get a majority, the Tories will have no choice but to finally put the registry out of its misery. But until then, I'm inclined to think Don is right that the objective is to give the appearance of trying really hard.

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Adam Radwanski is The Globe and Mail's political feature writer. More

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