Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, like most left-leaning urbanites, has a real problem with guns. He doesn’t like them, he would prefer Canadians didn’t own them – and he would be more than pleased to ban them.
Earlier this year, the PM announced a permanent ban on 1,500 different models of “military-style assault weapons,” including the AR-15. This decision occurred due to the shooting spree in Nova Scotia between April 18-19 by a lone gunman, Gabriel Wortman, who killed 22 people and injured 3 others. (He was ultimately shot and killed by RCMP officers.)
This announcement was widely condemned by Canadian conservatives, gun owners and even some non-gun owners — and with good reason.
A “military-style assault weapon” generally refers to an automatic weapon, but these have been banned in Canada for years. The federal Liberal government actually went after semi-automatic weapons, which don’t normally fall under this category. In fact, a semi-automatic weapon ban has little to no effect in cracking down on violent crime. The federal Liberals simply paid lip service to their political supporters and financial donors, rather than showing concern for society with respect to curbing gun violence in an intelligent and effective fashion.
Trudeau targeted law-abiding citizens with this unnecessary piece of legislation. The Nova Scotia gunman didn’t have a firearms license for the weapons he used. Most Canadians who own similar weapons follow the laws of our land when it comes to purchasing these types of weapons, registering them and obtaining the necessary firearms licenses.
The PM didn’t even recall Parliament to enact this measure. He used an order-in-council to simply push the ban on these 1,500 weapons through the House of Commons and made it law in Canada “effective immediately.” It’s not illegal to do this, but considering how important the issue of gun rights and ownership has been in parts of Canada, the move was both reprehensible and anti-democratic.
In a world where COVID-19 is and should be the primary concern, the fact that Trudeau spent needless time and effort to push through a semi-automatic weapon ban showed his priorities were in the wrong place.
Unsurprisingly, Trudeau has tackled the issue of banning guns yet again – and looks equally as foolish as he did before.
This matter goes back to a promise the federal Liberals made during the 2019 federal election. Canadian municipalities would be earmarked $250 million over five years to ban handguns. Normally, this would be a contentious issue that percolated for a couple of days in the news cycle. Yet in a political conversation dominated by Trudeau’s three instances of wearing blackface and two-planes controversy, and then-Tory leader Andrew Scheer’s dual citizenship revelation and questions about his job title in the insurance industry, it got lost in the shuffle.
The issue popped back up unexpectedly last week after the tragic murder of a 12-year-old boy. Dante Andreatta was an innocent bystander during a shooting in Toronto’s Jane and Finch area, and was hit by a stray bullet. Three arrests have been made by Toronto police, and his organs have been graciously donated by the grieving family.
Trudeau, for his part, blamed provincial governments for inaction on this file. If the premiers had fulfilled his oh-so-important mandate to Canadian voters, these sorts of senseless tragedies could be prevented.
I’m afraid it’s not that simple.
Most Canadian premiers have rejected Trudeau’s position for remarkably obvious reasons. The PM’s proposed handgun ban only targets law-abiding owners. It would do nothing to crack down on illegal weapons, gun violence and the black market. That’s why Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said it’s “not the solution” to reducing gun violence in urban communities, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has opposed it, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe declared that cities in his province can’t ban handguns, period.
Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein also pointed out on Nov. 14, “Trudeau’s proposed municipal handgun ban won’t work because 80% of the handguns used in urban street violence in Toronto are illegally smuggled in from the U.S.” These numbers would obviously differ from city to city, and province to province. Nevertheless, it’s one of the real issues surrounding gun violence that Ottawa should start focusing on. Unsurprisingly, they don’t spend a lick of time considering this important component.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has mostly stayed out of this difficult debate. He’s touted a citywide gun ban in the past, but would prefer that Trudeau’s national handgun ban was enacted. The blame could then be shifted in a different direction, after all.
Oh, and one final thought. The $250 million that Trudeau triumphantly earmarked for Canadian municipalities reportedly hasn’t been given out. Why, pray tell? That’s an easy one. If M’lord’s mandate isn’t carried out to his full satisfaction, the money stays in the till.
Photo Credit: CBC News
Michael Taube, a long-time newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.
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