(OTTAWA) Hunters have thousands of other weapons at their disposal to engage in their activity, according to the Liberals. Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino walked out on the last day of parliamentary business before the holiday break in what looked like a public relations operation.
He was surrounded by several MPs, including Sophie Chatel from the riding of Pontiac and Gudie Hutchings from Long Range Mountains in Newfoundland and Labrador, who practices hunting herself.
“There is one fact you need to know,” said the Newfoundlander. There are still 19,000 firearms available for hunters, sport shooters and native hunters. So there are still plenty of firearms legally available in Canada if you want to shoot ducks, moose, deer, partridge, ptarmigan. »
As for hunters who fear that the weapon they are using is prohibited and that their wallet will not allow them to obtain a new one, she tells them not to worry. “I’m sure you’re going to see some manufacturers come up with another cheaper firearm,” she replied.
The Liberals raised controversy in November by tabling two amendments to Bill C-21 that banned handguns to broaden the scope, sowing confusion. In addition to the Conservatives, the Assembly of First Nations opposes it. The Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party have reservations.
Minister Mendicino reiterated on Wednesday that he wanted to correct the situation. “We want to show our determination to do it right,” he said.
Blanchet wants a moderate debate
The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, on Wednesday invited Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre to stop “playing polarization” in this file. He believes that the government should change its definition of a prohibited weapon to resolve the impasse.
The study of the bill stagnated in parliamentary committee. Elected officials failed to agree Tuesday on the passage proposed by Bloc Québécois MP Kristina Michaud.
She had called for an emergency meeting to determine how many groups could be heard in parliamentary committee on the new definition of a prohibited firearm and the long list of more than 300 pages, namely the two amendments tabled by the government after the end of the consultation. They agreed to hold eight meetings, but failed to close the debate before the end of the meeting. The discussion was finally postponed until January, after the holiday season.
“I very much hope — and I am even ready to meet them anytime — that Mr. Poilievre and Mr. Trudeau will stop playing polarization,” replied Mr. Blanchet to a question from The Press during its year-end review on Wednesday.
“I think of the feeling of security that people must have, he added. The best way to give them a sense of security is to all sit down with a moderate, reasonable attitude. »
The definition and the list of prohibited weapons proposed at the last minute by the Liberals affect certain weapons popular with hunters, such as the SKS, a military style weapon.
Poilievre takes aim at ‘the real criminals’
“Instead of targeting hunters by banning their hunting weapons, the Conservatives will target real criminals by reinstating more consequences for violent criminals who commit crimes one after another,” said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre during an address to the Conservative caucus on Wednesday. The media had been invited to attend.
The government denies wanting to ban hunting weapons. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week he was open to reviewing his long list of models to ban to eliminate guns prized by hunters, but he is not open to reviewing his definition of a prohibited weapon.
The Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, said he was open on Wednesday to hearing the opinion of experts on “the language of the definition”. However, he recalled last week that the SKS was initially a weapon designed for warfare and therefore gave the impression that it would not be flexible for this type of rifle.
NDP MP Alistair MacGregor called on the Liberals to “clean up the mess they’ve caused.”
Since the Liberals are in the minority, they need the support of the Bloc Québécois or the New Democratic Party for the two amendments to be adopted. For the PolySeSouvient group, the amendments were a condition “ sine qua non to support Bill C-21. The group that campaigns for better gun control in the wake of the Polytechnique mass feminicide says it is open to compromise.