US & Canada

Canadian police oust gun registry chief Marty Cheliak

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak
Image caption Marty Cheliak had spoken in support of the gun-control initiative in parliament

The head of the Canadian Firearms Program, a vocal supporter of a national firearms registry, has been moved from his job.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak's move comes as the government weighs scrapping the gun control initiative.

Mr Cheliak was appointed in an acting capacity in August 2009

The RCMP said he was below the rank needed to fill the role permanently and was being sent for French language training.

The Canadian firearms registry was instituted in 1996 by the Liberal government of Jean Chretien and is largely backed by Canadian police, who say it helps trace guns used in crimes.

But the Conservative minority government has pledged to end it, calling it wasteful and ineffective and saying it penalises lawful gun owners.

Mr Cheliak had spoken strongly in favour of the registry, including at a parliamentary hearing.