OTTAWA — Advocates who led the push to ban an array of assault-style firearms are telling federal lawmakers that government regulations prohibiting these guns are being circumvented by Canadian manufacturers.
In a letter sent this week, gun-control group PolySeSouvient urges MPs to support amending the definition of prohibited firearm in the Criminal Code to include all current and future guns that fall into the category.
The Liberal government banned some 1,500 models and variants of firearms, including the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14, through an order-in-council in May 2020 on the grounds they have no place in hunting or sport shooting.
A planned buyback program would require owners to either sell these firearms to the government or have them rendered inoperable at federal expense.
PolySeSouvient says that without a clear Criminal Code definition of assault-style firearms, Canada will be stuck with the kind of failed approach that led to the proliferation of tens of thousands of such guns in private hands following bans in the 1990s.
The group includes students and graduates of Montreal’s Ecole polytechnique, where a gunman killed 14 women in 1989.
The letter is signed by group spokesperson Nathalie Provost, who was shot during the rampage, Suzanne Laplante-Edward, whose daughter was killed, and Heidi Rathjen, a graduate of the school and co-ordinator of PolySeSouvient.
It says that earlier this year the RCMP granted a non-restricted classification to the Lockhart Tactical Raven 9, a semi-automatic carbine manufactured in Canada. Other recently introduced semi-automatics unaffected by the ban include the Sterling Arms R18 Mk.2, the Crusader 9 and the RS-Q2 Osprey.
As non-restricted guns, they are also not registered outside of Quebec, and are subject to less stringent storage requirements, PolySeSouvient notes.
In 2020 the government said the models and variants being banned had semi-automatic action with sustained rapid-fire capability, and were “present in large volumes in the Canadian market.”
PolySeSouvient wonders whether the fact newly introduced models aren’t present in large numbers, at least initially, explains why they are allowed.
The RCMP had no immediate comment on why the firearms flagged in the letter fall outside the federal ban.
The Liberals have previously floated the idea of legislation that would create an evergreen framework for classification of firearms to ensure federal intentions on banned guns are respected.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to hear of a similar measure being considered by the current government,” PolySeSouvient’s letter says.
“We are therefore calling on members of Parliament to support amending the definition of ‘prohibited firearm’ in the Criminal Code to include all current and future assault-style weapons.”
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in March he would soon bring in “very proactive” gun legislation following the expiration of an earlier effort, known as Bill C-21, at last summer’s general election call.
A bill is expected this spring, though some key elements have not been finalized.
Asked about apparent circumventions of the assault-style firearms ban, Mendicino said after a cabinet meeting Thursday that consultations were ongoing.
“With regards to how we can further strengthen restrictions around deadly firearms like AR-15s, we continue to engage with communities, we continue to engage with a variety of partners in this space.”
In addition to the mandatory buyback of banned guns, the Liberals have promised a crackdown on high-capacity firearm magazines, new efforts to combat gun smuggling, and support to any province or territory that wants to ban handguns.
While PolySeSouvient applauds a Liberal promise to ban modifiable magazines, it says this will not be enough to ensure magazines are limited to five rounds for rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.
As a result, the new letter to MPs urges the elimination of all exemptions and loopholes that undercut the these limits. “Ideally, the limit would be five for all firearms. The law should also require a gun licence to purchase magazines, just as it does for ammunition.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2022.
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
India tells Canada to remove 41 of its 62 diplomats: official
Canada needs diplomats in India to help navigate the “extremely challenging” tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in response to demands that Ottawa repatriate dozens of its envoys.
India reportedly wants 41 of 62 Canadian diplomats out of the country by early next week — a striking, if largely anticipated, deepening of the rift that erupted last month following Trudeau’s explosive allegations in the House of Commons.
The prime minister bluntly spoke of “credible” intelligence linking the Indian government to the shooting death in June of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader India has long assailed as a terrorist.
The demand, first reported by the Financial Times, comes less than two weeks after the Indian government first called on Canada to establish “parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence.”
Canada has a much larger diplomatic corps in India, owing in part to the fact it’s a country of 1.4 billion people, compared to 40 million in Canada — about 1.3 million of whom are of Indian origin.
Trudeau would not confirm the reports Tuesday, nor did he sound inclined to acquiesce to India’s request.
“Obviously, we’re going through an extremely challenging time with India right now,” Trudeau said on his way to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to have diplomats on the ground, working with the Indian government, there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”
Canada, he continued, is “taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said largely the same thing.
“In moments of tension, because indeed there are tensions between both our governments, more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground,” Joly said.
“That’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India. That being said, we are in ongoing conversations with the Indian government.”
During Tuesday’s daily briefing at the State Department, deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel was at pains to avoid exacerbating tensions any further.
“We are — and continue to be — deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau and we remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Patel said, a message the U.S. has had on repeat for weeks.
“It’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice. We also have … publicly and privately urged the Indian government to co-operate in the Canadian investigation and co-operate in those efforts.”
Patel also demurred on the potential impact of an escalating tit-for-tat exchange of diplomatic staff on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, a key element of U.S. efforts to mitigate China’s growing geopolitical influence.
“I certainly don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” he said. “As it relates to our Indo-Pacific strategy and the focus that we continue to place on the region, that effort and that line of work is going to continue.”
David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, has already confirmed that the allegations were buttressed in part on intelligence gathered by a key ally from the Five Eyes security alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, along with Canada.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, confirmed last week that the subject came up in his meetings in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser.
Trudeau’s allegation “was not consistent with our policy,” Jaishankar told a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Hudson Institute.
“If his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time.”
Jaishankar went on to note that the issue of Sikh separatists living in Canada had long been “an issue of great friction,” notably after the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182, the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.
“In the last few years, it has come back very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremists, people who openly advocate violence,” Jaishankar said.
“They have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.
With files from Mickey Djuric in Ottawa.
In the news today: Regimental funeral today for B.C. Mountie, NDP victory in Manitoba – National Post
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All Flesh Redux
Director’s Notes, Stacey Christodoulou
MONTREAL October, 2023 – Combining polyphonic singing, dance, and theatre, All Flesh REDUX is a poetic journey through time and space. Part sing-a-long, Dadaist performance piece as well as a love letter to our planet, the work enfolds the public in an intimate theatre-in-the-round setting where humour, music, storytelling and movement reign. Bringing together the worlds of medieval composers Guillaume de Machaut, Hildegard von Bingen and modern composer John Cage, the company’s creation contemplates the unknowable past and the unimaginable future, and asks what acts of faith are possible in an uncertain world. October 13-22, seating is limited.
Director Stacey Christodoulou: “We could never imagine that the themes we spoke about in 2019 would become reality. In a certain way the show was prophetic. However, I believe that the message of creating beauty as a form of resistance is even more important now. The weaving of medieval song, contemporary dance and text continues our company’s interdisciplinary approach and reminds us that throughout history people have responded to turmoil with innovation and art.”
With: ENSEMBLE ALKEMIA (Jean-François Daignault, Dorothéa Ventura and Leah Weitzner), Stéphanie Fromentin, Erin Lindsay, Vanessa Schmit-Craan, Lael Stellick
Musical direction by Jean-François Daignault; scenograpy by Amy Keith; sound by Debbie Doe; costumes by Cathia Pagotto; lighting by David Perreault Ninacs and technical stage coordination by Birdie Gregor.
All Flesh REDUX
Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire
4750, avenue Henri-Julien
Dates: Friday, Oct., 13, Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8pm; Sunday Oct. 14 at 3pm
Wednesday, October 18-Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8pm; Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3pm
Tickets/514 873-4032: $20, Students/Seniors: $15
Seating is limited
About THE OTHER THEATRE
Formed in 1991 by Artistic Director Stacey Christodoulou, The Other Theatre is devoted to contemporary creation. Working bilingually, their award-wining work has included adaptations, installations, theatre texts, and collectively written material performed in numerous venues in Montreal and abroad, including theatres, galleries, as well as a moving elevator.
Drawing inspiration from art forms other than theatre – dance, cinema, science, architecture, and the visual arts – the company presents evocative performances, grounded by thought-provoking texts. From a creole Macbeth, to sci-fi with polyphonic singing, to the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, their original creations are thrilling and visually striking. They have also presented the work of International and Canadian writers, giving them their French-language premieres in Quebec. Exploring the large existential issues of the time, The Other Theatre aims to move audiences to greater emotional connection and reflection, bridging communities and languages to create a hybrid theatre that is reflective of the cultural richness of Montreal. They value and foster artistic exchange, both locally and internationally and share their artistic process in Canada, the US, Europe and Mexico, through mentorships, workshops and cultural mediation in local communities and schools.
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