I want to take this opportunity to respond to Mr. Pavick’s letter taking issue with my opposition to the Liberal government’s firearms regulations.
Mr. Pavick and I agree that there is a problem with violent crime that needs to be addressed and that more work needs to be done to ensure that Canadians are safe and secure in their homes and in their communities. Conservatives know that to achieve this goal governments must do the difficult work of targeting criminals and not highly vetted, licensed, law-abiding gun owners. Unfortunately, the Liberal government has demonstrated an unwillingness to take on this task.
The Trudeau government refuses to strengthen penalties for gang crimes to keep known gang members behind bars. In the last parliament they passed legislation that reduced some gang crimes to a punishment by fine.
Police have told us that 75 per cent of handguns are smuggled from the United States and are a major source of crimes on Canadian streets. Despite this, Conservatives are the only party calling for action to tackle the issue of illegal and smuggled firearms. The Liberal government’s plan to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally. The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Nothing the Trudeau Liberals have announced addresses this problem. This ban does not stop criminals from obtaining firearms illegally. Criminals do not register their firearms. This will only impact law-abiding firearms owners.
What I and my Conservative colleagues have been asking for is a plan that includes support for police anti-gang and gun units, youth crime prevention programs, action on rural crime, tougher sentences for violent offenders, support for courts and prosecutors, a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force, and increased access to mental health and addictions treatments.
During this pandemic, Conservatives have demonstrated how debate, discussion and opportunities to question the Prime Minister and ministers in the House of Commons can improve government policy. If Justin Trudeau wants to get this right and make a real difference in the security of Canadians, he should introduce legislation that can be debated in the House of Commons. While advocating for tougher measures against violent criminals, Canada’s Conservatives will continue to defend the rights of law- abiding gun owners.
Mark Strahl, MP