By Rob Sciuk
Originally published in the November issue of Canadian Access To Firearms (CATF).
Reprinted with permission from both the newspaper and the author.
We Are a Political Football
The Liberal tradition of using responsible firearm owners as a political wedge is a long-standing one and goes back for generations.
Notably, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien passed the Canadian Firearms Act of 1995, commonly referred to as Bill C-68. That legislation usurped the Provincial authority over licensing to make simple possession of a firearm a criminal offence, and thereby circumvented the limits placed upon the Federal government by literally criminalizing every firearm owner in Canada. In addition, it allowed cabinet to proscribe any device by Order In Council and without benefit of Parliamentary supervision.
At the time, a great hue and cry was made over the implementation of the “long-gun registry,” which has since been reversed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but the really odious and sneaky bits were moving firearm “licensing” to the Federal government, and the enabling legislation to permit cabinet to ban whatever it liked.
We are now paying the price for Chrétien’s chicanery.
Justification for persecuting the most law-abiding segment of the Canadian population has always been “keeping Canadians safe.” The truth is, responsible firearm owners are not now and have never been an undue risk to the public, but progressives have put a lot of effort into vilifying the inanimate objects which make up our passion, and in so doing, they have transferred the blame for the criminal violence onto us, because we also possess firearms, and we don’t have enough numbers to be a political threat to an oppressive and authoritarian government (at least politically).
It is clear that the Liberals feel that there is no injustice inflicted upon responsible firearm owners that won’t be cheered on by an increasingly “progressive” population, and not only is there no political risk in doing so, but rather a political benefit.
They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by lying at our expense.
It is exasperating that the Trudeau Liberals continue to lie about sport shooters and our firearms posing a risk to the public, even as they reduce sentences for violent criminals and gun smugglers and eliminate any prospect of jail time for the kinds of crime that they claim to abhor. Clearly, the Trudeau Liberals must like violent crime since they are working tirelessly to encourage it.
Why is no one calling this out? The Conservative opposition have to some extent, called out the Liberals on their malfeasance. As for the press, they don’t seem much to care. I suggest that it might have something to do with the Trudeau government subsidizing the mainstream media to the tune of hundreds of millions annually, as well as a left-leaning fourth estate who pander to progressive ideologies.
Our best hope is to hold the Liberals to account at the next election.
Our first and best option is to remove the Liberals from power. Everything will depend upon this, and it is essential to regain some semblance of our rights and freedoms.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to Trudeau, with the ascendance of Pierre Poilievre to the Conservative Party leadership, who speaks intelligently to concerns over the economy, housing and overall affordability of life in Canada.
This is a message that will resonate, particularly after the Trudeau Liberals have laid waste to Canada as they have. We must do everything in our power to get Poilievre elected with a majority, and that means voting strategically, even if one prefers a different party (sorry, Max).
Next, we must do a far better job of educating the public about the truth of responsible firearm culture and how it encompasses the basic tenets of Safety, Responsibility and Respect. We must increase outreach programs, range days, and we all resolve to bring a non-firearm owner out to the range to enjoy our sport safely.
Our lobby groups need to deliver a coordinated message to Federal, Provincial and local representatives and the public at large that we are not the problem and that we decry the lack of effective action to combat gun smuggling, violent crime, and the conditions which lead to opioid addictions, gang membership, and the despair from which it results.
A Unified Message
As late as the 1980s, the queer community, and particularly the homosexuals, were persecuted, criminalized and vilified. In the intervening years, they managed to win the sympathy of those in power, find acceptance in mainstream communities, and rise to political power in their own right.
Let this serve as a lesson to the responsible firearms community that being cast as undesirable is not irreversible, nor is it just.
If we come together as a single group, CCFR, CSSA, NFA, CSAAA, IPSC, IDPA, DCRA, ORA, hunting organizations, hunters, handgun competitors, rifle shooters, clay-sports enthusiasts, conscientious objectors (to licensing) and even our archery brothers and sisters, we can bring about change.
In order to accomplish that, we must work together with a common message. We might fly separate banners, but we must have a common message that will resonate with all Canadians.
For as many years as I have been involved in the fight for firearm rights, I have tried to accomplish this goal of a unifying message, and it has been difficult.
Firearm enthusiasts are individuals and as easy to herd as cats, but it is time to stop getting in our own way.
Now is the time to come together, as we may never have another chance.
At the most recent TACCOM event in Toronto, I had a chance to meet with some of the most ardent supporters of the firearm community, and during private discussions, I was heartened to see that I am not alone in this approach.
Now is the time to come together, and I challenge everyone to put aside our differences and to work together toward the common goal of preserving our freedoms and our way of life for generations to come.