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Canada banning importation of handguns in two weeks – CTV News




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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Taliban celebrate one year anniversary of taking over Afghanistan



Kabul, Afghanistan- The Taliban took to the streets on Monday to celebrate their one-year anniversary since they took over the country last year.

Just over a month after the official announcement that the United States (US) army would withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban took over the capital city, Kabul, on August 15, 2021.

The Afghan army’s swift collapse took the world by surprise, precipitating the fall of Kabul and sending tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and their families into exile.

However, Afghanistan is in the midst of a medical crisis that is worsening by the day, exacerbated by an economy in freefall, the freezing of the country’s assets, and the drying up of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid that flowed into the country for two decades, because the Taliban has taken control.

To make matters worse, the White House on Monday ruled out releasing US$3.5 billion in funds held in the US back to Afghanistan’s Central Bank anytime soon, citing that Al Qaeda’s leadership had taken refuge in the heart of Kabul apparently with the protection of the Taliban government.

“Right now, we are looking at mechanisms that could be put in place to see to it that these US$3.5 billion in preserved assets make their way efficiently and effectively to the people of Afghanistan in a way that doesn’t make them ripe for diversion to terrorist groups or elsewhere,” said Ned Price, the State Department’s spokesperson.

The issue of the frozen money remains one of the most sensitive questions a year after US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw the last American troops from Afghanistan, leading to the fall of the Western-backed government and the Taliban’s return to power. The White House has been acutely sensitive to the approach of the anniversary, anticipating that it would renew criticism of the chaotic American withdrawal and the restoration of a draconian regime of repression, especially targeting women and girls.

Meanwhile, Thomas West, the American government’s special representative for Afghanistan, said that American officials have engaged for months now with the Central Bank about how to shore up Afghanistan’s economy but have not secured persuasive guarantees that the money would not fall into terrorist hands.

“We do not have confidence that that institution has the safeguards and monitoring in place to manage assets responsibly, and needless to say, the Taliban’s sheltering of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri reinforces deep concerns we have regarding diversion of funds to terrorist groups,” said West.

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Aung San Suu Kyi Former Myanmar leader gets six more years added to her prison sentence



Naypyidaw, Myanmar- Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s former leader who was toppled in a military coup last year February, has had her prison sentence extended by six more years.

The latest verdict in the series of secretive trials against the Nobel laureate takes her total prison term to 17 years.

On Monday, she was found guilty of misusing funds from a charity and leasing government-owned land at discounted prices.

“The Myanmar military junta’s unjust conviction and sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is part of its methodical assault on human rights around the country. The military’s willingness to forcibly disappear the country’s high-profile civilian leader reveals the brutality that lesser-known political prisoners face,” said Elaine Pearson, acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Prior to Monday’s sentence, the Nobel laureate had already been sentenced to 11 years in prison for corruption, incitement against the military, breaching COVID-19 rules and breaking a telecommunications law.

The 77-year-old has since been hit with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets act, corruption and electoral fraud and faces decades in prison if convicted on all counts.

In June, Suu Kyi was transferred from house arrest to a prison in the capital Naypyidaw, where her trial continues in a Courthouse inside the prison compound.

Many of her political allies have also been arrested since the coup, with one Minister sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Life for Suu Kyi has now been restricted to a prison cell measuring about 200 square feet (18.5 square metres). Daytime temperatures can surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit, (37.7 degrees) but there is no air conditioning. When it rains, which is often, water splashes in through windows that have no coverings.

Allies bring her food as well as white-and-brown clothing so she doesn’t have to wear the louse-infested uniforms given to prisoners. Female staff come to her cell and taste her prison food to show her it isn’t poisoned.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, Suu Kyi is one of more than 15 000 people arrested for opposing military rule, and of these, 12 000 remain in detention.

Many have been tortured in interrogation centers and sentenced by military Courts after brief trials where defence attorneys and the public are barred. Convicted prisoners are often transferred to remote prisons, creating additional hardship for them and their families.

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Hip Hop Icon Maestro Fresh Wes Takes Scarborough Back To School!



“MAESTRO FRESH WES”            



                      SCARBOROUGH BACK TO SCHOOL

Toronto, On – Maestro Fresh Wes (Wes Williams) The Godfather of Canadian Hip Hop, is coming home. Thursday, August 25th inside Scarborough Town Centre (beside Maestro’s Star on the Walk Of Fame).  Maestro Fresh Wes will bring home a special inspirational event.  Giving back has always been a part of the iconic artist’s DNA, never forgetting where he came from.   Maestro hopes to encourage young students, parents, and educators to aim for an awesome upcoming school year.   The event is inspired by Maestro’s popular children’s book, “Stick To Your Vision: Young Maestro Goes To School” (co-written by Rhodora Meliton-Vanderpool, illustrations by Leon “Eklipz” Robinson ) 



“When sticking to your vision, it’s important to reach for the sky and by doing that, you will be shooting for the stars.”   

                                                                               Maestro Fresh Wes 



Maestro Fresh Wes has never forgotten his home city of Scarborough.  His journey is deep down personal. The light for this journey has been his own experiences and relationships. The presence of family structure, mentorship and inspirational elementary school teachers has stayed with the artist.  Maestro believes given the right support; kids can work through difficulties to greatness.  Maestro Fresh Wes will continue to lead by example, celebrate learning  and give back to the next generation and the community that has given him so much….  




Meet the iconic Hip Hop artist, actor & author and hear his inspirational stories, August 25th.   



**Maestro’s team will be on hand, handing out backpacks & notebooks with live music by DJ Mel Boogie.  Maestro will also sign copies of his book, for sale at event.   




**This special event is supported by:   Scarborough’s ROADSPORT AUTO GROUP and SCARBOROUGH SHOOTING STARS CEBL Basketball team. 


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Media Inquiries: 

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