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Opinion

FILDEBRANDT: Anti-gun politicians should give up their armed bodyguards

Trudeau can rely on the extensive skills of his bodyguards in karate instead.

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The mask has dropped from anti-gun politicians and activists. They aren’t content to merely “control” the more dangerous classifications of firearms, but are on a campaign to ban most firearms outright.

The Liberal mass ban and looming mass confiscation makes civilian ownership of 1,500 different firearms illegal, based solely on their aesthetics. The AR-15 sporting rifle – which admittedly looks militaristic on the outside – has been used in exactly zero reported crimes in Canada in that rifle’s history, yet it tops the list of dangerous “military-style assault rifles” to be banned. Even the oft-cited RCMP agree that it (the AR-15) and many of the other banned rifles are “not assault rifles or military weapons”.

This week the Western Standard‘s Dave Naylor reported that between 2006 and 2018, the Canadian murder rate (include those with firearms) has remained essentially unchanged, while the ownership rate of “restricted” firearms has skyrocketed by almost 850 per cent. According to Toronto Police, 82 per cent of gun crimes in that city are committed with illegally smuggled firearms from the U.S. Virtually none of the remaining guns were legally-obtained, registered firearms.

The clear, quantifiable data be dammed. The self-proclaimed party of facts, science, and evidence-based policy making Liberals, went ahead and banned them anyway.

They know well that legal, licensed firearms owners are not picking up their rifles and pistols to go out and shoot innocent civilians. They know well that they aren’t selling them into the black market. But that’s not the point.

The reason that liberal and socialist politicians and activists want to ban firearms, is that they believe that those who own them don’t need them, and that as one CBC columnist put it, gun owner’s “aren’t normal”.

Guns are not debated on their merits, but as part of a broader culture war. Gun owners are overwhelming not Liberals, and as such, do not fit into the Liberal conception of what it means to be a Canadian. They are an “other”, and deserve to be punished.

The evidence can say whatever it likes. To the Liberal, guns are scary, and gun owners are scary people.

Liberal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has repeatedly made clear that in his Canada, gun ownership is “not a right, but a privilege”, and that civilians who use firearms to defend themselves, their families, or their home, should face prison time.

The above noted CBC columnist skips right past self-defence, and called for gun owners to be thrown in prison (for “long sentences”) just for possessing most firearms.

The mask is off. These people have no intention of finding a reasonable compromise or balance on firearms. Canada arguably had that before the most recent bout of bans. The intention now is to whittle down the civilian firearms community part-by-part, until it is small enough to be finished off with a general, European-style general firearms ban. 

If that is where Canada’s left-leaning politicians want to go, let’s call on them to lead by example. 

If firearms ownership should be illegal – including for self-defence – then the politicians claiming these guns aren’t needed should forgo their own armed security details.

Everywhere he goes, on every day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a large squad of bodyguards follow him, armed to the teeth with the same firearms that he seeks to ban. 

If ordinary citizens are forbidden to own these same firearms or use them to defend themselves, their families, or property with them, then the same should apply to the politicians banning them. 

To show he truly believes that firearms are not necessary, the prime minister should order his bodyguards to hand in their guns. He can rely on their extensive skills in karate instead. 

When I held public office in Alberta, I regularly received death threats; but since I was not a cabinet minister, was not entitled to an armed security detail. To this, I began the application process for a special license to carry my own .40 cal S&W Bersa for self-protection. I figured, why cost the taxpayer a few hundred grand a year for a few armed guards, when I can just do it myself? 

I didn’t get far. There is almost no circumstance in Canada – even for public officials facing death threats – that would allow a civilian to carry a firearm for self-defence. In the end, I thankfully never needed it. 

When a mentally unstable Islamist terrorist stormed Parliament Hill in 2014, he used a .30-.30 Winchester Model 94 hunting rifle. I have a similar rifle (safely and legally) stored not 10 feet from my home office desk as I write this. It looks just like the gun that your grampa kept mounted above the cabin door.

The terrorist was specifically prohibited from owning or purchasing any firearm – but determined to kill – he found a way. He cared little for any law written on a scrap of paper.

As the gunman stormed Parliament Hill, MPs and Senators were at the mercy of armed guards to protect them. Thankfully, Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms shot and killed him before he could kill more than one, and injure three.

Justin Trudeau was there that day, although he was not the primary target. As he sat under armed guard, was he contemplating if the terrorist had registered his gun? Was he insistent that the bodyguards around him should use jujutsu in the event that he broke into their room?

Farmers like Eddie Maurice of Okotoks, Alberta, do not have armed guards around them 24 hours a day. They don’t even have the police in range of an emergency call. They have to rely on themselves, and responsible firearms ownership to defend themselves, their families, and their property.

While Justin Trudeau sat huddled behind a bodyguard on Parliament Hill, he was likely the most grateful man on Earth that reasonable people around him had guns, and were authorized to use them if necessary.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher & CEO of the Western Standard
dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter: @dfildebrandt

Opinion

LETTER: Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East

A reader says that Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East.

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In this ‘Era of Wokeness” along with the ascension of Black Lives Matter into the public consciousness, I believe that it would be detrimental to the Conservative Party of Canada to have Erin O’Toole as
it’s leader.

Mr O’Toole recently refused to use the word ‘racism’ and did not answer clearly when pressed on whether he believes it even exists. Erin O’Toole will hand the Trudeau Liberals an easy victory during the next election, should he become Tory leader. Canada cannot afford another four years of Justin Trudeau. 

Like it or not, most people in Ontario and Quebec (where all federal elections are ultimately decided owing to their number of allotted seats), are very much ‘woke’ on the issue of racism, as well as
sexism, homophobia, ect. In my experience, this also includes most Conservative Party of Canada voters in Eastern Canada.

Right-wing populism and social conservatism does well in Western Canada – but centrist Red Toryism is all they are prepared to accept in most of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. CPC members in Western Canada need to keep this in mind when voting for their next leader. 

CPC members need to be sensible and realistic if they want to win the next federal election. 

Gila Kibner 
Edmonton, Alberta

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Opinion

LETTER: While Trudeau mislabels regular guns “military-style”, he is handing real assault weapons to the police

A reader says that Trudeau is militarizing the police while disarming Canadians.

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RE: Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

I enjoyed your article on the gun ban and how it will affect cops. A point of view the CBC would never share.

Perhaps another topic should be brought to the public is this: Although Justin Trudeau said there is no place for these weapons in Canada and Bill Blair said these  weapons have only one purpose – and that is for one soldier to kill another soldier – they gifted more deadly weapons to our local police forces through the Canadian Armed Forces., as was done recently in my hometown of St Thomas, Ontario.

What is the government’s agenda in giving true military assault weapons to the police and banning “military-style” (no legal definition) weapons from civilians. 

John Siberry
St. Thomas, ON

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Opinion

WAGNER: Don’t make the tent too big – the independence movement must be conservative

Michael Wagner writes that there is little point in pursuing Western independence if the new country looks like the old.

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In recent years some people have argued that the Western independence movement should encompass people from the entire political spectrum. Support for independence, they argue, is not a specifically conservative or right-wing phenomenon. To generate enough political support to achieve Alberta’s independence, people of all sorts of ideological positions will be needed.

For example, early in 2018, one well-meaning independence activist posted a message on Facebook stating, “We all need to remember that you don’t have to be a conservative to be a separatist. We will need people from all sides in this.”

Similarly, in a conversation at a meeting, one person seriously suggested to me that independence supporters could bring Millennials on board by telling them that the money Alberta saved from cancelling transfer payments to Canada would be used to offer free university tuition and free dental care for all Albertans. This is essentially the Bernie Sanders appeal – support Alberta independence so that you will get “free” stuff from the government. 

If that’s the direction the independence movement were to take, it would become empty and meaningless. Proposing an even greater role for government – that is, even more socialism – as the antidote to Eastern Canadian “progressive” liberalism, entirely defeats the purpose of a free West. If socialistic policies are acceptable, then Canada is already suitable and getting better every year. An Alberta version of Bernie Sanders is not an improvement on Justin Trudeau. In attempting to widen their appeal to the left, support for independence would likely shed far more fertile and dedicated support on the right.

Instead of offering socialistic goodies or opting for flimsy policies in an appeal to people from across the political spectrum, the independence movement should be clearly grounded in small-c conservative thinking that values free enterprise, private property, the family, respect for first peoples, and the historic virtues of Western civilization. That is, after all, Alberta’s heritage.

An independent Western Canada must protect property rights, and the protection of property rights will not appeal broadly to the left. An independent Western Canada must allow for the genuine freedoms that modern “progressives” too often to despise. Progressives often view conservative viewpoints and traditional Christian perspectives as “hate” that should be banned. An independent West that embraced such progressivism would be no better than the existing Canadian federation, and might even become worse.

When the Alberta independence movement first appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, there was no doubt that it was a right-of-centre phenomenon. In the early 1980s, the Western Canada Concept Party of Alberta – the Alberta WCC – produced a four-page document entitled, “Our Statement of Principles.” It contained 24 points. The first point was, “We believe in responsibility and self-reliance.” The second was, “We believe in private enterprise.” Thirdly, it declared, “We believe in smaller government.” 

The fifth point stated, “We believe in the right to own property.” The explanatory paragraph for this point was as follows: “The power of the state to occupy, seize or expropriate private property is a violation of personal freedom. Any limitation of the freedom of the individual to own what he or she acquires, reduces the freedom and prosperity of the whole society.”

Many of the initial points in the statement focus on individual freedom and entrepreneurship, whereas the subsequent points tend to focus more on the specific role of government.

The twelfth point is noteworthy: “The strength of the family is the strength of the nation.” The explanatory paragraph for this point states: “Healthy, close-nit, nurturing families assure the future of a society by molding responsible, self-reliant, hard-working citizens. Healthy families transmit healthy values – which strengthen the community and the nation.”

The Alberta WCC Statement of Principles cannot be understood as anything other than a small-c conservative document, and it provides a shining example of the kinds of principles any future independence organization or party should embrace. The pioneers of the Western independence movement had this right.

The goals of the independence movement are self-determination and greater freedom for the West, and these goals only make sense from a conservative or libertarian perspective. Therefore, watering down principles in order to appeal for wider support from the political centre or left would ultimately defeat the purpose of the independence movement. Achieving an independent West that favoured political preferences resembling Toronto and Montreal would be an empty victory not worth the fight.

Michael Wagner is columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include ‘Alberta: Separatism Then and Now’ and ‘True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.’

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