Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale named a retired Supreme Court judge, an Olympic shooter and an anti-gun activist to advise him on firearms laws and policies, suggesting he wants a diversity of views.
Goodale appointed retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major as chair of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, the ministry said today on its website. He also named two vice-chairs: Lynda Kiejko, one of two Team Canada shooters at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and Montreal-based Nathalie Provost, who campaigns with PolySeSouvient against shooters and firearms. More members will be announced.
Revamping the committee was among the Liberal government’s election-campaign pledges to thwart violent criminals and increase paperwork and restrictions on the 2.1 million Canadians with police-issued licences to own guns.
‘No Unfair Impact’
“The government is hard at work on our commitments to reduce gun violence through balanced, effective firearms measures that prioritize public safety while ensuring we do not unfairly impact law-abiding Canadians,” Goodale said in today’s news release. “Because decisions about firearms affect all Canadians, the Government of Canada is renewing the membership of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to be representative of a broad range of interests.”
Major, 85, was one of the judges to preside over the R. v. Hasselwander case that influenced Canadian firearms classifications and, even though his view lost, he “made a fantastically well-researched and comprehensive argument,” Daniel Fritter said in Calibre magazine.
“We take hope, knowing the esteemed John Major’s mind in such a case as the Hasselwander decision, and look forward to his continued service,” Fritter said in Calibre.
Mother, Engineer, Olympian
Kiejko, 36, has been into guns since she was a girl. She won two medals in 10-metre air pistol and 25-metre pistol at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 before qualifying for the Rio Olympics. When she isn’t caring for her daughter or working as an engineer, the Calgary-based athlete is competing around the world, promoting shooting in her community and educating people in the safe and skilled use of firearms. She understands how Canada’s firearms laws constrain law-abiding shooters, without stopping violent criminals who disobey the law.
“I’ve been in the sport for a long time, and it has done so many great things for my life,” Kiejko told TheGunBlog.ca in an interview just before the Rio Olympics. “If someone has the intent to do something dangerous, having a rule in place isn’t really going to stop them.”
‘Designed to Kill’
Provost, also a mother and an engineer, is a spokeswoman for PolySeSouvient in Montreal. She was wounded in the shooting massacre that left 15 people dead, including the killer, at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. She was hit by four bullets, CBC News said.
“By definition, a firearm is designed to kill,” she said in an opinion column in 2014 in Le Journal de Montréal. “It’s a dangerous object, that deserves our attention and respect. It’s a privilege to be able to use one, not a right, because it’s dangerous: for oneself and for others, these others often being our family and friends.”
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