The federal government is walking back changes to pending firearms legislation that had been opposed by some Yukoners.
Premier Ranj Pillai applauded the move alongside opposition MPs and some firearms advocates.
In a tweet, Pillai said he was proud to work alongside other Liberals such as territorial Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Yukon MP Brendan Hanley “to ensure Ottawa understood we did not support the amendments.”
“I will continue to defend the interests of the Yukon,” Pillai tweeted.
“I am thankful Ottawa is listening to the voices in the North and beyond.”
On Feb. 3, Liberal MP for Vancouver Granville Taleeb Noormohamed sought and received unanimous consent from the House of Commons public safety and national security committee to withdraw amendments G4 and G46, which hadn’t been moved, to Bill C-21.
“In order to get this bill right, Canadians need to know that we heard them,” he said.
“We have to get this over the finish line in a way that respects victims, but also respects hunters, farmers [and] Indigenous communities.”
The bill tabled last spring contained plans to enact bans based on firearms’ muzzle diameter, force they can exert, ability to accept detachable magazines and other characteristics that are not as clearly defined.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who sponsored the bill, said the government will work with parliamentary colleagues to craft “a clear solution that will keep assault-style weapons off our streets.”
In a statement, he said more discussions, including with Indigenous communities, are important. He said the government is intending to target AR-15s and other “assault-style weapons” — not guns commonly used for hunting.
“Hunting isn’t just a proud Canadian tradition, it’s a way of life for communities across this country,” he said.
“Bill C-21 isn’t about targeting hunters, it’s about certain guns that are too dangerous in other contexts.”
Mendicino heard resounding opposition from the members of the public he invited to discuss the bill bound for parliament that would render some currently legal firearms prohibited.
Mendicino was in the territory Jan. 17 to 19. A member of his staff told the News one of the focuses of the trip was engaging with hunters, trappers and other gun owners. A portion of the engagement was a roundtable discussion hosted by Mendicino and Hanley.
The Yukon Party wants the issue brought to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attention.
“While Yukoners were relieved to see the Trudeau Liberal government back down on amendments to Bill C-21 that would ban thousands of lawfully-acquired hunting rifles and shotguns, it is important for Premier Pillai to tell the Prime Minister that the original text of Bill C-21 is also unacceptable,” Official Opposition Justice Critic Brad Cathers said in the release.
— With files from Jim Elliot
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