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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

BARNES: Albertans deserve the right to make the big decisions in referenda law

Guest column from Drew Barnes says that Alberta’s referendum law should be expanded to allow votes on big constitutional issues.

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Guest opinion column from Alberta MLA Drew Barnes

“I am and I will remain a populist, because those who listen to the people are doing their job.” Matteo Salvini.

At its core the word populism is the action that government policies should be determined by the will of the people, not the will of the elite. Direct democracy is the institutional populism in action.

There is debate over whether populism should be termed as a movement or an ideology. Since the actions of populist engagement can transcend the ideological spectrum, I believe it should be viewed as a movement, that can sometimes manifest itself ideologically. As a movement, populist participation can take place on all points of the spectrum. Ultimately, that is what is wanted from a democratic society – engagement from all points of the spectrum.

Now more than ever, we need a new grassroots-populist approach to politics. Grassroots politics by its nature suggests that it is a movement that is sparked from the bottom-up. Politicians who came from grassroots movements must never forget where they came from, or lose sight of what they came to do. We need more of the bottom-up approach to politics, and make listening to the people that elected us a priority.

This is taking place in some measure here in Alberta. Political party policy processes allow for constituency associations to generate policy proposals for conventions, where they are voted on by the membership. Every party in Alberta – with the exception of the NDP – uses a ‘one member, one vote’ system.

Another grassroots/populist tool is referenda, that when used the right way are a valuable democratic tool. Referendums however, must stay true to their purpose, and the process for bringing them forward must allow for citizens to craft their own – fair – wording on a question. This is not to say that any question – however subjectively worded – that anyone wants to ask should be put to a referendum. Therefore, the rules on the use of referendums must not be overly onerous, nor overly temperate.

Switzerland is a prime example of a country that takes full advantage of referendums, including citizens’ initiative. In their democratic system, referendums can occur up to four times annually. All citizens registered to vote can cast their ballot on issues affecting decisions within both their federal government and their cantons (autonomous provinces). Before each vote, all registered voters receive a package of booklets in the mail which provide details on the coming referendums. Since these referendums began in 1848, just under half of the referendum proposals have passed. Even if they don’t always pass, the process is crucial to starting conversations and keeping citizens involved in debate. Referendums also force political parties to reach beyond partisan lines to reach consensus.

Alberta’s legislature recently passed a bill that guides referendums on non-constitutional matters. While this is a positive step forward, there are issues in this bill that need improvement. 

For example, Albertans initiating a referendum might go through the process of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, only to have the cabinet alter the wording the question. While fair wording of the question is critical to the integrity of direct democracy, that issue is not best dealt with by politicians who may have a stake in the result. Instead, clear guidelines should be established in law on question wording, and left to non-partisan officials at Elections Alberta. 

And while the new referendum legislation is a big step forward over the status quo (that is, nothing), it deliberately bans citizens-initiated referendums on constitutional questions. This means that if Albertans wished to force a vote on adding property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that they would not be allowed. Similarly, Albertans are barred from forcing a vote on reforming the Senate, equalization, or internal free trade. Ominously, Albertans have no right to force a vote over the heads of the legislature on independence or other forms of sovereignty. 

I believe that Albertans can be trusted with the right of citizens’ initiative on all questions, both constitutional and non-constitutional. 

We trust the people to elect a government to run our systems, so why can’t we trust them to bring their own questions forward? 

Drew Barnes is the UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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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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