While the New Zealand Parliament is considering a bill that would ban semi-automatic weapons on the Canadian side, the Senate is considering a piece of legislation that tightens access but is sorely lacking in teeth. Parliamentarians.
New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern responded in a quarter-turn after the attack in two mosques in Christchurch. Thinking that she had massive support from her population, she decided six days later: exit, semi-automatic weapons.
Independent Quebec Senator Pierre Dalphond has been closely following developments since the massacre of March 15, when a white supremacist of Australian descent shot dead 50 Muslims in two places of worship in the city.
He wonders what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is waiting for to follow in Jacinda Ardern’s footsteps, deploring the “energy and time” parliamentarians have dedicated – and continue to dedicate – to an arms bill. , the C-71, much too shy for his taste.
The legislation, which is before the Senate committee, is tightening the arms controls. But it will not lead to a ban on weapons like the one used by the gunman at the Grand Mosque in Quebec City.
“No matter how hard I look, I do not find societal value in possessing a semi-automatic weapon,” Senator Dalphond dropped in an interview.
“I believe that good policy is not about trying to regulate categories: it’s to ban all guns, except hunting guns,” he added.
“It does not exist, the right to own a gun, in Canada, he insisted. The Supreme Court has always said that the right to have a weapon does not exist: it is a privilege. There is therefore no fundamental right at stake. ”
In October 2018, after a slaughter in Toronto, Justin Trudeau asked his Minister of Organized Crime Reduction, Bill Blair, to launch a consultation on the possibility of prohibiting handguns and assaults.
This unscientific survey conducted online, which has attracted a lot of criticism, is now complete. This week, Minister Blair reiterated that the results of the consultation should come by the end of the spring.
“I know what New Zealand has done […]. I think Canadians expect us to listen carefully and find the best way to move forward, “he said when asked to explain this slowness Act.
Liberal MP Joel Lightbound, representing the riding of Quebec where the mosque is located, where six faithful were killed in prayer on the evening of January 29, 2017, speaks of C-71 as “a step in the right direction “.
“But the destination, for my part, is to ban weapons that are designed and used for their effectiveness in killing people. Like the assault weapons that have already made too many victims everywhere, [which] at home in Sainte-Foy, “he wrote to The Siver Times
But unless there is a dramatic change, we will not reach our destination in a first Liberal mandate. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale warned last December that reopening C-71 could result in his death on the order paper.
The person who controls the legislation in the Senate, the independent Andre Pratte, would have liked us to go “further”, because “we have a serious problem that deserves bold legislative and other solutions”.
The Canadian difference
The Quebec senator is not convinced, however, that New Zealand’s prohibition would necessarily be the way forward. Because New Zealand is, literally, an island. Canada, for its part, shares its border with the United States, which poses practical problems, he says.
“If you ban weapons that are heavily used, for example all types of semi-automatic weapons, it will significantly increase smuggling,” he said in an interview with me earlier this week.
One could also expect an outcry from pro-gun lobbies in Canada, while on the side of New Zealand, the Ardern reform consensus among the ranks of the lobbies of gun owners.
“We are against any ban on weapons. It does not help public safety, and it shows contempt for the property rights of Canadians, ” Blair Hagen, vice-president of the National Firearms Association (NFA).
Since the tabling of C-71, senators have been inundated with e-mails and documents from pro-Canadian lobbies. The Shooting Sports Association of Canada has even cracked a book on the issue, distributed free online.
“I can hear them,” sneered Senator Dalphond. All this lobbying, we would have had the same way, but we could have done at least something like a big step [by banning semi-automatic weapons]. ”