Handgun law hostility from Tories to blame for application backlog: federal minister
Jul 31, 2022
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the federal Conservatives are to blame for legislative delays on handguns that have led to a backlog of firearm registrations.
In May, Ottawa introduced a bill that proposes freezing handgun sales and transfers, a move slammed at the time by Alberta’s chief firearms officer as an “intrusion” into the lives of gun owners. It also led to a spike in handgun sales, and, according to the Alberta government, a bottleneck in transfer and licence applications that has resulted in ballooning wait times.
In a July 21 news release, Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the federal government had done Albertans and firearms owners “a great disservice.”
The provincial ministry said the dramatic increase in purchases across the country was predictable, but the federal government did nothing to ensure the Canadian Firearms Program could handle a flood of new applications sent to the national processing centre in New Brunswick.
“If we had had unanimous consent, and if we had gotten the Conservatives on side to pass just the regulations, we could have mitigated against some of the spike in sales, but there was no appetite. None. And that’s unfortunate,” he said, urging his fellow MPs to support the bill when the House of Commons returns on Sept. 19.
Senior RCMP officer tells Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry he was told not to disclose call from Commissioner Brenda Lucki
JULY 28, 2022
A senior Mountie told a public inquiry on Thursday that federal lawyers advised him not to disclose a call he received from the RCMP Commissioner that he says appeared to be motivated by a desire to use the Nova Scotia mass shooting to boost support for Liberal gun-control measures.
Chief Superintendent Chris Leather, testifying for a second day, said he believes political inference was behind RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s insistence that police release details on the guns used in the April, 2020, mass shooting that killed 22 people.
“That’s my impression,” he said, during cross-examination by Tom MacDonald, a lawyer who represents the families of two victims.
The Mountie said he came to that conclusion following a conference call with Commissioner Lucki nine days after the rampage. In that call, the Commissioner pressed the Nova Scotia RCMP to release details on the types of guns the killer used, despite concerns that would compromise the investigation, according to notes from RCMP Chief Superintendent Darren Campbell that the inquiry made public in late June.
Chief Supt. Leather said the Commissioner had called him directly and pressed him to give her information on the guns just three days after the mass shooting and six days before the conference call. E-mails followed on the same issue.
The Mountie admitted that he shared none of that discussion with the inquiry’s lawyers in a July 6, 2022, interview.
During cross-examination on Thursday by Michael Scott, a lawyer who represents most of the victims’ families, Chief Supt. Leather said he hadn’t previously raised the call from Commissioner Lucki or the e-mails with the inquiry at that time because lawyers with the federal Department of Justice had suggested in early July that he take “a reactive posture.”
“The advice I received was not to pro-actively disclose the conversation and the e-mails leading up to the meeting on April 28,” he testified.
Ottawa to use regulation to ban handgun imports in two weeks
August 5, 2022
The federal government is banning the import of most handguns into Canada through a regulatory mechanism that will come into effect in two weeks.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a Friday news conference he hopes the temporary measure will be made moot by the passage of Bill C-21, which the Liberals tabled in May. The legislation would freeze the import, sale and transfer of handguns nationally.
The gun control bill would also create a mechanism that could require people to surrender their firearms to police if they are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. As well, it would increase the maximum penalties for firearms smuggling and trafficking.
Parliament is on summer break and the import ban does not require legislative approval. It relies on a power held by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly to deny import and export permit applications. When the Liberals banned about 1,500 models and variants of what they call “assault-style” firearms in 2020, the action was also taken without legislation – using an order-in-council from cabinet.