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MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT (FIREARMS) AMENDMENT ACT, 2020 Chapter 6HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows: Amends RSA 2000 cM-26 1The Municipal Government Act is amended by this Act. 2The following is added after section 74:Firearms 74.1(1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), a council may not, unless approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, bring into force a bylaw respecting firearms. (2) Subsection (1) applies to (a) a proposed amendment respecting firearms to a bylaw that comes into force on or after the coming into force of this section, and (b) a new bylaw respecting firearms proposed by a council after the coming into force of this section. (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a bylaw respecting firearms that is in force on or before the coming into force of this section. (4) This section does not apply to a bylaw to be approved in accordance with section 74. 3This Act comes into force on Proclamation
Gun registry was never dismantled, Liberal dishonesty
When criminal defence lawyer Ed Burlew was sifting through the documents sent over by a Crown prosecutor regarding his client, one jumped out. It was proof that the RCMP had kept a copy of the gun registry despite Parliament ordering it destroyed in 2012.
The long-gun registry was brought into being in 1995 with Bill C-68 but was done away with after the passage of Bill C-19 in 2012.
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Yet, here was Burlew looking at a document from 2019 with information that could only have come from the registry.
“I was shocked and disgusted,” Burlew told me. “They kept it, it’s a secret file.”
“This shows that there is someone within the RCMP who has deliberately lied to Parliament and the courts.”
The document that Burlew uncovered was prepared by the Registrar of Firearms, part of the RCMP, and sent to the OPP for a case they were working on.
That document contains not only the serial number of each firearm seized but also the Firearm Identification Number, a number that would not exist or be attached to the rifles and shotguns seized without a copy of the registry existing.
Burlew’s client, who is presumed innocent unless convicted when he has his day in court, purchased the guns legally years ago while the registry was still in place.
Speaking with lawyers and others active in this area of the criminal justice system, I hear time and again that people are not shocked that the RCMP has kept information that was ordered destroyed by Parliament.
One security expert who works with both police and defence lawyers on sensitive files, and asked not to be identified, said that he believes most major police forces in Canada kept a copy of the registry in one way or another and use it regularly.
Defence lawyer William Jaska said that these types of documents were showing up in cases shortly after the registry was ordered abolished, but he hasn’t seen this in years.
What bothers him, though, is that the RCMP, OPP and the Crown prosecutor’s office all handled this document before handing it over to Burlew during disclosure.
“This has gone through three levels of filters and is still being disseminated,” Jaska said. “The problem is that in 2019, this information should not be there.”
Tony Bernardo, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association — an organization that speaks out for Canada’s more than two million legal gun owners — said he’s also disturbed that police services in Canada are passing around information Parliament ordered destroyed nine years ago.
“I was outraged that a federal Crown agency would disobey their political masters,” Bernardo said when asked about the document.
“The keeping of these records was calculated and a premeditated act designed to contravene the will of Parliament.”
The RCMP did not respond to requests for comment via phone or email.
This isn’t the first time that gun advocates have suspected that police were using what really amounts to illegal gun registry data. During the 2013 floods in High River, Alta., RCMP officers went house to house seizing guns from locked but evacuated homes.
They smashed down doors to seize the firearms and there was clear evidence of coordination and targeting homes they knew belonged to gun owners but no clear evidence was produced.
The federal government should immediately order all copies and all records related to the registry destroyed as per the will of Parliament, writes Brian Lilley.
Now that this document has been submitted as part of a court case no less, we have the evidence.
The federal government should immediately order all copies and all records related to the registry destroyed as per the will of Parliament.
Given that neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Public Safety Minister Bill Blair are at all concerned with the rights of law-abiding gun owners, that’s unlikely to happen.
Yet, regardless of your position on guns, every Canadian should be concerned when a police force actively subverts the laws they are sworn to uphold.
Assault Weapons Redemption: Federal legislation imminent, but without obligation
Owners of prohibited weapons will be subject to strict requirements if they wish to keep them.
Radio-Canada has learned that the Trudeau government is expected to introduce legislation in the coming days that will establish the buy-back program for assault weapons that were blacklisted last spring. However, this program will not be mandatory.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has made a series of presentations to various Liberal caucuses over the week to inform them of the upcoming announcement.
According to our information, owners of banned military assault weapons (over 1500 models and variants) will not be required to return them to the government in exchange for compensation, but will be subject to strict requirements if they wish to keep them.
Among these requirements are that the targeted weapons must be stored securely and cannot be used.
The owners of the targeted weapons benefit from an amnesty until April 30, 2022.
Last year, Joel Lightbound, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, pointed out that opposition parties may demand that the buy-back program be mandatory and that this should be taken into consideration by the government, which is in a minority position in the House of Commons.
In the eyes of the Bloc Québécois, the mandatory nature of the program is crucial. It completely misses the point if we don't make the buyback program mandatory," says MP Kristina Michaud. Not only are these weapons going to stay in homes, but people will be able to use them even if it is prohibited to do so. We know that there are people who are doing it," she added.
The example of New Zealand
Behind the scenes, some express doubts about the effectiveness of a mandatory program. Is this the best way to spend the public's money," wonders one source, citing the example of a similar initiative in New Zealand.
In 2019, after a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch that left 51 people dead and dozens injured, the government banned semi-automatic weapons and introduced a buy-back and amnesty program.
More than 56,000 weapons were taken out of circulation in return for $87 million in compensation. However, the Firearms Owners' Council estimated that there were 170,000 semi-automatic weapons in circulation, noting that the number of weapons collected was evidence that the program had failed.
Justin Trudeau's Liberal government wants a balanced solution that will allow it to keep its promise while limiting criticism. It wants to avoid comparisons with the now defunct and controversial long-gun registry, which was abolished by Stephen Harper's Conservatives in 2012.
The Liberals could take this opportunity to announce new measures to combat the proliferation of illegal weapons in Canada. These measures could be added by regulation and would not need to be included in the bill.
In fact, Parliamentary Secretary Joel Lightbound stated in writing this evening that the Government's plan will also include additional resources and introduce tougher penalties for police and border officials to help stop the flow of guns at our borders and to target the illegal trafficking of firearms through criminal detour.
It also indicates that tougher laws on safe storage will be introduced to prevent firearms theft.
The Government knows that there will not be unanimous support for this option, especially among groups calling for better gun control. It's not perfect, but that doesn't mean it won't pass," said one Liberal MP.
Ottawa hopes to calm the discontent by adding measures that would allow police to respond quickly to cases of violence or imminent threat where an assault weapon is suspected.
Lightbound says the proposed legislation will give communities, police, medical professionals, survivors of spousal violence and families the power to sound the alarm when someone may pose a danger to themselves, an identifiable group or a partner.
Montreal raises the pressure
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Wednesday with Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante virtually.
According to a report provided by the mayor's office, she asked him about gun violence in Montreal. She also told him that the government has a role to play in preventing violence and legislating the sale, importation and manufacture of weapons that end up on the streets.
Earlier in the day, before the City's Executive Committee, the Mayor spoke about the importance of banning handguns. Again, the message was directed to Ottawa.
Yes, assault weapons, we're glad the federal government has taken responsibility for that. But I ask that it be for handguns as well, because they are a scourge at the moment. And it doesn't make sense that it's only the cities that legislate one after the other. Because, of course, the guns are walking around, she said.
Montreal is still reeling from the death of 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui, who was killed last weekend in a shootout in the borough of Saint-Léonard.
Wake up Canadians
As a Canadian, I demand to know why Bill Blair and this Liberal government is dishonestly misleading Canadians with repeated inflammatory language.
“Assault weapons”, “weapons”, “rapid sustained fire”, “kill soldiers”, “designed for the battlefield”, “military grade”
In 2016, Blue Line, Canada's national law enforcement magazine that has no political preferences, wrote: “These are not “assault rifles” or military weapons. They have no full-auto capability.” when addressing firearms that are now on the prohibited list.
Canadians should be furious that the week Canada was holding a repatriation ceremony for 6 soldiers who died, this government was using dishonest language in saying the firearms they banned are used to “kill soldiers”.
It is dishonest.
That is repugnant.
As part of his ban, Blair announced they banned such astonishing items such as US Made FIM-92 Stinger Missile Launcher, 81mm mortars, 40mm grenade launchers. These are considered military explosives and civilians were prohibited from possessing them long before May 1, 2020.
By citing such outrageous items, this is a dishonest attempt to suggest that other items that are part of the ban are just as destructive.
It also allows this government to claim they have banned items meant to kill soldiers on the battlefield regardless of their previous prohibited status.
They are stacking shiny apples into a basket on top of rotted ones beneath. The ban may look good at first but dig deeper, and you find you were cheated.
Why would this government say they banned items that were not legally available to the general public except to manipulate Canadians?
Why would Bill Blair cite grenade launchers knowing, or should know, that military explosives are not legally for sale to the general public?
This Liberal government is trying to marginalize a community of law abiding Canadians for an ideology by dishonest suggestions that THOSE are the type of firearms in civilian hands.
This would cause most Canadians to be appalled that anybody would want firearms like that. “Why do Canadians have military firearms designed for war?”
The truth is, they don’t.
No Canadian government would allow it.
It is a dishonest claim. It is the rotten apple.
The words spoken are carefully crafted to stoke fear against an alternative to a ban, which is no ban.
This government is being dishonest to Canadians which is why these inflammatory and misleading words are repeated at every opportunity.
It is why other Liberal MPs use the same inflammatory and dishonest language.
It is called the illusory truth effect – people tend to believe false information when repeated.
Bill Blair is using talking points and as Catherine Mckenna, an elected official in the Liberal government, has said about talking points “we’ve learned in the House of Commons that if you repeat it, if you say it louder and if those are your talking points, people will totally believe it”.
It is manipulation and must be denounced.
The attempt by this government to divide Canadians on this issue by using dishonest terms to manipulate the public, appears to be working. We have seen attacks by fellow Canadians on social media repeating claims made by this government.
The revolting part is, the divide is fueled by agenda driven lies and dishonest statements by a government elected to serve Canadians, not provoke them to turn on each other.
I believe we can all agree that TRUE military firearms such as the C7 (Canadian military issue) that can fire 700-900 rounds per minute, are not meant for sports shooting, collection or hunting. Those are the only legal reasons you may be licensed by the RCMP.
No, Canadian civilians are not legally allowed to own one. It truly is a military firearm unlike the hunting and sport shooting ones the government has banned.
The personal property, legally held and approved by the RCMP by law-abiding fellow Canadians on April 30 and suddenly and opportunistically banned on May 1, have zero relation to the dishonest and inflammatory language Blair and others are using.
We may not all agree about civilian ownership of firearms.
Canadians demand a government be truthful and refrain from dishonesty to influence public opinion.
We demand a government not arbitrarily decide our personal property is no longer legal to possess and can be confiscated and destroyed.
Canadians demand that we are not made to pay for the criminal actions of another.
Canadians demand the law abiding citizens are not scapegoated for the failures of this government to deal with the real issue.
We demand that a government not act like an authoritarian government, but follow proper procedures in enacting evidence based policy that affects law abiding Canadians.
As free Canadians, we must never accept this type of crushing, heavy-handed, punitive, and manipulative style of government that we have seen in other countries such as Venezuela.
Today, you may not care.
Today, your own legally acquired property that you purchased and are using responsibility without affecting fellow Canadians, may not be confiscated by threats of prison or by force and destroyed by this government.
Tomorrow, it could be.
The continuing political focus on reducing gun and gang violence in Canada is, at least statistically speaking, a fight to reduce the frequency of offences that already represent only the tiniest fraction of the crimes committed in this country. Any broad claim that our streets are unsafe isn’t supported by the facts.
In 2018, there were 651 homicides in Canada, representing less than 0.2 per cent of all violent crimes. Of those homicides, 259, or about 40 per cent, involved a firearm, and one in 10 was gang-related. Both numbers represented a decrease from the previous year.
Even the number of crimes in which a firearm is present is low. Of the roughly 2.1 million police-reported crimes of all types in Canada in 2018, the perpetrators were packing heat in only 7,477 of them (or about 3 per cent of all violent crime).
It’s also worth remembering that the crime rate in Canada is lower now than it was in 1980. The country is less dangerous on that score. And yet governments of all political stripes are talking up the threat of gun and gang violence.
Ottawa is in the midst of spending $327-million over five years “to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.” The Liberal government also plans to ban some semi-automatic rifles, and to work with provinces to implement a partial ban on handguns in urban areas.
This week, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said forthcoming gun-control legislation will include “red flag” provisions that allow courts to order the removal of firearms from legal owners deemed to be at risk to themselves or others.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford last month made a dramatic show of announcing new funding for police in Peel Region to fight gun and gang violence.
“We’re coming for you, we’re going to find you, we’re going to catch you and we’re going to lock you up for a long time,” he grimly warned gang members.
The push by politicians to show toughness is a response to two different things: a series of deadly mass shootings; and localized spikes in deadly urban gang violence.
Both have unsettled the public. Murder rates “are considered benchmarks for levels of violent activity both in Canada and internationally," as Statistics Canada put it. And in this country of late, the killings have come in bunches.
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In Toronto in 2005, the so-called “year of the gun," the number of gun homicides in the city doubled from the year before. Many shootings were gang-related, but some of the victims were random innocents caught in the crossfire.
A second wave of equally deadly gun violence in 2007 prompted an provincial inquiry into the roots of youth violence and crime.
Since then, gun violence and gang-related shootings have dropped across the country, but have continued to rise in Toronto. In 2019, the city saw 490 shootings, in which 248 people were injured and 44 died. That broke the previous record of 428 shootings, set just the year before.
The country has also suffered through horrific mass shootings, including (but not limited to) the Quebec City mosque massacre in 2017 that killed six people, the rampage in Fredericton that killed four people, including two police officers, in 2018, and the attack on bystanders on Danforth Avenue in Toronto 2018 that killed three.
Hence the current tensions in Canada. The unsettling rise in gang violence and shootings in (mostly) Toronto, combined with a series of unrelated mass killings, has left the public jittery and governments desperate for politically palatable solutions.
But other than the welcome possibility of partial firearm bans, which could help reduce mass shootings and gun suicides, we have yet to see or hear anything that addresses the complex issue of urban gang violence.
History has taught us that this is not just a policing issue, or just a gun issue, or just a crime issue. It’s all of these, and a lot more. It’s not something that can be fixed by spending more money on a narrow set of priorities, or by talking tough at a news conference.
The fact is, some racialized communities in our cities have been living with deadly gun violence for years. They need long-term, considered help, not grandiose political posturing designed to appease a broader public that only intermittently becomes aware of the painful reality they live with on a daily basis.
Blair's mandate letter was released by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, along with those for each member of cabinet.
His other marching orders include:
EDMONTON – While awaiting the court’s decision on whether the Quebec’s government legislation purporting a provincial firearms registry is constitutionally valid, the province has gone ahead and released their draft regulations for if the courts rule in their favour.
The Quebec Firearms Registration Act passed in 2016 but it is currently held up in court as Canada’s National Firearms Association is challenging it on constitutional grounds.
“These draft regulations are very concerning,” says Sheldon Clare, president of the NFA. “These are even more onerous then the ones that were within the wasteful and ineffective federal long-gun registry that it aims to replace. If our court challenge is successful all of this should go away, but if it isn’t make no mistake: the Quebec government is coming after hunters, farmers, and sport-shooters.”
In addition to the requirements that were part of the failed federal long-gun registry, Quebec gun owners will be required to provide additional information, such as the usual storage location of firearms.
“The only justification for that requirement is to facilitate an eventual seizure of firearms by law enforcement officers. This is more evidence that the Quebec government views all gun owners as ‘would-be criminals,’” adds Clare.
Another concerning aspect of the regulations is that individuals and businesses who wish to transfer non-restrictive firearms will now be required to verify that the proposed transferee remains eligible to hold their firearms licence – meaning they will not be able to rely on their firearms acquisition licenses but have to contact the Canada Firearms Program or the Chief Firearms Officer to make such a transaction.
“The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) is in no way capable of handling such a task, they are not set up to do that – this will not work. Businesses will suffer because of this, not to mention private sales and gun shows that operate outside of business hours when the CFP is open. It will become even more complicated and time consuming, if not impossible, to buy or sell firearms under these regulations.”
Though Quebec Public Safety Minister previously assured firearm owners that there would be no engraving required, the Quebec government is now insisting that an additional ‘unique firearms number’ be marked upon every firearm.
The only way to do that is through stamping, engraving or laser etching.
“Not only is the Quebec government targeting firearms owners, they are also breaking their word to us. Not only will this be costly for gun owners, but it will also be a logistical nightmare with over 1.2 million firearms existing currently that will have to be marked over a very short period of time,” added Clare. “Needless to say, gunsmiths are not currently equipped to perform such a large number of marking operations over a short time.”
All of this may be for naught if the NFA is successful in their court challenge against the Quebec government. The parties were in court in the beginning of this month and the ruling is expected within two months time.
Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users.
Egg in thier faces.
Red-faced RCMP officials have apologized to a Delta firearms firm and its owner after a headline-making 2008 raid supposedly to stop gun trafficking to gangsters.
On the eve of a lengthy civil trial over the incident Monday, the federal government settled out of court and, as part of the agreement, the force issued a rare exonerating letter over the bogus operation.
“I write on behalf of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to apologize for the search of the Silvercore Advanced Training Systems Inc. (“Silvercore”) premises in Delta, British Columbia, the seizure of Silvercore firearms inventory and records, the wrongful arrest of Travis Bader, and the prosecution of criminal charges against Travis Bader and Silvercore, which were ultimately stayed by Crown counsel,” Inspector Janis Gray said.
“I have conducted an exhaustive review of the police file and all of the evidence and circumstances surrounding the search, seizure, arrest and charges, and I have concluded that there is no evidence that either Silvercore or Travis Bader ever committed any criminal offences.”
Two Surrey RCMP Constables, David Clarke and Michael Everitt, provided with information by Canadian Firearms Centre officer Jeff Harrison, were behind the misguided operation.
The centre is responsible for administering the Firearms Act and the Firearms Registry, handling all licences and authorizations as well as the registration of restricted and prohibited firearms.
The police and firearms officer claimed they were only doing their duty in the investigation, reputedly triggered by an attempt by Bader’s father to register a restricted handgun.
“A letter of apology from RCMP brass confirming my innocence takes some of the sting out of the long delay, and we look forward to resuming our relationship with the RCMP and its members,” Bader said.
He started Silvercore in 2003 after roughly a decade of providing training in firearms and safety to police officers, sheriffs, corrections staff, Canadian Border Security guards and others.
As well as offering courses and training, his firm did gunsmithing and bought and sold firearms.
In the course of his business, much of it with law enforcement, Bader was authorized to possess, store and transfer restricted and prohibited firearms as well as regular guns.
Still, in May 2008, the RCMP raided the Delta company’s facility in the 7100-block of Vantage Way, alleging it was connected to guns that ended up in the hands of criminals.
According to police, decommissioned guns that could be easily reassembled and returned to working order were finding their way into the wrong hands.
Bader’s father, Gordon, is a retired 30-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department and was an instrutor with Silvercore.
The former ERT sniper and past director of the anti-gun-control lobby, the Responsible Firearms Owners Coalition of B.C., Gordon Bader was also a firearms instructor at the Justice Institute of B.C., which trains police officers, and a gunsmith at the Vancouver Police Museum.
Both father and son said at the time the accusations were rubbish.
Still, Travis added the “confusion, the anger, the embarrassment” were nearly unbearable.
The Mounties painted the arrests and the raid, during which hundreds of guns were seized, as a response to what was then a murderous spree of gang violence around Metro Vancouver that had claimed 31 lives.
Still two years later, one of the officers involved, Clarke, was charged with dealing drugs, theft of police property, breach of trust, and possession of a number of illegal restricted weapons.
All criminal charges against Silvercore and Bader were stayed on March 19, 2010, by Crown attorney Todd Buziak.
“From my review of the entirety of the information provided to me, I can advise you that neither Travis Bader nor Silvercore Advanced Training Systems Ltd. were involved in any criminal wrongdoing,” Buziak wrote in a letter after the charges were dropped.
All Firearms Act charges were stayed in May 2010.
“I think that everyone will understand that a letter of apology from the RCMP is a precious commodity and the settlement sum is confidential,” Bader’s lawyer Jason Gratl said.
The force has not yet responded to a request for explanation.