As a registered Not for Profit Society under the BC Societies Act, your Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association is a non-partisan organization. Those same guidelines do however allow for, and in fact encourage, engagement by the various societies to enhance, develop and foster issues that fall within their subject matter area of expertise, in order to further the causes that each society represents, and to encourage wider engagement on the niche issues that each of the myriad of societies support in our province.
To that end, your VFGPA has used its position as one of the largest Fish and Game Associations in the country to further the interests of our over 5,200 members by actively supporting and funding widespread efforts at conservation, responsible wildlife management, fishing and hunting training, engagement with government to develop pertinent regulations, youth education and engagement as well as firearms advocacy in support of law abiding firearms owners in this country.
In this regard, we wanted to approach our members via this communiqué to urge you to carefully consider your vote in the upcoming election on September 20th, particularly given that legal firearms ownership has recently become an area of significant focus for many political parties in their recent legislative efforts and as part of their election platforms. It is fully understood that the educated voter will not vote solely on a single issue. However, as an Association of over 5,200 members actively engaged in hunting, fishing, shooting sports and various other outdoor pursuits, we did want you all to be aware of each Party’s currently stated position on legal firearms ownership in this country, and what potential impacts the election of a particular Party to power may have on your personal legal ownership of firearms should they come to power, with a view of better informing each of you on this specific issue, and to refute the large amount of misleading information that is currently in the public domain on this subject.
We have enclosed below a brief summary of each Party’s position, assembled from a 16 August 2021 CBC News story available here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/gun-control-quebec-federal-parties-election-1.6133579, as it provides a good general overview of the issue. This is a very brief and broad brush overview of their current positions, however we would challenge each of you to engage your local candidates on the issue, to seek their Party’s current position on everything from buybacks, to handgun ownership, and potential future bans or prohibitions on other types of firearms (such as semi-automatics or ‘imitation’ firearms) that they may be considering. Where a Party does have a published firearm platform, please read into the details of their position on the firearms ownership issues, and when you do vote on 20 September, do so informed of what that vote may mean for your future enjoyment of our sport and hobby. There is tremendous potential for a significant near term impact on what it means to each of you to be able to own and utilize your firearms following this election.
We also firmly believe that the key to success in defeating the misinformation and misconceptions that are currently being used to attack legal firearms ownership is increased experience and education of Canadians who are not currently firearms owners, and therefore perhaps not seized with the details of the issue. To assist in overcoming that hurdle, and in gaining the full support of the large mass of voters in the middle of this issue, our Association is formally challenging each of its 5,200 members to reach out to a friend, co-worker or relative that is a non-shooter in the next two weeks, and invite them up to our facilities for a couple of hours, and do your best to introduce them to our sports. This Firearms Advocacy Challenge is a tremendous way to bring new supporters into the fold, to provide them a hands-on opportunity to see what our sport and hobby is all about, and to dispel the misinformation that currently exists surrounding firearms use and ownership by law abiding firearms owners in this country. Once you have brought that guest to the range, share that experience on your own personal social media feeds, and spread the word via those means as to the fun to be had in competing, training and practicing our chosen sport and hobby. We all know that in the very least, your guest will leave the range that day with a huge smile on their face, and a far better understanding of the simple truth behind why we do what we do, it is simply safe and fun. Please take this challenge to heart, and do your best to bring new supporters into the fold on this issue before 20 September. Our future is likely in the hands of all of those voters sitting on the fence on this issue, and we need to do something concrete immediately to sway that opinion in our favour. Please step up and do your part for us all.
Finally, as promised, here is the broad brush summary of the various federal Political Party positions taken from the aforementioned CBC article. Vote wisely and strategically and we will see you on the line!
The Liberal Party of Canada has introduced three key firearms related efforts over their past 6 years in Government. Bill C-71 was passed into law, and now requires lifetime background checks for licence applications and renewals (previously 5 years), it requires all firearms business to maintain official records of all firearms sold including licence data of the buyers (including non-restricted firearms), it has removed certain Authority to Transport (ATT) caveats attached to RPAL holders, and will soon introduce regulations allowing for complainants to have firearms seized from owners that are feared to be a threat or danger until an investigation can be conducted into the allegations. Secondly they introduced an Order in Council in May of 2020 that immediately prohibited over 1,500 firearms described by the Liberals as ‘military grade assault style weapons’ and the RCMP have since added nearly 300 more firearms to that list. Finally the Liberals have introduced Bill C-21, which if passed into law (it has only been debated twice in the House of Commons) would introduce a voluntary buyback program for blacklisted firearms – including assault style firearms – increase penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking and allow municipalities to ban handguns. As of September 1st, the LPC’s platform includes the following:
- Toughen our laws on banned assault weapons by making it mandatory for owners to either sell the firearm back to the government for destruction and fair compensation or have it rendered fully and permanently inoperable at government expense.
- Crack down on high-capacity magazines and require that long gun magazines capable of holding more than 5 rounds be permanently altered so that they can never hold more than 5 rounds
- Ban the sale or transfer of magazines that could hold more than a legal number of bullets, regardless of how they were intended to be used by the manufacturer.
- Set aside a minimum of $1 billion to support provinces or territories who implement a ban on handguns across their jurisdiction, to keep our cities and communities safe.
The Conservative Party of Canada, on the other hand, would instead be committed to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly. This would include mandatory minimum sentences for the criminal use of firearms, strict monitoring of high-risk individuals, safe storage provisions and putting more law enforcement officers on the streets. As of September 5th, the CPC stated firearms platform is as follows:
- The ban on assault weapons will remain in place
- The present ban on a number of other firearms that were reclassified in 2020 will remain in place.
- We will conduct a transparent review of the firearms classification process to take the politics out of this process and engage the public in discussions with respect to public safety
The Bloc Québécois’ 2019 election platform did not cite a specific policy on firearms or gun control. It has argued the buyback program should be compulsory, saying it “completely misses the point” if it’s not. The Bloc supports universal registration of firearms and psychological testing for firearm owners.
The NDP says it would tackle gun violence by ensuring communities have access to funding for anti-gang programming.
Editorial note: the NDP has supported all recent legislation, such as Bills 21 & 71, tabled by the Liberal government imposing restrictions and exclusions on legal firearm owners.
The Green Party of Canada says that they would run a confidential buyback program while restricting handguns to secure shooting ranges.
The People’s Party of Canada is vehemently opposed to Bill C-21 as a whole. A spokesperson said it “targets sport shooters and hunters instead of the real criminals, who by definition don’t bother respecting gun regulations.