Ottawa looks to provinces to impose bans on handguns
Nov. 24, 2021
The federal government says it will introduce a mandatory assault weapons buyback, an expanded list of banned “assault-style” firearms, and give provinces the power to ban handguns after failed efforts to hand that power off to cities.
And it’s calling on provinces like Ontario to come to the table.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged Wednesday that Premier Doug Ford has resisted calls by cities like Toronto to ban handguns.
“My message is, let’s work together. Let’s find ways to get handguns and other guns off the streets,” Mendicino said.
“This is a government that is prepared to take the steps that are necessary. We’ve already put into place some additional restrictions and prohibitions on assault-style guns. We banned 1,500 of them and we’re prepared to do more. We need to do more.”
But the Liberal government will not propose a national handgun ban, instead promising to “move forward with any province or territory that wants to ban handguns.”
But Stephen Warner made clear that Ontario province is not looking at a handgun ban, and said the Progressive Conservative government’s focus is “on action that makes a real difference” in reducing gun and gang violence.
“The statistics are clear, 80 per cent of guns being used in crime are obtained using illegal means — including from across the border — and half of the gun-related deaths in Ontario were gang-related,” Warner said.
Homicide rate in Canada surges — driven by gun violence in Alberta and N.S. mass shooting
Nov 25, 2021
New data from Statistics Canada shows the national homicide rate has surged to levels not seen in more than a decade — an increase driven largely by violence in Alberta and the deaths of 22 people in Nova Scotia last year in Canada’s worst-ever mass murder.
Across the country, police reported 743 homicides in 2020, which is the highest number of homicides recorded in Canada since 1991.
It was also 56 more homicides than in 2019, a hike that pushed Canada’s “rate” up seven per cent to 1.95 homicides per 100,000 population in 2020, compared to 1.83 in 2019.
Statistics Canada tracks the number of homicides using two different measurements. It looks at the number of actual homicides in each region, then also accounts for the rate of the crime within a given population.
While the number of homicide victims last year was the highest it had been since 1991, the national homicide rate was the highest since 2005.
An Open Letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino
NOVEMBER 15, 2021
Dear Minister Mendicino:
Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Public Safety. As a family man with a lovely wife and two daughters, you understand the value of keeping your loved ones safe from criminal violence.
Your background as a federal prosecutor with ten years experience bringing drug dealers, gang members and terrorism suspects to justice will – we trust – inform your decisions on how best to handle dangerous offenders and the illegal weapons they smuggle into our country.
We also are confident you will address an area of law abandoned by your predecessor – our broken Firearm Prohibition Order system.
Statistics Canada data shows the number of offenders who are arrested and charged for violating existing Firearm Prohibition Orders continues to rise every year.
Since 2015, the number of offenders charged with violating these court orders has almost doubled – from 943 in 2015 to 1,759 in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available.
Family of 70-year-old man shot by Toronto police near Port Dover: ‘We want answers’
November 18, 2021
Family and friends of 70-year-old Rodger Kotanko described him as a “calm and gentle” man who was a “well-respected” gunsmith.
That’s why his death earlier this month left many of them shocked and confused.
Kotanko was shot by Toronto police on Nov. 3 near his home in the area of Highway 6 and Highway 24. At the time of the shooting, police said they were executing a search warrant.
CBSA arrests woman in one of the largest firearm seizures in Southern Ontario Region
November 19, 2021
The Canada Border Services Agency announced one of the largest single firearm seizures in the Southern Ontario Region in recent history, with the seizure of 56 prohibited firearms and the arrest of a Florida woman.
The 48-year-old woman of Oakland Park, Fla. was arrested and charged by the CBSA with Unauthorized possession of a firearm, Possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking, Importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized and six other gun smuggling-related offences.
PRESTON MANNING: Reflecting on freedom this Remembrance Day
November 5, 2021
If John McCrae was to return to the Canada of 2020-21 and witness the state of the country during the COVID pandemic, as a physician he would be concerned.
But as a soldier and a champion of those who lived and died for freedom in the Great War he would likely be even more disturbed by the state of fear that grips the country and the drastic curtailment of the rights and freedoms that he and his companions gave their lives to protect.
How, he might ask, could Canadians permit the rights and freedoms defended to the death by his generation to be infringed, violated, and denied for “safety at all costs,” without serious reservations and demands for a better balance between the protection of health and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms?
How could members of the Trudeau government wear the poppy and profess to honour those who sacrificed safety for freedom, when the entire thrust of their response to the COVID crisis has been to demand that Canadians unconditionally sacrifice their freedoms for safety?
In the face of such hypocrisy – this breaking of faith with those who sacrificed their lives for freedom in past wars and Canada’s peacekeeping operations – how can McRae and those like him “sleep peacefully” in their final resting places?
Such questions and concerns suggest the regrettable need to add the following verses to McCrae’s original poem and to retitle it “Sleepless in Flanders Fields”.
Legal challenge over Ottawa’s gun ban cleared for trial after taking a few bullets in court
Nov 09, 2021
The lawsuit by Alberta Tactical Rifle Supply is headed for trial with accusations Ottawa and four federal employees are guilty of misfeasance in public office over the rollout of firearms restrictions.
It challenges how RCMP and government firearm officials process and classify firearms — deciding which guns that are not specifically banned by name in the law will also be prohibited in Canada.
The Calgary-based gun maker, owned by Richard Timmins, claims those decisions are smothering his business and wrongly based on politicized opinions, not legislation.
Sheldon Clare Steps Down as President of the National Firearms Association
‘Absolute shock’: Neighbours react to shooting death of Port Dover man
Nov. 4, 2021
Neighbours are speaking out about the Port Dover man who was shot and killed by police on Wednesday.
The Special Investigations Unit said Toronto Police were executing a search warrant at a home on Port Ryerse Road around 12 p.m.
A 70-year-old man was shot and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It’s unclear what led up to the shooting but Toronto Police have confirmed that one their officers discharged their firearm.
The SIU has not released the man’s identity at the family’s request, but CTV News spoke to multiple neighbours who identified him as Rodger Kotanko.
“It was total shock,” said friend Mike Valentine. “Absolute shock. I just could see no reason for this to happen. I think everybody that knows Rodger, has heard of Rodger, would have nothing but good things to say.”
“Every morning you’d see him, he’d wave at you,” said a neighbor who goes by the name Ooggie. “That was Rodger. Kept to himself, he’s always kept to himself.”
Kotanko was described as a gunsmith. Neighbours said he had a gun repair shop in his home, and was well-known in the gun community. They added that it was common for him to be seen with guns.
“He’s built me some custom guns and done some repair work for me,” said Valentine. “He’s got a huge following in the gun world as an excellent gunsmith.”
Recent string of gun-related incidents sparks concerns of rising gun violence in Winnipeg
Oct. 26, 2021
A string of gun-related incidents in Winnipeg have some asking if gun violence is rising.
Const. Dani McKinnon with the Winnipeg Police Service said despite the recent string of incidents, the stats don’t show an increase.
“When we look at the year-over-year statistics, we’re quite even,” McKinnon said.
“I think why this is standing out right now is, yes admittedly these incidents are happening in a more random fashion,” McKinnon said.
She said approximately 1,200 guns were seized by Winnipeg police in 2020, and 700 of those were crime guns used in some kind of offence. She said so far in 2021, police has seized close to 600 crime guns.
Waterloo Regional Police holding weapon amnesty program in November
October 29, 2021
Waterloo Regional Police say they are holding a firearms and prohibited weapons amnesty program throughout the month of November.
The program allows area residents to turn unwanted or unlicensed firearms and other weapons that are potentially illegal over to police while escaping prosecution for illegal possession.
“Having illegally owned firearms and weapons taken off the street is a benefit to our entire community,” said Staff Sgt. Greg Hibbard of the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s drugs and firearms unit.
Guns Can Be Safely Used On A Film Set — But Only If You Follow The Rules
I don’t love guns. But as a firearms safety specialist, they are the tools of my profession. I respect them, and I teach others to respect them too. After 30 years of working with firearms in the film industry, I’ve learned one very important lesson: When handled responsibly, firearms are as safe as any other prop on a film set.
The difference is firearms require the undivided attention of an experienced expert. There is zero tolerance for error. If actors make a mistake on set, they get another take. If the weapons handler makes a mistake, it could end a life.
Canada’s self-defence laws are too sweeping, and the Supreme Court just gave them a pass
OCTOBER 18, 2021
This was the Supreme Court’s first judgment on Canada’s self-defence and defence of property laws since they were overhauled in 2013. After a citizen’s arrest of a shoplifter by the owner of a Toronto grocery store, the reforms – which passed without much public debate – relaxed and eliminated the traditional constraints on defensive force, which included necessity and proportionality. This change gave juries new discretion to evaluate the reasonableness of an accused’s actions “in the circumstances.”
The critical changes in Canada’s self-defence law rendered it more permissive in important respects than Florida’s notorious Stand Your Ground Law, which largely dispenses with the traditional retreat requirement before deadly force is legally justifiable.
After its enactment in the state, homicides nearly tripled; 70 per cent of people who invoked Stand Your Ground went free. Killers were almost three times more likely to prevail if the victim was Black.
Canada’s overhaul was originally intended to provide urban shopkeepers, battered women and other vulnerable groups with realistic options to defend themselves. Mr. Khill’s acquittal showed the law could now exonerate armed ex-soldiers confronting threats to their property.
The Supreme Court was right to order a retrial, but it was timid and divided in interpreting the broader law. Its decision did nothing to limit the slow creep toward impunity for initial aggressors.
Nor did the Court provide Mr. Khill’s new trial judge and jury with concrete guidance on whether the accused’s role in the incident disentitles him to the self-defence claim.
Alberta judge’s anti-free speech ruling must be challenged
October 19, 2021
Agree or disagree with Pastor Pawlowski, the response to dissenting thought, belief, opinion and expression in a free society is speech by someone on the other side of the issue, not dictated language as compelled by government or court.
It would be regrettable if this decision by a single judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench goes unchallenged.
Vax Mandate Unlawful: Feds
October 14, 2021
The Department of Health yesterday would not comment on its own legal opinion that compulsory vaccination is unconstitutional. The finding dates from a 1996 report.
“Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada,” said the department’s Canadian National Report On Immunization. “It cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution.”
The report noted even school immunization programs could not compel parents to vaccinate their children. “Legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization,” said the report by the Bureau of Infectious Diseases at the department’s Health Protection Branch.
The department would not say if its legal counsel now has different advice justifying mandatory Covid immunization for select federal employees or air and rail passengers. Alex Beattie, spokesperson for the department, called it a “complex question.”
Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said compulsory vaccination was “an encroachment on civil liberties” that breaches the Privacy Act. His predecessor Commissioner George Radwanski testified at 2002 hearings of the Commons justice committee that compulsory disclosure of medical information was a “massive violation of privacy.”
“Your personal medical information is the most intimate and private information about you,” testified Radwanski. “Our right to privacy is based above all on the notion of consent.”
Opinion: How to fight gun crime in Montreal and win
Oct 11, 2021
Gun control and policing are necessary for controlling crime in society, but like any solution, they can hit a point of diminishing returns.
The reality is that Canada’s strong federal gun control laws have hit a point of diminishing returns. Canadian gun owners are licensed, vetted and heavily regulated. In fact, our gun control laws are so strong that they have forced criminals, and especially criminal gangs, to look south of the border for access to firearms where there is no shortage of supply.
Over the long term, Montreal politicians need to address the root causes of crime and violence: poverty, inequality and systemic racism. This can involve interventions as diverse as investing more money in community-building, addressing the housing crisis, and increasing funding for addiction and mental health treatment. These are not short-term projects, but they will pay much greater dividends to society.
Sask.’s first chief firearms officer targets safety as top priority
Sep 27, 2021
Saskatchewan is taking a more front-and-centre role in the enforcement of firearms laws through the office of the chief firearms officer.
For Robert Freberg, Saskatchewan’s first CFO, safety will be top of mind in his new role as the province takes on a more active role in enforcing firearm laws.
Freberg said when the federal Firearms Act was written in 1998, “They did allow some autonomy for the individual provinces to make decisions that would reflect what was happening in their own jurisdiction.”
The CFO will have jurisdiction over licensing, storage, transportation and carrying of firearms as well as being responsible for licensing firearm instructors and firearm range approval.
As he enters the role, Freberg said the first big-ticket items before him are safety, specifically regarding illegal firearms, and mental health.
“When you go around and look at what guns are being seized right now in the province, a lot of it tends to be modified handguns or guns that are manufactured out of bits and pieces and parts,” he said.
Working with police and federal agencies across Saskatchewan will be top of mind, as the office looks to address gun violence.
He said that with respect to mental health, as it relates to firearm ownership, he is consulting with mental health experts, “to make sure that we’re not leaving firearms in the hands of people who are not using them responsibly.”
The office recently hired a full-time attorney that will be tasked with speaking to local police detachments to educate them on their capacity to seize firearms from people experiencing mental health crises or who are experiencing mental health episodes.
Meadow Lake RCMP making illegal weapons seizures amid crime spike
Sep 27, 2021
Meadow Lake has seen a spike in violent crimes throughout September. Several recent firearms related offences have resulted in the Meadow Lake RCMP working to locate multiple suspects said to be involved in gang activity within the community.
In a statement to meadowlakeNOW, Commander Ryan How stated at least four gunshot complaints were reported to the local police detachment between Sept. 18 – 25.
He explained the city saw a notable decline in these offences throughout the summer, but has observed a dramatic increase in recent weeks.
Sask. RCMP officer receives absolute discharge, after failing to renew license of personal gun
Oct 8, 2021
A Saskatchewan RCMP officer, who neglected to renew the license for a personal gun he had owned for over 20 years, has received an absolute discharge.
Sgt. Rene Giroux, 60, was also ordered to pay a surcharge fine of $500 at his sentencing hearing last month.
The court appearance represented his first on the matter and he entered a guilty plea to a single charge of unauthorized possession of a restricted firearm.
The case itself dates back to January, 2021 when a management check of the Canadian Firearms Registry, showed Giroux’s personal firearms license was expired, which meant he could not legally posses the .22 caliber pistol he owned. Giroux willingly surrendered the pistol.
At the time of the incident, Giroux was working at the Waskesiu detachment and remained on active duty during the court process.
Stray bullets and firearms: Resident concerns spark bylaw discussions, committee in Amaranth
September 30, 2021
Reports of stray bullets, allegedly coming from a single property, have left Amaranth with a difficult decision to make.
At its Aug. 11 meeting, council received a letter regarding bullets discovered at two homes in the area of 2nd Line. These bullets went through a window, a garage door, and a porch.
Following a discussion at the meeting, staff were directed by council to draft a bylaw prohibiting the discharge of firearms, and to send a letter to residents of the area advising them of the situation and council’s considerations.
After some further discussion surrounding the matter and concerns about the property discharging the firearms, council voted to move forward with a committee to seek a resolution to the discharge of firearms concerns within the township. Councillors Heather Foster and Niedzwiecki were appointed to the committee.
Halifax gun dealer facing criminal charges
Sept. 20, 2021
A Halifax gun dealer and sport shooter investigated last year for allegedly smuggling overcapacity magazines into Canada is now facing criminal charges.
Sean Christopher Hansen, 55, has been charged with importing and possessing a prohibited device.
Hansen is also charged under the Customs Act for keeping, acquiring, or disposing of illegally imported goods.
He is slated to appear in Halifax provincial court Thursday for election and plea.
It’s unusual for a gun dealer who is plugged into organized shooting to get caught up in potentially illegal activity, said Blake Brown, a history professor at Saint Mary’s University who authored Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada.
Edmonton police investigate straw buying of guns, two charged
Sep 22, 2021
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has arrested and charged two men with multiple firearms-related offences in connection to a straw buying operation.
Police were called to a weapons complaint at a retail store in the area of 125 Street and 132 Avenue, in February 2021. Police responded and found a man in possession of a handgun with the serial number defaced. Caleb Lauer, 25, was taken into custody and charged with nine offences, including possession of a loaded restricted firearm.
The EPS firearms investigation unit (FIU) became involved and through forensic analysis, including the use of integrated ballistics identification system, they were able to identify the registered owner of the handgun and that it was used in a shooting in the Castledowns area on Dec. 6, 2020.
The registered owner of the handgun, Brett Shepherd, 28, was arrested on Aug. 25, 2021. Shepherd was in possession of a valid firearms license and three other restricted firearms registered to his address. A search of the residence revealed that the three restricted firearms were not present.