By Jeff Davis, The Canadian Press - Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – An Ontario man who says he has been cleared of charges stemming…
OTTAWA – An Ontario man who says he has been cleared of charges stemming from an attack on his home says he is proud of the precedent the case sets with regards to Canadians’ right to armed self defence.
Ian Thomson says a judge in Welland acquitted him on Thursday of firearms-related charges in connection from a 2010 incident in which he fired three warning shots at a group of men who set his Ontario home ablaze with firebombs.
Some experts say the ruling by Justice Tory Colvin could have wide-ranging implications for self defence law in Canada.
Thomson described the two-and-a-half-year legal battle as a “horrible ordeal.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
While we’re sorting out everyone’s position on the gun registry, here are Marc Garneau’s comments to reporters after QP yesterday.
… the long-gun registry had a lot of very good points and some bad points. On the good side, it was supported by the great majority of police associations in the country, by the RCMP, by victims’ groups and many others. On the other side of the coin, it was opposed by many Canadians in rural communities in this country. There’s no question about it, it was an extremely divisive issue. It’s gone now. The Conservatives have killed it. Let’s move on to other things. It is not my intention to spend more money to bring it back.
However, I will work on measures that will ensure the protection of Canadians such as much more severe penalties for anybody who commits a crime with a gun, particularly a long-gun, prohibiting people who have a history of spousal violence or people who have joined gangs. We’ve got to make sure that they don’t get access to the guns. Strong interdiction at the borders. Taking measures to prohibit certain guns that could easily be turned into assault rifles. Those are the measures that I will put in place.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
While we’re sorting out everyone’s position on the gun registry, here are Thomas Mulcair’s comments to reporters after QP yesterday.
The NDP’s position on the gun registry is that we favor the rgistration of guns. There were irritants in the former system. That doesn’t mean that you roll back public protection. Registration of guns helps protect the public, period. That’s why every policy force in Canada except Calgary’s is in favor of the registration of guns. The NDP favors the registration of guns, especially this week which is the week that contains the anniversary of the terrible tragedy at Polytechnique. We will continue to say clearly that we favor the registration of guns, period…
What we’ve said is that the registration of guns is essential to help protect the public. We would bring back a form of registration. We would be certain to avoid some of the pitfalls of the last version. For example, the police have said clearly that they never asked and it wasn’t necessary that the only possible treatment of an offence was under the criminal code. They said that that went too far. For example, if someone had simply skipped a beat administratively, not only were their guns seized during a hunting trip, they were subject to a huge fine and they had a criminal record. The police have said “You should just give us the option of treating it criminally or administratively”. That’s the type of thing that you could do, but every police force in this country with the exception of one has said that it helps protect the public and it helps protect them. A young police officer going to the door of a home where there’s been a signaling of a domestic dispute should know whether there are guns or not on the other side of that door.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
Finally, he explained why the long-gun registry fit his definition of a “failed” public policy. ”I voted to keep the firearms registry a few months ago and if we had a vote tomorrow I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry,” Trudeau told reporters. ”However, the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more… The fact is, because it was so deeply divisive for far too many people, it no longer exists.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Selley mocks Justin Trudeau’s latest comments on the gun registry.
On Sunday Team Trudeau tried to soften the blow. Liberals supported the registry, a spokeswoman told Sun Media, “given the absence of any responsible approach to gun violence by this government.” Now that they lost the fight, now that “the registry and its data are gone, … we now have to develop a new approach.”
Rubbish. There is no way to square Mr. Trudeau’s previous statements with his current position. The portentous, reverential terms in which Mr. Trudeau, Dr. Bennett and so many other Liberals described the registry a year ago, and before, demand they either support its re-establishment now or explain why they were in error before. Or they would if this was a debating society; in politics, you can change your mind, fudge your reasons outrageously and never have to say you’re sorry.
I’d still like Mr. Trudeau to explain his latest remarks, but Chris is right that the “portentous, reverential terms” in which the gun registry was described don’t really square with the word “failure.” The Liberal position in 2010 and 2011 was that the registry was necessary, but flawed (see page 56 of the party’s platform). And thinking about it last night, my feeling was there was a little bit of wiggle room left by Mr. Trudeau’s qualifier (“as it was”) and the lack of an explanation as to how precisely the gun registry had failed. Failed politically? Failed entirely? (Though I do enjoy pointing out contradictions, I also do tend to fuss over the details.) But maybe I was unnecessarily splitting hairs. Thinking about it now, my feeling is Chris is right: you can’t really say the gun registry “saved lives” and say it was a “failure.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Over the weekend, Justin Trudeau used the word “failure” to describe the long gun registry.
The fact that we have a government, or successive governments, that have managed to polarize the conversations around gun ownership to create games in electoral races when you don’t have to have a … There is no concept, no idea, that gun ownership is ever going to be under attack for law-abiding hunters and farmers across this country. But we need to keep our cities safe and I don’t see that that’s an unsolvable solution but I do see that the long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I am not going to rescuscitate that. But we will continue to look at ways of keeping our cities safe and making sure that we do address the concerns around domestic violence right across the country in rural as well as urban areas in which, unfortunately, guns do play a role. But there are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry…
Mr. Trudeau voted against C-391, Mr. Bergen’s bill that would have eliminated the registry, in September 2010. And afterwards he apparently had this interaction with protesters on Parliament Hill.
At the time of that vote, it should probably be noted, the Liberals were promising to reform the registry in response to “legitimate criticisms” of it. (Michael Ignatieff whipped the pivotal vote on C-391, but Mr. Trudeau also voted no at second reading.)
So is this a flip-flop? I’m not sure. It sort of depends on what Mr. Trudeau means by “as it was” and “failure.” In other words, it requires a follow-up question. (Like, “what do you mean it was a failure?”)
His campaign attempted to explain on Sunday (though without quite answering that proposed follow-up).
Trudeau’s spokeswoman, Kate Monfette, said Sunday Trudeau and his party fought to maintain the registry “given the absence of any responsible approach to gun violence by this government.” “We were not successful in that fight, the registry and its data are gone, so we now have to develop a new approach.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
An Ontario judge has declared a Harper government measure on dangerous offenders to be unconstitutional.
Traditionally the Crown had to prove several requirements before someone is designated a dangerous offender, including a pattern of dangerous behaviour or likelihood of causing pain through a failure to control sexual impulses. Dangerous offenders — sex killer Paul Bernardo is designated as one — can be given indeterminate sentences and be locked up for life.
What changed in 2008 was that the new provision provided a shortcut of sorts for the Crown in a small subset of cases. If an offender was convicted three times of a specified violent or sexual crime with sentences of at least two years the burden of proof shifted from the Crown to them. All the Crown had to prove was that the offender was convicted of those offences and was sentenced to at least two years. The offender then had to try to prove that they did not have a pattern of dangerous behaviour … ”I do not accept the Crown counsel’s submission that there is a pressing need to streamline the process for labelling a small class of individuals as dangerous offenders,” Bryant wrote. ”A breach of an individual’s (charter) rights cannot be justified or condoned in a free and democratic society because the class of affected individuals is small,” Bryant concluded.
As Colby Cosh detailed earlier this year, two mandatory minimum sentences imposed by the Harper government have also been challenged. The Prime Minister later called on the courts to “take these penalties seriously.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday afternoon, the Harper government announced it would appeal a Quebec court’s ruling on long gun registry data. Here is the official statement from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
We were disappointed with the ruling of the Quebec Superior Court. Today, our Government announced that we will appeal this decision. The will of Parliament and Canadians has been clear. We do not want any form of a wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. The NDP has consistently said that if given the chance they would try and use this data to target law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters in the regions of Quebec . Our Conservative Government will always stand up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
By Luke Simcoe - Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM - 0 Comments
3D printing has a dark side
Last month, someone on the AR15 firearms message board boasted that they used a 3D printer to create a working .22 calibre gun. “It’s had over 200 rounds through it so far and runs great,” they wrote. Known as HaveBlue, the user claimed the gun was printed in plastic and cost a mere $100 in materials to manufacture.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the world’s first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested, but I have a hard time believing that it really is the first,” they added.
3D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” is a term for building objects by laying down successive layers of material. A 3D printer starts with the bottom layer, waits for it to dry or solidify, and then works its way up. The process can vary depending on the printer and the material; most 3D printers work with things like plaster, polymer or resin, but some can even make things out of metal.
*If you haven’t watched a 3D printer video yet, watch this one:
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is planning a gun swap to mock the long gun registry.
“The governments and advocacy groups have forced our hand by suggesting the registry data is somehow useful,” Bernardo said. “Shuffling previously registered firearms is totally legal, responsible and appropriate.” Bernardo said that when people partake in the gun swap, “no one will know which owners have which firearms.” ”And that’s perfect, because it’s nobody’s business.”
The CSSA is one of the groups represented on the hunting and angling advisory panel that the Prime Minister announced in May.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM - 0 Comments
Charlie Angus, last month, announcing his departure from Twitter. “Free at last. Free at last. Great God almighty free at last.”
John Williamson, last week, celebrating the end of the long-gun registry. “Free at last. Free at last. Law-abiding Canadians are finally free at last.”
That the latter doesn’t appear verbatim in Hansard is odd.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
During QP yesterday, Liberal MP Judy Foote announced that Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz had recently regaled some area high school students with his views on firearms possession. Mr. Breitkreuz disputed Ms. Foote’s characterization.
The Citizen has spoken to the mother whose concerns are the basis for Ms. Foote’s question.
Breitkreuz also supposedly illustrated his arguments with “what if” stories. For instance, he presented the students with a scenario in which a group of eight people confronts a robber with a gun. He suggested it would be better if one of the eight possessed a gun and shot the robber before he had a chance to harm anyone.
The MP also told the students about a study in a community in the United States where there was a high incidence of rape. In an effort to deal with the situation, local authorities offered guns and training to local women. The program was widely publicized — at least 200 women had been trained and armed — and incidents of rape then dropped sharply.
By Colby Cosh - Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM - 0 Comments
Thought gun advocates would be celebrating the demise of the gun registry? Think again.
The final House of Commons vote to end the federal firearms registry was greeted Feb. 15 on Parliament Hill with a low-key cocktail party. Long-time opponents of the 1995 Liberal gun control bill, still spoken of hissingly out West as C-68, gathered to celebrate with the Prime Minister. Perhaps surprisingly, there was little visible jubilation on the Prairies about the end of a nearly 20-year fight. The streets of Alberta and Saskatchewan did not live up to Torontonian fantasies of whooping cowboys discharging riﬂes into the air like Pashtuns at an Afghan wedding.
Gun owners, sellers and political advocates know the private member’s bill to end the registry must still traverse the Senate. Quebec has promised litigation to prevent the destruction of the information in the database. And while the registry radicalized a generation of sportsmen, the gun control debate did not begin with C-68; with a vast array of social networks and institutions now in place for the political defence of gun ownership, it won’t end there, either.
“The vote against the registry was a historic day, no two ways about it,” says National Firearms Association spokesman Blair Hagen. “But we’re still opposed to a licensing system that makes paper criminals out of peaceful ﬁrearms owners.” The NFA’s ongoing complaints with guns laws range from “possession-only” certiﬁcation introduced in 1998—which forced all gun owners to acquire a licence, when previously you just needed a licence to purchase a gun—to still-standing provisions in C-68 for warrantless searches of homes by ﬁrearms inspectors. “We’re not so much celebrating the defeat of part of a particularly hated law, as we are coming to the realization that reform is possible,” says Hagen.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 30, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
The House of Commons reconvenes this morning at 11am. First to be debated is John Carmichael’s bill on displaying the Canadian flag and an hour later the House will move to the government’s legislation on pooled pension plans.
Third reading of the government’s bill to eliminate the long-gun registry was apparently scheduled to take place today, but the government has apparently opted to put that off.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM - 0 Comments
“As Prime Minister, I would commit to appointing women to fill 50% of all positions on the Board of Directors of Crown corporations and government agencies—and I’d use the office of Prime Minister to challenge the private sector to do the same.” Mulcair said.
Among other measures, Mr. Mulcair also says he would introduce “proactive” pay equity legislation, restore the court challenges program and develop “a more effective, better managed system of firearms registration.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM - 3 Comments
The long-gun registry splits the NDP leadership contenders.
Brian Topp, the Montreal-born Toronto union leader considered by many as a front-runner, said as prime minister, he would attempt to revive the controversial program to register all long guns … Two other urban MPs seeking to replace the late Jack Layton — Peggy Nash of Toronto and Paul Dewar of Ottawa — are also in favour of bringing back the registry…
A fourth big-city candidate, Thomas Mulcair of Montreal, said through a spokesman that he wasn’t at this point taking a position on the issue. Cullen and three other candidates — Niki Ashton of the remote Churchill riding in Manitoba; Robert Chisholm of Dartmouth, N.S.; and Martin Singh of Musquodoboit Harbour, near Halifax — said they wouldn’t bring it back.
Mr. Topp says reestablishing the registry would have to be cost effective. Ms. Nash says it would have to be less onerous. Mr. Dewar says he would register weapons “in a way that consults with stakeholders and finds solutions.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 6:32 PM - 10 Comments
“Mr. Speaker,” declared Alice Wong, minister of state for seniors, reading carefully from the piece of paper in front of her, “I will take no lesson from the opposition.”
Both sides variously roared with agreement and soon thereafter the farce of this afternoon’s proceedings moved from thinly veiled to unabashed. Switch “I” for “we” and the government might have an answer for everything and we might be able to pronounce closure on this entire business of parliamentary democracy for at least the next four years. Think of all the time that would free up. Not to mention the money saved on electricity bills when we no longer have to bother pretending there’s a reason to keep the lights on in here.
The hour had actually begun on a stridently serious note, at least insofar as there is surely nothing more serious than the gun. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 4:32 PM - 13 Comments
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews first claimed that long-gun registry data needed to be destroyed lest it fall into the NDP’s hands. Mr. Toews then argued that destroying the data was necessary as a matter of privacy. On the latter point, the privacy commissioner seems not entirely to agree.
Jennifer Stoddart said there’s nothing in the Privacy Act that prevents the federal government from sharing the data with provincial governments. Indeed, the Privacy Commissioner said the act actually permits disclosure of personal information, provided it’s done through a federal-provincial agreement for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 6:06 PM - 86 Comments
The Scene. At its essence, this debate over the long-gun registry was always a debate about paperwork. And so it is only right and fitting that it should end now with a fight over what should be done with that paper.
For the record, Article 29 of Bill C-19, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, states that “the Commissioner of Firearms shall ensure the destruction as soon as feasible of all records in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to the registration of firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms and all copies of those records under the Commissioner’s control.” And variously this much is viewed as a waste of both information and money.
“Why,” Nycole Turmel asked this afternoon, “destroy two billion dollars of accumulated information, while the provinces and the police want to keep it?” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 3:54 PM - 128 Comments
In addition to eliminating the long-gun registry, the government’s new legislation will destroy all records related to the registry.
The government’s lead minister declared he wants to thwart the ability of any other party, such as the NDP, to recreate it as well. “We won’t have these records loose and capable then of creating a new long gun registry should they ever have the opportunity to do that,” ” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews at a news conference at an Ottawa valley farm.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 6:54 PM - 0 Comments
As projected, the House of Commons has approved a motion of the public safety committee to defeat Bill C-391, by a margin of 153 to 151.
After 15 years, opposition to the long-gun registry is stronger in this country than it has ever been. With the vote tonight, its abolition is closer than it has ever been. The people of the regions of this country are never going to accept being treated like criminals and we will continue our efforts until this registry is finally abolished.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 4:30 PM - 0 Comments
Messrs Ignatieff and Layton are promising that all of their respective sides will be in attendance for the vote on C-391 that is now expected to take place at about 5:45pm. Independent MP Andre Arthur stood before QP and informed the House that he remained opposed to the long-gun registry. Liberal MP Scott Simms, who had been the subject of some speculation this morning, is expected to vote against C-391. Postmedia’s Janice Tibbetts has the NDP’s Niki Ashton still in favour of C-391.
If all that holds true, the committee report to be voted on tonight will be approved by a count of 153-151, thus defeating Bill C-391 and preserving the long-gun registry.
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 1:34 AM - 0 Comments
The Globe and Mail has finally explained where a Toronto Chief of Police and dozens of gullible journalists and politicians got the idea that the national firearms registry costs $4 million a year. I’ve watched this figure get repeated countless times over the past month or so, and every single time I kept returning with furrowed brow to the Treasury Board estimates, which put the combined operating and transfers cost of firearms registration at $22 million, just to the RCMP, for 2010-11. (The overall cost for registries and licensing infrastructure comes to $78 million.)
That’s not counting the costs to other federal agencies—most especially the cost to Corrections Canada, estimated loosely at $10 million for fiscal ’08-’09. Certainly the commentators who were soiling themselves over the PBO’s estimates for penological costs of Conservative law-and-order measures wouldn’t want to just ignore the money spent on keeping gun-registry offenders locked up longer, would they? Including the cost in registrant time and effort would drive the figure higher still; surely the Globe is bound to be giving the program a break in only revising the cost upward by a factor of 16½.
If the Globe is right, it seems only a bit of sloppily written verbiage in the new report on the registry—interpreted by dissimulators with badges, and faithfully broadcast by writers with poor financial instincts—could possibly have led anyone to believe the gun registry is a bargain. (The Firearms Centre in Miramichi has 240 federal employees, guys! $4 million wouldn’t cover 12 weeks of payroll expenses, right?) And maybe I’m just some Western flake, but in retrospect it does seem as though the propagation of $4 million figure was possible only because the RCMP played undisguised politics with the report, dawdling over a “translation” (a tactic that the Conservatives somehow ended up taking most of the blame for) and making sure to pass it around to friendly, gullible media outlets in a timely way before the vote on C-391. All of which, now, can serve only the electoral interests of the Conservatives themselves—keeping alive the hated totem and allowing them to exploit the real financial numbers in their search for a Commons majority.
[UPDATE, 10:22 am: Or not. The Citizen's board smacks down the Globe this morning, and the Globe seems to have mis-identified the source of the figure within the report—the actual source being a reference to another report to the RCMP by a government IT consultancy, Pleiad Canada. So could we have that document, or is it already too late to bother?]
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 20, 2010 at 6:15 PM - 0 Comments
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, in QP this afternoon. “Mr. Speaker, in fact, we are listening to victims. And victims want dangerous, repeat criminals in prison. They want safe streets. They don’t want the dangerous criminals on the streets. And they want laws that target the criminals. They don’t believe that the long-gun registry targets criminals. In fact, it targets law-abiding hunters and farms and sportspeople right across this country. It’s not a law we need in Canada.”
National Victims of Crime Ombudsman Sue O’Sullivan, about an hour later. “In the few short weeks since my appointment, I have had the opportunity to begin an important dialogue with national victims’ groups on a number of issues, including the long-gun registry,” explained Ms. O’Sullivan. “Though there is no consensus, the majority of victims’ groups we have spoken to have made it clear: Canada should maintain its long-gun registry.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 17, 2010 at 5:38 PM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister vows to continue not resting until the long gun registry is abolished.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the federal long-gun registry will someday be scrapped, regardless of what happens to a Tory backbencher’s bill on the issue when Parliament returns next week … ”Opposition to it has not diminished; it has only increased,” he said.
He again denounced the registry, which was introduced by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien in 1995, as a “large-scale operation that targeted the wrong people” — including hunters, farmers, outdoorsmen and women, as well as police officers “who understand the reality of these communities.” ”These people will never accept this registry because they know it is ineffective and wasteful, and the party I lead will not rest until the day it is abolished,” Harper said to applause.
By Harris-Decima’s findings, public opinion has indeed been shifting, but in the exact opposite direction.