This thread contains links to a number of different articles about the long gun registry. The most recent content is at the bottom.
Adam Radwanski comments on Don Martin's (National Post) analysis
that Harper (via Garry Breitkruez) is undermining the gun registry debate as an election strategy to win a dozen opposition held seats to get his (phony) majority government. Catch 22 adds some riding analysis that supports Radwanski's contention. Second reading: Cash for guns
"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. "
Looking at the 12 NDP ridings in question, we would agree with Radwanski's assertion that there are not enough winnable ridings for the Cons to propel them into complete and total power.
A quick look* at these 12 NDP seats shows that:
1) The Liberals came 2nd in 7 of them in 2008. Timmins James Bay
(Angus) - The Cons have not come second, let alone first, in at least the last 5 elections.Sudbury
(Thibeault) - The Cons have run 3rd place since at least 1963. It was a tight 3-way race in 2008 however. Nickel Belt
(Gravelle) - The Cons only received 21% of the vote in '08. Algoma
(Hughes) - The Cons ran a distant third in the '08. Thunder Bay - Rainy River
- (Rafferty) - Formerly held by the Libs, the Cons have run in 3rd place the last 3 elections. Churchill
- (Ashton) - The Cons have not held this seat since 1974 and have not even run in 2nd place since 1984. Thunder Bay - Superior North
(Hyer) - Either the NDP or Libs have held this riding since 1979. The Alliance placed 2nd in 2000 and Reform placed 2nd in '93. Conclusion
It's doubtful that the cons can take any of these 7 ridings with the possible exception of Sudbury.
2) The Conservatives ran second in 5 of themWelland
(Allen) - This was a squeaker 3-way split in '08 which the Cons may be able to capitalize on. The Cons held the riding in 1984 but had not had the seat 1935. Sackville- Eastern Shore
(Stoffer) - The NDP have comfortably held this riding since at least 1997. Stoffer received 61% of the vote in '08 and 53% in '06. The Cons often run 3rd but managed a 2nd place finish in '08. Western Arctic
(Bevington) - A close race in '08. Cons have not held the riding since '84 (and lost it in '88). Elmwood - Transcona
(Maloway) - While close in '08 (5% margin), this is generally an NDP stronghold (Bill Blaikie's former riding). Skeena - Bulkley Valley
(Cullen) - Held by the NDP after at least the last 3 elections, Cullen won with a 13% margin in '08. Conclusion (updated)
: The Cons are targeting the 6 NDP ridings where the MP switched their vote. Only Allen is vulnerable. Thibeault took a risk but the Cons taking Sudbury? Don't see it. The other four should be safe, particularly because there are much bigger issues that people care about which they're not prepared to sacrifice in order to support Stephen Harper. Overall conclusion
: If this is Harper's sole strategy for winning a majority, it's doubtful that it will succeed. One would also need to look at the 9 Liberal ridings where the MPs are switching their votes. We would agree with Radwanski that Harper can successfully use the issue to raise money from ridings across the country.
The data also shows that, contrary to many people's assertions, it is unlikely that the NDP's motivation for supporting a free vote is because they fear losing these 12 seats.
* There was some redistribution so the riding names have not always been as listed above.