In the House of Commons we are once again seeing just how ignorant Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister are when it comes to Canada’s firearms laws.
During a recent Question Period, Minister Blair repeatedly made broad references to domestic violence when asked about lawful firearms ownership in Canada. However, according to Statistics Canada, in 2018 the presence of firearms was rare in incidents of police-reported violence between intimate partners at 1%.
Just the day before, the Prime Minister had claimed that when individuals pose a threat to public safety or themselves, police “cannot suspend the licence and prevent that person from acquiring new firearms.” This is, of course, not true. Under our current laws if a firearms owner poses a threat, police can confiscate firearms and suspend licences, as well as prevent further purchases of firearms or possession.
These comments by both the Public Safety Minister and the Prime Minister show that they really don’t know or understand firearms laws in Canada. Yet, they want to make new laws, and in the case of firearms bans have talked about using an Order in Council to do so.
An Order in Council is a legislative instrument made by the Governor in Council, meaning the Governor General acting on the advice and recommendation of Cabinet, and is not required to go through the usual Parliamentary process that includes debates and votes in the House and Senate, as well as study at committees.
It’s important to note that according to the Criminal Code, “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.”
We must ensure that the Governor in Council follows these clearly laid out requirements when it comes to any Order in Council that involves firearms.
Yet, how can we trust that this Liberal Cabinet, which continues to show its contempt for lawful firearms owners, will be able to fully comprehend what is “reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes” when making any recommendations to the Governor General?
The simple truth is that we can’t.
Bob Zimmer is the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.