CAW Commends Liberals and NDP for Saving Long Gun Registry, Defeating Bill C-391

September 22, 2010, 9:30 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is congratulating both the Liberal and NDP leaders for ensuring their parties preserved the national long gun registry in this evening's critical vote in the House of Commons.

"The Conservative party attempted to use this issue to divide the country and stir up emotions around gun registration," said Lewenza.  "I commend Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe for refusing to allow this division to break us apart."

Lewenza said that there is now momentum to work together to reform the registry, where necessary.
 "From tonight's vote, it's clear that although there may be some concerns with the current program, with the political will from the majority of MPs, these issues can be resolved. I am hopeful that Canadians will not be faced with losing such an important national program again."

The union has participated in a major lobbying campaign since November 2009, urging both the Liberal Party and NDP to vote down the Bill. CAW leaders and activists, including Director of Women's Programs Julie White, were on Parliament Hill today and yesterday to lobby MPs and witness the vote.

"I want to commend the thousands of Canadians, women and men, who contacted their MPs and urged them to vote to keep the long gun registry," said White. "Without taking action, we could have easily lost the registry which would have been a travesty and sent the country back decades.  We now need to be vigilant that the registry is maintained."

A number of CAW activists co-ordinated and participated in extensive lobbying of their MPs, including CAW Local 523 President Rick Alakas from Welland, Ontario and CAW Local 2002 Vice President Cheryl Robinson from Saint John, New Brunswick. Both were on the Hill for this evening's vote.

"This was an historic moment and the first time in a long while that we've seen the opposition parties truly co-operate," said Alakas. "In the course of lobbying our MPs, we were able to remove the emotion from the debate and talk about the facts, which are very compelling. This is a women's issue and a family issue -it's crucial that the registry be maintained."

"This is an important victory for women and a demonstration that we do not need to allow the Conservative government to force their right-wing agenda upon the Canadian public," said Robinson. "This was a hard vote for some MPs, but their constituents spoke out and they had to listen. That's the way democracy works."

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