Gun registry fires up mayoral debate

Mayoral candidates George Smitherman, Rob Ford and Joe Pantalone debate the long-gun registry during yesterday's mayor debate, hosted by Newstalk 1010 on-air host John Tory. (NEWSTALK_DEBATE1E)

Despite the heat that many municipal issues have generated during the Toronto mayoral debates, it was a federal issue that sparked heated exchanges in today’s edition.

Residents and supporters gathered at St. Michael’s College, Oct. 20, for a mayoral debate hosted by Newstalk 1010 ( and moderated by former politician John Tory.

The candidates addressed homelessness, accessibility in the city and cleanliness, but when raised, George Smitherman’s and Rob Ford’s differing views on the federal long-gun registry touched off a heated exchange.

“The gun registry was a billion dollar boondoggle,” Ford said. “The gun-toting bandits that carry the guns don’t register their guns.”

Candidate Smitherman challenged Ford over his support for Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, who’s in favour of the program. Ford rebutted by referring to the eHealth scandal, suggesting that Smitherman and a billion dollars “seem to get along.”

If elected Toronto mayor, Ford said he would sit down with the federal Conservative government, that recently tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the gun registry.

“If it’s going to cost a billion dollars to go after farmers and hunters, I’m sorry, but they’re not the criminals,” Ford said.

Joe Pantalone (http:// supports the long-gun registry program. His children were involved in a school lockdown, yesterday, after a shooting near Christie Pits. Pantalone used the scenario to emphasize the need for more gun control. He said the only people who should have guns in Toronto should be the police officers.

“Guns kill people, they don’t belong in our city,” Pantalone said. “You have to keep (the registry). It helps police catch criminals.”

He spoke about gun control on a national level and criticized the federal government for not spending enough to close the U.S.-Canada border to illegal gun imports.

“It really is unforgivable that we have a federal government that really thinks it’s OK to have guns in our society,” he said. “It’s a serious problem.”

Smitherman stated he’s favoured the gun registry his whole life. He says the investment has already been made and police rely on it.

“The Toronto police chief, and police chief’s across the country say that on a daily basis, they use the gun registry thousands of times … to protect frontline police officers,” he said. “Good enough for them, good enough for me. I support it.”


  1. The pro gun registry arguments made by Smitherman and Pantelone are specious and have been refuted numerous times previously. But let me just make one additional point. When Pantelone says that only the police should have guns, he’s saying that the security services that load cash into ATMs shouldn’t be armed. Does anyone, except for crooks, seriously think that this is a good idea?

  2. Mr. Smitherman is spouting off so much mis-information that he’s making a complete ass of himself.
    If the money were spent on more police boots on the street chasing down the criminals, independant as well as organized, there would be far less violence, period, on the streets.
    As Mr. Ford has stated, the only firearms the registry keeps track of are the ones that legitimate firearm owners who have passed a stringent safety training and extensive background check own.
    In any major city in Canad, one can buy an illegal firearm almost as easily as a pack of cigarettes and the registry does absolutely nothing to prevent that from happening.
    The “thousands of times daily” that the chiefs of police say the registry is being accessed is just an incidental check automatically done when a routine CPIC check is being made and has nothing to do with officer safety. When thousands of front line police officers consider the registry a joke that they would be crazy to base their safety on, I think it’s time it was put away for good.
    We need more police. Not more bureaucracy.

  3. Ford is absolutely correct. This city has been sucked up in the anti hunting, anti target shooting, anti LEGAL firearms ownership by the lies of the left wing money and politically driven police chief. What Toronto does NOT need, is ANOTHER left wing mayor that thinks there’s nothing wrong with making criminals out of law abiding citizens simply because of their sport. For ONCE in a long time, Toronto will have a Mayor for the people. ALL the people, not just the tree hugging lefties.. Perhaps sanity will prevail, and the Union station range, which operated safety for over 80 years, will once again be hosting Olympic class shooters to the dismay of some hoplophobes at city hall..
    To steal something from the Trudeau loving left…
    Go Ford Go… Don’t be afraid to take a stand, you have the city right behind you.. Go ahead and blow their mind..

  4. Joe Pants says “It really is unforgivable that we have a federal government that really thinks it’s OK to have guns in our society,”

    But as with so many topics he is disoriented and out of touch.

    People in Toronto need guns more than rural folk do, because his political mentor David Miller and his lame duck policies have utterly failed to reduce violent crime in the city.

    And no amount of name dropping of other Miller sycophants like Chief Blair will rekindle their dwindling influence.

  5. You can tell a lot about a person if you ask this question. It shows a level of intelligence and the ability to seperate emotion from ratiional thought processes. It appears Mr. Patalone and Smitherman fall on the side of emotion instead of reason.

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