Archive for June, 2007

Senator Anne Cools: Independent

June 26, 2007

Senator Anne Cools, who was appointed to the Senate in 1984 on the recommendation of then Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau eventually became increasingly critical of the federal Liberals and crossed the floor to the Conservative party in 2004. Now the Conservative’s have kicked her out of caucus for voting against the government’s budget and criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Cools will now sit in the Senate as an independent.

Sitting as an independent somehow seems a fit for the Senator. She has never followed the pary line but has lobbied and voted according to what she thinks is right.

When the federal Liberals were pushing through Bill C-68, the Federal Firearms Act, Senator Cools spoke against it. Firearms owners were amazed to find a female Liberal Senator supporting their arguments. Not only did she speak against it, but she had done the research and had the facts and figures as well.

The Senator said, in part:

During the Senate committee hearings on Bill C-68, the Manitoba Attorney General, the Honourable Rosemary Vodrey, testified. I asked her:  I should just like to know how many wives were killed by husbands in your province last year by firearms, and how many children in your province alone?   She replied:  I can just tell you women on homicides by firearms. I gather the figure is zero.  Ms Vodrey gave more detail. She said:   The statistics I have are for 1994, and they relate to deaths due to domestic violence: Three by stabbing; three by strangulation; two by beating; one by asphyxiation; none by firearms.  Honourable senators, it is no simple task to identify the actual and precise number of women killed by spouses using firearms. I have studied this question using Statistics Canada’s published data on homicides. In 1994, the actual number of women killed with firearms by conjugal intimates was 23. I repeat: The precise number of women killed by spouses using firearms was 23.  Statistics Canada defines “conjugal intimates” as including spouses -legal, common-law, separated, divorced – boyfriends, extramarital lovers or estranged lovers. Neither feminist groups nor the Minister of Justice have placed the number of 23 on the table in this debate. I am unsympathetic to the act of toying with or exaggerating the true numbers.

It’s a pity that political parties in Canada are unable to accept criticism from their caucus members and that all members are expected to toe the party line. Senator Cools is obviously one whose conscience does not allow her to follow that path.  I am sure that she will continue to stir the pot sitting as an Independent.

After all it’s not their money!

June 26, 2007

Carrying on with the theme of a bureaucracy operating without oversight, there is this article from the Calgary Herald.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is responsible for the bulk of Canadian aid spending and devotes its funds to a host of worthy causes in just about every part of the developing world.

Yet a perusal of the agency’s projects reveals that CIDA has been making startlingly free with taxpayers’ money.

Take the Baltic nation of Estonia which has a flat tax and runs one of the world’s most wired and competitive economies. Between 2002 and 2005, CIDA, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, spent $800,000 on immersion programs to teach the country’s Russian minority to speak Estonian.

The Czech Republic received $22 million from CIDA between 1990 and 2004, at the same time that the Czechs were receiving billions of dollars for development projects from the World Bank and the European Union in preparation for the nation’s accession to the EU in 2004.

Poland received $61 million from CIDA the year it joined the EU, despite the fact the Polish government politely tried to decline the gift.

There are worse examples. CIDA gave China $57.14 million in aid in 2004-05 and plans to continue shovelling money into that country for the rest of this decade.

CIDA’s program involves using “Canadian experience and expertise” to support Chinese reforms in good governance, democracy, human rights and environmental sustainability.

With an active space program and the capability (demonstrated earlier this year) to destroy orbiting satellites, China hardly needs Canadian technological know-how. True, Canada could teach China a thing or two about democracy and human rights; the Chinese government is notorious for locking up people who preach either, but CIDA forges ahead with funding anyway.

It would seem that CIDA has a budget of lots of taxpayers’ dollars to spend and therefore they spend it with no regard to whether or not projects funded have merit or obviously whether the recipients even needed the funding in the first place.

Of course it is the old dilemma for the bureaucrats: If they don’t spend the money then next year they probably won’t get as big a budget. If their budget is cut their ministry shrinks and if the ministry shrinks it lessens the position of the senior bureaucrats and may even lead a decreased salary level.

Mind you, it was ever thus. Many (many) years ago I worked for CN Telecommunciations and there was always a fiscal year end rush to spend any dollars that were remaining in the budget. Being young and naive at the time I thought that if you had done all of your planned projects and had money left in the pot that it made much more sense to let the unused portion go back into the system. But, from top to bottom, that isn’t how a bureaucracy works.

Unfortunately.

Is Ottawa’s firearms policy being driven by the bureaucrats?

June 24, 2007

Some may remember from a number of years ago the British TV comedy, “Yes Minister”. The show revolved around the political adventures of a newly elected British MP who received an appointment to a Minister’s position and his dealings with his senior bureaucrats.  The new Minister was naïve and inexperienced and the long-time bureaucrats manipulated and mislead him to ensure that their agenda was followed and not his. At that time I had a friend who was a provincial MLA who told me that the scenario was closer to factual than one would like to think.

I fear we are seeing something similar in our federal government today.

We now have a government – albeit a minority one – that came into power with the support of firearm owners and which promised to alleviate some of the pain and suffering that came along with the deposed Liberal government’s Bill C-68 and its attached regulations. With their minority position it was obvious that it was going to be impossible to rewrite the Firearms Act, as there was no official support from any of the opposition parties. To the contrary the Liberals and the NDP have been braying about the outright banning of handguns and auto-loaders generally. But the government has said the right things at the right time as witness Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day’s recent refusal to acquiesce to demands by the provinces of Quebec and Ontario to ban handguns.

Beyond that, it seems to me that there are changes in attitude and policy that could be brought into play. At some level it may be happening but I don’t see a lot of places where it shows. To the contrary there are indications that the bureaucracy is continuing with their old Liberal anti-gun agenda come hell or high water.

Some concerns:

The Justice Ministry lawyers have been aggressively attacking 12/6 handgun owners who purchased 12/6 handguns between February 1995 and December 1998 but were never grandfathered due to a legislative screw-up. (for those unfamiliar with the term, a 12/6 handgun generally one with a barrel 4 inches or shorter).

There are bureaucrats who are extremely biased against firearms ownership and who have been part and parcel of the development and implementation of the federal Liberals firearm laws, but who have been maintained within the Canadian Firearms Centre bureaucracy and even promoted.

The CFOs across the country are now standardizing the ATTs, which means that all provinces will now be issued at the most restrictive level rather than the more liberal rules that some provinces had in place.

Even the recent long gun amnesty was limited in its effects. For one thing it was limited to long guns – restricted and prohibited firearms were excluded – and secondly, although it protects individuals from criminal prosecution it does not protect them from having their firearms seized. It was duly noted that the Canadian Firearms Centre was quick to inform police departments that they had every right to seize those firearms.

A posting on The Lost Target website notes that when licensing came into effect the government initially charged a $50 declaration fee to a hunter or shooter bringing firearms across the border. They then reduced that fee to $25 in 2005 to encourage Americans to come to Canada to hunt and compete in shooting events because it was found that the $50 fee was a deterrent and that border crossings had declined sharply. When the fee was $50 the declaration was good for one year, but when they dropped the cost, the declaration became good for only 60 days, so any shooter coming across the border several times over the period of a year could end up paying considerably more that previously. Now this could be just bureaucratic stupidity – there’s often enough of that to go around – but you really have to wonder.

 The Canadian UN contingent has continued to support and foster United Nations policies and recommendations for more onerous gun laws around the world, although there is some indication that they have been influenced to at least recognize the legitimacy of domestic firearm owners. In a brief on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade website, entitled “Small Arms and Light Weapons”, there is the statement, “DFAIT recognizes the existing and legitimate interests of Canadian firearms owners, producers, brokers and retailers”. The statement can be dismissed as simply words which have no real meaning, but I doubt if those words were there in any documents of the previous government.  

Years ago I read the book Renegade in Power, the unauthorized biography of John Diefenbaker. If my memory serves me correctly it made the point that one of Diefenbaker’s political downfalls was that that he did not clean out the bureaucracy upon coming to power. The bureaucracy he inherited had deep philosophical and personal connections to the defeated Liberal party and stonewalled the new government every step of the way. I believe that we have the same situation in Ottawa right now, but Stephen Harper is not John Diefenbaker and I would be very surprised if he wasn’t aware of the problem. We can only hope that he sees it as a serious problem and deals with it as his government progresses.

Now having said all that, I am clearly on the outside looking in and maybe there are things happening that simply aren’t apparent to the masses. I truly hope so. Maybe I was just looking to see some blood on the floor when the Conservatives came to power.

World record rainbow trout

June 22, 2007

Big fish!

Federal Liberals: gun banners to the end

June 21, 2007

One thing that you have to give the federal Liberals credit for is that they’re consistent.

They showed their anti-gun stance back when they rammed Bill C-68 down our throats and they have maintained their status as Canada’s premier anti-gun party ever since.

The NDP have flipped around a bit. Under the leadership of Audrey McLaughlin from the Yukon the party actually leaned more towards being friendly towards gun owners, but that changed after she stepped down from the leadership position. Now under the leadership of Toronto Jack Layton you can hardly tell the NDP from the Liberals.

Well, except for the fact that the Liberals like to stand on their podium and loudly declare their commitment to ban firearms. Witness their official website where they attack the Conservative government because they are not falling in line with the Quebec and Ontario provincial governments’ call for wholesale bans on handguns and/or semi-auto firearms (whichever, depending on the day and the mood). Oh yeah, and the government wants to dismantle the Liberal’s sacred (but demonstrably useless) registration system for long-guns. 

In the process of being officially appalled they invoke the NRA bogeyman and give the reader a direct link to the Coalition for Gun Control to back up their position. That really gives you an insight into whom the Liberals are bedded down with.

As I have noted before, when it comes to a general election, there are gun owners who will still mark their ballot for a Liberal candidate or they will place their vote for the NDP which is just about as bad as in a minority government they can end up as the legislative deal maker.

It would be heady stuff if Canadian firearm owners could  became a cohesive voting group. And by that I don’t mean just the serious shooters, but the farmers and the ranchers and the plinkers as well. Unfortunately most of them won’t know what is happening until the damage is done. It was like that with Bill C-68 and it will be no different at the next stage of gun control legislation.

Quebec tables gun legislation

June 18, 2007

Quebec has now tabled Bill 9, their highly promoted legislation which they have called “Anastasia’s Law” after the young lady killed in the Dawson College shooting. This, of course to give it more emotional effect in the public eye.

The English translation of the bill is posted below and if the Quebec Premier Jean Charest actually thinks that this legislation is going to improve public safety, then he is a sorry excuse as a leader. All this legislation really relates to is Charest and his Provincial Liberal party’s weakness at the polls and his attempt to create the perception that he is “doing something”.

Bill 9

An Act respecting the safety of persons on certain premises and amending the Act respecting safety in Sports

Introduction

Introduced by
Mr. Jacques P. Dupuis
Minister of Public Security

Québec Official Publisher
2007

EXPLANATORY NOTES

This bill prohibits the possession of firearms in the buildings and on the grounds of childcare facilities and educational institutions and in conveyances used for public transportation and school transportation. By government regulation, any other institution may be added to those listed in the bill. The bill also regulates target shooting with restricted and prohibited firearms in shooting clubs and shooting ranges, in particular by requiring operators to obtain a licence. Compliance with safety regulations, and the keeping of a register of users’ and members’ frequentation of the facilities, are among the other requirements set forth in the bill. In addition, a person wishing to engage in target shooting must be a member of a shooting club, meet the conditions for continued membership and obtain an attestation of competency in the safe use of firearms. Under this bill, the personnel of educational institutions, public transportation and school transportation drivers and admission attendants and persons responsible for shooting clubs and shooting ranges are required to report to police any behaviour indicating that an individual may endanger the safety of the individual or another person by the use of a firearm. Certain professionals are authorized to report such behaviour despite obligations of confidentiality and professional secrecy.

LEGISLATION AMENDED BY THIS BILL: - Act respecting safety in sports (R.S.Q., chapter S-3.1).


 Bill 9

AN ACT RESPECTING THE SAFETY OF PERSONS ON CERTAIN PREMISES AND AMENDING THE ACT RESPECTING SAFETY IN SPORTS

THE PARLIAMENT OF QUÉBEC ENACTS AS FOLLOWS: ACT RESPECTING THE SAFETY OF PERSONS ON CERTAIN PREMISES

1. The purpose of this Act is to protect persons who frequent the premises of a designated institution, including the grounds of the institution and the structures standing on those grounds. The following are designated institutions:

(1) public and private childcare facilities, whether in a home, school, work or other setting; and

(2) pre-kindergartens and kindergartens, elementary schools, secondary schools, postsecondary colleges, general and vocational colleges, vocational training centres, adult education centres, and universities. The Government may, by regulation, designate any other institution than those specified in the second paragraph or exempt certain premises from the application of this Act. This Act also seeks to protect persons who use public transportation, with the exception of taxis, or who use school transportation.

2. No person may be in possession of a firearm within the meaning of the Criminal Code (Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, chapter C-46) on the premises of a designated institution. This also applies to public transportation and school transportation. A person who contravenes the first paragraph is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $500 to $5,000.

3. Section 2 does not apply to public officers within the meaning of section 117.07 of the Criminal Code, to persons authorized to bear firearms for the protection of their own or another’s life or for use in the course of their lawful professional activity, or to persons designated by government regulation, with regard to the responsibilities they assume or the activities they exercise and under the conditions determined in the regulation.

4. The Minister may exceptionally authorize an activity involving firearms to take place on the premises of a designated institution, in the cases, for the duration and under the conditions determined by the Minister.

5. A peace officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is contravening or has contravened section 2 may, without a warrant, proceed immediately to seize the firearm that is or was in that person’s possession. A firearm thus seized may be detained for a period of 90 days. At the end of that period it must be given back to the owner unless that person is not in compliance with the Firearms Act (Statutes of Canada, 1995, chapter 39) or detention of the firearm is required for legal proceedings. When a person is found guilty of an offence under section 2, the judge may, on application by the prosecuting party, declare the seized firearm to be confiscated. The provisions of articles 129 to 141 of the Code of Penal Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25.1) that relate to the custody, detention and disposition of things seized, and are complementary to and not incompatible with this section, apply with the necessary modifications.

6. A teacher, professional or other person working at a designated institution who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is contravening section 2, or that a firearm is on the premises of the institution, must advise the police of the situation immediately. This also applies to public transportation or school transportation admission attendants and drivers with regard to persons who use such transportation.

7. A teacher or a professional occupying a management position at a designated institution who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person on the premises of the institution is behaving in such a way as to compromise the safety of that person or another person by the use of a firearm, must report that behaviour to the police, providing the latter only with such information as is required to facilitate police intervention. This also applies to public transportation or school transportation admission attendants and drivers with regard to persons who use such transportation.

8. A professional referred to in the second paragraph who, in the course of exercising his or her profession, has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is behaving in such a way as to compromise the safety of that person or another person by the use of a firearm, is authorized to report that behaviour to the police, providing the latter only with such information as is required to facilitate police intervention, including information protected by professional secrecy and despite any provision binding the professional to maintain confidentiality, particularly in matters regarding health and social services. For the purposes of this section, a professional is

(1) a physician;

(2) a psychologist;

(3) a vocational guidance counsellor;

(4) a nurse; or

(5) a social worker.

9. A person cannot be prosecuted for acts performed in good faith in accordance with sections 6 to 8. No person may divulge or be compelled to divulge the identity of a person who acts in accordance with those sections, despite section 88 of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (R.S.Q., chapter A-2.1).

10. The clerk of the Court of Québec must inform the chief firearms officer immediately of an application referred to in article 778 of the Code of Civil Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25) relating to a person whose mental state presents a danger to that person or to other persons and provide the chief firearms officer with the name, address and date of birth of the person and with the court file number. The chief firearms officer must verify whether the person is in possession of a firearm, has access to a firearm or holds a licence to acquire a firearm. If the verification proves negative, the chief firearms officer must destroy the information. At the request of the chief firearms officer, the clerk confirms whether or not a person identified by the officer and applying for a licence or authorization under the Firearms Act has previously been the subject of an application referred to in article 778 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If so, the clerk provides the chief firearms officer with the court file number relating to the application. The chief firearms officer is the person designated by the Minister of Public Security to act as such in Québec under the Firearms Act.

11. The Minister of Public Security is responsible for the administration of this Act.

ACT RESPECTING SAFETY IN SPORTS

12. The Act respecting safety in sports (R.S.Q., chapter S-3.1) is amended by inserting the following chapter after Chapter V.2:
CHAPTER V.3

“TARGET SHOOTING

DIVISION I

“SHOOTING CLUB AND SHOOTING RANGE

46.24. No person may operate a shooting club or shooting range without a licence from the Minister of Public Security. A shooting club is a sports body whose activities consist in target shooting, or the holding of target shooting competitions, with restricted or prohibited firearms. A shooting range is a place designed and adapted for safe target shooting with restricted or prohibited firearms on a regular and structured basis, but does not include a shooting range exempted from the obligation to be approved under the Firearms Act (Statutes of Canada, 1995, chapter 39) or the regulations. The terms “restricted firearm” and “prohibited firearm” have the meanings assigned to them by section 84 of the Criminal Code (Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, chapter C-46).

46.25. The Minister issues a shooting club licence, covering the shooting ranges that the club is authorized to operate, or a shooting range licence to a person that meets the conditions and pays the duties and fees prescribed by government regulation. Only a non-profit body may be issued a shooting club licence. The Minister may refuse to issue a licence if, in the Minister’s view, it is in the interest of public safety to do so.

46.26. A licence is issued for a five-year period; it may be renewed for the same period, if the conditions for the issuance of the initial licence are met and the duties and fees prescribed by government regulation are paid. Where special circumstances justify it, the Minister may determine that a licence is to be valid for a shorter period.

46.27. Shooting club licences and shooting range licences cannot be transferred.

46.28. Licence holders must keep a register of the use made of their premises by the members and users. This register must contain the dates and times of arrival and departure of each member and user, as well as any other information prescribed by government regulation. On being requested to do so, licence holders must send to the Minister any information contained in the register the latter may require, within the time specified by the Minister.  

46.29. Holders of a shooting club licence must revoke or refuse to renew the membership of a person who, for more than a year, has not frequented the shooting range to which membership gives access, unless the person shows a new attestation to the effect that the person has passed a competency test in the safe use of restricted firearms or prohibited firearms, or shows proof of having regularly or assiduously frequented another shooting range in the course of the year. This also applies when a member of a shooting club does not renew his or her membership on its expiry. Licence holders must inform the Minister immediately of the identity of any person whose membership is revoked or not renewed.

46.30. A licence holder must ensure compliance with the requirements set out in sections 46.41 and 46.42.

46.31. A licence holder or person responsible for a shooting club or shooting range must immediately report to the police any behaviour of a member or user that may compromise the safety of that person or another person, providing the police only with such information as is required to facilitate police intervention. A person cannot be prosecuted for acts performed in good faith in accordance with this section. No person may divulge or be compelled to divulge the identity of a person who acts in accordance with this section, despite section 40 of the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (chapter P-39.1).

46.32. The Minister may appoint the inspectors required to verify compliance with this chapter and the regulations under this chapter. Inspectors thus appointed may, in the exercise of their duties,

(1) enter a shooting club or shooting range at any reasonable time in order to run tests, take photographs, make recordings or examine the equipment and installations occupying the premises or used for competitions;

(2) examine and copy the licence holder’s books, registers, accounts, files and other documents;

(3) demand any information relating to the application of this chapter and the regulations under this chapter;

(4) require a person to prove his or her membership in a shooting club; and

(5) require a person on the premises to give reasonable assistance and to accompany the inspector on the inspection.

46.33. The Minister may also appoint persons to investigate offences against this chapter and the regulations under this chapter.

46.34. Persons carrying out an inspection or investigation must, on request, show a certificate of authority signed by the Minister.

46.35. It is forbidden to hinder an inspector in the exercise of his or her duties in any way, to mislead an inspector by concealment or false statements, or to refuse to provide documents or information an inspector may require under this division or a regulation under this division. This also applies in the case of an investigator.

46.36. Inspectors and investigators cannot be prosecuted for acts performed in good faith in the exercise of their duties.

46.37. The Minister may modify, suspend, cancel, revoke or refuse to renew the licence of a licence holder who

(1) has been found guilty of an offence against this division or a regulation under this division;

(2) no longer meets the conditions for a licence to be issued;

3) does not meet the requirements set out in sections 46.28 to 46.31; (4) is not ensuring compliance with a safety regulation under this Act; (5) is no longer approved under the Firearms Act (Statutes of Canada, 1995, chapter 39); (6) has ceased operations permanently or for at least 12 months; or (7) represents, in the Minister’s view, a risk to public safety.

46.38. Except in emergency situations, the Minister must, before modifying, suspending, cancelling, revoking or refusing to issue or renew a licence, notify the applicant or licence holder in writing as prescribed by section 5 of the Act respecting administrative justice (chapter J-3) and grant the applicant or licence holder at least 10 days to submit observations. The Minister gives written notice of the decision, including reasons, to the applicant or licence holder.

46.39. The application of sections 20 and 21, 27 to 30 and 47 to 53 with regard to the sport of target shooting is under the authority of the Minister of Public Security, with the necessary modifications.

46.40. With the exception of the power to adopt or amend a regulation, the Minister may entrust all or part of the Minister’s responsibilities under this division to any person the Minister designates.

DIVISION II

“MEMBERS OF A SHOOTING CLUB AND USERS OF A SHOOTING RANGE

46.41. No person may frequent a shooting range to use a restricted firearm or a prohibited firearm without being a member of a shooting club or being invited under the immediate supervision of a member. This section does not apply to public officers within the meanning of section 117.07 of the Criminal Code (Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, chapter C-46).

46.42. To be a member of a shooting club, an applicant must provide the operator with an attestation showing that the applicant has passed a competency test in the safe use of restricted firearms or prohibited firearms, prescribed by regulation of the Minister. The applicant must provide such an attestation every five years thereafter, or after a shorter period determined by regulation of the Minister. The Minister may, by regulation, require members to take and successfully complete any other form of training, at the times determined by the Minister.

46.43. A member of a shooting club or user of a shooting range must immediately report to the licence holder or person responsible any behaviour of another member or user that may compromise the safety of that person or another person. A person cannot be prosecuted for acts performed in good faith in accordance with this section. No person may divulge or be compelled to divulge the identity of a person who acts in accordance with this section, despite section 40 of the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (chapter P-39.1).”

13. Section 53.1 of the Act is amended

(1) by replacing “in section 46″ by “in section 46 or 46.25″ and “in section 46.1″ by “in section 46.1 or 46.37″;

(2) by adding the following paragraph: “When assessing the facts or the law, the Tribunal may not substitute its assessment for that made by the Minister of Public Security in making a decision under section 46.25 or 46.37.”

14. Section 73 of the Act is amended by replacing “Chapter V” by “Chapters V and V.3″.

TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

15. An operator of a shooting club or shooting range in operation on the date of coming into force of section 46.24 of the Act respecting safety in sports, enacted by section 12 of this Act, may continue operations provided the operator obtains, in accordance with this Act, a shooting club licence or shooting range licence within one year of the date of coming into force of the regulation provided for in section 46.25 of the Act respecting safety in sports, enacted by section 12 of this Act.

16. Members of shooting clubs have one year as of the coming into force of the regulation provided for in section 46.42 of the Act respecting safety in sports, enacted by section 12 of this Act, to provide a shooting club operator with an attestation to the effect that they have passed a competency test in the safe use of restricted firearms or prohibited firearms.

17. Any target shooting safety regulation approved by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports under the Act respecting safety in sports is deemed to be approved by the Minister of Public Security.

18. The provisions of this Act come into force on the date or dates to be set by the Government.

There is nothing in this legislation that would stop another shooting such as the one at Dawson College. Make it illegal to have a firearm near a school, etc.? Charest can’t really believe that this will deter any psycho that is hell bent on committing suicide by police intervention. This legislation is about as effective as the signs I have seen posted outside schoolgrounds informing all and sundry that “this is a drug free zone”.

But then as the Coalition For Gun Control’s Wendy Cukier said, “We think it’s a good first step and we’re hoping that (Quebec Premier Jean) Charest will continue to press (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper to not dismantle the federal firearms legislation and we’re hoping the resources will be there to allow the police to do their job.”

That’s what I love about these people. It is always a “good first step”.

What this legislation does is simply provide more opportunity to harass legitimate and honest gun owners in Quebec.

More heat on the RCMP

June 17, 2007

The RCMP’s public relations keep taking media hits. Now an  investigator that was appointed by the government to look into the RCMP pension scandal has reported that the RCMP is “horribly broken”and lays much of the blame on the shoulders of former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.

Former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli was an autocratic leader who punished whistle-blowers in the force’s pension-fund scandal and dragged his feet on launching criminal investigations, a government-appointed investigator has found.

Lawyer David Brown concluded that the RCMP’s management is “horribly broken” and needs to be fixed quickly.

He called for a task force to find ways to revamp the force, limiting the absolute power of the commissioner and replacing its “paramilitary” command structure with checks and balances and real oversight by a review board.

My opinion of Zaccardelli was coloured years ago when it was revealed that he had expensed out a pair of $1,100 riding boots. At that point he seemed to me more like a fat-cat bureaucrat than a leader of a prestigious police force.

In fact the Canadian Taxpayers Association made him one of the nominees for the  Ted Weatherill (the Teddies) award (federal area) in 2002. Their website states that “the Teddies are awarded annually to a public office holder, civil servant, department or agency, that most exemplifies government waste, overspending, over-taxation, excessive regulation, lack of accountability, or any combination of the five.

Zaccardelli was nominated for:

Most Original Use of Leather in Public Service: RCMP Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli for spending $1,064 on ceremonial leather riding boots and $180,000 on executive office renovations including $30,000 on leather furniture and $42,000 in bathroom upgrades.

Unfortunately he lost out to the eventual winner, the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) for its $433,000 name change from Farm Credit Corporation to Farm Credit Canada. Saying that “never in the history of Canada have taxpayers paid so much for one word”.

Obviously the RCMP aren’t the only problem in Ottawa but it seems obvious they have problems that need to be fixed, if there is a will to do so.

A great character passed on: Maurice Flitcroft

June 15, 2007

I missed this back in March. Maurice Flitcroft of unknown handicap attempted to qualify six times for the British Open, despite the efforts of the Royal and Ancient to stymie his efforts.

Maurice Flitcroft, who died on March 24 aged 77, was a chain-smoking shipyard crane- operator from Barrow-in-Furness whose persistent attempts to gatecrash the British Open golf championship produced a sense of humour failure among members of the golfing establishment.

In 1976 the 46-year-old Flitcroft bought a half-set of mail order clubs and set his sights on finding “fame and fortune” by applying to play in the Birkdale Open “with Jack Nicklaus and all that lot”. He prepared by studying a Peter Allis instruction manual borrowed from the local library and instructional articles by the 1966 PGA Championship winner Al Geiberger, honing his skills by hitting a ball about on a nearby beach.

He obtained an entry form from an unsuspecting Royal and Ancient, which organises the championship, and, having no handicap to declare as an amateur, he picked the other option on the form: professional.

Invited to play in the qualifier at Formby, he put in a performance which one witness described as a “blizzard of triple and quadruple bogeys ruined by a solitary par”, achieving a total of 121 – 49 over par, the worst score recorded in the tournament’s 141-year history. In fact, this was only a rough estimate, his marker having lost count on a couple of holes.

A fascinating character who apparently meant no harm. He just wanted to try and qualify for the Open. Life would be dull without the likes of Mr. Flitcroft.

Gun control and the ‘Anaconda Principle’

June 12, 2007

A great column by Dave Petzal on his blog.

When one of the big constrictor snakes squashes something for supper, we tend to think of rib cages cracking and eyeballs bugging out of skulls. But the reality is a much subtler process; every time the victim exhales, the snake tightens just a little. With each contraction of the serpent, there is less and less room to inhale, and finally there is none at all.

So it is with the attack on gun ownership. We pay attention to court decisions, and to whatever idiot law is percolating through Congress at the moment, but we tend to ignore the day-to-day harassment that makes life difficult—and sometimes impossible—for shooters and for people in the gun business.

Check out the whole piece and Dave’s Field and Stream blog.

A call for a public inquiry into the RCMP

June 12, 2007

A column in the Ottawa Sun asks why the federal government hasn’t called for a public inquiry into RCMP misdeeds.

What will it take for the Conservative government to order a public inquiry into the RCMP?

Apparently, it wasn’t enough that senior Mounties were caught with their fingers in the pension pot, or that the brass approved secret bank accounts stashed with cash from the sponsorship scandal — money used for scandalous expenditures.

One might have thought the trail of RCMP negligence and lies in the Maher Arar affair would have led directly to a public probe of rot and incompetence.

Instead, the first reaction of Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day was to give a big cheer to then-commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli for doing such a great job, aside from having presided over the worst sullying of the famous red tunic in more than 30 years.

And now this: RCMP officers have been getting a slap on the wrist for sexual assaults, firearms offences, drunk driving, beating up prisoners, fraud, lying and obstruction of justice.

Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show that of 114 Mounties found guilty of misconduct since 2005, only nine were ordered to resign.

The rest all rode off into the sunset with a reprimand and maybe few days of missing pay.

It’s a good question and the column is worth a read.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.