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Garry Breitkreuz’s Bill C-301

Canadian Conservatives need to understand: bold action and not gradual change is required to recover our freedoms.

Pierre Lemieux - February 17, 2009

Perhaps Mr. Breikreuz would argue that his bill is at least a small step in the right direction, and that it is through such repeated steps that the construction of the Police State can be slowly unravelled. This is arithmetically impossible, though. Big, bold liberticidal steps, as have been taken three times with three major gun control laws over the last third of a century, can’t be undone by one small reform every decade.

Or perhaps Mr. Breitkreuz has succeeded in bringing Stephen Harper on the side of our traditional liberties? This would indeed be a major feat. But listen to Harper who, in Miramichi (New Brunswick), headquarters of the despicable national firearms bureaucracy, he sided with the bureaucrats and declared, two days before Bill C-301 was tabled: “The firearms centre here does more than just the long-gun registry, there are other aspects of gun control that this government has every intention of maintaining.” (Times and Transcript, February 7, 2009, p. A1). Harper must be lying to somebody.

C-301 calls for the Auditor General “to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on each existing firearms control measure every five years to determine its effectiveness at improving public safety, reducing violent crime and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals”. What could have been an interesting idea is muddled again by party slogans. Cost-benefit analysis is an economic methodology that has much wider scope than the goals described here. So what the requirement means in practice is that the Auditor General would evaluate whether gun controls achieve what the state means by “public safety”. We know the answer in advance, which would be something like: “Yes, of course, but enforcement efficiency can be improved.”

Instead of a 13-page piece of legalese, a realistic effort to restore our traditional liberties would fit in a one-sentence bill: “The Firearms Act (1995, c. 39), including its related and consequential amendments to the Criminal Code and other acts, is repealed.” Such a bill would have no more and (perhaps) no fewer chances of being adopted, but it would raise the right questions.

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Pierre Lemieux is a professor, an economist, author of numerous books and articles, and editor-in-chief of libertyincanada.com, an online pro-liberty news source sponsored by the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Pierre's weekly columns are also published at Liberty in Canada

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