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Blair scales down Calgary consultation – not public

Canadian gun owners have been scrambling to have their voices heard during the national examination of a handgun ban process currently being conducted by Minister of Border Security & Organized Crime Bill Blair. After all, this measure literally directly targets them, and leaves criminals to their own devices.

We’ve seen a number of failed methods of consultation in this matter; the online survey – an unsecured online survey that allowed people from anywhere in the world to input answers, and as many times as they wished. Technology usually implemented to restrict surveys to Canadians only and to one response per applicant were tossed by the wayside so of course the survey results are compromised. We’ve seen one town hall meeting, with vetted questions submitted to Liberal MPs who cherry picked whose concerns mattered, and whose didn’t.

We’ve seen the “invite only public consultations” (an oxymoron in itself) with just over 250 Canadians in total invited, chosen by the Minister himself. Read more about the consultations

Opposition critics have been hosting town halls across the country, in towns and cities, trying to give gun owners a voice in this ridiculous debate. Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie had been hearing from a lot of constituents in her home riding of Calgary-Midnapore who wanted answers to their questions. Alberta is a gun-owner rich province, with salt of the earth type hunters, farmers and sport shooters all concerned about the future of their sport. She went to Minister Blair on behalf of her constituents and got the Minister to agree to come to Calgary – one of Canada’s major cities that was completely over-looked during the scheduled consultations. She had her staff begin compiling lists of attendees only to have the Minister refuse to allow access to the public to have their concerns addressed.

This is the correspondence sent out by Kusie’s office on the matter; 

Stephanie.Kusie@parl.gc.ca
Tue 2019-01-15, 11:17 AM

Thank you for indicating your interest in participating in a discussion about reducing gun violence.

I was contacted by a constituent last fall expressing concerns that consultations on this issue being planned by Minister Bill Blair would exclude stakeholders, as they were invitation-only. The concern was raised that all viewpoints may not be heard as a result. Conservative MPs were not being included in the planning process, and Calgary was not even on the planned itinerary, so my constituents would not have their voices heard, for example.

Given that, I wrote the Minister explaining that I shared the concerns raised by this individual and asked that he ensure residents of Calgary Midnapore be provided the opportunity to participate in his consultations. I was encouraged when his office responded, indicating that the Minister was open to planning a meeting to be held in Calgary in January 2019, and I was asked to provide names of constituents who would be interested in attending.

At that point, I began contacting constituents who had written to me previously on this issue to request their permission for their contact information to be provided to Minister Blair for the purpose of being invited to the consultation. The request was circulated even further, courtesy the Shooting Edge, and my office is still hearing from people who would like to participate.

My staff submitted two lists of names in December and one in early January. They were busy compiling yet another list of interested Calgarians when we received notice late last week that the meeting would not be a town hall style event as we had expected, but a very small, sit-down, one-hour discussion.

Unfortunately, as a result, the majority of people who contacted me will be unable to attend.

I am extremely disappointed by the Minister’s choice not to hear from as many stakeholders as possible. My team and I have put a great deal of effort into trying to make this happen for constituents of Calgary Midnapore (and surrounding areas).

I will be doing what I can to pursue this further. If you do not receive an invitation from Minister Blair by week’s end, I would encourage you to consider submitting your concerns in writing to my office and I will hand them to the Minister personally at the January 23rd meeting.

There may be opportunities in the coming weeks to attend future discussions on this topic and I will ensure you are made aware of the details.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

 

We share Stephanie’s disappointment and were hoping for a more open and transparent opportunity for all Canadians. Feel free to reach out to the Minister and let him know how you feel about this: bill.blair@parl.gc.ca 

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