By Christopher di Armani
On December 8, 2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced he will ban
handgun ownership in Canada. He also announced the creation of a national
"snitch line" (or the GunStoppers Program as he calls it) that will pay
cash to people for ratting out their gun-owning neighbors.
Competitive shooters will be eligible for an exemption, but before target
shooters jump for joy they'd better read the fine print. Paul Martin's
version of "target shooter" means Olympic or Commonwealth Games only.
(http://www.liberal.ca/news_e.aspx?id=1143 ) IPSC and IDPA (or any other)
shooters need not apply.
Puffing his chest appropriately, Paul Martin said that mandatory minimum
sentences would be doubled. Apparently he wasn't paying attention when
his own Attorney General Irwin Cotler stood in Parliament and said, "When
it comes to mandatory minimum (sentences), we will not go ahead and
introduce something that all the evidence shows is neither effective nor a
deterrent. We want to combat crime, but not with ineffective deterrents."
(Hansard, April 14, 2005)
Their integrated federal-provincial teams that prosecute firearms crimes?
Another fluffy feel-good announcement. We've had "Gun Police" here in
Canada since 1994 in one form or another. Our Gunstapo however, stays
well away from the gangs of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, content
instead to harass legitimate gun owners.
For example, March 13, 1995 they descended upon the firearms business of
John St-Amour, complete with a black, unmarked helicopter. Despite John's
repeated plea, "Tell me what you want and I'll give it to you", they
stormed through his home, seized computers, files and firearms. All
charges against St. Amour were eventually tossed out because of abuses by
police and excessive trial delays.
Their latest "triumph" was traveling to the quiet town of Dryden, Ontario
(population 8,800) to prosecute gunsmith Bruce Montague and his wife Donna
for the heinous crime of owning firearms without licenses or registration
The Montagues (http://www.BruceMontague.ca ) have been at the forefront of
the firearms rights battle since the licensing and registration scheme was
first implemented. Bruce traveled the country for 18 months delivering
affidavits to every provincial justice minister in Canada and to the
federal Justice Minister and Prime Minister in Ottawa. He was, of course,
ignored by them all at the time.
Bruce's high-profile arrest
( http://www.diArmani.com/... ) at a gun
show on September 11, 2004 prompted widespread criticism of the Ontario
Provincial Police for their handling of the arrest
( http://www.lufa.ca/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=4147 ), and support for the
Montague family continues to grow. Their case is not expected to come to
trial until the end of 2006, more than two years after their arrests.
Since 1977, Paul Martin's Liberal Party of Canada has steadily introduced
more and more restrictive firearms laws. Invoking "public safety" and
chanting "for the children" at every opportunity, successive justice
ministers repeatedly tighten the noose around the necks of law-abiding
firearms owners, while violent criminals continue to roam our streets
The very shooting violence in downtown Toronto that Martin claims he's
attacking is proof that the Firearms Act is a complete and utter failure.
Canada has, in case Paul Martin is unaware, required handgun registration
since 1934. Despite 71 years of "gun control", illegal handguns remain
the weapon-of-choice for violent criminals.
While leaving said criminals alone, the government makes a mockery of our
justice system with such asinine programs as "Statutory Release",
( http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-44.6/text.html Section 127 ) where the
offender must be released after serving two-thirds of his/her sentence)
and a youth offender program
( http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/Y-1.5/index.html Sec 6.(1), 9, 29(2),
42(2), etc.) that merely guarantees our young offenders graduate into
A typical politician, Mr. Martin is completely out of touch with the
country he supposedly "governs".
He does not care that Canada's firearms laws are already some of the most
severe in the world. He also does not care that Canada's law-abiding
firearms owners are some of the most scrutinized in all of our society.
(Mauser - The Failed Experiment: Gun Control and Public Safety in Canada,
Australia, England and Wales
Paul Martin's Liberal government is the author of Canada's failed Firearms
Registry. Already cost estimates are over one BILLION dollars and by the
Minister of Public Safety, Anne McLellan's own admission, the system is
STILL not fully up and running and will not be until 2007 (Dec 2, 2004
Paul Martin either does not know or does not care that Canada's federal
government has no authority over Property Rights. The Constitution Act,
1867, s.92.13 reads in part "In each Province the Legislature may make
Laws in relation to... 13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province".
Private property is solely the domain of the Provinces, which makes Mr.
Martin's announced handgun ban "interesting".
Since Martin (and the Federal government) cannot actually implement a ban
on private property, he has "invited" the provinces to jump on board the
program and implement it for him. Only Ontario has publicly come out in
favour of the plan.
When British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell's office was contacted for
this article, his staff were quick to make it clear Premier Campbell had
no opinion on ANY federal legislation, pending or otherwise, and that all
inquiries about the handgun ban should be directed to the Prime Minister's
office in Ottawa.
Alberta Premiere Ralph Klein seems the only voice of sanity on the issue.
In a Dec 19, 2005 Ottawa Citizen article Klein is quoted, "Gun
registration has done absolutely nothing to keep guns out of the hands of
criminals. That's fine, you can say ban handguns. You can pass
legislation to ban them. But it's not going to stop the bad guys from
getting a handgun and shooting someone."
If only Paul Martin understood that simple reality.
Christopher di Armani is a firearms owner and freelance writer based in
Lytton, BC. He can be contacted at christopher@diArmani.com or visited on
the web at http://diArmani.com
DISCLAIMER: BruceMontague.ca is maintained by friends and
supporters of Bruce Montague.
It is NOT an official mouth-piece for Bruce
Montague's legal defense.