National Competitor Nils Ek Q&A: Why I Took the Liberals to Court

Exclusive Q&A with Nils Ek, a Canadian national pistol competitor.

22 Aug 2020

4 min read

Nils Ek with a bronze medal, 2017.

TheGunBlog.ca — Nils Ek, a Canadian national pistol competitor, discusses why he joined a group fighting the governing Liberal Party in Federal Court, saying their mass gun confiscations are unconstitutional and illegal.

TheGunBlog.ca spoke with Ek by e-mail over the past month.

The editor of TheGunBlog.ca has donated to Ek’s case and others among the six challenges in Federal Court.

You can donate to Ek’s group via a GoFundMe.com campaign set up by the Ontario Landowners Association.

Nils Ek

  • Lives in Montreal
  • Member, Shooting Federation of Canada, the national governing body for competitive shooting
  • Competes with .22LR pistol, centrefire pistol and air pistol in matches at 10 metres, 25 metres and 50 metres
  • Career: Meteorologist (Retired)
  • PDF of his group’s Application for Judicial Review of the confiscation Order in Council

Q&A With Nils Ek

What motivated you to challenge the confiscation Order in Council?
I believe that the government’s reasons justifying the OIC are very arbitrary and illogical. It makes no sense to me for the government to ban our guns while ignoring real issues that underlie crime in Canada.

I’d signed the record-breaking e-petitions, but it appears that they are ignored by this government.

Hoping for a solution from an election is uncertain. I see no guarantee that if an election were held, there would be any change to our predicament.

It seems to me that the only means at our disposal that stands a chance of reversing this poorly conceived legislation is through the courts.


How did you get involved?
I read an Internet article by a lawyer on how to apply for Judicial Review of the OIC, and on what grounds the most basic case could be made (i.e., the firearms had been licensed and used for sporting purposes, and that there is a section in the Firearms Act that specifically prevents the banning of firearms deemed reasonable for sporting use).

I decided that submitting my own Application for Judicial Review was too difficult, so I contacted the author of the Internet article, Mr. Arkadi Bouchelev, a lawyer practicing in Ontario.

Several other people across the country had also contacted him for the same purpose and we agreed to submit our applications as a group.


What’s it like to prepare a lawsuit, and to do it with a bunch of strangers?
Obviously we’ve had to do all our communication electronically (phone, text, email).

The nine of us who made the commitment supplied Mr. Bouchelev with the relevant information for the application that is now on public record.

Given the distances and restrictions due to Covid-19, it’s not likely that the group will be meeting up anytime soon.


How much does a court challenge like this cost?
Our fundraising goal of $100K was our lawyer’s estimate based on his expertise and experience.

I don't think the final tally is something that can be predicted with precision.

No one in our group has anything to gain financially from pursuing this case.

It is a public-interest legal challenge against what we consider to be an unfair, unjust law.

The final legal costs are hard to predict and we do not have “deep pockets.

The Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) has kindly set up a GoFundMe for donations with the goal of raising $100K.

The CSSA [Canadian Shooting Sports Association] also has a donations link.


How many hours of work did filing represent for  you and the others, or did Bouchelev handle everything?
The standard legal work (writing and filing and receiving communications with the court, advising clients, etc.) is handled by the lawyer on our behalf, but individually we need to spend some time supplying him with information, and also maintain an understanding of what is going on as things evolve.


Did you feel you took any personal or professional risks by doing this?
Professional risks are not an issue for me as I am now retired and not expecting to be looking for work in the near future.

Obviously this kind of thing can be stressful at a personal level, so I make a conscious effort to keep a positive attitude.

I don’t want this to have a negative effect on my family emotionally or otherwise.

Their support is important and they are behind me in this.


Why didn’t the Shooting Federation of Canada file a challenge or join yours?
The Shooting Federation of Canada did send a letter to Minister of Public Safety Blair that registers their strong objections to the OIC.

It wouldn’t be fair to expect them to do more. SFC’s mandate is not firearms advocacy, but rather administering Canada’s ISSF athletic programs and competitions.

Other than the shotguns, I don’t believe that any SFC-administered programs are adversely affected by the OIC bans.


Why doesn't everyone go to court?
I’m sure many gun owners initially did want to join in the legal challenges, but it’s likely they didn’t feel they could deal with the stress and potential legal costs.

The process is complicated and expensive and so it’s natural that people find this intimidating.

Let’s not forget that a win for the small number of individuals who are directly engaged is a win for everyone.

Even if someone didn’t personally join in the legal challenge, they can still make a valuable contribution.

Their support in the form of donations to any of the challenges is extremely important.


How long do you think the court process will take?
I don’t think anyone can predict exactly how long this process will take. I am prepared for it to take many months.

What kind of support do you guys want or need?
1. Donations via the Ontario Landowners Association GoFundMe, CSSA or directly.

2. Publicity that informs other Canadian gun owners that we are fighting on their behalf.

We must keep in mind that, although gun owners legitimately feel that our lives have been needlessly disrupted, our problems may not be perceived the same way by the majority of Canadians.

My hope is that, if ordinary Canadians can hear our story, over time they will better understand and approve of an eventual decision in our favour.


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