Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau unveiled a bold election promise Friday to ban assault-style, semi-automatic sport rifles in Canada and launch a program to restrict handguns in big cities, along with new regulations to end the “glorification” of firearms in sales.
But regulations to enforce critical elements of gun-control legislation the government passed through Parliament only last June are not yet public and can’t be published or put into place until after the Oct. 21 election, iPolitics has learned.
Trudeau announced the new measures, to address the popularity of military-style rifles and rising handgun violence, at the scene of a shooting attack in Toronto last year that left two young women dead.
Promising a re-elected Liberal government would launch a program to buy back legally obtained assault-style rifles, Trudeau said the kind of semi-automatic rifles that have been used in mass shootings in the U.S. have no place in Canada’s firearm culture for sport and hunting use. The new Liberal gun-control plan also includes new regulations or laws to allow temporary suspensions of licences for gun owners who have come to pose a danger to families.
Yet, late passage through Parliament of a Liberal gun-control bill stemming from promises made in the 2015 election has resulted in the delay of regulations that would put into force some of the most important elements of the law.
Bill C-71, which Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale introduced in the Commons in March 2018, became bogged down as Conservatives prolonged debate during the legislation’s readings in the Senate. The Conservatives later denied they were filibustering, and told at least one firearm lobby group, the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, they wanted the bill to pass in order to use it as a wedge issue to gain support in the federal election.
A spokesperson for Goodale said this week, during a series of questions about the status of regulations, that it would not be possible to push forward the regulations until after the election.
A Caretaker Convention under the auspices of the prime minister’s department, the Privy Council Office, restricts government to carrying on only routine business during the dissolution of Parliament for an election, in most cases, but a unique regulatory process under the Firearms Act adds an overriding restriction.
“Regulations to implement C-71 cannot be published during the election,” Goodale’s office told iPolitics Thursday.
Unlike most regulation authorities contained in various Acts of Parliament, when the Firearms Act was created Parliament retained the right to have all associated regulations tabled before both Houses of Parliament for their respective consideration.
“As only one House of Parliament exists right now, the regulations cannot be published, regardless of the caretaker convention,” an aide to Goodale said.
Only the Commons is dissolved for an election, by the Governor General on advice from the prime minister, while the Senate shuts down business for the duration, Parliamentary backgrounders state.
The new Bill C-71 sections of the Firearms Act that require regulations to put into force include key areas that were at the forefront of Liberal campaign promises from the last election.
One of the main sections would reinstate mandatory sales records to be kept by gun dealers and retailers, which the Conservatives claimed during debate on the bill would in effect establish a new form of long-gun registry the Liberals promised in 2015 not to introduce.
The Firearms Act’s new record-keeping provisions from Bill C-71 “will not be in force until draft regulations are published, a public consultations period is held, and the final regulations are published and brought into force,” Goodale’s office told iPolitics.
Other measures that won’t take effect until well after Oct. 21 include a requirement for validation of a buyer’s licence, through a controversial system of confirming the buyer possesses a valid acquisition licence and at the time of purchase is eligible to own a firearms.
Bill C-71 primarily governed non-restricted long guns (rifles and shotguns), but also included reversal of a contentious decision by the previous Conservative government to lower the classification level for two makes of imported semi-automatic rifles. Regulations are also required to put that section into force.
A prominent and long-established gun control association that has criticized delays in C-71, welcomed Trudeau’s announcement regarding military-style rifles, but expressed disappointment over the handgun initiative.
“The commitment to ban on assault weapons is great news, full stop,” said a statement released by spokesperson Heidi Rathjen.
“As for handguns, the intent to hand over responsibility for further restrictions to municipalities is a disappointment. As we’ve repeatedly said, banning handguns in some but not all municipalities would not only be inadequate, considering the risks involved, but it would also be inefficient,” said the statement.
“This would also guarantee protracted and contentious political battle in any municipality that considers further restrictions on handguns,” the statement said.
“We doubt there is much appetite in municipalities to face off against the gun lobby when the federal government is clearly unwilling to do so, at least on the issue of handguns.”
The group lauded the Liberal commitment to increase controls aimed at removing guns from potentially dangerous individuals, particularly within the context of domestic violence, and improving safe storage while addressing pro-gun marketing.
Desperate Blackface Trudeau Unveils New Leftist Gun Grab Platform While Previous Gun Grab Measures From 2015 Still Not In Force
I guess he thinks taking even more guns will make his galavanting in black face disappear. When in doubt, virtue signal harder.
No pity or sympathy. This is what Canada gets for electing a drama teacher who was also political royalty. He will do whatever feels good in the moment for him and the elites that surround him. He doesn’t care about the average citizen.
He knows his political career is over. His paymasters are expecting him to deliver on promises without further delay. That’s why we saw the pictures. He wasn’t moving fast enough for his paymasters so they gave him a few smacks across the face to remind him of who he works for.