At a time when we should be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting Canadians through this crisis, Justin Trudeau has decided to bypass Parliament and impose a ban on certain types of firearms through an Order in Council.
I am strongly opposed to this decision. Instead of pushing forward with his own ideological agenda, the Prime Minister should have waited until this health crisis had passed and introduced legislation in the House of Commons so that it could be properly debated and Canadians’ voices could be heard.
Not only that, but the Criminal Code states that, “In making regulations, the Governor in Council may not prescribe any thing to be a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or prohibited ammunition if, in the opinion of the Governor in Council, the thing to be prescribed is reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes.”
For a government that has shown so much contempt for our lawful firearms community, it's clear that they cannot be trusted to know what is “reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes.”
The reality is that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms and nothing about the changes announced by the Liberals will address this problem. Instead, this Prime Minister and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair have once again targeted our lawful outdoor community.
Canadians have been very clear. They want action on crime, gangs and illegal firearms. While it may be harder to go after gangs and illegally trafficked firearms, that is exactly what this government should be doing. Making law-abiding Canadians who are already checked regularly through the Canadian Firearms Program follow more rules will not make communities safer.
The number one priority of any government should be the safety of Canadians and focusing on concrete action that will keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals. This includes support for police anti-gang and gun units, a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force, and tougher sentences for violent offenders. I will also continue to push for the repeal of Bill C-71.
From adding a back door registry that only punishes the law-abiding firearms community, to now using an Order in Council to push through a broad-based firearms ban, it will only get much worse under this Prime Minister and this Liberal government.
I have been hearing from thousands of Canadians from across the country who are concerned that this is just the beginning. Where will it end? Will all hunting rifles become banned too?
It’s time for a government that supports our Canadian law-abiding outdoor community. Period.
Bob Zimmer is Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.