Whitehorse Daily Star

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UNJUSTIFIED LEGISLATION? – Alberta MP Blaine Calkins says the proposed firearms legislation is “misguided,’ and being hastened to enactment by the federal Liberal government to minimize public scrutiny.

Firearms bill brings Alberta MP to town

A Conservative MP will be wrapping up his trip to Whitehorse today to hear Yukoners’ concerns about a federal bill aimed at tightening the country’s firearms legislation.

By Palak Mangat on June 11, 2018

A Conservative MP will be wrapping up his trip to Whitehorse today to hear Yukoners’ concerns about a federal bill aimed at tightening the country’s firearms legislation.

An avid hunter, fisherman and gun-owner himself, Alberta MP Blaine Calkins said he has been to the city often.

This time around, though, he said it was to hear from those who were unable to voice their concerns after being blocked from testifying on a federal committee.

He added that he hopes to “give them a perspective they might not be getting.”

Speaking to the Star Friday afternoon ahead of his visit, the Red Deer-Lacombe MP sits on the standing committee on public safety and national security. He is one of three Conservatives on the committee, which also features seven Liberals and a lone New Democrat.

The Yukon Party too issued a release in late May expressing disappointment that the federal Liberals had blocked a motion on this committee that would have seen two Yukon residents testify.

One of those witnesses would have been Stacey Hassard, the party’s interim leader, as well as Gord Zealand, the Yukon Fish and Games Association’s executive director.

Calkins said the Liberals had “extra-special meetings to hustle this bill through” – while his motion for it to hold additional meetings was shot down.

He added that he had hoped for more time to debate the bill.

“This is very abnormal: usually a piece of legislation like this takes a little bit longer,” he said, adding that it can take up a couple days of debate in the house.

Meanwhile, the territory’s lone MP, Liberal Larry Bagnell, said today Calkins’ visit was appreciated but overdue.

“He’s just come now; I’ve been working on this for months,” Bagnell told the Star.

He continued that some of the opposition was rooted in a lack of a close reading of the bill itself.

“A lot of people like Yukon hunters are aware that it wouldn’t affect them” dramatically, he said, especially after some of his “fulsome discussions and meetings” with residents.

He encouraged those concerned to ask for clarification on some of the requirements set out in the bill, something Bagnell noted was a significant part of his discussions.

“They just aren’t aware of the details, the technical details,” he said, adding that some may have “heard rumours but they’re not necessarily true.”

For instance, he said some believed that the reclassification of weapons was to be done by the RCMP. In actuality, he noted, these were already established by members of Parliament.

“The classifications are defined, so the RCMP is to simply” put it into action, he added.

Meanwhile, Calkins maintained that the bill is misguided.

“The goal is public safety but it goes after ... the firearms community,” he said, calling some of the changes “egregious.”

For instance, he fears owners will be “accidentally caught up in the bureaucracy and red tape” of records-keeping.

The Star reported in April that some retailers also had concerns about the requirement of records-keeping, saying it placed the burden on stores to maintain records for a lengthy period of time spanning two decades.

Calkins continued that some committee members may not have had the same invested interest he does.

“Liberal MPs that are on the public safety committee by in large do not represent, in my estimation, typical rural communities,” he said.

Representing central Alberta, he noted that his rural riding is full of hunters and fishermen, and he is a firearm owner himself.

For whatever reason, the Liberal government, somehow they believe that going after law-abiding owners will decrease illegal gun activity,” he continued.

Calkins was also disappointed when the Liberals put forward a motion to study things like mental health and gang-related issues as it relates to the legislation, saying it seemed too little too late.

“We’ve been telling them all along that they should be focusing on reducing the risk when it comes to buying firearms,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bagnell offered more clarification.

He noted that when transporting firearms between the owner’s home, a shooting range and the place of purchase, for instance, holders will not need to apply for authorization approval.

Rather, he said, this will only apply to prohibited and restricted firearms – “the more dangerous guns.”

Even with the other firearms, the process “can be done in five minutes on the phone or computer,” he added.

He said some of the opposition to the bill may have missed this note.

“The vast majority of guns in the Yukon are hunting rifles,” Bagnell continued. The way of life for Indigenous groups and avid hunters would likely not be affected dramatically, he pointed out.

He said that when going to gun ranges, “which is where people usually go,” they will avoid any red tape “90 per cent of the time” if they are not carrying prohibited and restricted firearms.

As for the committee denying some witnesses the ability to testify, Bagnell said it was logistically unfortunate.

“Each committee is in control of their own destiny,” he said, adding that “there are far more people in Canada than they have slots for.”

Having representatives like the association would have been helpful though, he said, because “they have good knowledge of firearms.”

Until then, Bagnell said he is more than willing to meet with those worried about the bill and its “technical ramifications” on their ownership.

“Anytime anyone wants to meet with me on that or have a phone call, they should,” he said, adding that “I think people with the biggest concerns already have.

“My door is always open,” he continued.

Calkins added he was set to meet with the fish and game association, among others, later today.

After passing first and second readings, the bill is now before the committee, which has held five meetings so far, according to a Parliament webpage.

The last meeting was May 31, and Calkins said he expects the bill to be before the Senate before the end of the summer.

Comments (19)

Up 1 Down 0

Elmer Keith on Jun 17, 2018 at 7:44 am

Weird how the critical thought process and the firearms fetish are inversely proportional....

Up 2 Down 2

woodcutter on Jun 14, 2018 at 4:01 pm

a 1993 ruling by the supreme court of Canada says otherwise. Better to do some research on this issue. Wait you must be talking from your personal opinion and not fact in law.

Up 12 Down 3

BnR on Jun 14, 2018 at 6:58 am

So Denis Starko, you are proposing NRA doctrine be enshrined in the Canadian constitution? Are you out of your bloody mind?
Y'know, I've been a member of the Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol club since '78. I've got safes full of registered firearms. I've never been paranoid. I've never felt the need to jump on the gun nutz train.

Up 13 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm

Owning a long gun is absolutely a right. If you mess up then it becomes a privilege that can be taken away. That's just common sense Yukon liberty.

Up 7 Down 2

alex on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Bill C-71 is an attack on the most law abiding and most scrutinized part of the population. It will do zero to combat illegal guns and misuse of illegal guns by criminals and gangs.

If you have a PAL, you name is run daily through a database to see if you have been naughty. A daily criminal record check.
Source: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/fire-feu-eval/apph-eng.htm
(about half way down the page)

Also, the magnitude of allowing the RCMP 'experts' to determine the legality and classification of a firearm, is the definition of a police state, where police make the law as they see fit. Time and time again, said RCMP firearms lab experts have determined that certain legal firearms will now become prohibited at the stroke of a pen and on a whim, with exactly zero compensation to the owner of his/her once legally obtained private property.

This bill is about so much more than also creating a backdoor registry, along with having shop owner keep records for countless years, the new amendments to this bill are truly scary. Anything you say on the internet that someone determines a threat will be enough to not have you PAL be renewed. Also anything you may have done when you were young and stupid in your 20's will be dragged out and again used as a determining factor of PAL renewal. Unlike the current 5 years.

Does this seem like a fair, clear and transparent bill? I assure you it is far from it. The whole point of it is to slowly but surely disarm the population.

There is so much uninformed people commenting here, it's quite sad. Please familiarize yourself with our current laws and restrictions before you sound off on how this bill won't make a difference to gun owner. Cheers!

Up 4 Down 15

Gordon of Riverdale on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm

When is Sanctimonious Stacey going to rename his political organization
"The Hillbilly Gun Party" ?

They've become the very definition of one issue politics.

Up 13 Down 5

Bandit on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm

@Stu Panton
I don't know when you rolled into town but it seems all you do is comment about things you have absolutely no knowledge of. Your comment in this post is about as mis-informed as your comment re: the girl that was impaired last week. She chose to drive on a city street when she could have driven on a trail on an ATV because it is less dangerous and more socially accepted? Maybe we can all get drunk, register our firearms, and get on our Side by Sides/ATVs and blast down City trails because it is safer. WTF

Up 3 Down 12

woodcutter on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:47 am

Copy the USA's second amendment and be ruled by the 5 propositions of the NRA?

My goodness, looks like some guys figure owning a gun is a right and not a privilege. The guns laws here are not so restrictive that it's impossible to get a gun, you just need training, and be a good person.

I myself don't see the issue, other then it's a "dog whistle" for conservatives.

Up 14 Down 1

Yukon John on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:12 am

"5 minutes over the phone and computer".

Call the CFP and ask for an authorization to transfer yourself.
Welcome to a 30 minute wait...and then you have to wait days, even weeks for an approval. Ontario times are backlogged 6 weeks at the moment.

Oh and there is no online method of getting an ATT granted.
Larry - completely out of touch with restricted firearms ownership

Up 12 Down 0

Bagnell has NOT been working on this on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:08 am

Bagnell has absolutely not been working on this for months, and he voted in support of the bill before even reading it. If the star is interested I can provide copy of the emails proving it.

Up 11 Down 0

Ron Alton on Jun 12, 2018 at 8:40 pm

Bagnell hasn't read Bill C-71 in detail either.....a specific ATT is not required under the Bill to take a restricted firearm to the gun club shooting range as he states, the ATT for that is internal to the valid R-PAL but the Bill does require such a special ATT to take the restricted firearm to a gunsmith and that's totally ridiculous. Also Bagnell's comment re prohibited classification is specious as after the Bill passes the RCMP will have this authority for any future such classifications thus bypassing Parliament.

Up 15 Down 1

ProScience Greenie on Jun 12, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Hated the LGR. Glad it's gone and will fight hard against a reboot. Guns are important tools for us northerners in so many ways and responsible ownership is a right. Simple as that.

As far as the NRA goes, those Russian collaborating minority nutjobs can stay the hell out of our country.

Up 13 Down 2

Bob Watson on Jun 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Bill C-71 is just a sneaky back door registry, but the part of this that amazes me is Canadians don’t seem to care that the RCMP will be calling the shots (no pun intended) on what type of firearm you can own. How do you spell Police State comrades?
Another thing being overlooked is bill C-75 which says no more lead bullets, that’s an end to 22 caliber rifles, no more lead shot, or fishing sinkers. Justin is trying his damness to stop guns one way or another. Wake up folks.

Up 4 Down 15

Stu Panton on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Locals stop at the DMV to register their trailers before a hunt but do not want gun registration! How logical is that.

Too much entitlement and older people crying like snowflakes. And how many times do we hear about drunk and emotionally unstable people in the north shooting from their homes while drunk.

Le'ts give enforcement a break and make it safer by registering all firearms.

Up 11 Down 1

ya sure on Jun 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Larry, you voted for the first Gun Legislation and you voted for this horrible Bill C-71... so what have you been working on...... another horrible Bill like this one....

Up 4 Down 17

Ginger Johnson on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Yet another 3rd rate out-of-town politician wanders into town to tell us what we already know.

Who pays for his little holiday ?

Up 16 Down 4

Yukoner34 on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:00 am

Thank you, Mr. Calkins, for the visit and for being a sensible voice for Canadians!

Up 10 Down 9

Denis Tarko on Jun 12, 2018 at 6:18 am

Same rights as the States. 2nd amendment and the 5 propositions of the NRA in our Canadian Constitution. No ifs; no buts.

Up 3 Down 16

Allan Foster on Jun 11, 2018 at 9:44 pm

YAWN - there are 100 more important things for YUKON TERRITORY politicians
to work on.

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