OTTAWA — maybe, but not right away. This is what was offered the public Safety minister, Ralph Goodale, in response to a letter to survivors and families of victims of the bombing of the Great Mosque of Quebec calling for a ban on assault weapons in the country.
Bill C-71 on the control of weapons does not provide for such a measure. Include it in a legislative measure already “sufficiently complex” would not “probably not”, argued the minister’s media scrum after its passage in committee on Tuesday.
However, it has said “prepared to consider” a proposal going in this direction to see what is “feasible”, saying they want to “rule out any suggestion that on-the-field”, especially “if there was a consensus that transcended party lines in this matter.”
He insisted on the “consensus” that is emerging around the key provisions contained in the legislation, in particular on the fact that the royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) is the best placed to decide what kinds of firearms should be prohibited.
The prime minister Justin Trudeau, who addressed the letter sent Monday by over 75 people affected by the shooting, has given essentially the same speech on his arrival at the parliament for the cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.
“What we have done, and what we promised to do, is that it has given to the RCMP, the experts, the ability to classify weapons”, he argued.
“The Harper government had removed the power of the RCMP to give to the politicians; I think it should not be political decisions […] it should be the choice of experts in a way that is anchored in facts and data,” he said.
The signatories of the letter were concerned, in their letter sent to prime minister Trudeau, that the bill C-71 does not prohibit assault weapons like the one used in the shooter of the mosque, Alexandre Bissonnette.
“But in what society do we live to tolerate that an ordinary person can give a power as destructive and take advantage of the weakness of our laws on the possession of firearms?” they write in the letter dated may 7, 2018.
The shooter of the Great Mosque of Quebec, a young man who is 28 years old, pleaded guilty last march to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder.
In January 2017, he arrived on the premises of the mosque with a weapon long semi-automatic Small Arms VZ58 Sporter”, which is legal and not restricted, as well as with two clips of 30 bullets, which are illegal.
The National Firearms Association (NFA), it is “completely opposed” to the idea of banning weapons such as the claimed the signatories, in a ruling Tuesday, the organization’s president, Sheldon Clare, who attended the meeting of the standing committee on public safety and national security.
“The problem is not the weapon to fire,” he yelled at the microphone of journalists.
“People do all sorts of things with all sorts of objects: recently, someone in Toronto has rolled into the street, mowing down people with a pick-up truck”, a-t-he illustrated by making reference to the attack on the truck-ram having a 10-victims in the metropolis.
The collective PolySeSouvient, which is campaigning for greater regulation of firearms, has welcomed the minister’s opening Goodale, but was deemed “misleading” the statements of prime minister Trudeau.
“What are the criteria of the law, and not the RCMP, which determine what weapons are legal and what weapons are prohibited. Throw the ball to the RCMP, it is a good way to avoid the question, namely should we allow the private possession of semi-automatic weapons of a military nature?”, said the spokesperson, Heidi Rathjen, in a press release.
“A canadian problem”
In parliamentary committee, Tuesday, in front of conservative mps sceptical, minister Goodale insisted that it was necessary to strengthen the mechanisms of control in the face of the increase in the number of crimes committed with firearms in the country.
Counting off a series of statistics, he insisted on the fact that it was “obvious” that it was necessary to address this “canadian problem”, arguing in passing that the problem of gun violence affects not only urban centres, but also rural areas.
The legislative measure liberal has been well received by the new democrats, but it goes very poorly in the benches of the conservative opposition.
The conservative Party and its leader, Andrew Scheer, accused the Trudeau government to seek to re-establish a gun registry by the back door and attack without reason, to the owners of firearms law-abiding.
In committee, the conservative mp Blaine Calkins has tried, in vain, to say, Ralph Goodale of the liberal party were awakened a “registry” to the image of the one that was abolished in 2012. The old road of the federal policy has not bitten.
He then failed to adopt a motion to organize an educational tour in a field of fire, in order to address the “glaring lack of understanding of the liberal committee studying a bill “pretending to know what [they] speak”.
At the table of the committee, on Tuesday, the liberal mp Peter Fragiskatos has argued that the conservatives are busy “, unfortunately, already” spread on social media the perception is “misleading” as the government proposes with C-71 the creation of a firearms registry.
The issue of gun control, always sensitive, could become a wedge issue (issue cleaving) of the next election campaign. Both the liberals than the conservatives exploited the issue in e-mails of funding.
The liberal Mona Fortier was asked a few weeks ago, the ethics commissioner to investigate the conservative Michelle Rempel on the topic of birthday gifts sent by Tracey Wilson, a lobbyist for the canadian Coalition for the right to firearms.