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Canada banning importation of handguns in two weeks – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

The Canadian government is moving to ban the importation of restricted handguns, effective Aug. 19.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced Friday that the federal government has decided to push ahead with the importation ban without the approval of Parliament, moving to make the policy change through regulatory restrictions.

The measure will prevent “nearly all” individuals and businesses from importing handguns into Canada, the government says.

Joly and Mendicino said Friday the coming regulations will effectively speed up aspects of the planned freeze. The move is temporary though, with plans for it to remain in effect only until the previously-promised permanent importation ban is passed in Ottawa.

“This ban is a stopgap while the handgun freeze in its entirety moves through the parliamentary process, preventing shelves from being restocked in the immediate term,” Joly said.

While the details of the coming regulatory restrictions have yet to be released, Joly said she will be enacting her authority as the foreign affairs minister, which allows her to deny any export or import permit application, citing security concerns.

“Working with Marco, we came up with this idea of creating this new system of requiring permits, but meanwhile, we will deny any permits from any commercial entity or people wanting to bring handguns to Canada,” Joly said. “So this is how creatively we’ve worked, and that’s why we’re talking today about an import ban.”

In late May, the Liberals tabled Bill C-21, legislation which if passed would further restrict legal access to handguns in Canada. The bill includes a specific section that stops short of a complete ban, opting instead for a national “freeze” on the sale, purchase or transfer of handguns in Canada that allows current legal owners to keep theirs.

Bill C-21 also seeks to create systems to flag individuals who may pose a risk to themselves or others, and increase the maximum penalties for firearm-related offences such as firearm smuggling and trafficking.

The incoming regulations announced Friday will include “narrow exceptions that mirror those in Bill C-21,” the government said.

Joly said that the Liberals have decided to do this because when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Bill C-21, there was an “uptick” in guns being purchased in Canada, and handguns in particular.

“We want to prevent that. That is why we’re announcing this import ban… We know that the vast majority of handguns in the country are imported, as there’s no handgun producer in the country,” Joly said.

The legislation is still in the early stages of moving through Parliament, with MPs set to initiate a committee study of the bill when the fall House of Commons sitting begins in late September.

On Friday, Mendicino reiterated his desire to see the legislation pass “as quickly as possible.”

“I’m continuing to call on all MPs to read the bill, to study the bill and to put it into law as quickly as possible. We’ve made some good headway… Unfortunately, it’s the Conservatives who continue to obstruct the passage of this bill,” the minister said.

The Conservatives have routinely denied claims of stalling government bills, accusing the minority Liberal government of being inept managers of the legislative agenda.

In a statement reacting to the news, Conservative MP and public safety critic Raquel Dancho accused the government of “attacking business owners and law-abiding citizens.”

“Instead of addressing the true source of gun crime in Canada, the Liberal government is unilaterally banning imports without parliamentary input, impacting a multi-billion dollar industry and thousands of retailers and small businesses, with very little notice,” Dancho said. “Today’s announcement will do nothing to stop the flow of illegal handguns.”

The Bloc Quebecois said Friday they welcome the decision, but lamented that action wasn’t taken immediately after Bill C-21 was announced to stem the flow of handguns into the country.

In a statement, Bloc MP and justice critic Rheal Fortin said more work needs to be done to combat gun crime, including tackling the number of handguns already in circulation in Canada through a handgun buyback program.

The Liberals are in the midst of implementing a gun buyback program, but it’s focused on as list of 1,500 various makes and models of what the government considers “assault-style” firearms.

According to the government, law enforcement agencies seized more than double the number of firearms at the border in 2021, compared to 2020.

The ministers suggested that from the moment the import restrictions come into effect, the number of handguns in Canada will only decrease, something gun control advocates are celebrating.

“A ban on imports will not end the purchase of handguns in Canada. However, this is a significant and creative measure that will unquestionably slow the expansion of the Canadian handgun market until Bill C-21 is adopted, hopefully this fall,” said Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique shooting in Montreal, in a statement.

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee

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Adventure-seeking B.C. couple were victims found on Nova Scotia island: relative

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HALIFAX – The British Columbia couple whose remains recently washed ashore on Nova Scotia’s remote Sable Island have been identified as 70-year-old James Brett Clibbery and his 54-year-old wife, Sarah Packwood.

Clibbery’s sister, Lynda Spielman, said today the RCMP have confirmed their identities.

Spielman, a Calgary resident, says she’s heard many theories about what happened to the adventurous couple after June 11 when they left Halifax harbour in a 13-metre sailboat en route to the Azores — a 3,200-kilometre journey.

Spielman declined to speculate on what went wrong, and the Mounties have said they are still investigating.

On Monday, the RCMP confirmed they had identified Clibbery’s body with the help of the province’s medical examiner’s office, but they declined to release his name, citing privacy legislation.

The Mounties previously confirmed the couple’s sailboat, Theros, was reported missing on June 18, and it wasn’t until July 10 that their bodies were found in a three-metre inflatable boat on Sable Island, about 280 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

Clibbery and Packwood, who lived on B.C.’s Salt Spring Island, described themselves as adventure travellers and posted details of their voyages on a YouTube channel called Theros Adventures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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LCBO stores reopen across Ontario after two-week strike by workers

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TORONTO – Hundreds of Ontario’s liquor stores reopened Tuesday following a strike that lasted more than two weeks, but the fighting between the union representing workers and the government dragged on.

About 10,000 Liquor Control Board of Ontario workers had returned Monday to prepare for the opening of nearly 700 stores after they walked off the job on July 5.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents LCBO workers, had said the labour dispute was largely about Premier Doug Ford’s plan to allow convenience and grocery stores to sell ready-to-drink cocktails. The expanded sales, it said, was an existential threat to the workers’ future.

The sniping continued Tuesday as the union took umbrage with Ford’s comments from Monday, when he said the strike should never have happened.

The union said it made “significant gains” as a direct result of the strike.

“LCBO workers are proud of what they achieved in this contract, which wouldn’t have been possible without the strike,” said Colleen MacLeod, chair of the union’s LCBO bargaining unit. “They’re also happy to get back to work serving their communities again.”

The three-year deal, which the LCBO workers ratified over the weekend, sees an eight per cent wage increase over three years, the conversion of about 1,000 casual employees to permanent part-time positions and no store closures over the course of the agreement.

The union said converting those casual positions into 1,000 permanent part-time jobs and the guarantee of no closures for the duration of the contract was not on the table before the strike.

As part of the reopening, the LCBO said there will no longer be limits placed on online orders, but those orders could take up to three weeks for delivery.

Outside one LCBO in Toronto’s west end, Jay Brafman lambasted both sides for the strike.

“I think (the union) basically held hostage Ontarians and that’s not the right way to get more out of your job,” he said.

Brafman, a fan of the government’s plan to expand alcohol sales into convenience stores, also criticized Ford.

“If he really wanted to show some courage, he would have liquidated the LCBO,” he said.

Brafman, a vodka drinker, was put out during the strike as the LCBO is the main seller of spirits across the province.

“It cost me a ton of money having to go out to bars if I wanted to drink,” he said, adding that he’s happy the stores are open again.

Ford’s previous plan was to get beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails in convenience stores and all grocery stores by 2026, completing a 2018 election campaign promise. But in May he announced that would instead happen this year, capping speculation of an early election that Ford did not outright deny.

Convenience stores will be allowed to sell beer, wine and coolers starting Sept. 5 while newly licensed grocery stores can do so starting Oct. 31.

An “early implementation agreement” with The Beer Store involves the province paying the company up to $225 million to help it keep stores open and workers employed. The province is also giving brewers a rebate on an LCBO fee that normally brings in $45 million a year, and it is giving retailers a 10 per cent wholesale discount.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Latest facts about British Columbia’s wildfire situation on July 23

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These are the facts about British Columbia’s wildfire situation, according to the BC Wildfire Service dashboard at 11.30 a.m. Tuesday.

Active fires: 380

Wildfires of note: Four. Shetland Creek fire, Kamloops Fire Centre; Antler Creek fire, Cariboo Fire Centre; Aylwin Creek fire, Southeast Fire Centre; Komonko Creek fire, Southeast Fire Centre.

Fires started in last 24 hours: 78

Out-of-control fires: 228

Active fire causes: Lightning 81 per cent, human 7 per cent, undetermined 12 per cent (percentages are rounded)

Firefighting staff deployed: 1,041

Aircraft deployed: 183

Area burned since April 1: 7,534 square kilometres (recalculated by BC Wildfire Service)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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