TheGunBlog.ca — The Royal Canadian Mounted Police rewrote its web pages on Bill C-71 after being criticized for undermining parliament and misleading the public by seeming to enforce the draft law to ban more guns.
The new wording says the bill is proposed legislation introduced to the House of Commons, and shows it is a hypothetical possibility rather than law. The RCMP also clarified the steps licensed firearm owners would need to follow to avoid going to prison if the bill is passed.
Bill C-71 is the first proposed legislation in a generation aimed at making it tougher for lawful, licensed, legitimate Canadians to buy, sell, own and use firearms. It seeks to confiscate as many as 15,000 legally owned rifles, make it easier to refuse and revoke firearm licences, and increase tracking of licensed gun owners.
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“The RCMP is continuously reviewing its website content to ensure that it addresses the issues as efficiently, and with as much clarity, as possible,” Marie Damian, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based police, said today by e-mail in response to questions from TheGunBlog.ca. “This is part of regular work that is undertaken, making every effort to provide the most current information on our website.”
Example of Revised Sentence
- May 8 (original): Bill C-71 will affect your Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) model 858 firearms in one of three ways.
- May 30: Bill C-71 would affect your Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) model 858 firearms in one of three ways.
- July 3: Should Bill C-71 (as introduced on March 20, 2018) become law, your Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ) model 858 firearms may be affected in one of two ways: …
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Criticism of the federal police’s handling of the bill mounted after TheGunBlog.ca reported May 9 that the RCMP seemed to be enforcing a non-existent law. That report is the most-viewed article this year at TheGunBlog.ca.
In addition to the overhaul yesterday, on May 30 the RCMP changed the title of its Bill C-71 pages and added an introductory note.
On May 29, Glen Motz, an opposition member of parliament, told the House of Commons that the website undermined the authority of parliament to pass or defeat legislative proposals by suggesting Bill C-71 was in effect or would take effect.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, the body’s chief administrative officer, investigated the matter and agreed.
“Parliament’s authority in scrutinizing and adopting legislative proposals remains unquestionable and should not be taken for granted,” House Speaker Geoff Regan told the House of Commons on June 19. “The Chair is troubled by the careless manner in which the RCMP chose to ignore this vital fact and, for more than three weeks, allowed citizens and retailers to draw improper conclusions as to their obligations under the law. Changing the website after the fact does little to alleviate these concerns.”
Highlights of Changes to RCMP Website on Bill C-71 for Individuals
Timeline of RCMP Web Pages on Bill C-71
- March 20: Government proposes Bill C-71 to ban more firearms and further restrict federally licensed hunters, farmers, recreational shooters and competitors.
- May 8: RCMP publishes web pages on “How does Bill C-71 affect individuals?” and “How does Bill C-71 affect businesses?” ordering compliance with measures and deadlines in draft text of law.
- May 9: TheGunBlog.ca is first to report how the website seeks to enforce the draft law.
- May 16: RCMP tells TheGunBlog.ca it aims for greater clarity and is “in the process of reviewing the information that was posted.”
- May 29: Opposition MP Glen Motz tells House of Commons the RCMP website on Bill C-71 undermines the authority of parliament.
- May 30: RCMP updates Bill C-71 web pages, changes title to “How would Bill C-71 affect individuals?” and adds introduction saying content is to provide guidance if proposed bill becomes law.
- June 4: RCMP tells TheGunBlog.ca it’s “continuously reviewing” the website to ensure clarity and avoid confusion.
- June 19: Speaker of the House of Commons says RCMP undermined the authority of parliament and misled the public with Bill C-71 web pages.
- June 21: RCMP Bill C-71 website briefly goes offline because of a computer-server fault.
- July 3: RCMP rewrites Bill C-71 web pages to say it is proposed legislation before the House of Commons, use wording to show conditionality, and clarify steps for firearm owners to avoid prison if bill becomes law.
- July 4: RCMP tells TheGunBlog.ca it is “continuously reviewing” website content to address issues as efficiently and clearly as possible.
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