By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Lethbridge MP Rachael Thomas said Bill C-21 is “the top issue I am hearing in my office right now.”
Thomas called Bill C-21 “an assault on hunters by outlawing thousands of hunting rifles.” She added while the legislation “is not a complete ban, it is a ban on thousands of hunting rifles.”
According to a study published by Statistics Canada titled, Trends in firearm-related violent crime in Canada, 2009 to 2020, “the proportion of homicides committed with a rifle or shotgun increased between 2009-2014 and 2015-2020 up from 28 per cent of firearm-related homicides to 31 per cent. However, the report also notes, “Handguns were the most serious weapon present in the majority of firearm-related violent crimes both between 2009 and 2014 (59 per cent) and between 2015 and 2020 (59 per cent).”
“This (Bill C-21) is not something that is going to help bring down crime rates. This is something that is simply going after those who are already law-abiding citizens, who are highly vetted, who own their firearm legally, and who do that responsibly; these are individuals who hunt,” said Thomas.
Thomas, among other Conservative MPs, was specifically critical of amendments made to Bill C-21 “at the eleventh hour.” The amendments were tacked on in late 2022, months after the bill had passed second reading back in June.
In December, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Honourable Marco Mendicino, told the House of Commons “We are not going to target those guns which are used conventionally for hunting.”
However, confusion arose during the Dec. 1 Parliamentary meeting when the Canadian Firearms Program technical specialist told the committee “the model 702 Plinkster is a conventional 22-calibre hunting rifle. It’s unaffected by what’s in C-21.” However, it is listed as a prohibited firearm.
Thomas said, “these are individuals who sport shoot; these are individuals who use their firearms to protect their livestock. Now the prime minister is making a decision to demonize them and confiscate their rifles. That’s wrong.” She said firearms legislation put in place by the prime minister “is not making a difference, nor will it ever make a difference, because he’s going after those who follow the law.”
“Since Trudeau took office, crime committed with firearms has gone up by over 30 per cent. Crimes committed by gangs have gone up by over 90 per cent,” she said.
The same report by Statistics Canada showed gang activity was confirmed or suspected in nearly 40 per cent of all firearm-related homicides. The study revealed most (63 per cent) of gang firearm-related homicides committed in 2020 were done so with a handgun.
“What he should be doing, is listening to the association of Chiefs of Police, and he should be going after gangs (and) organized crime groups; he should be reinforcing our borders, and he should be giving metropolitan police the resources they need to do their jobs.”
On Jan. 11, the Province of Alberta announced they will be involved in litigation concerning Bill C-21 and the Federal Court granted Alberta the ability to intervene on non-constitutional issues.
According to the Province’s announcement, “Alberta will be able to argue that the federal government’s legislation is an overreach of its jurisdiction and will infringe on the rights of the province’s law-abiding firearms community.” The lawsuits are scheduled to be heard in April.
When asked about the potential impact of Alberta’s Sovereignty Act on Bill C-21, Thomas reiterated it is her common rule to refrain from commenting on Provincial legislation.
“I’ll stay in my lane, and let them deal with theirs.”
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