TheGunBlog.ca — Glen Motz, a member of parliament for Canada’s opposition Conservative Party, comments on a soaring new petition he sponsored to stop government plans to order mass rifle confiscations.
- “An order in council is wrong.”
- It “circumvents the whole democratic process.”
- “Why don’t they do an order in council on the gang violence?”
- Important: After you sign the e-petition on the House of Commons website, check your inbox and junk/spam folder to confirm your support, or it won’t count.
- The e-petition crossed 42,000 signatures during our conversation.
Petition e-2341 Excerpt
The use of an Order in Council is an egregious overreach of executive authorities, bypassing the democratic process of the House and the elected representatives of Canadians;
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to put any new firearms laws, bans, buyback programs or changes to licencing before the House of Commons to be debated.
Source: Petition e-2341
- Member of parliament from Medicine Hat, Alberta
- Associate Shadow Minister for Public Safety
- Sponsored the petition by Bradley Manysiak
- Helped lead Conservative opposition to Bill C-71, a new law against federally licensed firearm users
- Entered politics after a career in policing
- Has a “Restricted” class firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (RPAL).
Government Declines Comment
The Ministry of Public Safety declined to comment on the process, timing or other details of its planned confiscations when contacted yesterday by TheGunBlog.ca.
Minister Bill Blair said two weeks ago he’s working “as quickly as possible” on the so-called cabinet order in council to initiate the mass prohibitions-confiscations of 250,000 hunting and sporting rifles.
The governing Liberal Party is also working to pass laws against Canada’s roughly 300,000 federally licensed handgun owners.
Motz spoke with TheGunBlog.ca today by telephone. The interview was edited for clarity.
Q&A With Glen Motz
Reading the petition, is the intent to stop the gun confiscations, or to stop confiscation by order in council?
I think it’s two things. A, that an order in council is wrong. This is a big conversation. Public safety is a huge issue. If we’re going to have this debate in Canada, let’s do it where we can call witnesses and have a debate. The order in council circumvents the whole democratic process.
2. The issue is that people are opposed to a gun ban, period. It’s one of those things where, why the attack on Canadian firearm owners?
Again, let’s focus attention, let’s focus resources on actions dealing with some of the issues. If there are challenges, gaps in our current system that we need to address, then let’s address them. Let’s close those up and make our system stronger. No firearm owners are going to be opposed to that, no legal ones.
Let’s focus on gangs and gun violence. Let’s stop the smuggling of firearms. Let’s hold those who use firearms in the commission of offences responsible. Let’s give law-enforcement some resources. That is the message that we’re hearing loud and clear.
What’s behind the timing of this petition?
We heard this on the election trail, the platform from the Liberals.
I’ve had conversations with Mr. Blair already, who has confirmed that this is something that they are pursuing. Although they are ignoring evidence and facts, just basing things on emotion, it’s a little problematic.
So we’ve had some disagreement already on that, on the best way to move forward on this.
So the timing, we just said, it is post-election. This is coming out again. Mr. Manysiak, he brought this forward. We worked with him on the language.
Of course this is front and centre in the firearm community’s mind in Canada.
As a party, I’m holding back on a lot of positions as well, with my colleagues, on how we approach this because we don’t know the details just yet.
I certainly love the momentum that’s being generated with this petition.
It’s on track to be one of the fastest and largest petitions in Canadian e-petition history. That’s fantastic. Led by Ontario so far. They lead the pack on those who have signed the petition so far, which is fantastic.
The timing is that people are talking about it so we need to keep working that way. It depends how long we chat. It might hit 42,000 before we’re done.
It’s already No. 7 out of 826 e-petitons after less than 72 hours.
There’s some people out there saying, “Let’s pump this over 250,000.” Why stop there?
Let’s send this loud and clear message that Canadians need to be consulted. This is their property.
No one is opposed to keeping Canadians safe. But focusing on those who don’t commit crimes, who are the most-vetted in our society, is again a Liberal failed approach to this issue.
Let’s target those who are causing the mayhem in our communities with gun violence.
Now, can we strengthen our current system? Sure we can. No one is opposed to that. But just to say we’re going to go and draw guns from people who own them …
So just a couple things I think people miss here. We have the firearm owners, the legal, law-abiding Canadian firearm owners by the millions. Then we have a large, thriving industry — the firearm wholesalers and retailers and all the tens of thousands of people who work in the industry — who are also impacted by this. They have inventory. Are the taxpayers going to pay for that inventory as well?
Honestly, this could be in the billions of dollars.
Let’s say it’s only $1 billion. If we were to spend $1 billion over the next four years or five years, or whatever it looks like, on say on anti-smuggling with CBSA and law enforcement outside of that, with gang-prevention initiatives, with mental-health and addiction issues, strengthen provincial CFO and build their capacity and being persistent there, the justice system, law-enforcement teams, and on and on and on.
That is going to make a difference on public safety. Let’s close up some of the gaps that we can all identify and all agree on, and move forward. I can’t imagine how much better that would be than the proposed plan.
This is really, it’s driven by emotion, not fact. The Liberals are politicizing an issue trying to garner further support from their base. This is not a factual conversation. It isn’t. You know this.
Where’s this going to have a positive impact on public safety? I don’t know. And all the misinformation that is on and on out there is disturbing to me.
And all your thoughts on public safety, you’re a career police officer. You dedicated your life to public safety.
Yes, and law enforcement across this land has been pretty consistent in their messaging. Banning firearms, banning handguns — I know this [order in council] is more of a long-gun ban that the Liberals are talking about — but any of these sorts of bans are not shown to have support or actually make a difference to public safety.
Let’s give the justice system some teeth. Let’s hold criminals to account when they use firearms in the commission of an offence. Let’s stop people from getting involved in criminal activity to begin with, especially in those vulnerable populations and areas where that seems to be the draw. Let’s stop the illegal flow of firearms. Let’s ensure that our current system is strengthened so that those who should not have access to firearm, that the system has the capacity to identify those at the front end.
No one is opposed to any of those things.
Have I got this right: The government could use an order in council to ban buying, selling, import, export, transport today if they wanted. Is that correct?
As I understand it as well, cabinet has the authority to reclassify firearms through a cabinet decision.
They claim to be removing politics from firearm classification. But they’re actually doing that right now on C-71, and have been for a period of time.
We don’t know what their plan is. We can only guess at this point because they’ve made a little, “Hey, we’re going to do an OIC on firearms bans.”
Well, why would they do that as opposed to having vigorous debate?
I think if they were to subject this to vigorous debate, they’d hear loud and clear that there is no support for it.
Getting back to your question, does this whole thing mean that “Restricted” and potentially “Non-restricted” firearms could become “Prohibited,” making it illegal to buy them, sell them, import them, transfer them, take them out of your home, I suspect so.
We assume that this plan will reference some sort of a confiscation program of some kind as well.
We don’t know how this is going to look.
The whole other angle that we aren’t really talking about is the harassment. The Liberals have effectively said to hundreds of thousands of people out of potentially millions, that we are on watch and they’re coming for us. I could not imagine any other object or group of people that would be targeted this way without massive uproar. I realize that’s outside the scope of the petition.
I think many Canadians would agree with that assessment, Nicolas.
I think what’s interesting is, when I look across the spectrum of people, you know, every couple of hours when I have a couple minutes, I [log on?] to either reply back to comments or to “like” comments, [people say things like], “I don’t have a PAL or an RPAL and I don’t have any firearms, but this is wrong.”
So it’s not just the firearms community who is saying, “We oppose this. Is this a democracy?” It’s Canadians writ large saying, “Hold on a second, you’re going to do what? No! No! Whether I support the current gun laws or not, this is not how you go about things.”
I can understand if we have an out-of-control problem where you need to have expedited reaction to public safety.
I mean, why don’t they do an order in council on the gang violence? Seriously.
Or why don’t they do an order in council on smuggling? Why don’t they do an order in council on sentencing? If they’re that serious about public safety, then let’s do orders in council on some things that are going to make a difference to public safety.
Canadians are up in arms about the fact that, under the guise of public safety, they’re going to go after firearms that don’t pose a threat to public safety. People pose the threat. So let’s just make sure that the system is [rigorous?] and robust to ensure that those who should not have firearms, or access to firearms, do not have them, do not get them.
I feel this is a governance crisis more than a public-safety issue.
Yes and no. Let me try and answer it for you this way: We have a public-safety issue in our country. We have rising rural crime rates, rising faster in rural Canada than in urban Canada. It’s serious. We have urban criminals going out and preying on rural Canadians. We have gangs in Toronto, in Montreal, in the lower mainland, who are preying on vulnerabilities of community and using firearms and causing various concerns. So we need to focus on that.
But we also have a governance issue. It’s almost as if, “OK, we no longer have a majority. We can’t bully our way through legislation any more, so we’re going to try another method that sends a really strong message.”
You can posture all you want as a government, but at the end of the day it’s going to be the results. It’s going to be the results.
New Zealand had an emotional reaction to their tragedy there. But it’s not as they thought it was going to be. I don’t know the latest stats, but the last I heard it was only 17% of law-abiding firearm owners there had turned in any of their firearms. And I would guess the number of criminals who turned in their firearms is zero.
Do we have a perfect system? No. Can we improve what we have? Yes. Do we need to do this overreach? It’s an egregious overreach. And that’s a word that’s used in our petition. It’s an egregious overreach by government.
I want to make it very, very clear, Nicolas, all Canadians would agree, PAL or RPAL holders or not, that the tragedies that we’ve experienced in this country with the use of firearms are unacceptable. But this response to it is equally unacceptable.
Where is our community discourse on this? Where is our debating on this? Why can’t we sit down and figure out a way that we can actually improve the system, rather than iron-fistedly, almost like a dictatorship, say, “We’re going to do this, and it’s going to have an impact because we say so.”
Well, I’m sorry. But you’re already focusing on a group of Canadians who are less likely than even the average Canadian to commit a criminal offence, let alone a firearm offence. It’s misguided.
I want to sit down with Mr. Blair and my colleagues from all parties and say, “OK, how can we actually impact, in a positive way, public safety?”
We have guys like Adam Vaughan in Toronto, he’s been really annoying me lately about some of the comments he’s making about the AR-15. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
The public conversation is based on misinformation and half-truths or no truth.
So we need to educate. We need to understand. We need to hear. We need to listen. We need to sit down together and work out how we can improve, straight across the board, public safety.
We don’t do it by targeting law-abiding Canadians. We do it by targeting those who choose to not follow the laws that already exist. And we have some pretty good legislation in place already in this country.
To me this whole process is a little misguided.
What does AR stand for? I mean before it was changed to “armalite rifle” Weapons designed for military use should not be owned by civilians. Period. pic.twitter.com/hb9T0Xku1O
— Adam Vaughan (@TOAdamVaughan) December 17, 2019
The signatures on the petition show that this is really resonating with people across the country. Is this grassroots, or is this coordinated with other groups or organizations?
That’s the beauty about this. We have reached out to everybody that said, “Share this!”
But this is a grassroots-initiated, grassroots-led, Canadian public, non-special-interest group, push that said, “Government, stay within your lane here.” Right? That’s my paraphrase of it, but it’s just like, we’re people. We’re people, too.
If you look at one of the comments …
The one about “We don’t count?”
Yes. We took that paragraph out of a gentleman’s email to us. And it is so true. Use that. Use that, Nicolas.
It’s like, this is the sort of messaging and emails and comments we’re getting from people, like: “Don’t we matter, too? We’re not a threat to Canadians. We’re not a threat to public safety. Don’t we matter? Doesn’t our opinion matter?”
Someone who wrote into my office summarized how many firearms owners feel about this Liberal government
"We are no longer people – we don't count."
— Glen Motz (@GlenMotz) December 19, 2019
How does the government buy the confiscated firearms after the prohibition order?
The only thing we haven’t touched on yet this morning, Nicolas, is we talked about the order in council, but the government will need to pass legislation to get authorization to buy any firearms that they want to confiscate.
Could they hide that inside of a budget bill? Yes, they could. [It’s easy to hide things in an omnibus bill.]
Could they try and sway different opposition parties by saying, “Hey, look at all we’re giving you, look at all the stuff we’re going to include for you based on your budget. Also, we’re going to do this,” and try and hide it. It’s possible.
You’re talking about the procedural tactics that they could use to pass this through relatively quickly?
[Bill] C-71 took a year or 15-months to get Royal Assent.
I suspect the most-likely way to get legislation passed to buy confiscated firearms would be likely in a budget, because budgets get passed more quickly than any other legislation.
I also suspect it would take some significant time to stand up the mechanism, the logistics and organization, for lack of a better word, to do this program, to do a confiscation program.
Or, just speculating, or will they make [inaudible] perform some of these actions? We’ll have to wait until they tell us. We don’t know. We don’t know.
Anything to add from the point of view of the party?
I think it’s fair to say, we’re looking, as Conservatives, we’ve always supported our firearms community.
We’re all on the same page, we want public safety. That hasn’t changed.
We need to be looking at all the tools that we can use, the resources that we can put at for stopping criminals and not spending this money —millions, hundreds of millions or maybe more — from people who have no criminal past, which is why they have firearms in the first place.
I think we just passed 42,000 during this conversation.
Yes, it is now at 42,017. Super!
That’s awesome! Thank you, Nicolas, for promoting this for us as well.
You have a large readership and following, and making it easy for them.
We would ask one thing. Let people know on your blog that, when they get that confirmation e-mail back, if they don’t get it right away, check junk mail.
Remind people that, if you’re waiting for your e-petition confirmation e-mail, check your junk mail as well. It may be in there.
As a sign of respect for this incredible firearm community, the law-abiding Canadian community, let’s blow this petition out of the water. Let’s make it the biggest in Canadian history ever, now and moving forward.
And even though it’s like, “Ah, we’re just signing a petition. It means nothing.” You know what? It means a lot. It sends a message.
Canadians can also write to the PM and Blair and let them know unequivocally that this is egregious overreach.
We need to all do our parts to make sure that the messaging and the facts are clear. Canadians, once they know the facts, will probably take a second sober thought on, “Is this really the right way to go about this?” and not just get caught up in all the emotional rhetoric.
Let’s look at facts. Let’s fix what we can fix. Let’s work together to try and do that, but let’s not do it the way it’s being planned.
Let’s not approach this the way the Liberals are planning to approach this.