Home Government 44th Parliament of Canada Alistair MacGregor lauds pause on Bill C-21 gun list

Alistair MacGregor lauds pause on Bill C-21 gun list

Monday February 6, 2023 | NATIONAL [Updated 1:45 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Ottawa politics seems a long way away from Vancouver Island, but local MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) got some national airtime over the weekend for his comments on how the federal government handled Bill C-21 which was intended to restrict the use of handguns and assault weapons.

Somehow, in a last-minute list, several types of guns used by hunters, farmers and First Nations almost got banned.

alistair macgregor
Alistair MacGregor, MP (Ciowichan-Malahat-Langford) addressing the Houseof Commons, Feb 3, 2023. [CPAC]

C-21 was intended to end hand gun violence. The Assembly of First Nations said the Bill would work against their treaty rights, said MacGregor.

After what the NDP refer to as “intense pressure” from their MPs, on Friday the Liberals dropped the controversial amendments to Bill C-21 during a Parliamentary committee meeting. That was after months of vocal opposition from Canada’s NDP and Indigenous groups like the Assembly of First Nations.

“Bill C-21 was supposed to address rising handgun violence in major cities but, thanks to the Liberals’ misguided proposal, Canadians who depend on hunting rifles to sustain their livelihoods and cultures found themselves caught up in the government’s political games,” MacGregor was quoted in a news release.

In early December, the Assembly of First Nations voted against the bill saying that the Liberal amendment encroached on their treaty rights. After weeks of public and political pressure, the Liberal government is finally taking steps to fix their mistake.

Securing what the NDP call a victory for Indigenous peoples, hunters and farmers, MacGregor stated on Friday: “The Liberal government caused weeks of unnecessary stress for many Canadians. It’s about time the Liberals finally heard reason from the NDP and agreed to fix the mess they made. While the Conservatives were busy fundraising on this issue, New Democrats did the work to make sure hunters, farmers and Indigenous communities weren’t harmed by the government’s bungled bill.”

liberal minister, bill c21
Liberal MP Pam Damoff acknowledges the Liberals did not do “enough consultation”, Feb 3, 2023.

“People want to know that the tools they rely on to feed their families and maintain their livelihoods are not put in the same category as handguns used in violent crimes. New Democrats have always been supportive of getting handguns off our city streets—but the Liberal government introduced this amendment that unfairly impacted farmers, hunters and Indigenous people. We pushed back and were clear with the Liberals— we will not support measures that disrespect treaty rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples or make it more difficult for Canadian hunters and farmers to put food on their tables,” said MacGregor.

Liberals acknowledge insufficient consultation:

The Minister of Public Safety is Marco Mendicino, who told media in recent days that more consultation would be done.

On Friday in response to MacGregor’s statement about Bill-C21, Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety said about the Liberal government: “We are committed and promised we would take action on gun violence.”

marco mendicino
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he will do more consultation around Bill C-21.

She added that Bill C-21 “is an important bill to deal with gun violence but on those particular amendments I will acknowledge there was not enough consultation, there was not enough conversation with Indigenous peoples across the country.”

“And that’s why we’re committed to listen to the concerns and to making sure that the legislation is one that will protect public safety and keep Canadians safe,” said Damoff.

Conservatives take credit:

The Conservatives also took credit for pressuring the Liberal government in defeating Bill C-21.

conservatives, poilievre
Conservative MP Raquel Dancho with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre on Feb 3, 2023 speaking about defeating Bill C-21. [CPAC]

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre thanked Conservative MP Raquel Dancho for addressing media about “stopping the ban” and called it a “temporary but humiliating climb-down today” for the Liberals and the Prime Minister. Poilievre added that “the only way to stop” the gun ban is to elect a majority Conservative government. Poilievre said the Liberal amendment was ‘dropped out of nowhere’.

“We were the only party that stood consistently against this from the beginning,” said Poilievre to media.

randall garrison, ad, 2021


mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.

The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at Island Social Trends (2020 to present) is entirely online.