C-FAR #306. December, 1996

Majority Rule Takes Some More Hits

Lord Acton had it right: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What is it about electing someone to public office? Once he gets there, too often he imagines he is God, with some divine right to rule in defiance of the will of the Majority. And even some of the “good guys” are bad. Ontario Premier Mike Harris has promised legislation in the new year to allow referenda in Ontario. Good. An excellent populist and democratic move. Now, the bad news: Harris and his Municipal Affairs Minister Al Leach have let it be known in no uncertain terms that they will ignore the results of any referendum on plans to consolidate Toronto area municipalities into one big megacity. They have even threatened provincial legislation to prevent such a referendum. This, despite the fact that some 83 per cent of residents of Metro Toronto, according to radio ads sponsored by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), favour being consulted through a referendum before the legislation is passed. Now, the Metro politicians backing the referendum are not entirely disinterested. They are trying to save their jobs and political hides. People involved in the debate over an $8,000 Metro grant to the terrorist ARA (Anti-Racist Action) will recall how some of the same Metro councillors sneared and hissed when a speaker proposed a national referendum on immigration.

Meanwhile, in Q uebec Parti Quebecois leader Lucien Bouchard has adopted an imperial style. He and his advisors were stunned, November 23, when nearly a quarter (23.3 per cent) of the delegates to a PQ Convention in Quebec City opposed his leadership. An arrogant Bouchard “was adamant that he would not change course, insisting that the party must adapt to his political views and not the other way around. … He urged the PQ to stop criticizing the government and demonstrate more cohesion, discipline and unity instead of engaging in public battles over principles. ‘The party must close ranks behind the government, the programme and its leaders,’ Mr. Bouchard said in his closing remarks.” (Globe and Mail, November 25, 1996) So, check your brains and principles at the door, and quack loyally for your betters. “However, popular support for the PQ leader could be short-lived in the wake of the arrogance and authoritarianism he showed toward his party during the past weekend’s convention, revealing his iron-fisted approach at suppressing dissent. … In the corridors of the convention, the party elite at the start of the meeting dispatched officials to track down dissenters and listen in on their conversatiions. … Mr. Bouchard’s insistence on a more disciplined and united party indicates that a purge may be in the offing.” (Globe and Mail, November 25, 1996)

Allan Rock’s Gun Confiscation — The Noose Tightens

Canadians have increasingly lost their rights and freedoms, regardless of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and under Justice Minister Allan Rock, an Orwellian nightmare becomes reality. The current anti-gun hysteria resulted from past propaganda put out by leading control advocates; such as, Professor Martin Friedland of the University of Toronto Law Faculty and Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control. In the case of Cukier, the sensationalist half-truths are obvious. Says she: “Marc Lepine, with a legally owned military assault weapon, shot 27 people in Montreal.” By U.S. military definition, this was not an assault weapon; consequently, it was not used by armies in North America. (The Canadian Firearms Debate, published by the Canadian Handgun Association, 1994), p.149) Also, she asserts, “Guns are used by about 10 per cent of the population.” (p.150) In fact, recent figures indicate that 20 per cent of Canadians use guns. (p.7) She further alleges: “Handguns are not used for hunting and target shooting.” (p.153) On the contrary, most gun club members use handguns for target shooting. Under such propagandistic influence, Rock and Chretien have enacted draconian gun control laws aimed at the seven million Canadian gun owners. (p.7) Criminals, of course, being criminals won’t feel the need to register, carefully store, report, or hand in their arsenals. In 1992, there were an estimated 500 firearms homicides, compared to 3,462 deaths in motor vehicle accidents. This means that you are six times more likely to die in a car accident than from a gun. Your chance of being shot is a remote 1 in 111,000 (p.29).

Now the victimized lawful gun owners see the Criminal Code aimed at them rather than at criminals, all of which justifiably brings the law into disrepute and contempt. Rock himself excels in Orwellian doublespeak for gun controls. For instance, in 1994, he said that gun registration will not entail confiscation and will not cost gun owners anything. (Registration Will Mean Confiscation, published by the Canadian Handgun Association, 1994, p.2) The facts are that guns are now being arbitrarily seized under the new laws. One Toronto businessman of well-known rightwing views, had a $60,000 collection seized because of a domestic tiff. The Toronto Sun (December 11, 1996) warns: “Guns owners could be branded spouse-beaters under new firearms rules without being charged or convicted, justice officials said yesterday. Current legal gun owners with no criminal record could have their right to own firearms revoked if police or firearms officers judge them to have a history of domestic violence. ‘Benefit of the doubt will be given to public safety,’ said William Bartlett, legal counsel for the government’s National Firearms Centre.” It’s too bad benefit of the doubt isn’t given to public safety in permitting large numbers of illegals and foreign criminals to remain on Canadian soil. The totalitarian bent of Bartlett cancels the citizen’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, before his liberties are curtailed. “Under the recently tabled regulations for the national licensing and registration system, which is scheduled to be phased in January 1, 1998, owner licences will be issued only after a security check which will include interviews with current or recently separated spouses and common law partners. … Bartlett conceded there is a danger of false information being provided for vindictive reaosns, but argued that polcice are used to judging and verifying information.” In the future, hefty fees will be charged for registration, thus paving the way for future seizures at the whim of the government. Sadly, the existence of three per cent serious mental illness in the general population (author’s estimate) has not kept guns out of the hands of maniacs like Marc Lepine, and, therefore, the remaining 99 per cent of responsible gunowners are scapegoated.

After a similar massacre in Dunblane, Scotland, the British government announced intentions to confiscate nearly all handguns, on the theory that it is easier to punish thousands of innocent gun owners than to weed out one nutcase who misuses a gun. Surely, the onus is on the government to lock up such maniacs because they don’t need a gun to kill. Indeed, in Canada, two thirds of all homicides in 1991 were not caused by a firearm. (The Canadian Firearms Debate, p.30) Previous gun control measures have proved unpopular. Registration of long guns was abandoned in 1941 when gun owners ignored it. The government of Pierre Trudeau, in 1977, and the Conservatives, in 1993, were defeated after gun control bills were passed. In 1992, only 12 per cent of “politically incorrect” firearms were submitted for registration. (Registration Will Mean Confsication, p.10) Rock’s current controls are retroactive and deprive owners of their lawful property without proper compensation. With orders-in-council, the bureaucrats can ban any gun on flimsy pretext without Parliamentary debate. They are constantly expanding their list and owners have no way of knowing whether their gun in legal. Most owners live in rural areas, where they do not have access to large libraries. Now, some poor farmer out shooting gophers in his cabbage patch is at the mercy of any zealous cop who goes by. Any bureaucrat designated as a “Firearms Inspector” can, after due notice, search your dwelling and confiscate your guns for any one of a number of pettifogging infractions; for example, the ammunition wasn’t separately stored; you didn’t keep proper records’ there wasn’t a trigger lock on each gun; or you had just overlooked something. The penalties for not co-operating with the bureaucrats or for a minor infraction are truly horrendous. Your right to remain silent under the Charter of Rights is ignored. Not only does a conviction result in a criminal record, but all guns, ammunition, and accessories can be confiscated, at the time you are charged. These draconian provisions for seizure reveal the real purpose of Bill C-68: the stripping of Canadian gunowners of their weapons. The Police do not have to return your guns, if you are found innocent. If guilty, you face hefty fines and possible imprisonment, with lifetime bans on owning firearms and/or explosives. So much for Charter protection against cruel and unusual punishment, when you have harmed nobody. All this in a country which, for the most part, is still a vast wilderness, where hundreds of thousands of Canadians depend on guns for food, protection and recreation. No wonder that Aboriginal leaders have told Rock that their people are not going to comply with this tyrannical legislation.

Possibly fearful of gunowners’ anger, Rock now proposes a new high-risk offenders law that would allow courts to place electronic bracelets on persons deemed to be a threat to public safety, even those never charged or who have been acquitted. Then, the police can monitor the movements of such a person, who might be a threat to someone like Rock. “The legislation, introduced in September, would allow the crown to ask a judge to require anyone it believes will commit a seriouis personal injury crime to be electronically monitored. The individual — who may never have committed a crime in his life — would wear a tamper-proof electronic bracelet which authorities would monitor to ensure that he does not visit places he should not be, such as schools or bars. … ‘It is true to say that on the Monday, a person night be acquitted of acharge, … but on the Wednesday or the Thursday, the person might be the subject of an order (under the new bill)'” Justice Minister Allan Rock admitted. (Toronto Star, December 4, 1996) This proposal could be ideal for monitoring populist dissenters who, could be deemed to be violent, and therefore subject to monitoring.

The KGB would have loved this idea. Gun owners must realize that, as over one quarter of the population, in the 1997 election, they can defeat Rock and Company, the Liberals, the control freaks and the shock troops of the New World Order eager to disarm people lest they resist. They should work for the Reform Party, as Preston Manning has vowed to repeal the guns laws. Secondly, they should consider a legal class action suit against Wendy Cukier because of the harmful statements she has made. Gun owners’ associations must start to organize now to defeat the enemies of freedom in Canada, including Allan Rock and the government of Jean Chretien in the upcoming election. — John H. Morgan, M.A., M.B.A.