Campaign #7 - Liberal Talking Points
At this point we are seeing Liberal MP's respond with what are clearly talking points given to them from the Minister of Public Safety's office. All of these points are easily refuted as is the premise for the entire bill. This campaign is written in a voice talking to the Public Safety Minister, but is also copied to your local MP and several other key people. As the MP's are back in their ridings until April 16th this campaign will run long in order to get maximum saturation. Time for us to debunk their talking points!
The Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P.:
It has become evident to the firearms community that our MP’s have been given talking points about bill C-71 to repeat to their constituents. I would like to address those talking points, starting with the premise for the bill.
First you stated a dramatic rise in gun crime since 2013. You used 2013 as a point of comparison at the Gangs and Guns summit, at your press conference introducing C-71, and in the House of Commons during the 2nd reading of the bill. While it is true, it is nonetheless a dishonest statement meant to mislead the public. The CBC called you out on this with an article (ref. 1) that showed 2013 to be an anomalous year. So anomalous in fact that Canada’s homicide rate was the lowest in 50 years and it was “the lowest rate of fatal shootings ever recorded by Statistics Canada.” Let me repeat that for absolute clarity, 2013 saw the lowest rate of gun homicides ever recorded in Canada.
The article further stated, to be objective a statistician “would look at how a particular year compares to the average of the 10 years preceding it” and “a few years does not a trend make.” As for later years “if, rather than picking the lowest year for comparison, one were to ask how 2016 compared with a decade before, one would find that the rate of firearms homicides remained boringly unchanged.” I won’t quote the whole article but it goes on to shoot more holes in your premise for C-71.
Enhanced background checks is a dog whistle term that has been imported from the US. Do we have a problem with the existing background check system? The lack of gun crime perpetrated by licensed gun owners would strongly indicate we do not. Violent offenders are given firearms prohibition orders. Those with such orders do not get PALs. Who will evaluate these new extended background checks? What will their qualifications be? Will they have a degree in clinical psychology? Why is there no appeal process for these new background checks? What is the cost of these enhanced checks going to be on an on-going basis? Where is the evidence the existing 5-year background checks are failing public safety?
The transfer system is supposed to be about verifying a buyer's license. If so, then why the need for an expensive registrar and transfer system? Why not just change the wording of the Firearms Act to require verbal or online validation? Instead, you are creating the same infrastructure of the wasteful long gun registry. Just because the firearm itself isn’t recorded doesn’t mean this won’t be another costly boondoggle. Such as system is not capable of preventing straw purchases from private sellers either despite your claim in the House of Commons that it could.
Another concern is the requirement for businesses to maintain records for 20 years. Here you have created potentially thousands of mini long gun registries. What are the security implications with that many registries? Will it be a book (eventually several books) under the counter? Who will have access? Will there be thousands of databases created on computers that can be hacked and information about firearms locations sold to gangs?
Another talking point: “restoring a system in which Parliament defines firearms classes and then experts in the RCMP make the technical determination about which class a particular firearm falls into, without political influence. This will ensure the impartial, professional, accurate and consistent classification of firearms.” Well we know from recent history that the RCMP is anything but impartial, accurate or consistent with classification. Perhaps more importantly we also know that “converted auto” and “variant” are not well defined in the Firearms Act.
More egregiously you are not putting classification solely in the hands of the RCMP at all, despite your claims otherwise. You have kept the ability through the Governor in Council to decree any firearm restricted or prohibited. If you truly believe in the definitions outlined in the Firearms Act are enough for the RCMP to work with, then you will also eliminate the existing OIC’s where a firearm is named prohibited or restricted contrary to said definitions.
Authorizations to transport are a holdover from the pre-Firearms Act days where a Firearms Acquisition Certificate was required to obtain but not possess a firearm. With the Firearms Act and current licensing system the authorization to transport makes no sense and has zero impact on public safety. The Firearms Act, section 19, states explicitly where restricted and prohibited firearms may be transported. An owner’s Possession and Acquisition License for restricted and/or prohibited firearms is their authorization under the Firearms Act to transport. How wasteful of resources both paper and electronic authorizations to transport are and a complete sham where public safety is concerned.
Finally, the re-formed Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee is neither balanced nor more representative. You have no one who is involved in the shooting sports so popular today (restricted pistols and rifles) or anyone who is a true expert on firearms such as an experienced gunsmith or manufacturer. But most atrociously you have a person with a big conflict of interest, namely Natalie Provost.
Ms Provost is a high profile member and spokesperson for Poly Remembers, a group that lobbies the government for more gun control. The Advisory Committee’s terms of reference forbid members to engage in lobbying activities. Yet in November 2017, Poly Remembers sent a letter (ref. 2) to the government, co-signed by Ms Provost, lobbying for more gun control with very specific requests. Some of those requests are now part of bill C-71.
Licensed gun owners want a reduction in gun violence just as much as any other Canadian does, perhaps more so as we are often made scapegoats for the actions of others as we are now with bill C-71. This is not a solution. It is the politics of convenience in order to be seen doing “something”.
Restricting the actions of the innocent has no positive effect on the horrible actions of the malevolent. Your attack on the innocent people of Canada must cease. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a real difference instead of political enemies. Scrap C-71. Gun owners will support you in real efforts to tackle gangs, criminals and the root causes of both.
Refs: (1) www.cbc.ca/news/politics/gun-crime-goodale-canada-1.4585097
Cc: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
, M.P., House of Commons
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice
Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Hon. Larry Bagnell, M.P., House of Commons
Hon. Wayne Easter, M.P., House of Commons
Bill Blair, M.P., House of Commons
Sean Casey, M.P., House of Commons
Mark Holland, M.P., House of Commons
Marco Mendicino, M.P., House of Commons
T.J. Harvey, M.P., House of Commons
Gudie Hutchings, M.P., House of Commons
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