Today’s mailbox: Firearms debate and the Millenium Trail

Letters to the editor published May 6

Former MP calls for debate over firearms ban

The following is an open letter to MP Larry Bagnell

Dear Mr. Bagnell,

I write to you today in response to the Liberal government’s recent announcement banning some 1,500 models of firearms in Canada. I have seen a few replies that you have sent to concerned Yukon citizens which beg more questions than answers. Much of the rationale provided by you and your government is deeply contradictory and appears to have no coherent value for public safety. Furthermore, many Yukon and Canadian residents are concerned by the manner in which this legislation is being implemented. Using an Order in Council for legislation with such broad outreach and impact, criminal consequences for otherwise law abiding Canadians, and significant fiscal implications, must go through the Parliamentary process. To rob Canadians of oversight and debate on such a serious topic is unheard of.

I have read in some of your “stock” replies to constituents. You express to them that you feel the Liberal government has a mandate to impose this ban because it was an election promise. This is a scary bit of logic, Mr. Bagnell. To assume that your party needs only make a commitment during an election as an allowance to bypass the entire parliamentary process is abusive. May I also remind you that your government does not enjoy the majority of support from Canadian voters. Even to assume the 31 per cent of voters who voted Liberal in 2019 support every measure outlined in your election campaign is a breach of logic and a pathway to political abuse.

All this to say, Mr. Bagnell, there is much to discuss and Yukon has been denied an opportunity to hear our Member of Parliament debate the issue at hand. To that end, I would like to extend you the invitation to debate me in a public radio broadcast — respecting all social distancing parameters, of course — to provide you the opportunity to educate Yukon residents on the public safety benefits of this Order in Council and to face counterpoints in discussion, like all Liberal MPs should have in parliamentary debate. Your constituents deserve this opportunity.

I understand you have a busy schedule, so if you accept this invitation in principle I will make the necessary arrangements and communicate with your staff to find a suitable time and date as soon as possible that fits your availability. As an added bonus, I propose we use the debate to raise funds for a Yukon violence prevention organization. Several Yukon residents have already committed hundreds of dollars should this debate occur. I suspect we could raise thousands and actually do one thing that will guarantee improved public safety outcomes.

Mr. Bagnell, I understand my request is unusual. These are unusual times; the process being used by the Liberal government is most certainly unusual. Further, you may recall a forum debate that I accepted as Yukon’s Member of Parliament where you and I along with Lois Moorcroft and John Streicker debated public safety policy and victims rights at Yukon College.

Hopefully, you see the value in providing Yukon constituents with an opportunity to hear from you in a format that exposes your knowledge and understanding of the legislation being pushed through without parliamentary debate and committee review. Hopefully, you will do as I did when challenged to debate issues in a public setting — you accept!

I look forward to your expedited reply and anticipate the good news of your willingness to participate in this important public debate.

Ryan Leef

Former Member of Parliament — Yukon

Common sense and the Millenium Trail

Step 1: Parks Canada closes the parking lot at the SS Klondike.

Because they are concerned about our safety? Might people get infected by parking there?

Then we would need to close all parking lots.

Step 2: The City imposes one-way traffic along the Millennium Trail, asking people to walk along the road — thereby inhaling dust, enduring vehicle noise, walking with the traffic instead against it, and subjecting little kids on bikes to traffic hazards.

With zero active cases the risk of getting infected along the trail is next to nil. We are very fortunate that the Yukon does not have a crisis that deserves the name, such as Quebec and New York.

Yukoners in crisis are those who lost their job or had to close their business.

How can we restart the economy ASAP using common sense? Not by listening to the very few who might find the trail to narrow. They have a choice to walk along the road.

Stefan Voswinkel

Whitehorse

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