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Bill C-21 changes harmful and costly, critic says

Wildlife federation, local gun owners say changes will impact rural life in Canada
“The whole process of owning a firearm is [already] highly vetted. Law-abiding firearms are not responsible for crimes." - North Peace Rod & Gun Club past president Guy Lehaye on amendments to Bill C-21 by Ottawa.

Amendments to Canada’s Firearms Act, which could soon become law, squarely target the recreational shooter and licensed hunter.

That’s the feeling of a well-known regional advocate of safe gun laws and past president of the North Peace Rod & Gun Club.

“It really targets the ability to provide for positive family experiences at the range,” says Guy Lehaye, who also sits on the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s recreational shooting committee.

“It impacts the ability, for many families, to put food on the table across B.C. and Canada, for that matter. For example, grandpa’s shotgun that he’s used for over 50 years is now illegal. When he goes out and does a little bird hunting, it’s now prohibited. He’s got to find another firearm.”

Lahaye believes amendments to the federal government’s Bill C-21 are meant to appease Liberal voters in central Canada, Ontario and Quebec, and doesn’t take into account, any of the concerns of rural northerners.

“If you’re going to continue to hunt, you need to find other firearms. You need to go out and buy new ones,” explains Lahaye.

“Right now, they may be legal to purchase if you have all the necessary paperwork, but who knows down the road.”

He believes the cost of adding additional firearms for the average Canadian hunter or recreational shooter will be "phenomenal.”

A current gun ban and buyback program, established by Ottawa, has ballooned to almost $1 billion.

A parliamentary budget officer, in a 2021 report titled Cost Estimate of the Firearm Buy-Back Program, projected it could cost up to $756 million, alone, just to reimburse gun owners. 

“Confiscating grandpa’s shotgun is going to do nothing for public safety whatsoever. The money would be way better spent on healthcare, reducing organized crime, firming up the border situation, and a-million-and-one more pressing needs.”

Lahaye characterizes the new additions to C-21 as emotional not rational.

“The whole process of owning a firearm is [already] highly vetted. Law-abiding firearms are not responsible for crimes,” he adds.

For the changes to become law, it will need the approval, or royal assent, from the Canadian senate.

“Basically, we’re going to target the Senate in terms of asking all of the members within our rod and gun club , and others across the country, to stand up for their individual rights and privileges as rural citizens of British Columbia and Canada. Pure and simple.”

“If you’re asking me how it’s affecting me personally, I’ll tell you. Between C-21 and the amendments, I now have a gun safe full of prohibited firearms and the buyback program announced back in 2020 still has not seen the light of day.”

“You’re now looking at billions of dollars to administer a program that may never get off the ground and it will destroy rural life in Canada.”

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