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    CSSA - Where the Conservative leadership candidates stand on gun issues

    Team CSSA is pleased to provide you with this handy reference guide to the various firearm policies of the fourteen candidates vying for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

    For those of you who purchased a Conservative Party of Canada membership by the March 28 deadline, this is especially important for you.

    With the Liberal government set to introduce new gun laws in Parliament this spring, we cannot stress enough the importance of choosing a Conservative leader we can trust to effectively represent the interests of Canada's law-abiding gun community.

    Details on how to vote can be found here.

    The next Conservative leader may well be the next Prime Minister of Canada in 2019!

    *The final CPC leadership debate will take place in Toronto on April 26 at 6 p.m.

    (Listed Alphabetically)


    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE CHRIS ALEXANDER

    Canada is one of the safest and most law-abiding countries in the world, where the freedom to pursue personal interests that do not harm others is enshrined in our constitution and laws.

    When it comes to firearms, no one is arguing that risks to public safety caused by the behaviour of criminals must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Enforcement of firearms legislation needs to be appropriately directed at those who disregard the law and intentionally put lives at risk. This is the category of individual that will get my full attention.

    Unfortunately in the current political climate too much focus of resources and regulation is directed at the law-abiding firearms community. The evidence has shown that the millions of hunters and sports shooting enthusiasts in this country conduct themselves with both a respect for the law and a within a culture that prioritizes safety first. It is unfair and improper to treat these Canadians as if they are engaging in suspicious activities that warrant excessive scrutiny.

    As prime minister my government will be committed to:

    * Rewriting the Firearms Act to ensure classification of firearms are based upon objective performance characteristics, not simply by appearance (as in the case of the AR 15).
    * Removing the classification of firearms from the mandate of the RCMP.
    * Establishing an independent firearm classification body made up of civilian and professional stakeholders, including manufacturers and the police, accountable to elected officials - not bureaucrats.
    * Ensuring that classification changes causing confusion and uncertainty to existing firearms​, (i.e., non-restricted to restricted, or restricted to prohibited), are not permitted.
    * Decriminalizing administrative firearms offences such as having an expired license.
    * Ensuring that legally owned firearms are seen as personal private property under the law.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE MAXIME BERNIER

    Canadian Firearms laws are broken, and I want to fix them.
    At the whim of a bureaucrat, firearms are assigned new classifications.

    Legally purchased firearms are being made illegal, even though no laws have changed.

    This needs to stop.

    The firearms laws are so complicated, and so convoluted, that they have become the perfect example of injustice in the name of justice.

    To fix this, I propose we replace the current Firearms Act with clear legislation based on reason, not on fear.

    Firearms ownership is part of our shared Canadian heritage. We are a country founded on the fur trade. This needs to be recognized.

    I also recognize that we need to protect public safety and avoid the excesses that exist south of the border.

    There are three main areas to look at when considering firearms legislation. Licensing; classification of firearms; and magazine sizes.

    I do not propose that we replace our current licensing system. Instead, we should ensure that firearms safety courses are more readily available, especially in rural and remote areas.

    I will double the length of firearms licenses from 5 to 10 years.

    Firearms license-holders are automatically subjected to daily background checks. If a firearms license-holder commits a crime, his or her license is revoked. There is no need to go through the renewal process every 5 years.

    We need to provide clear, non-arbitrary legislation for what constitutes a non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearm.

    Firearms should not be classified based on how they look, but on how they function.

    I propose the following classifications:

    Non-Restricted:

    (a) a firearm that is not a prohibited or restricted firearm.

    Prohibited:

    (a) a fully-automatic firearm,

    (b) a firearm that is adapted from a rifle or shotgun, whether by sawing, cutting or any other alteration, and that, as so adapted, is less than 660 mm in length.

    (c) a firearm that is listed as prohibited prior to June 20, 2016.

    Restricted:

    (a) a firearm that is not a prohibited firearm,

    (b) a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,

    (c) a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise.

    This is in line with the Simplified Classification System, adopted by Conservative members at the Policy Convention in Vancouver last year.

    The current regulation of magazine sizes is irrational. Our internationally competitive shooters are forced to practice with magazines below standard capacity.

    This makes no sense. It’s clear that those who are not inclined to follow the law will not be deterred by having to remove a rivet from a magazine.

    My proposal would repeal the ineffective, and frankly nonsensical, magazine capacity restrictions.

    The classification of firearms should not change by the whim of the RCMP, or cabinet. It should require a change in law through Parliament to re-classify a firearm.

    To respect our Canadian tradition of firearms ownership, and the principle of fairness, I would have the Canadian government reimburse all firearms owners for their loss of property resulting from the implementation of Bill C-68, and any subsequent legislation that caused the confiscation of their legally purchased firearms.

    This policy, like all my policies, is based on freedom and responsibility, fairness and respect.

    I believe it is the right answer for firearms legislation in Canada.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE STEVEN BLANEY

    As Public Safety Minister in the Harper government, I got thousands of letters from law abiding citizens asking to be treated with dignity and not like criminals just because they liked hunting or sport shooting. These are fundamental traditional and patrimonial Canadian activities.

    It is no wonder liberals treat legitimate firearm owners with such disdain. They are considered second class Canadians. The Liberals clearly outlined their vision with Liberal Justice Allan Rock saying : "I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers."

    I disagree very strongly with that view.

    As a response, I introduced and passed the "Common Sense Firearm Licensing Act (C-42)" with the help of dedicated conservative parliamentarians like MP's Garry Breitkreuz from Saskatchewan and Robert "Bob" Sopuck from Manitoba.

    However, we are not done yet. We need to further fix the Liberals’ wrongdoings without compromising safety. Therefore, today I present you with my "Respect for gun owners” reform.

    With the Charter of Rights of Gun Owners, I will reaffirm the rights of law abiding gun owners and add oversight by hiring an ombudsman to protect their rights. I will also streamline the complicated and biased firearm classification system. Instead of having the RCMP deal with it, I will transfer the Canadian Firearms Program directly to the Ministry of Public Safety, where it should always have been.

    I want to restore the service standards which I put in place and which the Liberals just abolished a few months ago for the new firearms evaluation process. I want to avoid bureaucrats dragging their feet to promote a hidden agenda. I want to avoid erratic decisions like the Swiss Arms nightmare by putting a fair and transparent review process in place.

    Finally, I will restore the precious Firearms Advisory Committee which was scrapped by the Liberals. In the past, this committee’s advice proved invaluable.

    I want to keep our country safe and keep illegal guns out of our streets without strangling law abiding citizens with tons of worthless red tape.

    I did it and will keep doing it because that is the right thing to do.

    I thank you for your attention. It's time to restore sanity in Ottawa.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE MICHAEL CHONG

    Michael voted for the elimination of the long gun registry, and does not support the re-introduction of a long gun registry. As a rural MP and a farmer, he understands the importance of this issue.

    “I believe that government should not interfere in the legal use of firearms by hunters, farmers, sport shooters and other law-abiding citizens. Hunting and other legal uses of firearms are an important part of Canadian culture and an important part of a rural way of life."

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE KELLIE LEITCH

    Canada has a long-standing tradition of using firearms for hunting and for recreational purposes. My grandfather was a farmer in Manitoba. He hunted ducks and geese and was an active member of Ducks Unlimited. I grew up in Fort McMurray where hunting is a part of the fabric of life for many.

    So I understand the importance of firearms to law-abiding Canadians right across this country. Very often, firearms are cherished possessions with a great deal of sentimental value, invoking memories of our parents and grandparents.

    I supported the Harper government’s decision to scrap the long-gun registry and, as Prime Minister, I will never institute another. I believe the current regulations we have regarding firearms are adequate but I think we can improve the regulatory system in the following ways:

    We should recognize that guns are personal property and should be treated as such by the government.

    There is too much subjectivity in the classification system. It should be replaced with clear objective criteria to ensure certainty for gun owners.

    Firearms classifications should not be the sole purview of the RCMP. Those decisions should be made by an organization made up of Canadian citizens including primarily those who use guns — farmers, sports shooters, and hunters — as well as law enforcement.

    Gun licenses should be good for 10 years (from the current 5) to reduce the paperwork burden for law-abiding gun owners.
    These are the policies that I will implement as Prime Minister.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE PIERRE LEMIEUX

    My background and experience with firearms, compared to other leadership candidates, is extensive and credible.

    I joined the military at 17 and I served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 20 years at the rank of LCol.

    I served as a Range Safety Officer on handgun, rifle and machine gun ranges.

    I am a firearm owner myself and am a competitive sport shooter (IPSC – Black Badge qualified, Cowboy Action Shooting).

    My firearms action plan includes:

    Launching a comprehensive review of the Firearms Act,including all relevant sections from C-51, C-17, and C-68
    Removing the RCMP from the regulation and rule-making role they currently possess. The RCMP should not both make rules and enforce them - this is a conflict of interest.
    Opening the Chief Firearm Officer position to all qualified and experienced Canadians. I am not convinced that only a police officer can be a CFO
    Creating a Firearms Advocate/Ombudsman with an official mandate to represent millions of law-abiding gun-owning Canadians in their struggles with Ottawa bureaucracy
    Promoting the construction of new target ranges to give more Canadians opportunities to safely enjoy recreational firearms use
    Implementing a more simple and open firearm classification system, including changes to rules around ammunition, magazines and barrel requirements
    Increasing the renewal period for licenses from 5 to 10 years
    Rescinding the onerous UN Firearm Marking regulations. Every firearm already has a unique identifier – its serial number.
    I understand firearm issues because I am a firearm owner myself and because I am regularly at the range with other firearm owners.

    The government needs to stop targeting law abiding gun owners and instead focus its energies on stopping the criminal use firearms.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE KEVIN O'LEARY

    CREATING JOBS BY SUPPORTING THE HUNTING INDUSTRY
    March 29, 2017

    Hunting in Canada is $15-billion industry. It provides thousands of jobs in manufacturing, distribution, sales, and tourism. Kevin O’Leary believes this important sector needs to be supported through the following actions:

    Plain Language Re-write:

    The 144-page Firearms Act is convoluted and impossible for gun owners, shooting clubs, and even police to understand. An O’Leary government will repeal the Act and replace it with sensible laws that Canadians can actually understand. This will be based on the resolutions from the 2016 CPC policy convention to:

    Not deprive Canadian citizens of their legally acquired firearms.
    Recognize that civilian firearm ownership is a Canadian Heritage.
    Streamline firearms classification by adopting the Simplified Classification System.
    Order a review of firearms-related laws to identify parts of those Acts that have no public safety value
    Law Making and Classification:

    Justin Trudeau removed firearms experts from the firearms advisory committee in a wrong-headed political move. An O’Leary government would reverse this decision and appoint industry experts to this committee to ensure it receives balanced advice.

    An O’Leary government would also make changes to move law making back to Cabinet, and have the RCMP focus on enforcement. An O’Leary cabinet will be held accountable for their decision and will not hide behind the arbitrary and unaccountable classifications made by nameless and faceless bureaucrats.

    As part of its commitment to a plain language re-write, an O’Leary government will support a simple classification system, and will not restrict firearms based on appearance. For example, the AR-15 should NOT be classified as a restricted firearm. As one of the most common hunting firearms in the world, an O’Leary government will remove this unjust restriction and permit them to be used for hunting.

    UN Markings:

    Justin Trudeau’s move to implement the UN Marking Regulations in Canada is ridiculous and unnecessary. Everything Canada needs to trace firearms is already contained in the serial number and other information on firearms. By requiring these regulations in Canada, Trudeau is unnecessarily burdening our firearm industry in a punitive way. An O’Leary government would reverse this policy.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE DEEPAK OBHRAI

    By CJ Summers | Free Mind Republic | December 13, 2016

    Excerpts ...

    Longest serving Conservative MP in Canada’s 42nd Parliament Opposition Critic for International Development (2015-Present) Parliamentary Secretary for International Human Rights (2013-2015) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006-2015) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation (2008-2008/2010-2011) MP Riding of Calgary Forest Lawn (2015-Present) MP Riding of Calgary East (1997-2011)
    Mr. Obhrai REFUSED to answer any of the questions submitted by YOU, the firearms community. Instead - this is what he wanted me to say:

    “Say what I just told you to say! I do not own a gun, as I said in my debate - the only thing I shoot with is a camera. I have a strong association with Garry Breitkreuz, I want you to write his name, he was a member of our caucus. He was a champion, I support him, he was an MP from Saskatchewan - that recreational use of long guns is within the rights of all Canadians... ok?”.... “Ok, bye.”

    Full Interview: http://www.freemindrepublic.com/news/cpc-deepak-obhrai

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE ERIN O'TOOLE

    Canada is a nation with proud rural and outdoor traditions. Learning to hunt or target shoot with a family member is a way of life for millions of Canadians and must be respected. Firearm owners, be they hunters, farmers or sport shooters are among the most law-abiding citizens in Canada.

    As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I will:

    Oppose efforts to reverse the former Conservative government’s policy advances on firearms, including new restrictions on transportation and use, which I will repeal within 180 days of forming government.

    Oppose regulations that do not advance public safety and instead penalize law abiding firearm owners. This includes the arbitrary reclassification of firearms and magazines.
    As Prime Minister of Canada I will:

    Repeal the Firearms Act and replace it with legislation developed through an expert-driven process that includes manufacturers, owners, and law enforcement.

    Commission an expert-driven redesign of firearm classification based on a clear legislative definition of the term “variant” in consultation with manufacturers, owners and law enforcement.

    Mandate a return to the 180-day period for the re-designed classification system to release firearm import decisions and put final authority for classification decisions back in the hands of cabinet.

    Focus the resources of the federal government on criminals engaged in the trafficking and use of illegal firearms instead of imposing more layers of bureaucracy on law-abiding Canadians.

    Support specialized illegal firearms enforcement led by the CBSA and RCMP working closely with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, to target smuggling operations before illegal firearms reach the border.

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    CPC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE RICK PETERSON

    PETERSON PROPOSES SWEEPING FIREARMS POLICY CHANGES

    Conservative Party leadership candidate Rick Peterson today announced a Five-Point Firearms policy that proposes bold and sweeping changes to Canada’s gun laws.

    “As the son of a former RCMP officer, and as a recreational upland game bird hunter who grew up in rural northern Alberta, I’m very aware of the need for a common sense approach to gun laws in Canada,” he said.

    “We have to balance legitimate public safety concerns with the rights and responsibilities of gun owners and recreational shooters. As Prime Minister in 2019 I will take steps to immediately rebalance the current unfairness in gun legislation that clearly and unfairly punishes law-abiding gun owners.”

    Peterson’s Five-Point Firearms policy contains the following provisions:

    Scrap the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee – this body is appointed at the whim of the Public Safety Minister and is open to political appointments that suit the government bias of the day. The most recent Liberal appointments last week point to the dangers of that. Of the current 10 members, only two are professed firearms owners. Replace it with a balanced 9-person, non-partisan Firearms Public Advisory board elected by a free vote of MPs and whose members would be composed of gun owners, law enforcement officials and members of the general public.
    Redirect firearms regulation authority from the RCMP – firearms laws should be the sole responsibility of Parliament.
    Establish a Common Sense Code for Firearms Possession – that would be enacted within legislation and include the following measures:- Streamline firearms classification using the Simplified Classification System – emphasis on barrel length, not gun appearance
    * Establish an “Elite” registration system permitting concealed carry for off-duty police officers, military, CBSA officers or other officials permitted to carry firearms during the line of duty
    * Create a class for restricted firearms (handguns) for forestry workers, prospectors in isolated areas as well as certain recreational users (e.g. bow hunters, fishermen)
    * Allow the use of sound suppressors in shooting ranges
    * Withdraw from the United Nations Firearms Marking System – significant financial penalties for Canadian firearms owners with no benefits
    Ramp-up Education – using the “Junior Achievement” model for introducing financial education for youth, work with school boards and local volunteers to offer a “firearm safety initiation/training” course for youth and general public.
    Increase Resources – double the current number of federal instructors qualified to offer firearms safety instruction courses thereby eliminating the current bottleneck faced by potential registrants who are unable to access courses in a timely manner.
    “My Five-Point Plan will bring common sense to gun legislation in Canada,” said Peterson, “and it provides support for the large and growing number of new gun enthusiasts, including the largest growth segment, which is women.”

    “As Leader of our Party, and then as Prime Minister, I’m looking forward to taking a leadership role in this very important file.”

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