Watch Conservative Platform to ‘Fill in the Blanks’ on Gun Policy: O’Toole
Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2021, 2:37 p.m. EDT
Last updated on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 5:48 p.m. EDT
COQUITLAM, BC – Hunters and sport shooters have been unfairly trapped in the Liberal government’s bans on “assault-type” guns, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Saturday as he was on duty. continued with questions about his party’s gun policy for the second day in a row.
The question has been a source of confusion since Thursday, when O’Toole first said he would uphold the ban on “assault weapons” during a debate in French. He also denied that he would legalize the weapon used in the 1989 massacre at the Ãcole polytechnique in Montreal.
His statements were widely seen as a pledge to uphold the ban on some 1,500 guns that the Liberals called âassault-type weaponsâ when they made them illegal last May.
O’Toole reiterated his promise to uphold the ban on Friday, but a party spokeswoman later released a statement claiming the ban in question actually relates to full-fledged “assault weapons” in effect. since 1977.
The party platform promises to abolish the May 2020 decree that banned a wide variety of firearms and to review the gun law with input from the police, gun owners, manufacturers and the public. O’Toole, for his part, has remained vague on what exactly he is referring to, even when he has repeatedly emphasized the subject during his recent election appearances.
During a layover in Coquitlam, British Columbia, O’Toole said Canadians could look at his party’s platform to “fill in the blanks” with its gun policy.
According to the platform, the party would repeal Bill C-71, which expanded background checks for people applying for firearms licenses, created new record-keeping requirements for gun retailers and restricted the transport of firearms.
The platform also says that a Conservative government would repeal a May 2020 executive order that banned more than 1,500 models of firearms, including the popular AR-15 rifle and the Ruger Mini-14 used to kill 14 women at gunpoint. Polytechnic university.
Asked about the effect of this repeal, O’Toole said Canada needed a “fair”, “targeted” approach to public safety.
âThere are people – sport shooters, hunters, target shooters – who have been caught in an approach that Mr. Trudeau brought that does not really protect Canadians,â O’Toole said.
A Conservative government would also revise Canada’s firearms classification system, he added.
âWe willâ¦ show Canadians that we can focus on the safety of Canadians without dividing Canadians,â he said.
“Assault” or “assault-style” firearms are familiar descriptions, and what falls into either category is debated among gun users.
Faced with questions about why a Conservative government would legalize the gun used in the Polytechnique shooting, which was also in the possession of the man who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia in 2020, O’Toole said said the real problem was the smuggling of guns into Canada and accused Trudeau of importing controversial gun rhetoric from the United States.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Liberal candidate Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who was Minister of Public Safety when the law was enacted, accused O’Toole of “pretending he didn’t. committed âto upholding the liberal ban, as well as being beholden to the gun lobby.
“I think an overwhelming majority of Canadians recognize that there is no place for these guns in our country,” he said at a press conference in Toronto. âMr. O’Toole finds it hard to admit to Canadians that he made this unholy pact with the gun lobby. He must be held accountable. “
O’Toole said he would target gun violence by organized crime groups, including street gangs, and take steps to facilitate the seizure of legally acquired firearms “if there is a risk for mental health or other safety risk “.
Also on Saturday, O’Toole pledged to work with the provinces to create a national system to prove residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The provinces have a series of proof systems of vaccination QR codes, vaccination passports, we will respect what the provinces do, we will partner with them to make sure we have that for foreign travel by Canadians,” a- he declared.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for a national system and criticized Trudeau for not having one in place sooner.
Trudeau said Ottawa would certify provincial passports for vaccines, but noted that creating a full federal program could take a year.
O’Toole has said he wants at least 90% of eligible residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and pledges to cover the cost of employee time off to get vaccinated as well as transportation to vaccination clinics for those who need support.
O’Toole also pledged to roll out a national recall strategy that would initially target the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
O’Toole, who advocates for federal workers as well as air and rail travelers to be vaccinated or required to undergo COVID-19 tests, said vaccination should be encouraged, not imposed.
“You don’t win people over by threatening them, you win them over by reaching out to them, talking to them, understanding their fears, answering their questions,” he said.
Shortly before the election, slated for September 20, was called, the Liberals announced plans to make vaccines mandatory for federal employees as well as air and rail passengers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 4, 2021.