Discover more from Resuming Debate
Opposing the Liberal Firearm Confiscation Bill C-21
Plus the Liberals' new assault on the free press, Alberta wildfires information, Governor General spending, and more
Opposing the Liberal Firearm Confiscation Bill C-21
This week, the Liberal government rushed their firearm confiscation Bill C-21 through Parliament and cut-off debate with a guillotine motion supported by the NDP and Liberal MPs. Instead of targeting criminals by clamping down on border smuggling, increasing criminal sanctions, and investing in policing, they are focused on targeting law-abiding farmers, hunters, and Indigenous peoples. On Tuesday this week I rose to speak and read into the record the concerns of residents. Here is the full text of my speech below.
Madam Speaker, I am glad to be joining this debate at this late hour. I have been sitting through many hours of debate on this particular subject of Bill C-21.
I will begin by thanking constituents again for returning me to Parliament. It has been a few years now since the election, but I am thankful every single day that I can represent them in this House. Part of my thanks for them will be that I am going to read into the record later many of the emails I have received with respect to Bill C-21 from hunters and sport shooters who are upset that the government is continuing on with Bill C-21.
I want to begin, though, with a quote from someone I consider an expert on firearms legislation, Dr. Teri Bryant, Alberta's chief firearms officer:
Even after the withdrawal of G-4 and G-46, Bill C-21 continues to undermine confidence in our firearms control system while contributing nothing to reducing the violent misuse of firearms. Bill C-21 is built on a fundamentally flawed premise. Prohibiting specific types of firearms is not an effective way of improving public safety. It will waste billions of taxpayer dollars that could have been used on more effective approaches, such as the enforcement of firearms prohibition orders, reinforcing the border or combatting the drug trade and gang activity.
That is just common-sense Alberta right there from a well-known Albertan, for many of us.
The original definition of a firearm, or what I will call the old definition used by the government, was: “...a rifle or shotgun, that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and that is designed to accept a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity greater than five cartridges of the type for which the firearm was originally designed,...”.
That original definition alone was in proposed clause G-4, and I have rarely seen so many emails received in my constituency office, that were written by people who were upset that they were being targeted after having done nothing. They were simply sport shooters and hunters who, through no fault of their own, were being targeted by the Minister of Public Safety. Now the Liberals have changed the definition to something new.
It says now, “It would include a firearm that is not a handgun...”, and I draw attention to “not a handgun”. It continues, “...in a semi-automatic manner and that was originally designed with a detachable magazine with a capacity of six cartridges or more.”
I will note also that in the French version of the legislation they have dropped the reference to fusil de chasse, and now are using a very odd wording that looks like bad French maybe, but fusil de chasse for most francophones anywhere would mean hunting rifle, which is what the Prime Minister said was the intent of Bill C-21. It was exactly to go after hunters. He himself said, outside of the House, that some hunters would have to lose their hunting rifles. That was the purpose of Bill C-21.
I go on now to some of the comments made by my colleague, the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, again drawing attention of people to comments made by the public safety minister. I have more to expand on that, too. He called into question the fact that in the future, they will have to do something about “permanent alteration of magazines”. Now, permanent alteration to magazines of any sort would go a step further than what is being done now and would impact many firearms.
I want to draw attention of the House to the fact that changing magazines would also require changes to a firearm like the Lee-Enfield, a very popular British firearm until about the 1950s. It was used broadly in World War I. It is a firearm widely used in Canada by many indigenous hunters. Many hunters in my riding have these firearms that were passed down through generations. Requiring them to alter that magazine would basically destroy the firearm. That is something the public safety minister is musing publicly. When I see other members of different parties say to trust them and it is written in the legislation, why would we trust them? Why should any hunter or any sport shooter trust them? There are 2.3 million firearms owners in Canada. Why should any of them trust what the Liberals have said so far?
I will draw attention to one more fact that kind of disturbs me. It is that the public safety minister, when Bill C-21 first came in, said there was a public safety crisis across Canada. He said that there were these “assault-style rifles” and then said it was a public emergency that Bill C-21 needed to be passed right away. Now in this legislation, months and months later after so much public blowback, the Liberals are grandfathering all previous firearms. Therefore, now it is okay to have these so-called by his own words assault-style rifles and now they are grandfathered in. They are not affected; only future firearms are affected. It is actually a point that has been made by several members of the Bloc and by the New Democrats as well that it is only future firearms that have not been manufactured yet, and hunters should be satisfied with that.
One, two or three generations from now, these firearms will get older, break down, be lost or damaged through use or misuse or simply be sold off due to families not wanting to keep them anymore because there is so much licensing involved. The Liberals are talking about the future. There will be a dwindling number of hunters, and the intention of the government is to dwindle them down. The public safety minister claimed there was this crisis going on, that we must seize these firearms from lawful firearms owners, that they should be taken away from hunters, and now, suddenly, we do not have this crisis. Now it is suddenly okay. Now they are grandfathered. I find that interesting. Constituents pointed it out to me.
More seriously, though, a member is a former member of the RCMP, in I Division. We used to joke in our caucus that decades ago, if we heard a cough at the end of our analog phone line, it was probably I Division listening in. The member was an RCMP officer. I was looking at the statistics for how many peace officers and police officers have been killed. In the past 20 years, 40 police officers and peace officers have been killed in the line of duty, 11 in the last 30 months and eight in the last nine months.
The reason we are going down this dark path is government legislation that has been passed since 2015. Bill C-21 is trying to make up for the errors the Liberals have made in criminal justice legislation, from Bill C-75 that hybridized a bunch of offences to Bill C-5. In Bill C-5, they changed things like extortion with a firearm, weapons trafficking, importing or exporting, knowing the firearm is unauthorized, discharging a firearm with intent, including things like drive-by shootings, possession of a firearm, knowing its possession is unauthorized or illegally possessing a firearm. None of those have mandatory prison time any longer. The offenders serve their time at home if the judge determines that is appropriate.
I have a Yiddish proverb, before I read some thoughts from my constituents, who are my bosses. The proverb is, “The truth comes out like oil on water.” It percolates right to the top. I have been listening to the speeches and interventions by different members so far in this House. Again, we were told by the public safety minister that there was an urgent public safety crisis on our streets with these Black Stock firearms that should be taken off our streets, and now, suddenly, they are all grandfathered in. That has now become a talking point with some members. Something has changed. What has changed is low polling numbers and bad emails from upset constituents.
I will read some emails from my constituents, but I will only use their first names because I do not want the government to go after them. Ryan said, “Today, the federal Liberal government and their disgusting coalition with the federal NDP, as well as the Bloc, shut down the possibility of any further debate around their proposed amendments to C-21. The plan moving forward will be to appoint a meaningless panel that will essentially prohibit any firearm that they see fit.” A wise man is this Ryan. He knows exactly where this is going with this so-called firearms advisory committee. He went on to say, “All whilst completely disregarding the long heritage and tradition of firearms in Canada. This is a vicious slap in the face to the millions of responsible PAL and RPAL holders in Canada.”
I should probably disclose to Ryan and other constituents that I do not have a PAL or an RPAL, but I do appreciate the fact that they have a right to hunt and sharp shoot.
Christina and Maury said, “Considering the unethical and unconstitutional implementation of Bill C-21 originally, I would suggest that the bill be scrapped in its entirety.” Terence said, “Stop motion on Bill C-21.” Matthew said, “I'm not asking to kill the bill but vote against the Liberals' motion to ram the bill through the House without proper representation and debate.”
Craig said, “What the Liberals are doing is not democratic or constitutional. As a law-abiding firearms owner I feel insulted this bill is before us in the first place. We are not the issue, the criminals are the issue and yet it feels like they are getting a free pass.” Darren said, “This federal government is circumventing democratic and parliamentary due process and it must be stopped.” Another Matthew said, “I want it also to be known that I strongly oppose bills C-11, C-15 and C-21.”
When the general public knows the numbers of the bills, we know that there is a problem. We know that the oil has floated up to the top of the water, and the common-sense Canadian is seeing that Bill C-21 makes no sense.
An email from Brian said, “Like the many law-abiding hunters, farmers, sport shooters and indigenous peoples in this country I feel betrayed [by the Liberal government].” Pat said, “It will cost taxpayers upwards of a billion dollars, money that would be better spent on increased monitoring of our borders to prevent gun trafficking.” Lee-Ann said, “Those of us who own guns have gone through training and vetting to be able to legally purchase and own these guns. We are responsible members of society who are being unfairly penalized because of leftist ideology, and it needs to be stopped.”
The Liberals’ New Assault on the Free Press
The Liberals continue their authoritarian turn. After forcing censorship Bill C-11 through Parliament, the Liberals are now turning their attention to censoring news media in the future. At the Liberal Party convention, delegates passed a policy resolution to “hold online information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms, and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced." This is a direct attack on journalistic independence. Their proposal undermines press freedoms. In a free society, we should cherish freedom of expression.
Calling for online platforms and news channels online like CTV, Global or PBS to be held accountable for their journalism, and to be obliged to submit to having their sources traced, is autocratic overreach. It's a further sign that the party is drifting away from its historic roots in liberalism and towards more authoritarian measures seen in repressive regimes around the world. While the Liberals may claim its non-binding, its revealing that so many of their rank-and-file supporters are supportive of censoring the news media, as well as allowing the government to dictate who is truthful and whose opinions are sourced to the level politicians or bureaucrats believe correct. It was over a decade ago that a Liberal party convention called for legalization of marijuana, and then hard drugs like cocaine. Both of these are now reality. We should be wary of the federal Liberal government claiming it is not binding. They morph these past resolutions into government policy eventually.
Help for Alberta Wildfires
Like many constituents, I am deeply concerned by the wildfires in central and northern Alberta. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected. If you have family members or friends in the region, the most up-to-date evacuation information is available at alberta.ca/emergency, Alberta Emergency Alert or by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert mobile app, which immediately pushes all alerts out to subscribers. Albertans seeking information or supports can call 310-4455. All other information on the wildfires can be found on the Alberta government’s wildfire page below.
For those evacuated due to wildfires, please register at a local reception centre or at emergencyregistration.alberta.ca.
The Red Cross has set up a donation portal here to help evacuees: www.redcross.ca. The federal government and the Alberta government will each match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross 2023 Alberta Fires Appeal. This means that every $1 donated will become $3 to support those affected by the wildfires.
Governors General rack up over $80,000 in clothing expenses
In response to a recent order paper question by MP Kelly McCauley and reported in the National Post, government documents revealed that Governors General Julie Payette and Mary Simon have spent $88,000 in clothing expenses since 2017. It is understandable that items are purchased for ceremonial activities and significant events. Conservatives are supportive of expenditures for Inuit-designed wear or clothing made by First Nations. Such is expected of the Governor General’s role and function in occasions like state visits or foreign travel. However, many expenses appeared to be for everyday or personal use, such as $140 for flat shoes, $200 for boots, and T-shirts. The governor general’s annual salary is $342,100. They can easily afford to purchase work clothing and make do like every single other working Canadian. I would never even think of expensing such things to the taxpayer. We need more common sense in these high profile roles.
Recent Survey Results
Canadians are hurting. As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, the last thing Canadians deserve is for the federal government to take even more from their wallets. Yet, that is exactly what they have done. This year, the Liberal government followed through with increases to the carbon tax, payroll and alcohol taxes. Earlier this year, I sent a survey around asking residents what were their thoughts on the tax increases and if they opposed them.
The majority of you came to the same conclusion that I did, opposing all new tax increases for workers and seniors. It is simple, common sense. When things are more expensive, the federal government has no reason to add to your burdens by increasing costs that hurts your pockets. My conservative colleagues and I voted against every tax increase proposed by the Liberal government.
As always, I look forward to reading your responses to my survey mailers I send out. I read each survey that comes back with your feedback.
Clean Fuel Standard: Carbon Tax 2.0
There is now a carbon tax 2.0 that will increase the financial burdens on Canadians, a sequel that nobody wanted. This week, the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer tabled his analysis of the Clean Fuel Regulations, finding that the regulations will cost the average household as much as $573 a year while decreasing GDP in Canada by up to 0.3%. Families in some provinces face costs as high as $1,157 a year. The first carbon tax already cost 37 cents per litre. The second carbon tax costs 17 cents per litre. Once you factor in sales taxes, that comes out to a whopping 61 cents per litre in new taxes for Canadians. How out of touch is this government that they continue to increase burdens upon Canadians in the midst of increasing inflation and a cost-of-living crisis? Conservatives will axe these taxes and bring home affordability for Canadians. We will protect our environment through technology, not taxes.