Canadian election critical for gun owners

The Canadian election is proceeding as per expectations. Negative ads prevail and the media is more interested in verbal gaffes than issues. All par for the course.

Aside from all that, this is an important election for Canadian gun owners.

Of the four national parties, all except the Conservative Party of Canada have a gun-ban plank in their platform. This is ignoring the Bloc Quebecois party  which is concentrated in Quebec. The Province of Quebec is notoriously anti-gun and the BQ party, which is politically irrelevant as a federal party tends to vote the Liberal line anyway.

Canadian gun owners, or at least those who are serious about keeping their increasingly threatened opportunity to own firearms in Canada, need to take a close look at the various parties’ election platforms.

Liberal Party of Canada:

For Canadian gun owners, the Liberal Party is the most worrisome, having been the government that brought in Bill C-68 and who are the only party other than the Conservatives that would have any kind of a shot at forming our federal government any time in the foreseeable future. Had they not fallen from power we would likely already have a ban on handguns and possibly semi-auto firearms in this country. And Heaven knows how many other bans and restrictions as they merrily dragged us down the slippery slope of gun control.

The Liberal, as you might guess, have a gun control plank in the policy platform.

We will also ensure that the list of prohibited weapons is updated to include all military assault weapons like those used in the tragic shootings at the École Polytechnique and Dawson College. Military assault weapons are easy to use, have large capacity magazines (in order to limit the time needed for reloading) and are designed so that an individual with limited skill can kill as many other individuals as quickly as possible. The purpose of these anti-personnel weapons is military in nature; they have no reasonable connection to hunting and serve no purpose outside of the military. The federal government has the power to prohibit these weapons and a Liberal government will, while ensuring that rifles with a legitimate connection to hunting and sport-shooting are not prohibited.

We will take concrete action to address the flow of illegal guns into Canada, beginning with negotiations on a mutually responsible strategy aimed at curbing gun smuggling from the U.S. into Canada. And we will end the Conservative delay on implementing the international treaties on marking and tracking imported firearms – a tool that law enforcement groups on both sides of the border have identified as a key to both tackling domestic gun crime and combating the flow of illegal guns across the border.

The drafters of the Liberal platform obviously have little knowledge of existing gun laws as large capacity magazines were banned many years ago under Bill C-68, and there is no attempt at defining what a “military assault weapon” is, although the reference to the École Polytechnique and Dawson College shooting point directly to the Ruger Mini 14 and the Beretta Storm.

They have also promised to proceed with the marking and tracking of firearms coming into Canada which would simply be a back door method of drying up the supply of legal firearms being imported by Canadian wholesalers and dealers.

There can be no forgetting Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin’s pledge to ban handguns outright in Canada back during the 2006 federal election.

The Liberals have promised to outlaw handguns across the country, with Paul Martin branding the weapons as nothing but instruments of threat, intimidation and death.

Martin’s pledge for a “Canada Handgun Ban” is part of a sweeping Liberal anti-crime platform, announced Thursday from a section of Toronto that has seen dozens of people cut down from gunfire this year.

Although Martin has faded away into the backrooms, you can be damned sure that the federal government is still full of bureaucrats from that era who will aggressively push the old agenda if the Liberals get back into a position of power.

The Liberals would also begin to load the government’s Firearm’s Advisory Committee with anti-gun members.

Mr. Dion also announced that a Liberal government would make changes to the government’s Firearms Advisory Committee to ensure that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness receives balanced and informed advice when it comes to firearms use in Canada. Under the Conservatives the committee had been quietly stacked with firearms enthusiasts, providing little in the way of unbiased advice.

“While the voices of legitimate gun owners deserve to be heard on the committee, we will ensure that there are representatives of major police associations – like the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association, health and safety experts and true advocates of gun control on the committee. This will ensure that the measures we implement with respect to firearms actually make Canadians safer,” he said.

To see the Liberal’s idea of a balanced committee is to look at their appointments back in 2003.

New Democratic Party

The NDP leader, Jack Layton, has his riding in the City of Toronto and is no doubt influenced by the crime problems in that city and the rhetoric and gun-owner bashing of Mayor David Miller. In fact the NDP 2008 election platform reflects that influence.

Handguns have no place on the streets of our communities, except in the hands of law enforcement officials.

Building on New Democrats’ work in Parliament to curb gun violence, which included mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a handgun, Jack Layton and his team of New Democrats will:

  • Halt the illegal importation of handguns from the United States and target the sale of illegal weapons via the Internet.
  • Facilitate a Canada-US Summit of law makers and law enforcement personnel from all levels of government along with stakeholders to tackle the ongoing crisis of illegal handguns being smuggled into Canada.
  • Enable cities, communities and provinces to choose to implement an ‘absolute ban’ on handguns by tightening existing restrictions on handgun possession.

I am always confounded by a politician’s penchant to demonize a single object to demonstrate how they would solve a general problem. Is not someone stabbed to death with a knife just as dead as one shot with a handgun? Is killing someone with a handgun a more heinous crime than kicking him to death on the street? Does it make any sense to have mandatory sentencing for crimes committed with a handgun than those committed with some other type of weapon? Apparently only to a politician.

As well, the NDP’s roots on gun control appear to go deeper than this.



At the May 27 and May 28, 1991 meetings of Toronto City Council, Jack Layton voted to endorse the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Big City Mayors’ Caucus resolution on Gun Control (May 10, 1991), which contained, among others, these demands for future gun legislation:

  • “Impose strict limits on the number of firearms and the quantity of ammunition that an FAC holder is permitted to purchase or own.”
  • “Semi-automatic and any military or para-military weapons should be removed from the category of Restricted firearms[1], and placed in the category of Prohibited firearms, permitted only to peace officers and other authorized persons.”
  • “The use of technologically-advanced detection devices and specially-designated spot-check search and seizure procedures should be implemented to enforce the banning of semi-automatics.”

The FCM Gun Control resolution also contained these additional explanatory comments, including:

  • “if an integral part of gun control is ending the proliferation of firearms, the number of arms an individual is permitted to own must be addressed.”
  • “People who own firearms should be subject to spot-checks to ensure that their weapons are being properly stored and maintained.”
  • “Firearms, like toxic materials or rabid animals, constitute a potential threat to public health and safety if not properly handled or secured.”

Also discussed at that meeting of Council was a motion on gun control put forward by Layton himself, which contained the following comments in its preamble:

  • “Whereas there is little rationale, if any, for the possession of guns in the homes and businesses of the City of Toronto, and any rationale which can be offered falls far short of the dangers to the public which flow from permitting storage of firearms in such uncontrolled and easily accessible locations”
  • “Whereas there is currently less control over the ownership and storage of firearms than there is for the ownership and keeping of dogs or automobiles”

And sought to do the following through municipal by-laws:

  • “endorse the concept of the establishment of a ‘Gun Control Zone’ for the City of Toronto.”
  • “Storage of firearms in private homes, businesses, vehicles, and unlicensed armouries would be prohibited by law and subject to maximum penalties allowed by law through the restrictions on the land use zones in which storage would be permitted.”
  • “The goal should also be to minimize the number of locations at which guns can be stored, and thereby reduce the number of guns in the City.”
  • “The legislation should require that firearms be stored in locked armouries, or in rural or recreational areas, rather than anywhere in the urban area.”
  • “legislation to regulate the movement of firearms,” such as a “license to move firearms from a place of purchase to a licensed armoury;” a “license to move a firearm from a licensed armoury to a location outside of Metropolitan Toronto and for its return;” and a “license to move a firearm from a licensed armoury to a licensed gun club and for its return.”
  • “all firearms are to be transported unloaded, in standard, clearly identified, locked containers, provided by a licensed armoury”
  • “All ammunition to be transported in standard clearly identified, locked containers, separate from a firearm container, provided by a licensed armoury.”
  • “severe sanctions be sought for the possession or storage of firearms in contravention of these licensing requirements.”

The Green Party of Canada

The Green Party’s statement on gun control is so convoluted and vague that it needs full disclosure here.

The Green Party understands that it is time to get tough on gun smuggling across the US border.  Thousands of handguns are coming across the border and into our urban centres.  We need to work with the Mexican government to press for US action against gun smugglers and investment in tougher border measures to halt the movement of unlawful firearms.

The Green Party will scale back the bureaucratic burden of the current gun registry in consultation with hunters, First Nations, gun collectors, and sportsmen.  We will develop a registration system that effectively aids our law enforcement officers without criminalizing responsible citizens.

The risks created by having dangerous weapons in our urban centres are significant.  We will introduce balanced and fair measures to eventually ban handguns and semi-automatic firearms.
At the same time, the use of guns in our urban centres is typically not the same as the use of guns in our rural communities.  We will ensure that law-abiding citizens are free from unreasonable fees and the threat of criminalization.

Green Solutions

Green Party MPs will:

  • Provide increased support for Integrated Border Enforcement Teams made up of officers from the RCMP, Canada Border Services, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Coast Guard in their gathering of intelligence and arresting of gun smugglers.
  • Put strict measures in place for those who try crossing the Canada/USA border with weapons.
  • Work hard to create a registration system that is fair, free, and easy to use.  We will eliminate registration fees and decriminalize registration for hunting rifles and ensure law-abiding citizens do not have their firearms confiscated.
  • Phase out the personal use of handguns and semi-automatic weapons by means of careful review and consultation, an enhancement of gun registry, and the development of other programs to control gun use and ownership.

Where do you start on this one.

No detail as to how they are going to scale back the “bureaucratic burden” of the registration system and as far as I understand, the First Nations have never bought into the firearms registration program to begin with.

They intend to ban all handguns and semi-auto firearms, but say that they will ensure that law-abiding citizens won’t have their firearms confiscated. Now there is a damned good trick. Especially when they discover that your Remington 1100 duck hunting shotgun, or your Ruger 10/22 gopher gun are semi-autos.

As the Canadian Shooting Sport Association‘s election alert says, “The federal Conservatives are not merely the best friends we have in Ottawa, they’re the only friends we have in Ottawa”.


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2 Responses to “Canadian election critical for gun owners”

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