By Laurie Papineau
A week after being released from jail, Dryden's Bruce Montague says he's even more determined to continue his fight against what he calls Canada's unconstitutional gun laws.
The local gunsmith and Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owner (CUFOA) member openly refused to register his firearms in an effort to fight the effects of Bill C-68. After two years of protesting, Montague was arrested at a gun show in Dryden on Sept. 11.
The family man and first-time offender spent 10 days in jail before he and his lawyer, Ed Burlew of Thornhill Ont., struck a deal with the Crown. As part of that deal, Montague disclosed the whereabouts of a large number of his personal firearms. Those firearms were located inside a secret room in the home, a room that had been missed by police during an initial search.
As unpleasant as Montague found his time in jail, he says he remains undaunted in his fight for justice.
"I'm energized right now," he says. "I've got a great support team, and that really helps. Even people who are not supportive of the issues I'm fighting for, support me as a person."
He now spends a good part of his days responding to emails and fielding questions from all over Canada, as well as directing the many donations that have come in to help pay legal expenses. A new Website, brucemontague.ca, was just launched this week to help do this more effectively.
He notes that many people who write in or offer donations are afraid to attach their names, but says he fully understands why.
"My arrest was fairly high profile, and I think that was to scare people," says Montague. "But civil disobedience is not quite as glorious as it might sound. It's not for everybody, but when you're fighting for rights and liberties as I am, you have to respect people's wishes."
He admits he was taken a little off guard when he was arrested, but is pleased that so many have come on board in the last couple of weeks.
"It got to the point where I just figured the police weren't going to do anything," he says. "We didn't have the money to retain a lawyer, so we just took a leap of faith. We're so sure this law is wrong, we just went ahead and did it without a lawyer."
However, Montague is relieved that he now has a lawyer working on his case, and notes that he had to call for advice just hours after being released from jail and told he could return to his home.
"After two police searches on the property, there were several firearms left in the house," he says. "They were left in obvious view in areas that were searched. I guess people can draw their own conclusions about that."
On the advice of his lawyer, the gunsmith called the OPP to come and pick up the guns - considering one of the conditions of his release was that he not possess a firearm.
Montague says that his legal team is now waiting for the Crown to give full disclosure, so that they know exactly what they're trying to accomplish with these charges, and put their own defence together.
"We've got a very biased court system right now because the judges are appointed by the Liberal government," says Montague. "But, they cannot blatantly trample on our constitution. I think we've got a good argument that these laws are wrong."
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