C-71, where we stand today
As C-71 rounds the last corner in its journey into Royal Assent, there seems to be a real lack of understanding of the issues that actually relate to public safety. The bill is in second reading in the Senate and the CCFR has been spending some considerable time talking to Senators about this legislation, what impacts it will have on crime (none) and what it really means for gun owners.
CCFR CEO & Executive Director Rod Giltaca joined me in Ottawa multiple times this year for a “lobby week”. The first of these week-long advocacy projects was the week the bill was tabled in the House of Commons. We held two parliamentary press conferences in center block, testified as expert witnesses at the Standing Committee on Public Safety & National Security, conducted over 50 media interviews including a CBC syndication, produced and/or promoted numerous e-petitions, political videos & memes for social media, hosted, funded and attended roundtables and town halls across the country, met with politicians of every level and every party affiliation.
It is of interest that the votes on C-71 in the House of Commons were whipped, meaning every single Liberal MP voted in favor of it, regardless of the wishes of their constituents or their personal feelings about the legislation. The Liberal Party knows three things; that gun owners do not pose a disproportionate risk to public safety, that Canada has a rising gang violence problem, and that scaring the public into thinking they have “done something” will garner them votes come election time. Unfortunately, the costs associated with this kind of virtue signaling law making is further regulations for gun owners, often making more of them “paper criminals”, and the continued and escalating violence in the streets of our towns and cities across the country.
This is the difficulty with a majority government, they are virtually free to create legislation in any manner they choose, without immediate ramifications. Our only successful means of opposition is to vote – and encourage our friends and family to vote.
There are many in the Senate who are torn on bill C-71. Rod and I met a few weeks back with the Senator who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, Andre Pratte. Andre is steadfast in his support for this bill, adding that it is not the only measure to combat gang violence. I found this kind of an odd position to take since there is literally nothing in this bill, or any other proposed legislation to combat gang violence. We sat down with Senator Don Plett immediately following the meeting with Pratte and was surprised how far apart these two Senators are in their stances, with Plett reiterating the need for credible work on crime and gang violence. The issue here is that the Senate very rarely ever “scraps” government bills but is open to sending it back to the House for amendment considerations-something that is likely to happen. In any event, Senators of all types agree that this bill needs considerable studying with many committee witnesses, something that will see a decline in the way the House hurtled it through due process.
Gun owners across the country are encouraged, no, they MUST take action immediately to help in the fight to preserve our sport and our legally acquired property, at the same time demanding this government stop its assault on legal gun owners and turn the focus to effective crime control measures. Write to the Senate, pick a couple Senators each day to call and voice your concerns with this legislation.
The LPC has had a rough run, with 3 years of dismal failures on every file, international embarrassment, and multiple ethics violations by some of its top officials, yet Canadian voters flock to the charm and charisma of the elite with an almost star-struck awe. Our only hope is to get involved. Follow legislation, sign the petitions, join the CCFR and interact with your elected officials … before it’s too late.
I expect bill C-71 to enter third reading around the Christmas break, when both the Senate and the House of Commons rises for a long recess, – or possibly when they return, and receive royal assent by February or so, hopefully with some improvements in the form of amendments. That’s about the best we can hope for until this bill is repealed by a new government. You can rest assured the CCFR will be relentless in our pursuit of fair legislation for gun owners however, and we won’t make this travesty easy on them.
Tracey is the full-time, in-house registered lobbyist for the CCFR and the VP of Public Relations