RCMP ‘Contempt of Parliament’ Review Is First of Its Kind: Motz
TheGunBlog.ca — The House of Commons committee investigation of the RCMP undermining parliament on Bill C-71 is the first review of its kind in Canadian history, said Glen Motz, the member of parliament who requested the examination.
The House’s Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will begin studying the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s so-called “contempt of parliament” tomorrow at noon in Ottawa, with Motz as the first witness. (See below for how to watch.)
The Speaker of the House, the body’s chief administrative officer, said in June he agreed with Motz that the RCMP undermined the authority of parliament by publishing instructions and deadlines relating to Bill C-71 as if the draft legislation were already passed into law. The bill was still being debated in the House. It’s now before the Senate.
“This is the first time a committee will study the matter of government publications that prejudge the outcome of parliamentary decisions,” Motz’s office said in a statement dated Oct. 26. “A fundamental principle of our democracy is that ministers, departments and agencies are not permitted to assume Parliament will act according to their plans and must seek approval of elected officials before acting.”
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Motz, a career police officer, has led Conservative Party opposition to Bill C-71 since the governing Liberal Party proposed the law in March to further penalize lawful hunters and sport shooters. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has pledged to repeal the bill if it passes and he is elected prime minister.
Bans for Votes
A public-relations firm that advises the government has said increasing prohibitions and restrictions on lawful firearm users presents an “untapped opportunity” for Trudeau and the Liberals to win more votes in the next election.
TheGunBlog.ca was the first to report the RCMP appeared to be enforcing Bill C-71.
Update Oct. 30: “We are aware of the Speaker’s ruling regarding the question of privilege related to information posted to the Canadian Firearms Program’s website, and the referral of this question to the House of Commons Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for further study. The RCMP is cooperating in the process,” the Ottawa-based RCMP said Oct. 30 by e-mail in response to TheGunBlog.ca.
The Ministry of Public Safety, which oversees the federal police, didn’t respond to a request from TheGunBlog.ca for comment on the committee session.
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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. Motz focused on Special Business Bulletin No. 93.
- 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 in what is known as “contempt of parliament.”
- 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.
- October 30 (Pending): House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to review RCMP’s “contempt of parliament” on Bill C-71.
- May 09: RCMP Is So Eager to Ban Guns It’s Already Enforcing Bill C-71
- May 30: RCMP Alters Bill C-71 Website After MP Questions Appropriateness
- Jun 21: RCMP Undermined Parliament on Bill C-71, House Speaker Says
- Jul 04: RCMP Rewrites Bill C-71 Website After Criticism
Update Oct. 30 11:20 Toronto time: Adds RCMP comment in eighth paragraph.
Correction: 20:35 Toronto time: Corrects date of Motz statement in fourth paragraph.)
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