I am attending the Canadian Shooting Sports AGM in Mississauga this weekend where Yorkton-Melville Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz was the featured speaker at the Saturday evening banquet.
Breitkreuz spoke about how when Kim Campbell brought in her firearms bill, C-17, he was originally in favour of the legislation because he believed what he was being told; that the bill would improve public safety across the country. But then he went to a riding meeting one night, with weather in the -30 degree Celsius range and found the hall full of his constituents who were concerned about the ramifications of the bill and they tasked him to go back to Ottawa and research it and determine the truth.
Garry took this message and went back to Ottawa and with his assistant of the time, Dennis Young, they did research on Bill C-17 and found that his constituents were right: It was bad legislation and did not do what the government said it was supposed to do. It was a political lie. A revelation to a green MP.
When the Chretien Liberals came forth with Bill C-68, a punitive piece of legislation that took the control of guns and gun owners to a new level, Breitkreuz and his staff were well prepared to continue the fight.
Since those days Breitkreuz has stayed true to his principles.
Garry Breitkreuz now has a private member’s bill, C-301, which has passed first reading and which would eliminate the federal long gun registry, among other things. It is a good, intelligently written piece of legislation, and one that should be supported by at least every MP that represents a rural riding and in actuality, every MP that hasn’t been compromised by the misinformation and outright lies that opponents of the bill have disseminated.
But then Breitkreuz was blindsided by competing legislation that his own party leader placed before the Senate, Bill S-5, which purports to eliminate the long gun registry but in fact will devolve it to 12 provincial/territorial registries (Nunavut is exempt from the registry). So the government can proclaim that they have eliminated the long gun registry while simply moving it to the provinces and territories. This also enables them to give Quebec what it has been pushing for; its own provincial firearms registry. Integrity does not emanate from the PMO.
Opponents have tried to attack Bill C-301, saying that it would impact public safety. This is simply not the truth. But it did spook the PMO which told Breitkreuz he was not to attend the CSSA AGM and that he had to amend Bill C-301 to remove all of the non-registry items.
Breitkreuz originally acquiesced to these demands but when the PMO had Bill S-5 tabled in the Senate it became apparent that the Prime Minister was reneging on his Party’s policy and on statements he had made in the past against Bill C-68 when the Liberals pushed it through the House. At that point he decided that he would not amend the Bill as he had previously stated and that he would attend and speak to the CSSA AGM.
Which brings me back to the main point of this blog before I ranted myself off topic.
Breitkreuz gave an honest and passionate speech about integrity and veracity in politics and spoke of other members of his caucus who are dedicated and concerned and he gave me some hope that all is not lost in Ottawa. It was an inspirational speech that was met with enthusiasm by the attendees at the supper.
Maybe good enough to make me actually consider voting in the next federal election. We’ll wait and see.