This is an exciting time for all those Ceasefire.ca supporters and other Canadians who have been working so hard to strengthen Canada’s arms export controls and our domestic gun regulation. Important pieces of federal legislation are now before the Senate and will be the subject of hearings where civil society will have a chance to press for further improvements beyond those we have already successfully championed at the House of Commons stage.
In particular we have been focussing on:
- Bill C-47 – legislation to enable Canada to become party to the global Arms Trade Treaty and
- Bill C-71 – legislation to better regulate ownership, transport and sale of domestic firearms.
Canadian export controls must meet global standards!
Recall that Bill C-47, the legislation to allow Canada to join the global Arms Trade Treaty, was amended in response to a concerted effort of Canadian NGOs to include a tough new human rights standard for reviewing applications for arms export permits.
But our military exports to the USA are still exempted and this must change!
We may even have strong allies in the Senate in our efforts to strengthen Canada’s export control regime, judging by a recent consensus report of the Senate Human Rights Committee which unequivocally chooses human rights protection over weapons sales to despots. – RI President Peggy Mason
Now is also the time for stronger domestic gun control.
Did you know that, due to legislative changes by the odious Harper regime, Canada has weaker controls over the sales and traceability of rifles, shotguns, and unrestricted weapons than most U.S. states? The Liberals have just begun to repair the damage. Bill C-71, now before the Senate, contains a series of modest measures to strengthen gun licensing, transport and retail record keeping.
However, the recent horrific mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown, and other gun violence, has brought home to the Justin Trudeau government the urgent need for a total ban on handguns and assault rifles and for other legislative measures to strengthen and update Canada’s gun controls.
The Andrew Scheer Conservatives, on the other hand, see no connection between weak gun laws and a surge in handgun ownership and in the illegal resale of handguns and steady increases in gun violence. Their outrageous stand against common sense gun control is exemplified by their multiple attempts to confuse Canadians over the very modest reforms in Bill C-71 and even more by Conservative MP Bob Zimmer’s petition seeking to re-classify AR-15 assault rifles as non-restricted hunting rifles!
The time for us to act is now.
It is essential that civil society make its views know at the Senate Committee hearings this fall on bills C-47 and C-71. Concerned Canadians fear that these committees are “under the thumb” of the governing party. But we should all take heart from the strong, principled Human Rights Committee report mentioned earlier.
Another example of parliamentary committee independence and of successful NGO advocacy can be found in the June 18 unanimous report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, which endorsed our recommendation for Canada to take a leadership role in NATO on nuclear disarmament.
Your support can make the difference.
We have a real opportunity to achieve meaningful change.
Please consider making a donation by clicking on the DONATE button.
We are in the home stretch in our campaign to strengthen legal controls over Canada’s military exports and gun regulation within Canada. Help us rally the support necessary to get us over the finish line! – RI President Peggy Mason
Photo credit: Ceasefire.ca photos (Canadian LAV and UNHQ Knotted Gun Sculpture)