Working Hard For You!

MP Morrison Stands Up for Law-abiding Firearms Owners

It is National Police Week and today we stand with the women and men of the OPP, their friends and families, who have seen three of their own shot, one of whom has sadly passed away.

Since September 2022, we have seen ten Canadian police officers killed in the line of duty. This trend cannot be allowed to continue.

One soul taken is one too many.

There is an illegal gun problem in Canada that needs to be addressed.

Police officers go to work every day, leaving their families behind to protect Canadians, knowing that they might not make it home at the end of the day. It is the responsibility of lawmakers in this House to do what we can to support and defend the police who protect us all.

Unfortunately, this government is all set this week to point their ideologically-driven legislative guns directly at law-abiding Canadian hunters, sport shooters and farmers to solve the problem.

That won’t work.

It appears this government, with the support of the NDP, has replaced an evidence-based system with a politically driven ideologically-based system void of evidence.

How else can we explain their war on the hunters of Kootenay-Columbia?

The Constituents in my riding are perplexed by this so, on their behalf, I recently asked the Minister of Public Safety if he could share with them what percentage of crimes are committed by criminals with illegal guns verses what percentage are committed by law-abiding Canadians who have legal guns.

In an evidence-based legislative system this is a logical question to ask. It requires a logical answer based on the facts of what is actually happening on the streets in communities across the country.

I received a non-answer from the Minister.

So, today I’d like to answer that question for all Canadians and specifically those in my riding of Kootenay-Columbia who have been in contact with my office expressing concern over the actions of this government 

After 35 years in policing, I know the answer:

Very few.

This is the truthful answer that this Public Safety Minister refused to provide Canadians. 

The facts and evidence around gun crime are inconvenient for this government so they conveniently ignore them. Conservatives won’t ignore them and we will continue to stand up for law-abiding Canadians. We will go after gangs and organized crime and provide our policing agencies and border services with the funds needed to effectively stem the importation of illegal guns.

Targeting responsible hunters, like Darin in Kootenay-Columbia, who uses a legal firearm to put food on his family’s table, will not solve the problem.

Targeting responsible sport shooters, like Tim, who uses a legal firearm for sport, will not solve the problem.

Targeting hard-working farmers, like Mike, who uses a legal firearm to protect himself from bears while out in the field, will not solve the problem.

I agree that we need to have gun laws, but the government is targeting Canadians who have legal guns. Why not go after the ones who have illegal guns, the criminals? Why not redirect the billions of dollars this government plans to spend on the confiscation program, into education programs.

Successful crime prevention – again not directed at lawful Canadians, but gangs and organized crime – starts with our youth and must continue throughout their lives. Education programs steering our youth away from gangs and organized crime, can be successful when delivered at the right times.

Scrap Bill C-21. It is not effective and it won’t be successful.

Once again, there is a fundamental difference in approach between the current government and this government in waiting. On this side you have an evidence-based approach and on that side a politically-driven ideological approach. And it isn’t just on guns where we see this approach failing. Housing, violent crime, bail policies, addictions – after eight years it all feels broken. The evidence won’t be found on the front street of Sussex Drive, but it is happening in real time in cities like Cranbrook and Nelson, in my riding, where chaos and disorder is rampant. 

Over the last eight years, our communities, our people and our brave police have become less safe with a 32% increase in violent crime and a doubling of gang murders. We need to immediately bring in tougher laws to address serious, violent offenders. We must end the catch-and-release bail system, we need serious sentencing laws to ensure violent offenders are kept in prison and we need to support our police and give them the laws and tools they need to do their jobs and keep them safe.

Several high-profile violent street crimes are in the news. These crimes are often committed by offenders released on bail or parole. This crime wave is causing Canadians to feel less safe taking transit or simply being out in their communities.Police Associations, provinces, and other stakeholder groups have called for months for significant bail reforms, stricter penalties, and other measures to enhance safety. Just recently, a man in BC was given only 67 days in jail before becoming eligible for release after the violent, random assault of a 70-year-old on a bus.

Our communities feel less safe, and the government is doing nothing to stop it.

Under current justice laws, mandatory minimums on some gun crimes have been reduced and we see violent offenders released back on the street, sometimes in the same hour of their arrest. This catch and release system puts everyone at risk.

Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities and repeat violent offenders deserve jail, not bail.

This government-in-waiting will bring back mandatory jail time for serious violent crimes that were repealed by this government, and we will crack down on their easy access to bail in Bill C-75 that makes these tragedies more likely. We will bring in bail rules that will ensure serious, repeat, violent offenders remain behind bars as they await trial. We will put the safety of Canadians first and we will do what is necessary to keep violent criminals, gangs and organized crime – those perpetuating gun violence – where they belong…

…behind bars.

I’d like to take a moment and speak directly to my Constituents:

The government has tried a few variations of Bill C-21, using legislative tricks and last-minute amendments. Each time Conservatives have forced them to be accountable to Canadians. However, the Public Safety Minister recently introduced new amendments to the Bill to create a definition by which new firearms will be banned. While this definition would not apply to firearms presently in the Canadian market, the Minister also announced that he will appoint a Firearms Advisory Committee that will determine future bans of firearms that are presently owned by law-abiding Canadian gun owners. It is expected that between these measures, most of the firearms previously targeted by their amendments late last year, including hunting rifles, will once again be target for future bans. The government passed C-21 through committee late in the night by heavily limiting debate on clauses and amendments. 

Let me be very clear. They haven’t changed their ideology; they are simply changing their approach to this legislation that will allow them to decide, without consultation with the Members of this House – your representatives – which hunting firearms they will confiscate and which ones they will allow. 

The Prime Minister has already admitted that taking hunting rifles is his goal when he said, “Our focus now is on saying okay, yes, that we’re going to have to take away from people who were using them to hunt.” Instead of going after the illegal guns used by criminals and street gangs, he is focused on taking hunting rifles and shotguns from law-abiding farmers, hunters and Indigenous peoples.

And they have the support of the NDP.

The “new” definition of firearms to be banned is the same as the old one. It is safe to assume that the commonly used hunting firearms targeted by the government this past fall will be added to the ban by the new government appointed Firearms Advisory Panel. Ramming the bill through committee in the dead of night is evidence that this government wants to circumvent democracy, stifle debate and take firearms away from law-abiding Canadians without their knowledge. This ban is not about handguns, or so-called “assault-style firearms”, this is about the government taking the next step in their plan to confiscate hunting rifles. 

Canadians are wide awake to the tactics of this government.

Conservatives support common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the hands of criminals. 

This government-in-waiting will invest in policing and a secure border rather than spending billions confiscating firearms from law-abiding farmers, hunters, sport shooters and indigenous Canadians. We will crack down on border smuggling and stop the flow of illegal guns to criminals and gangs in Canada.

If this House is serious about returning safe streets to Canadians we will vote on Bill C-21 based on evidence, not ideology, and we will lay responsibility of gun crime and lost souls at the feet of those responsible – criminals who use illegal guns.