Whitehorse Daily Star

It’s been a learning experience, minister says

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he’s learned a lot from talks with Yukon gun owners last week,

By Ethan Lycan-Lang on January 23, 2023

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he’s learned a lot from talks with Yukon gun owners last week, and it’ll be affecting the shape of a federal bill on gun control that some Yukoners have criticized for ignoring northern ways of life.

Bill C-21 proposes, among other things, a ban on more than 1,500 firearms country-wide.

Recent amendments to the bill, which originally focused on handguns, could make long guns used in hunting and sport here in the Yukon illegal.

Mendicino visited the territory last week to respond to concerns over the ban, and learn how firearms are used in northern communities.

He said he met with the Canadian Rangers, Yukon Fishing and Game Association, local government, Council of Yukon First Nations leaders and a variety of gun owners at a roundtable meeting last Thursday, all to discuss how Bill C-21 could impact life and industry here.

“Getting out on the land,” Mendicino said in an interview Friday afternoon, “I was able to experience, along with members of the community, how firearms are used safely and responsibly.”

Mendicino acknowledged firearms are a part of the “fabric” of northern life. “And I was able to experience that first hand,” he said.

“It’s my commitment to take that perspective and work it into the ongoing study of Bill C-21,” he said.

The bill is currently under committee review and awaiting a third reading in the House of Commons.

An amendment to the bill introduced late last year went beyond a handgun ban to include long guns like rifles and shotguns.

Fears that this amendment could make firearms used to hunt and protect against wildlife in remote northern communities led Yukon MP Brendan Hanley to say he couldn’t support his own party’s bill in its current form.

“We’ve been able to clarify that there is space in which we can create exemptions that are aligned and respectful to the northern realities on the land and to have an important conversation with First Nations because this bill is going to be passed in a way that is consistent with the principles of reconciliation,” Mendicino said.

He said he and Hanley had made good progress.

Hanley told the Star Friday he’s been assured First Nations rights for hunting won’t be affected by the ban.

He said Mendicino also committed to protecting fundamental hunting rights for all Canadians. Gun ban exemptions for sport, hunting and collecting are on the table, Hanley said.

“I’m very happy that the minister found the time and he responded to my request to come here,” Hanley said, saying the Yukon’s voice was heard and he’s confident it will find its way into a revised bill later this month. “But it’s not the end of the conversation.”

Speaking of exemptions, Mendicino said identifying guns important to Yukon industries and communities and seeing if they can be removed from a ban list in some way is a big part of the work that will come from last week’s meetings.

“We’re gonna work very closely with hunters, trappers, First Nations, to scope that work out,” he told the Star.

“The ability to use firearms safely and responsibly for food security, for self-protection and preservation, while in the land are all things that we can accomplish, while at the same time trying to reduce gun violence.”

Mendicino noted that a gun ban isn’t the only measure being taken to reduce gun violence.

He said the government is spending $450 million at the Canadian border to prevent illegal sales and smuggling.

He also noted nearly $1 million in federal funding going to Whitehorse for community programs to prevent youth from getting involved in crime.

Increased mental health care, he said, is another part of the federal government’s approach to gun crime prevention.

Mendicino said he doesn’t expect to come back with a revised bill that gun owners will totally agree with, but he hopes to change it so northern ways of life are protected without sacrificing public safety.

Comments (12)

Up 3 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Jan 29, 2023 at 8:41 am

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Mr. Mendicino reports back to the Prime Misery that Canadians living in the north do not support the proposed gun regulations and these really should be changed.

Up 5 Down 0

Steve on Jan 28, 2023 at 4:31 am

As a legal gun owner still pretty concerned by the his comments. There are more than just the northern communities that us guns for hunting and sporting. Hunters and sport shooting is a bigger sport than golf. Hunters help keep the wildlife populations in balance in southern Ontario. An exemption for sport shooting, how hard will that be too get. The main point though is this whole bill will cost 100 of billions of dollars and do nothing to reduce gun crimes in Canada. The criminals don't follow the laws to begin with adding more won't change anything. Use the money to add more scanners at points of entry along with agents. That will not only stop the guns but also drugs and human trafficking. This bill has changed so much its ridiculous. It started with assault style weapons which assault weapons have been prohibited for decades now. It then morphed into a handgun freeze and now non restricted longuns. The term variant can mean a lot of things and can be used to reclasify many firearms. We seen this happen with the assult style weapons, the list far exceeds 1500 guns. Not to mention how does a bill become legal before is passed royal ascent. By the way none of my firearms are weapons. I have never used them for bodily harm to humans. I use them as tools to compete in sport shooting and to control wildlife populations while providing food for my family.

Up 27 Down 2

Shannon on Jan 25, 2023 at 3:38 am

Scrap c21 all together. Put all the buyback money into policing and border security. This is an uncalled for attack on legal gun owners. Using terms like "assault style weapons" to confuse non gun owners is classic 100% disinformation. That's like a Honda civic with a Ferrari body kit and calling it a Ferrari.

Up 23 Down 1

Donny macintosh on Jan 24, 2023 at 4:34 pm

Divide and conquer tactics ..no to c21 and oic

Up 13 Down 3

bonanzajoe on Jan 24, 2023 at 4:05 pm

WS, where are all the comments on this news item?

Up 22 Down 2

Pjt1959 on Jan 24, 2023 at 1:42 pm

If you watched the meeting you could tell that liberals have no intention of changing anything. Sports shooting is not even a concern as they don’t want it in Canada. They just want take firearms away from lawful gun owners and say the are buying them back. That statement doesn’t make sense as they didn’t buy them and give them to the owners & they are saying what they will pay. So if Hanley doesn’t vote against it he is for it.

Up 26 Down 1

Jason on Jan 24, 2023 at 11:51 am

That way of life is not reserved to northerners. The proposed gun ban will have no effect on gun crime or homicide in Canada. The proposed bill dumps the bulk of the budget on a negligible part of the problem. All money and efforts should be spent on gangs, crime, border control and social programs. Do they actually want to bring the body count down? Apparently not.

Up 25 Down 2

Scott on Jan 24, 2023 at 9:03 am

The Liberal government needs to realize that the guns and gang problems in their southern cities are not caused by lawful licensed hunters and sport shooters. Their proposed broad brush solution is not the answer.

Up 17 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on Jan 23, 2023 at 9:23 pm

Mendicio: Trudeau is going to do whatever he is going to do regardless of any consultations, opinions or any other compelling data. Trudeau and most Liberals are terrified of guns. Would if there is another, but successful attempt on a Canadian politician? You can only push people so far..Frankly, I was surprised last year, when Trudeau spent 12,000$ on food for just one month, while so many in the country are on the streets, or without enough to eat. Trudeau did not even try to justify that, he just ignored it until it went away. And it did. Trudeau spends 55,000$ a year on grocery's. That the taxpayer is on the hook for.

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/canadian-taxpayers-on-hook-for-55k-of-trudeau-familys-annual-grocery-bill (He is supposed to pay a portion of this back to the country, but he hasn't.)

If Canadians did not do a single thing over this 'eat cake' attitude, Trudeau and cronies, really have nothing to fear.

Up 7 Down 3

Jeff Donaldson on Jan 23, 2023 at 7:08 pm

Oh you learned a lot eh….

I would say SOME Canadian Rangers may be capable of weapons safety with regard to their new rifles, however, certainly not all.
I witness the Carcross Patrol and I still want to Bang my head seeing such a simple ranger become such a SH=-237W!
Of course even when I as a Canadian Armed Forces Advanced Weapons INSTRUCTOR, and Combat Veteran (might know a thing or too!) Still got back talked and challenged by at best closet wannabe but never could or far past due civilians.
The reason you went there was to shore up your Northern Base of Government employees. What 6300 now, to administer 41000.
Glad I left that place! Ship is sinking and you are worried about your future Hunting concessions and all the Outfitters… Yes they will get rid of those to.

Watch and Shoot…
Watch and Shoot…

JD from Dapp. OUT!!

Up 11 Down 1

bonanzajoe on Jan 23, 2023 at 4:01 pm

@"Mendicino said he doesn’t expect to come back with a revised bill that gun owners will totally agree with". Thats alright, the Conservatives will, after the next election.

Up 12 Down 1

bonanzajoe on Jan 23, 2023 at 3:59 pm

@"Hanley told the Star Friday he’s been assured First Nations rights for hunting won’t be affected by the ban." Yeah, what about the White race and other races outside of the FN?

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