As many of you know – the Conservative Party of Canada (Parti conservateur du Canada) is slated to select its next leader on May 27th, 2017. Currently there are twelve candidates vying for this incredibly important position as not only leader of the CPC, but leader of the Official Opposition in Ottawa. We decided reach out to every single candidate to see where they stood on issues that were important to millions of Canadian firearm owners.
Steven Blaney; Minister of Public Safety (2013-2015) Minister of Veterans Affairs (2011-2013) Minister of State for La Francophonie (2011-2013) MP Riding of Levis-Bellechasse (2006-Present) Introduced The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act “C-42.”
Today he announced his Respect for Gun Owners Reform plan. Unlike Justin Trudeau’s Liberals who insist on depriving law abiding citizens of their right to use and possess firearms, a Conservative government under the leadership of Steven Blaney will recognize the rights of those who practice traditional and patrimonial Canadian activities which are part of our heritage. Steven Blaney will introduce new measures such as:
- Introducing the Gun Owners’ Charter of Rights in order to end the persecution of law abiding hunters, farmers and sports shooters. Furthermore, an ombudsman will be appointed to enforce the charter and address complaints from gun owners;
- Adding the option of extending the renewal time of a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) to 10 years instead of 5, as was recently done with passport renewals, with a one year grace period to legally renew the licence without penalty;
- Streamlining the firearms classification system by adopting the Simplified Classification System as adopted by the members of the Conservative Party of Canada at the 2016 Vancouver National Convention;
- Transferring control of the Canadian Firearm Program from the RCMP directly to the Ministry of Public Safety in order to avoid conflicts of interest between those administering the program and those enforcing the laws;
- Restore regular service standards for the approval of new firearms for import, which were abolished by the Liberals, in order to ensure a fair process
As Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney thoroughly appreciated the expertise and recommendations of the Firearms Advisory Committee, which were particularly useful in the making of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. He intends to reinstate this valuable resource which the Liberals have dismantled. It is time to correct these Liberal blunders which have caused so much suffering and burned the firearms community without any benefit to public safety.
Do you think Canada’s existing gun laws need to be rewritten?
Yes. I believe that we need to fix the Liberal mistakes that have been implemented in the past. That is why I am bringing to the table the Respect for Gun Owners Reform. I believe it is time for an overhaul; we need to streamline the process. When you go back to the core of the current policies, they were done by the former Liberal Justice, Allan Rock. When you have an individual that says the only people that should have guns in this country are policemen and soldiers, we have a problem; this is the underlying vision behind the Liberal approach to law abiding citizens which is not compatible with our culture, with our Canadian heritage, with our tradition. That is what the gun owners in Canada made me realize during my tenure as Public Safety Minister, that there was a form of injustice towards people who were penalized because they enjoyed those traditional activities. I feel this is unfair, I feel we need to have it fixed, and that is why I have come up with the Respect for Gun Owners Reform. The words are strong, the need is there.
Should the RCMP continue to be the body in charge of firearms regulation in Canada?
No. We have to give the Canadian Firearms Program back to the Public Safety Department, where it should have always been. A new, streamlined, classification system will eliminate a lot of the burden we have seen in the past. Further to your question, that is why it is part of my plan to avoid what we call the “diverging interest” of enforcing the law and the classification of firearms. This will be resolved with the reform I am tabling today.
Do you think self-defense is a legitimate reason for firearm possession?
Yes. There are already provisions in the law that allows for this. If you are a hunter or a trapper – there are special provisions in the law that make it legitimate. Under certain circumstances, to be able to protect yourself, the use of a firearm is needed. These are sensitive issues, but there are circumstances where the law allows it. This is an ongoing debate – that is why we need to have the advice of experts and that is why I want to restore the Firearms Advisory Committee, who actually helped me craft Bill C-42. With the Respect for Gun Owner Reform, I am putting forward some ideas that seem “core” and “principled”, but this is because they have to go through many processes – but that is where I want to go, and that is what we need to do. When I tabled C-42, I thought it was a step in the right direction.
Do you believe the AR-15 should remain restricted?
No. We need to classify a firearm based on its technical specifications, not simply based on the look of it. That is what my new classification system would resolve, a system that is guided by the Firearms Advisory Committee, led by the Department of Public Safety and not the RCMP.
Will you commit to removing sound suppressors from the prohibited devices list?
Further to that, what are your thoughts around magazine size restrictions? Yes. I see many benefits to sound suppressors. First, they are largely used in Europe by gun owners – they do a great job in simply reducing the noise. Sound suppressors are an effective way to reduce “noise pollution” at the source. It also has benefits for health and safety issues of not only those that use firearms, but also those in the vicinity. I see sound suppressors as a constructive device. Magazine size regulations are an example of how current laws are made – overnight and without any sound rational thought that justifies an action. In regards to the Ruger 10/22 issue, there were no facts to justify this decision. The Liberals screwed the review mechanism; this is precisely what my reform will address. These decisions are extremely annoying and they have no added safety value – this is just a form of a useless approach that we want to get rid of. It just irritates law abiding citizens.
Will you commit to ensure that no existing non-restricted firearms, restricted firearms or devices would be classified as prohibited under your leadership?
Yes. I already did when I was Minister because I said there would be a maximum delay for which you could classify and finalize a classification decision. Now the Liberals are undoing it, we will need to fix it again. I can bring an understanding and knowledge of what is needed – we have great experts like Tony Bernardo, their advice has been very helpful and I believe that advice like his helps make our country safer. That is the ultimate goal, without harassing law abiding citizens. It is quite an achievement; Tony was able to get the simplified classification system on the platform of a national party. When legislation is well packaged and well explained – all Canadians will benefit from it, we have to build bonds between law abiding Canadians and those outside of the gun community.
How do we protect property rights, especially when it pertains to firearms?
That is why I am moving forward with a Gun Owners’ Charter of Rights – I would also put in place an ombudsman. These are mechanisms that can be used with a Gun Owners’ Charter of Rights, this will reinforce those rights.
How do we begin to reduce the negative stigma surrounding firearms in Canadian culture?
The way to do it is share, with all Canadians, how firearms are part of our Canadian heritage. I must tell you, the most responsible Canadians I have ever met are gun owners. They are rigorous about abiding by the law, they are knowledgeable, and with hunters – they have a great understanding of the “nature of things.” A differentiation needs to be created between those who commit horrible crimes and law abiding citizens. One does not need to pay for the mistake, the erratic behavior, of the others. If you look at the terrorist attack in Nice, it was with a truck. You would not penalize one driver because one used his truck to kill people. So that is why there needs to be political leadership, and this is what I intend to do with my Respect for Gun Owners Reform. It is time to stop treating law abiding citizens like second class Canadians, unlike Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the Conservative government would ensure public safety while cutting red tape for legal firearms owners. Gun owners would be treated with respect and dignity. I will tell you, I have been in the portfolio of Veterans Affairs and Public Safety – when you respect people it has a positive impact. This is what we need, it has to show, and it has to be demonstrated, that is why I drafted this reform – it is a direct result of the hundreds of letters I read from law abiding citizens who are just exasperated from all the red tape and useless measures that have been imposed on them. This red tape has no added value in terms of public safety, that is why I feel we need to correct this – we need a strong political will and that is why I came out with this measure.