The Canadian gun lobby aren’t all extremists, but all extremists are in the gun lobby, says Bill Blair, federal Minister of Public Safety.
The remarks came on Friday, April 9, as he addressed the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2021 policy convention (held online, due to COVID-19 restrictions). Blair was speaking as part of the Liberal convention’s Panel on Safe Communities. You can see the whole panel discussion here.
Blair’s comments came as he explained the government’s justification for Bill C-21. Blair said red flag/yellow flag laws are necessary to reduce violence committed by those who’ve acquired firearms legally. You can see his comments starting around the 22:45 mark. He opens by saying Bill C-21 will help reduce domestic violence and suicides, but goes on to talk about “proliferation of online hate.” Bill C-21 will allow authorities to act against “ideologically motivated, violent extremists who are using online platforms to propagate and advocate for hatred and violence against women, against religious minorities, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic and hateful speech and advocating violence … not every person who’s in the gun lobby is an extremist, but everybody who’s extremist is in the gun lobby.”
Blair says Bill C-21 will “take away the instrument of mass murder from those individuals,” and also “have a chilling effect on their online rhetoric,” since their speech online could cost them their access to firearms.
After Bill C-21 passes, Blair says the Liberals will “invest in communities” to empower through support to keep vulnerable individuals safe. He did not elaborate on what that meant.
Watch the whole video, and there are two obvious themes: After almost six years in power, the Liberals are still blaming Canada’s problems on former governments. And, despite the many public safety issues facing Canadian communities, the Liberals believe restricting firearms and “replica guns” (read: “airsoft guns”) as a big part of the solution.
Wait—what about current background checks?
Blair’s comments beg the question: Why isn’t the government’s current firearms program working? How are these alleged extremists currently getting their hands on guns? After all, applicants for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) undergo comprehensive screening before being approved. If anyone has concerns about gun owners after they get their licence, the Canadian Firearms Program website tells people to call 911 to report a public safety concern. Furthermore, firearms owners’ names are constantly checked through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, to see if the gun owners are the subject of a CPIC report. Law enforcement is already constantly watching legal gun owners, and Canadians already have ways to report dangerous individuals.
And one more question: What if red flag or yellow flag laws aren’t properly enforced after they’re passed? Last spring’s mass murder spree in Nova Scotia shocked Canada a year ago. Despite warnings about the killer’s illegal arsenal, police ultimately left him to plan his crimes and ultimately murder 22 people. If police are not acting on existing concerns, what reason do we have to believe they’d properly administer their new powers?