Commentary: Yukon firearm owners need a voice in Ottawa

Are Yukoners being effectively represented in Ottawa?

Jonas J. Smith

After spending over a year campaigning in the lead up to Canada’s 43rd federal election, it has taken effort to abstain from commenting publicly on political matters since its conclusion, in order to respect the choices of a plurality of the electorate and give the debate a break.

Recently, the CBC proposed cuts to its northern news service and seemingly every last Yukon politician unanimously, loudly and rightfully condemned this tone-deaf decision by CBC brass – except for one.

Why wasn’t Yukon’s MP Larry Bagnell among the chorus of supporters for maintaining local news?

Then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet, replete with ministry titles that belong somewhere between a George Orwell novel and a Monty Python skit, without a single northerner in its makeup.

Was it because Trudeau doesn’t think the North deserves a voice at the decision-making table, or because he doesn’t think that veteran MP Bagnell is worthy of a cabinet position?

Are Yukoners being effectively represented in Ottawa?

Now, after last week’s Speech from the Throne, I am compelled to re-enter the debate.

Expanding upon remarks included in the throne speech, the Liberals predictably used the anniversary of the horrific tragedy of the École Polytechnique Montreal massacre to advance the latest plank in their party’s long-standing anti-firearms agenda.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced the Liberals’ plan to ban the type of firearm used by the cowardly, sick and evil criminal, who I will not dignify by speaking his given or adopted name, to commit his horrible and misogynistic crime, which saw the systematic murder of 14 women on that terrible day 30 years ago.

That firearm, the Ruger Mini 14, and similar semi-automatic, detachable box magazine-fed rifles, happens to be the preferred tool of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Canadian farmers, hunters and trappers across the country, including many here in the Yukon.

Last spring, when another sick and misogynistic coward systematically murdered 10 innocent pedestrians on the streets of Toronto with a motor vehicle, there were no calls to ban cargo vans.

Unfortunately, human history is plagued with murder by both firearms and motor vehicles, in addition to pressure cookers, fertilizer and even sharp rocks and pointy sticks if you go far enough back.

Forcibly confiscating legally-acquired property from law-abiding taxpayers will do absolutely nothing to stop violence perpetrated by those with criminal intent or provide mental health supports for those who are at risk of harming themselves or others.

Yet instead of focusing on criminals or mental health, the Liberals have budgeted hundreds of millions of dollars to “buy back” responsibly-used firearms from licensed owners.

Let’s call this what it is: compensation for confiscation.

Firstly, the government can’t “buy back” something that didn’t belong to them to begin with, and secondly, they are using tax dollars – our money, not theirs – to do so.

Even if one isn’t a firearms owner, it begs the question if hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t be better utilized on taking guns away from actual criminals first.

What’s next, the government taking cars away from sober drivers to stop drunk driving?

How is this confiscation scenario going to play out on the doorsteps of someone who is rightfully suspicious and hesitant to hand over a tool that is essential to their livelihood?

How is it going to play out on a First Nations person’s doorstep, someone who has a constitutionally-entrenched right to use modern implements for traditional harvesting?

How is it going to play out on the doorsteps of taxpayers when the final bill for this folly is delivered?

We must not forget, it was a previous Liberal government that ultimately ended up wasting over $2 billion on its long-gun registry debacle, so expect that price tag to keep going up.

Minister Blair further revealed that the Liberals will not use legislation to prescribe the list of firearms to be included in their ban, instead they intend to use an “Order in Council.”

So instead of debating legislation in Parliament, where elected MPs representing Canadians from coast to coast to coast can provide the perspectives of their respective constituents, a select few members of the minority governing party, Trudeau’s hand-picked cabinet ministers, the very cabinet that doesn’t include Bagnell, will decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens’ private property.

If only Yukon firearms owners had someone in Ottawa who was able or willing to speak up for us.

Jonas J. Smith was the Conservative Party’s candidate for the Yukon in the 2019 federal election

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