(Ottawa) Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Alexandre Boulerice, believes it is “extremely unfortunate” that PolySeSouvient feels betrayed by his party and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals due to a ban assault weapons deemed too weak.
The militant group for tougher gun control calls the new amendments to Bill C-21 crafted by the Liberals in conjunction with the New Democrats and Bloc Québécois tantamount to a “complete rollback.”
These amendments include a definition of prohibited assault weapons with the goal of enshrining it in the Criminal Code through the passage of C-21. This aims to eliminate loopholes in the 2020 decree which has already banned around 2000 models and variants, but PolySeSouvient regrets that the definition will not apply to other weapons that are already on the market.
According to the organization, the Liberals have diluted the effect of their definition to please the NDP and some members of their own caucus who are reluctant to see greater gun control.
“I find it extremely unfortunate that they have that impression,” reacted Mr. Boulerice on Tuesday, in a press scrum, when he was questioned about these criticisms.
According to him, the NDP is rather at the origin of important advances. “Instead of relying on a list that would become obsolete very quickly, we have a definition that will be used to ensure that we will dry up the problem at the source, that is to say that dangerous weapons, assault rifles, will not come to market,” he argued.
He compared the approach to the fact that pharmaceutical companies have no choice but to hold Health Canada approval to be able to distribute new drugs in the country. “For the future, the onus is put on the [weapons] manufacturer and not the consumer. And that, I think, is an approach that is welcomed by many,” said Mr. Boulerice. According to him, the Canadian Coalition for Gun Control is one of them.
As for the weapons that are already on the market, the deputy leader of the NDP pleaded that the return of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Firearms will make it possible to attack them. “There is already a list of 2000 [assault weapons] that are prohibited [by decree]. This list remains [and the] oversight committee that will be set up will update this list,” he said.
The Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, holds much the same speech. He also insists that he is committed to making regulatory changes to ban models that have high-capacity magazines.
“[It is] the essential ingredient to turn a firearm into a [tool of] mass killing,” he argued Monday when announcing the new recommended roadmap.
Last winter, the Trudeau government introduced a previous version of amendments to C-21 aimed at adding a definition to the ban on assault weapons. This one, which included an imposing list spanning hundreds of pages, had generated confusion and concern. Hunters and members of indigenous communities feared that weapons used for hunting were targeted and the Liberals finally withdrew their amendments in the face of an outcry.