OpEd: Trudeau’s Made-in-America Obsession with Guns Does Nothing to Keep Us Safe

You know a federal election is in the air when a Liberal government starts to dream up a new suite of exotic and invasive gun laws.


In the past year alone, the Trdueau Government has announced a federal buy-back program for a list of firearms they have now deemed to be illegal. They introduced new legislation that will allow municipalities to ban law-abiding Canadians from owning restricted firearms, which could also ban airsoft sports. And, most recently, they have introduced Bill C-22 to eliminate a number of mandatory minimum penalties for firearms offenses that keep communities safe.

For those keeping score at home, this means the Trudeau Government is now treating people who obey the law like criminals, people who break the law like victims, and people who work for municipalities as if they work for the federal government instead.

Ottawa’s fixaton with cracking down on the gun I keep under lock-and-key along with their happy disregard for doing anything about the already illegal smuggled handguns that get used in gang shootings remains one of the great mysteries of Canadian public policy.

The distinction is not lost on law enforcement, who bear so much of the brunt of gun violence. Speaking to the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs about it in 2019, Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said of gun crimes: “In every single case there are already offences for that. They're already breaking the law and the criminal law in Canada addresses all of those circumstances… the firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They're very strict." This echoes a sentiment from the Association of Manitoba Chiefs of Police who said: “Canada currently has significant restrictions and prohibitions on handguns and it is uncertain at this point how municipal bylaws would make the current laws more effective.”

There has to be an explanation, and there is. But it doesn’t lie on the farm or at the range, It lies on our TV screens – most notably when they show us American news.

The United States is in the middle of a serious and wrenching debate about gun rights and gun violence, mainly because those gun rights are enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Railing against gun owners is catnip for progressive politicians who yearn for the opportunity to sound tough without hurting anybody’s feelings.

It’s clear Canada’s progressive classes have been watching their southern counterparts and are scared of missing out.

Mind you, Alberta is a long way from Alabama in more ways than one. Canada has a different constitution, different crime statistics, and incredibly more stringent controls over who is allowed to obtain and transport firearms. In fact, Canada’s existing process to optain the Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) or Restricted Possession and Acquisition License (RPAL) required for legal gun ownership, already results in a gun control regime that is one of the strictest in the world.

Consider that before you can even be considered a legal firearms owner in Canada, you first need to register for a Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). These courses are not about showing you ‘how to shoot a gun’ but focus on the legislation in place and reinforce the safety and attention required to keep everyone safe when operating a firearm.

Once you complete the course, you write a test, which requires over 80% to pass, you complete and file paperwork equal if not more extensive than a passport, and you wait for all to be processed, including reference checks. Even after filing the paper work, you still need to undergo a separate process should you want to purchase and transport a firearm.

In short the standard of responsibility law-abiding gun owners in Canada are required to meet is already incredibly strict. And we are happy to meet those standards if it keeps our communities safe.

Of course, it’s not legally obtained and stored guns that are killing people. Police know that. And so does the government. Unfortunately the Trudeau government remains afraid to target actual criminal activities, like the drug trade and gang activity, that fuel so much gun crime. Instead they act out their power fantasies by harassing peaceful, law-abiding Canadians who have never hurt anybody, never plan to hurt anybody, and have already gone to extreme lengths to conduct themselves the right way.

Instead of dreaming up new ways to capitalize on America’s culture wars, it’s time for our federal government to grow up, and respond to the actual safety challenges Canada faces.

Erika Barootes for Senate