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McCOLL: Military weapons are on the Liberal banned firearms list, just not the ones they bragged about

Padding the list with modern military equipment that is already heavily controlled, and antiques from the Second World War, does not change the fact that there is not a single real military assault rifle on the list.

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The new “List of prohibited assault-style firearms” has been released by the Trudeau government and it names 1,500 “military-style” and “assault-style” weapons that are now prohibited. Much has been written about the hunting and sporting rifles that have been banned, and the politics at play

As the Western Standard’s defence columnist, I checked to see if any of the firearms listed are legitimate military grade assault rifles. The firearms section is just page after page of different versions of the semi-automatic sporting rifles that the government summarized on the main page. The AR-15 family goes on for 30 pages from the “2 Vets Arms 2VA-10” to the “Zombie Defense Z-4.” 

The previously non-restricted and restricted firearms that are now prohibited include: the AR-15 family, all Ruger Mini-14s, the Czech Vz58 series, the M14 rifle, the Beretta CX4 Storm carbines, the American XCR rifle, the Czech Scorpion Evo 3 carbine and pistol, the Sig MCX/MPX carbine and pistol, and the Swiss Arms SG-550/SG-551 family. While many of these hunting and sporting rifles share some design heritage with their military counterparts, they are not capable of full-automatic firing and are thus different weapons.

Despite the Liberals claim that these are “military-style assault rifles,” no military in the world uses any of them as a standard issue infantry weapon. 

To get to the real military weapons, you need to scroll down to the two other categories of prohibited weapons: “Firearms with a bore 20mm or greater” and “Firearms capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules.” 

It is unclear if big game hunting rifles that are not listed but do surpass 10,000 Joules are now prohibited, although it is safe to assume that any rifle that fires the .50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun) round is now banned. The M2 Browning Machine Gun itself was included in this section along with a few Second World War era anti-tank rifles. 

Source: CBC

The truly eyebrow raising issues can be found in the 20mm section as the language of the regulation bans common shotguns used for duck and goose hunting, and for including a ridiculous list of heavily regulated military weapons. 

The problem with shotgun regulation wording is that while 12 gauge (18.53 mm) and 10 gauge (19.69 mm) shotguns should technically remain legal, the sloppy wording of the regulations neglects that many (or most) of these shotguns have muzzles that are larger than 20mm when measured. This is either by design for a wider spray of shot for waterfowl hunting or because the shotgun was designed to have removable chokes (so that the diameter of the muzzle can be modified for different types of hunting).

To use a highly exaggerated illustration, think of a 17th century blunderbuss “shotgun” and answer the question: what is the diameter of the barrel? If you measure at the base where the gun powder and shot is packed, then it is likely less than 20mm; but if you measure at the trumpeted muzzle, then the answer could be over 50mm. 

According the wording of the regulations, most 10 and 12 gauge shotguns are now illegal. This appears to have been an embarrassing oversight by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who has contradicted his own regulations to state that these shotguns are not in fact, banned. 

With this kind of ambiguity, there is serious risk of police overreach and wildly inconsistent application of the law. The regulations need to be amended to clearly protect the rights of law-abiding Canadian waterfowl and big game hunters. Minister Blair’s assurance that police will not overreact to this ambiguity in unacceptable, especially when you consider the violent response of Lethbridge Police to complaints of a teenage girl dressed like a Stormtrooper on May the Fourth.

The German Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank rocket, recently added to Canada “prohibited firearms” list

While police might bloody your nose for carrying a plastic Star Wars blaster, some of the military grade weapons on the 20mm prohibited list – already subject to strict regulations – could take down an Imperial TIE Fighter or AT-ST Walker. Reading the list reminded me of a scene from the film Charlie Wilson’s War where a CIA expert tells the congressman what weapons the Afghans will need to fight the Russians: “Soviets didn’t come into Afghanistan on a Eurail pass, they came in T-55 tanks. The fighters need RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers…” The RPG-7 is banned in section 95(z.192) of the new regulations.

The regulations also ban numerous historic weapons from the Second World War. The German Panzerbüchse was prohibited in this section, sad news to anyone who still has 80-year-old 28/20mm tungsten anti-tank rounds they were saving for a special occasion. 

Fans of 1940s era Dodge 4x4s with the optional 37mm anti-tank cannon package will also be sad to see the M6 on the list. Jokes aside, military collectors and museums would be advised to double-check their collections against this list and seek legal advice. The weapons they have on display may not be sufficiently disabled to remain legal.

The Russian 9K111 Fagot anti-tank missile, recently added to Canada’s “prohibited firearms” list

Modern weapons include a long list of stand-alone and rifle mounted grenade launchers, rocket launchers, the approximately $200,000 (USD) FGM-148 Javelin infrared guided anti-tank missile, wire-guided anti-tank missiles, multiple man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), and a host of recoilless rifles. There are also several large mortars – some as large as 120mm that are typically mounted on vehicles – included in this section. Even before the new regulations, if you had visited General Dynamics Land Systems Canada with $5 Million (USD) in a duffle bag and asked to drive away in a new 120mm Stryker MCV-B; then they would have politely declined your offer, and immediately reported you to the RCMP. 

The Liberals argue that all we need is more prohibition and policing to win the war on guns, but the bulk of these new regulations target law-abiding hunters and sport shooters.  A fair-market buyback could waste billions of taxpayer dollars (for those gun owners even willing to surrender their guns) while doing little to improve public safety or reduce gang related gun violence. 

Padding the list with modern military equipment that is already heavily controlled, and antiques from the Second World War, does not change the fact that there is not a single real military assault rifle on the list.  

Alex McColl is the National Defence Columnist with the Western Standard and a Canadian military analyst

Opinion

NAYLOR: My CTrain ride from Hell

The series of disturbing incidents began after I left the downtown Western Standard office and jumped onto a southbound LRT train about 2:10 p.m.

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Alberta health officials often say people should be taking extra precautions because they don’t know how a large percentage of COVID-19 cases are being transmitted in the community.

Well, after my CTrain ride from hell on Wednesday, I know one place they can start.

The series of disturbing incidents began after I left the downtown Western Standard office and jumped onto a southbound LRT train about 2:10 p.m. MST.

Unfortunately, there was a gentleman – and I use that term loosely – who had been on the platform yelling obscenities at the top of his voice.

I’m not sure what his anger was directed at, but he was obviously under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Quite possibly both.

I watched with unease as the man also boarded my train. He sat down momentarily, then got up and continued with his loud verbal diatribe.

All without wearing a mask.

Current Calgary bylaws say you must have a mask on while taking transit.

Fortunately, the screamer got off a couple of stops later and was last seen stumbling and trying how to figure out how to open the door to get into the downtown Bay.

But the ride from hell was just beginning.

Taking his place in the seat across from me was a young woman in her early 20s, wearing jeans with no knees in them and running shoes with no laces. If I had to guess, I would say she was from the city’s vulnerable population.

And she was visibly quite ill.

For the first few stops she was content with brushing her hair and shaking it all over the place.

Then the coughing began. And she couldn’t stop. It sounded like a very bad chest or lung infection. Her repeated coughs sounded almost guttural.

And she wasn’t wearing a mask.

The eyes of the man sitting next to her literally widened in terror. He tried to slide down the seat as far away as he could. But there really was no escape.

I saw all my already-reduced Christmas plans going “poof.”

Apparently tired out from her coughing fits, the woman then laid out on her portion of the seat, using her knapsack as a pillow. But she couldn’t sleep because of the continuing coughs wracking her.

The easiest option would have been to get up and move. But the car was crowded and I’m not sure there were seats available.

The other question I asked myself was why myself, or the gentleman next to her, didn’t confront either of these people, asking them to put on their masks?

The only answer I could come up with was that I didn’t want to aggravate someone who was already under the significant influence of booze and/or drugs. We’ve all seen the violent actions which this can provoke.

The ride from Hell was completed by another man in the carriage who was obviously developmentally delayed.

He just walked from end to end of the car. He would get to the end, stare out a window momentarily, turn around and walk back again. He ended up passing in front of me every 15 seconds, all the time muttering under his breath.

And not wearing a mask.

I finally escaped at the Canyon Meadows station, gulping in the crisp, fresh air. I thought to myself that if I didn’t catch coronavirus on that trip, I wouldn’t catch it anywhere.

I don’t claim to know what the solution to this problem is. We can’t have Transit staff on every train to make sure the rules are followed in an enviornment that is clearly ripe for infections.

But in my many rides downtown since the start of fall, I haven’t seen a single visit by a peace officer. They must be preparing to raid small family Christmas gatherings.

If health officials want an answer to where the community transmission is coming from, they might want to start with Calgary’s CTrain.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Opinion

MORGAN: Kenney may have been politically incorrect, but he was right about infections in some communities

“Premier Kenney may have been somewhat insensitive in how he said it, but he didn’t say anything untrue when he spoke to the issue of the outbreak in the South Asian community.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stepped in it. He dared to address the exploding infection rates of COVID-19 within Calgary’s South Asian community and of course, is now being called a racist, with demands for an apology. Caught between libertarian-minded Albertans resisting lockdowns and statists demanding ever-more paternalistic restrictions, the blows are coming at the premier from all sides.

Kenney’s opponents smell blood, and they would love nothing more than to try to tie Kenney’s policies to racism, as they try with anything mildly conservative. Unfortunately, this political reaction and opportunism may increase the infection risks in vulnerable communities as public figures fear to address them frankly.

We need to be blunt about the numbers. Infection rates in Calgary’s South Asian community are rising at triple the rate of other communities. Shouting down and deriding leaders for daring to address this issue as being racist is absurd, and damaging. How can we find out why the infection rates are rising so quickly in these communities, and how can we bring those rates in line if we can’t openly talk about it?

I spoke with Calgary cardiologist Dr. Anmol Kapoor about this sticky issue.

Dr. Kapoor created an initiative called “Dilwalk” which was modelled to bring awareness to some of the health consequences that can come with South Asian dining. While Indian food is indeed fantastic, like so many things it can be harmful for people if not consumed in moderation. With food being so tightly tied to our cultural fabrics, it takes an approach with sensitivity and understanding in order to communicate to the South Asian community on these concerns. Dr. Kapoor has worked hard to bridge that gap.

“Premier Kenney could have used different words.” said Dr. Kapoor, referring to the now-infamous radio interview. The South Asian community is proud, but can be sensitive. Things need to be presented in a “culturally appropriate” manner.

I asked Dr. Kapoor why case counts were so disproportionately high in Calgary’s Northeast district where a large portion of the city’s South Asian community live. He explained that there are a number of cultural factors at play.

Many people in the South Asian community live in multi-generational households for both cultural and economic reasons. Because of this, it can be difficult for any member of a family unit to isolate within their own household, even if they feel they may have been infected. It is difficult to find personal space and this makes family transmission difficult to avoid.

There is a language barrier for many new Canadians from the South Asian community. While Dr. Hinshaw has been communicating regularly and in detail on how we can work to get the pandemic under control, there is a lag in communications getting down to people who may need to get the messaging in a different language. More efforts should to be made to get resources to the community in different languages and in a timely manner. If it takes weeks for messaging to get out, the impact of the messaging is often lost.

Many people in the South Asian community work in jobs which can’t be done from home and often involve a lot of public interaction. This puts them at a higher risk of catching and transmitting the virus. Many people in these workplace situations either don’t have supports should they need to take time away from work, or don’t know what supports are available. People need to be reassured that they aren’t risking bankruptcy by self-isolating. It’s not so simple as closing the doors of your business or walking away from work for a couple weeks. Social supports are required and if they already exist, they need to be effectively communicated to people.

The common theme I heard was that communications need to be better and that they need to come from trusted sources. Community leaders should be tapped to help reach out to the impacted zones and get health messaging out there. Compliance with health measures and suggestions will be much higher when the suggestions come from familiar and trusted voices.

Dr. Kapoor expressly offered to take part in just such a role. If any UPC MLAs or AHS members are reading this, just reach out.

The pandemic is a nightmare for all of us in every possible way. It is a battle with multiple fronts which needs actions on the part of government which are clear and unhesitating. Clear communications are key and we can’t hesitate in targeting areas where outbreaks are occurring for fear of political backlash.

Premier Kenney may have been somewhat insensitive in how he said it, but he didn’t say anything untrue when he spoke to the issue of the outbreak in the South Asian community. If we want to knock this thing down, we need to be able to identify and target the hot spots. Along with the many other things the government needs to do, they need cultural ambassadors to help speak to impacted communities on their behalf. We can’t let political correctness put people at risk.

Cory Morgan is the Podcast Editor and a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

GRAFTON: Another flighty Liberal bailout, as Trudeau prepares to spend non-existent COVID-19 bucks on failing airlines

Ken Grafton writes that Trudeau is planning a massive bailout of Air Canada, owned mostly by wealthy foreign trusts.

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In the words of Virgin Air founder Richard Branson, “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.”

Now it seems, after months of being non-committal on the issue of airline bailouts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is about to charge up the Canadian Taxpayer Mastercard again – not a paltry Branson $1 billion though, but a whopping Liberal $7 billion, if carriers and unions have anything to say about it.

Branson was warning that airlines are expensive and often lose money – and Branson should know. Virgin Atlantic applied for bankruptcy protection in New York on August 4th. They are attempting to negotiate a $1.6 billion rescue plan. Virgin Australia also filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year. 

These are not the best of times. COVID-19 grounded most commercial flights globally in March, resulting in plummeting airline stock prices. Airlines have been losing millions of dollars every week, and billionaire “canary-in-the-mine” investor guru Warren Buffett has sold out his entire $4 billion airline portfolio. Buffett said, “Investors have poured their money into airlines … for 100 years with terrible results. … It’s been a death trap for investors.”

Airline failures however, predate COVID-19. Airline bankruptcies since 1980 include TWA, US Airways, United, Air Canada (in 2003), Delta, American and many others.

The airline business model is problematic in a number of respects. First and foremost, it lacks scalability. This means that cost growth increases linearly with revenue growth, thereby making it very expensive for an airline to grow. A new A380 will set you back approximately $437 million USD. It costs about $83,000 for a fill-up at the pump, and a new set of 22 tires is a jaw-dropping $121,000

As Buffett explained to Berkshire shareholders in 2007, “The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.” 

But, as history records, Orville made a safe landing that day in 1903.

Another problem with airlines is a sensitive dependence upon price competition. The reality is that if one airline decides to cut fares, for whatever reason(s), competitors have little choice but to follow. This can have disastrous impact financially.

Air Canada is Canada’s largest carrier. Privatized in 1989, its’ history includes layoffs, restructuring, mergers, previous bankruptcy and government bailouts. In May, Air Canada threatened to lay off 50-60 per cent of it’s 38,000 employees, saying that it is losing $20 million per day as a result of COVID-19. It is projecting a 75 per cent reduction in flight capacity during Q4 compared to 2019, and reported Q3 revenue of C$757 million, down 86 per cent from a year earlier, with an operating loss of $785 million CAD.

It has since been taking advantage of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program.

Now, as a result of COVID-19, Air Canada wants another bailout from the taxpayer.

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said, “To protect Canadians, the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector. As part of this package, we are ready to establish a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance which could include loans and potentially other support to secure important results for Canadians.”

But who exactly are taxpayers going to be bailing out?

The top 10 Air Canada shareholders are all investment management funds. Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc., Fidelity (Canada) Asset Management ULC, Fidelity Management & Research Co. LLC, EdgePoint Investment Group Inc., US Global Investors Inc., RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Causeway Capital Management LLC, Mackenzie Financial Corp., APG Asset Management NV, and CI Investments, Inc.. 

The irony of Canadian taxpayers ponying up $7 billion to bailout wealthy global investment funds would be amusing if it weren’t true. 

Perhaps Trudeau will broker a loan from Air Canada’s shareholders. They can afford it.

The likelihood of you getting an operating line of credit from your local bank because you had lost 90 per cent of your income and were billions in the red? Zero to none.

According to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc the government is “very much discussing” the possibility of nationalizing the airlines, as Germany has done.

If the argument for deregulation and privatization is increased efficiency and cost benefit, then it follows that private sector enterprise must be prepared to bear the cost of failure. Trudeau is burdening Canadians with crippling debt as a result of COVID-19. The wealthy investment funds that own Air Canada should be prepared to do the same.

Ken Grafton is freelance columnist for the Western Standard from Aylmer, Quebec

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