Archive for April, 2010

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The Government of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, and the Chief of the Calgary Police Services have come out against the long-gun registry and in support of Bill C-391.

The news release from the Saskatchewan Minister of Justice:

News Release – April 26, 2010
GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS BILL C-391 TO END THE LONG-GUN REGISTRY

Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan today released a letter in support of Bill C-391, which would end the long-gun registry.

The private member’s bill, sponsored by Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner, is due to be considered by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in the near future.

“Saskatchewan people have consistently opposed the long-gun registry, seeing it as a massive waste of taxpayers’ money that has yet to solve a single crime,” Morgan wrote, on behalf of the provincial government. He noted that Saskatchewan is investing in programs to combat gang activities, assist victims of crime and put more police officers on the street.

“It is our view that this approach is a far more effective way of building safer communities for our citizens.”

Bill C-391 has passed Second Reading in the House of Commons. The standing committee hearings are the last stage of review before the Bill is considered for Third Reading in the House of Commons.

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For more information, contact:

Desirae Bernreuther
Justice
Regina
Phone: 306-787-2626
Email: desirae.bernreuther@gov.sk.ca

To send a thank you message to Justice Minister Don Morgan, you can email him at: minister.ju@gov.sk.ca

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And from the Calgary Police Chief:

Gun registry not working: Police Chief Rick Hanson

“The gun registry has done little to make the streets safer,” said Police Chief Rick Hanson.

“For the years it’s been in effect, there are more guns on the street today – handguns and prohibited weapons – than I can ever recall, and that’s since the gun registry has been implemented,” added Chief Hanson.

Chief Hanson says the gun registry does nothing to reduce the level of violent crime and the use of guns by criminals on the street. He says it’s not about politics, it’s about safety.

To contact the Chief and let him know he’s on the side of the right, email him at: cps@calgarypolice.ca

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Watch Sgt. Evan Bray, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers,  on CTV’s “Power Play”:

Power Play : April 23 : Sgt. Evan Bray, Regina Police Dept.

The president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers says although the long gun registry is being used in police investigations, it is not helping police officers when facing dangerous situations

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Politicians are forgetting rural women

– Outcry and national poll suggests Canadians and women in particular support gun registry –

I’m not an expert on statistics, so I’m not even going to foray into the meanings of the numbers of this “poll”. Instead, I’m going to focus on the methodology and the content of the issue.

Here’s some info from the CFGC’s website:

Leger and Leger Omnibus Web Poll, 1,506 respondents between December 21 and 23, 2009

I’m not sure how they work this – how do they go about recruiting the respondents to this “Omnibus Web Poll”? How difficult would it be to stack this kind of poll with supporters? Of course, this doesn’t allow for responses from people who don’t have access to the web, or don’t know about the availability of this poll, who might want to be included.

From the Leger website:

Leger Marketing conducts its weekly national,
provincial and local Omnibus surveys on the
internet.

So it would appear that this kind of “Omnibus survey” is conducted on a weekly basis. I assume that the questions are solicited from a number of sources, to take advantage of the “economies of scale” to give their customers the best rate possible.

Speaking of rates, Leger has different rates depending on what kind of questions are asked:

Closed questions
Semi-opened questions
Open-ended questions

How are they different, and which categories do Wendy’s questions fall under?

On to the questions themselves:

Question 1: In 1995 Canada passed a law increasing the controls on firearms. This law requires that gun owners have a license to possess firearms and that each firearm that they own must be registered to them, prohibits certain handguns and military weapons, requires owners to pass a safety test and a safety check, and requires firearms to be stored unloaded in a secure place.

In general, do you support or oppose this law? Would that be strongly or somewhat?

OK, that’s a bit of a long winded introduction.  It only partly deals with “registration”, and asks “In general” – why not ask specific questions?  Why try to obfuscate and confuse the issue?  How many Canadians are even remotely informed on the matter of the Firearms Act?

Here’s the second question:

Question 2- Recently, new legislation was introduced to eliminate the need to register rifles and shotguns. While licenses to own are renewed periodically, registration is a onetime only procedure that occurs when a gun is purchased. A lot of money was spent setting up the system, but the current cost of registering rifles and shotguns is three million dollars a year. Some people say that registration ensures gun owners are accountable for their firearms and that the registry is an important tool used daily.

The concept of registering guns is useful and should be maintained; or
The concept of registering guns is useless and should be eliminated

Now, if that isn’t a leading question, I don’t know what is!  “Some people say” – that would be Wendy and her cohorts in the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.  Some people say it’s a waste of time and money, too – why didn’t they say that as well?

And again, they ask a general question about “the concept” of registering guns – not a specific question about the Long-gun Registry.

Also, each respondent was asked:

Do you, or does someone in our household, own a firearm of any kind?
26% said Yes.

This is about the only number that really seems to jibe: 26% of Canadian households own firearms.  That has been pretty consistent over the years.

And, last but not least, who payed for this poll, and where did *that* money come from?

As always, you have to use some critical thinking in order to decrypt the actual meaning behind such bloviation from the anti-gun extremists.

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Iggy may think he’s taking a stand against rebellious MPs, by offering up this “compromise”, but his plan doesn’t include anything new that can’t be or isn’t being done now,

Here’s a quote from Iggy from the LPC webpage:

Quote:
“It would be wrong to ignore the frustration and legitimate criticisms that we have heard about the gun registry, particularly from rural Canada,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “That’s why, today, we’re announcing what a Liberal government would do to make the gun registry more effective, and to respond to these concerns.”

Mr. Ignatieff announced that a Liberal government would implement the following improvements to the long-gun registry:

[1] First-time failures to register firearms would be treated as a simple, non-criminal, ticketing offence, instead of a criminal offence as they are currently;

[2] Fees for new licenses, renewals and upgrades would be permanently eliminated; and

[3] The registration process – especially the forms – would be streamlined to make registration as easy as possible.

[1] Already provided for under FA ss 112 and 115, below.

[2] No Parliament can “permanently eliminate” fees; one Parliament cannot tie the hands of a subsequent Parliament. This is contrary to the theory of the “Supremacy of Parliament”. What one Parliament can do, another Parliament can undo.

[3] When do you ever have to fill out forms for registration? When you buy a new gun from the dealer? Most “registrations” are as a result of a transfer, which is done by phone, isn’t it?

From wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summary_conviction

Quote:
Canada

In Canada summary offences are referred to as summary conviction offences. As in other jurisdictions summary conviction offences are considered less serious than indictable offences because they are punishable by shorter prison sentences and smaller fines. These offences appear both in the federal laws of Canada and in the legislation of Canada’s provinces and territories. For summary conviction offences that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government (which includes all criminal law), section 787 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifies that, unless another punishment is provided for by law, the maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence is a sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $5000 or both. Section 786 of the Code has a statute that prohibits persons from being tried for a summary conviction offence more than 6 months after the offence was committed unless both the prosecutor and defendant agree otherwise.

As a matter of practical effect, some common differences between summary conviction and indictable offences are provided below.

Summary conviction offences

* Accused must be charged with a Summary Conviction within 6 months after the act happened. Note that the Statute of Limitations does not apply to the Criminal Code. Limitation periods are set out in the Criminal Code directly.
* The police can arrest under Summary Conviction without an arrest warrant.
* Police need to have seen the accused commit the offence before they can charge under Summary Conviction.
* Accused does not have to submit fingerprints when charged under Summary Conviction.
* Appeals of Summary Conviction Offences go first to the highest trial court within the jurisdiction (e.g. Provincial Superior Court in Alberta is the Court of Queen’s Bench).
* After Prov. Superior Court a further appeal would go to the Provincial Court of Appeal (e.g. the Court of Appeal of Alberta), and then finally to the Supreme Court of Canada, but as a practical matter very few Summary Convictions are ever heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
* Accused convicted under Summary Conviction are eligible for an automatic pardon after 3 years provided the accused is not convicted of any further offences during that period.
* Almost always heard first in a provincial court (although some exceptions apply, such as a summary conviction offence included for trial with an indictable offence).

Indictable offences

* There is no time limit to when charges can be laid, e.g. an accused can be charged 20 years after an act has occurred. The exception to this point is treason, which has a 3-year limitation period.
* Police require a warrant to arrest under an Indictable Offence (warrants are required to be signed by judge).
* Police only need to have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the accused has committed the offence (as opposed to having directly witnessed the act as in a Summary Conviction offence).
* Accused does have to submit fingerprints when required to appear to answer to an indictable offence.
* Appeals always go to the Provincial Court of Appeal first, and then on to the Supreme Court of Canada.
* Accused convicted under an Indictable Offence can apply for pardon after 5 years.

This is important because the Firearms Act incorporates “summary conviction” in s 112:

Quote:
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/F-11.6…tml#codese:112

Failure to register certain firearms
112. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), every person commits an offence who, not having previously committed an offence under this subsection or subsection 91(1) or 92(1) of the Criminal Code, possesses a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm without being the holder of a registration certificate for the firearm.

Exceptions

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to
(a) a person who possesses a firearm while the person is under the direct and immediate supervision of a person who may lawfully possess it, for the purpose of using it in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it;
(b) a person who comes into possession of a firearm by operation of law and who, within a reasonable period after acquiring possession of it, lawfully disposes of it or obtains a registration certificate for it; or
(c) a person who possesses a firearm and who is not the holder of a registration certificate for the firearm if the person

(i) has borrowed the firearm,

(ii) is the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it, and

(iii) is in possession of the firearm to hunt or trap in order to sustain himself or herself or his or her family.

Transitional

(3) Every person who, at any particular time between the commencement day and the later of January 1, 1998 and such other date as is prescribed, possesses a firearm that, as of that particular time, is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm is deemed for the purposes of subsection (1) to be, until January 1, 2003 or such other earlier date as is prescribed, the holder of a registration certificate for the firearm.

Onus on the defendant

(4) Where, in any proceedings for an offence under this section, any question arises as to whether a person is the holder of a registration certificate, the onus is on the defendant to prove that the person is the holder of the registration certificate.

and

Punishment

115. Every person who commits an offence under section 112, 113 or 114 is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

This means that when Iggy talks about his “compromises”, he essentially doing nothing that isn’t already in effect now…and can’t be done better by the Conservatives.