Bill C-21 sets the Stage for a Spring Election by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

Signs of the Trudeau government calling a late spring election are all around us. The Liberals remain high enough in the polls to win a majority or at least a strong minority. I received a call from a polling company seeking voting intentions in the next election and the Feds introduced Bill C-21 on February 16th in an attempt to get support from the gun control lobby.

Introduction of the Bill may have backfired though. It doesn’t seem to have pleased anyone: gun control enthusiasts want stricter control while legal gun owners say it has gone too far.

Over the past couple of weeks, Ian Runkle, a Canadian Firearms Law and Criminal Defence lawyer from Edmonton has published a number of videos on his YouTube channel on Bill C-21. Parts of the Bill do make sense, he says, but many don’t. Runkle provides a good overview of the Bill in his video “A Brief Overview of The Terrible Proposed Gun Laws (Bill C-21) – A Lawyer Explains”.  He describes the Bill as not a good bill; not likely to be passed in this session of parliament, and as election fodder.

Some of the features of the Bill that Runkle finds problematic are:

  • Increase of 10 to 14 years maximum sentencing. This will not have much effect given that the 10 years is rarely awarded now but its good publicity
  • Emergency firearms prohibition available to any random person as an ex parte order – no input from the accused – this could result in warrantless search and seizure
  • Banning airsoft guns to basically rule out the entire sport
  • Changing their own grandfathering clause and making it far worse
  • Transferring authority for banning handguns to municipalities
  • Suspension of licensing for 30 days and there is no provision in the Firearms Act to challenge it, meaning you must go to Federal court
  • Home defence is still lawful in Canada, yet the Bill prohibits guns being advertised for this purpose, say in remote areas

Trudeau acknowledged that gun crime is on the rise even since the May 1, 2020 gun control Order in Council, and then two days after this comment, his government introduced legislation to reduce sentences for serious gun crimes including weapons trafficking and importing.

It just doesn’t make sense!