The heartbreaking news of the Texas school shooting has devastated families around the world.
To respond appropriately at the legislative level in Canada would be to put policy in place that cracks down on the illegal acquisition and use of guns, organized crime groups, and cross-border weapons trafficking. Tough on Crime legislation should also be central to the actions of a government wanting to look out for the safety and security of Canadians.
Sadly, the current government is going in a different direction.
The NDP-Liberal government is once again demonstrating that it is more interested in political theatre than making a meaningful difference for Canadians. This time, the costs will be extremely devastating.
We have seen many politicians try to exploit tragedies in order to push through their agendas. I would suggest this is exactly what is taking place here in Canada right now. The Prime Minister is pulling on the heartstrings of Canadians and promising a reduction in gun violence.
What the Prime Minister is failing to communicate is that the measures he is taking will have the exact the opposite effect.
The NDP-Liberals have introduced two separate pieces of legislation, one that will let those who break the law off the hook, and another that will penalize those who abide by the law.
It’s as if they want to incentivise lawlessness.
Bill C-5, introduced as Bill C-22 in the last Parliament, would amend the Criminal Code to take away mandatory jail time for violent gun crime and allow those criminals to serve under house arrest in our communities. This would make our neighborhoods less safe and more at risk of future gun violence.
This is about politics, not gun safety, and it is at the expense of everyday Canadians who are being victimized in their own communities by rising gun violence committed by gangs and dangerous criminals.
Here are some of the offences the Liberals do not believe warrant mandatory prison time: weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm with intent, robbery with a firearm, and extortion with a firearm. This is both alarming and absurd.
This soft on crime approach is not only dangerous, but also a departure from reason. Letting serious criminal offenders serve time out in the communities they may have victimized is cruel and unusual punishment for victims. I cannot even imagine telling a victim of one of these crimes that their victimizer is being let back into the community to serve their time on house arrest.
Why is this government putting the desires of criminals above the well-being of victims and safety of our communities?
Conservatives have always stood for common sense gun safety and strong consequences for those who commit gun offenses. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. If we value human life, the principles of law and justice, and safety in this country, then we should work to strengthen the structures that uphold those principles, not tear them down under the guise of “compassion.”
It is obvious to anyone watching that the NDP-Liberals are not serious about stopping dangerous criminals from getting their hands on illegal guns and they are not serious about making our streets safer.
Since the Liberals were elected in 2015, gun crime has gone up steadily each year, despite their arbitrary bans and their complicated and expensive buy-back program. The facts do not lie. The soft-on-crime strategy does not help, nor does going after law-abiding firearm owners, and yet, the NDP-Liberals are doubling down on these failed strategies and hoping Canadians aren’t looking at the stats.
For years, my Conservative colleagues and I have been calling on the government to address gun smuggling and improve the ability of border agents to prevent the flow of illegal guns into Canada. We need to give border control agents targeted resources or a directed taskforce to detect smuggling.
Additionally, they have tabled Bill C-21 which proposes a national freeze on the importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring of handguns. Instead of taking measures that would actually reduce gun violence in Canada, the NDP-Liberals are targeting our highly-vetted firearms owners who follow the law.
The reality is that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Measures like freezing the legal purchase of firearms does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally.
If the NDP-Liberals were genuine in their desire to reduce gun crime in Canada and make our communities safer, they would focus resources on cutting off the illegal cross-border supply and they would keep violent criminals where they belong: behind bars.
This type of political theatre and virtue signaling is reckless, short-sighted, and out of step with a free and democratic society. It’s damaging for all. Canadians deserve much better.