Last week news surfaced that Erin O’Toole and the Conservative Party rented “a spacious ballroom at a swank downtown Ottawa hotel for the next several months to serve as a broadcast studio for their campaign.”[i]
Since we’re now in ‘perpetual election readiness mode’ we decided now was a great time to make you aware of the firearm policies of every major federal party, where possible, or their latest election platform document where a current policy is not available.
We hope you find this information useful as you begin pondering who to vote for in the upcoming federal election.
See the BQ’s 2019 election platform HERE
The Bloc Québécois’ 2019 election platform did not list a specific policy on firearms or gun control. They support a mandatory Firearm Confiscation Compensation Program for firearms they don’t like[ii] and support universal registration of firearms. The Bloc Québécois also supports psychological testing for firearm owners.[iii]
Christian Heritage Party
See the CHP’s 2019 election platform HERE
The Christian Heritage Party’s 2019 Policy on firearms is:
- When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns
- Violent crime is the problem, not firearms
- The CHP supports the right of peaceful, law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms for hunting, sport and self-defence
Conservative Party of Canada
See the CPC’s 2021 policy declaration HERE
Policy 114. Firearms
A Conservative Government is committed to cost-effective gun control programs designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.
Measures will include: mandatory minimum sentences for the criminal use of firearms; strict monitoring of high-risk individuals; increased enforcement and prosecution of smuggling; safe storage provisions; firearms safety training; a certification screening system for all those wishing to acquire firearms legally; and putting more law enforcement officers on our streets.
We recognize the legitimacy of private ownership of firearms and will resist any domestic or international pressure to the contrary.
A Conservative Government will not deprive Canadian Citizens of legally owned firearms.
A Conservative Government recognizes that civilian firearms ownership is a Canadian Heritage.
A Conservative Government would streamline Firearms classification by adopting the Simplified Classification System.
A Conservative government would order a review of firearms related laws to identify parts 43 of those Acts that have no public safety value.
Green Party of Canada
See the GPC’s 2019 election platform HERE
The Green Party’s 2019 Election Platform states the Green Party will:
- Ensure illegal handguns are intercepted and kept out of our cities.
- Redirect Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) resources to weapons smuggling and reduce pursuit of people living in Canada without proper residency, but who are otherwise law-abiding.
- Launch a confidential buyback program for handguns and assault weapons.
Liberal Party of Canada
See the LPC’s platform HERE
We will ban assault rifles and crack down on gun crime.
Gun crime is on the rise, and too often people are killed or injured because criminals have used military-style assault rifles. These guns are designed to inflict mass casualties and have no place in Canada. Canadians are tired of excuses and know that “thoughts and prayers” don’t make our communities any safer.
Unlike Conservatives, who want to weaken Canada’s gun laws, we will make gun laws stronger. We will move forward with a ban on all military-style assault rifles, including the AR-15, and will take other steps to keep people safe from gun violence, including:
- introducing a buyback program for all military-style assault rifles legally purchased in Canada, with fair market prices for owners and more resources for law enforcement to administer the program;
- working with provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to further restrict or ban handguns; and
- protecting the rights of hunters and farmers, by not bringing back the long-gun registry. Hunters and farmers do not use or need assault weapons.
To crack down on gun crime and make our communities safer places to live, we will:
- continue to fight gang-related violence, by investing an additional $50 million each year, for five years, in a dedicated funding stream to help municipalities meet the needs of communities at risk;
- work to expand successful diversion programs to keep at-risk youth out of the criminal justice system;
- make sure the Canada Border Services Agency and Royal Canadian Mounted Police have the resources they need to detect and stop the flow of weapons at our borders;
- require everyone importing ammunition to show proof of a valid firearms license;
- make it harder for legal weapons to get into the hands of criminals by further strengthening safe-storage laws;
- address the problem of gender-based and intimate-partner violence head on, by temporarily suspending firearms licenses for people who are suspected of posing a danger to themselves or others, including their partners or kids;
- introduce a system for flagging bulk purchases of guns;
- strengthen penalties for people seeking to smuggle firearms into Canada; and
- limit the glorification of violence, by changing the way firearms are advertised, marketed, and sold in Canada.
Libertarian Party of Canada
See the Libertarian Party’s 2019 platform HERE
In Defense of the Responsible Firearms Owners
The Libertarian Party of Canada will remove the legal hurdles for peaceful gun owners to use firearms for the purpose of recreation, hunting, and self-defense. Registration will be simplified, a legally acquired firearm will not “expire”, and negative stigma will be reduced. Municipal and provincial jurisdictions may craft more specific firearm legislation tailored to reflect their local needs. Over $100 million in annual savings will result from the termination of the Chief Firearms Officer’s national operations.
Unnecessary Bureaucracy: Simplifying Firearms Acquisition
The process to obtain a firearms license, under the stewardship of the Chief Firearms Officer, is costly, redundant, and unjustly assumes illegal intentions of citizens. The Libertarian Party of Canada proposes a simplified system of certification that will ensure that firearms are acquired appropriately, without compromising the safety of our communities. As such, the Libertarian Party of Canada would eliminate the licensing system and replace it with a certification system, known as the Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC). With the implementation of a FAC system, the Chief Firearms Office Program would be eliminated as an unnecessary bureaucracy.
The FAC would be obtained at your local police station, and would be issued after a standard background check, for a nominal fee. This background check is currently administered through the CFO, a completely unnecessary step, as the RCMP fulfill the background check obligations. Once the background check is complete, and the FAC is issued, the individual can now legally acquire a firearm through a registered broker. The FAC will simplify the process and save taxpayers between $100 to $120 million per year in direct administrative costs to the CFO, without compromising the importance of background checks, reliability screening, and security to Canadians.
The Paperwork Crime of Firearms Possession
Sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code dictate that, without a license, firearms possession is by default illegal, and carries a mandatory prison sentence of three years. For those who own firearms with an invalid license, the crime is one of paperwork, not an illegal act of violence or intent to harm. Gun owners should not face criminal charges for possessing firearms that they have legally purchased. The Libertarian Party of Canada will rescind sections 91 and 92 from the Criminal Code, which will end the unfair persecution of firearms owners who have legally purchased firearms. The FAC, as it is required for any legal acquisition, will suffice.
A Firearm is not a Weapon
In the criminal code, all firearms, regardless of their purpose or use, are classified as a “weapon”, meaning that their exclusive, intended use is to harm others. An overwhelming majority of firearms owners do not intend their devices to be weapons. In fact, nearly all firearms owners in Canada use their guns for the purpose of recreation and hunting. Firearms would be legally seen as tools in the hands of qualified individuals with proper Certification.
Reversing the Trend to Reverse Onus & Unwarranted Searches
One of the cornerstones of the Canadian justice system is the concept of being innocent until proven guilty. As a result of the Firearms Act, firearms owners are subject to Reverse Onus, which assumes the presumption of guilt, not innocence. The Libertarian Party of Canada would immediately remove all Reverse Onus provisions in the Firearms Act to ensure that the presumption of innocence is properly established.
The Firearms Act creates a highly punitive framework, and it makes the job difficult for police to understand appropriate charges and due process. Reverse onus assumes the presumption of guilt, not innocence, and it is used abusively against firearms owners. For this reason, the courts are clogged with unnecessary prosecution from the Crown, including many cases that cannot possibly stand because of illegal police conduct. No action by police should be without a warrant obtained in open court, and under no condition should an Officer of the Peace undergo a warrant-less search. To simplify regulations and protect the rights of gun owners, we will repeal sections 117.02, 102.(01), 105, and 113, all of which enable the abuse through unwarranted search and seizure provisions and reverse onus.
Re-evaluating Canadian Self Defense Legislation
Currently, Canadian’s are significantly limited in regards to their ability to legally defend themselves. Whether in your own home, or in public, the Libertarian Party of Canada would restore your right to defend yourself and your property. If elected, the Libertarian Party of Canada would pass defense of habitation legislation, and extend those protections and immunities to public settings where possible.
New Democratic Party
We tried to find the NDP’s policy but the link to their policy document on their website went to a blank page. We assume this means Jagmeet Singh is still waiting for Justin Trudeau to tell him what the NDP policy on firearms will be for the next election.
Maverick Party of Canada
See the Maverick Party’s policy platform HERE
The Maverick Party’s Policy Platform is a work in progress that will ultimately be amended and voted on at its inaugural AGM and Policy Convention.
On firearms, their current policy statement says:
- The Maverick Party is strongly opposed to the latest Liberal firearms confiscation program.
- The Maverick Party supports the appointment of a Chief Firearms Officer headquartered in Western Canada.
- The Maverick Party advocates for a long overdue independent process to examine all current and any future firearms legislation to ensure regulation is correctly targeted at the reduction of gun crime and not unnecessary, ineffective, and overly bureaucratic restrictions of law-abiding firearm owners.
- The Maverick Party also recommends that all western provinces seek greater autonomy and oversight with respect to gun laws.
People’s Party of Canada
See the PPC’s policy platform HERE
Canada’s firearms legislation must protect society from the criminal misuse of firearms and prioritize the deterrence and punishment of criminals.
Legal firearms owners deserve a legal framework that protects their property rights and treats them with fairness and respect. We need a common-sense approach to gun control that promotes safety while removing the threat of arbitrary criminal prosecution.
A People’s Party government will:
- Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.
- Replace the costly and burdensome licensing system with an efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners following mandatory vetting, safety training and testing. To avoid criminalizing legal gun owners and guarantee their property rights, this system will legalize simple possession of firearms for certified Canadians as long as they use their firearms lawfully and don’t commit some other crime which would disqualify them from firearms ownership.
- Require that all firearms categories be based on function, not on looks or arbitrary political whims, and remove ineffective restrictions which unfairly target sport shooters, but have no deterrent effect on criminals.
- Mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only. This means that neither the RCMP nor cabinet will be able to move the legal goalposts for legal firearms owners without the approval of Parliament.