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Is a Storm of Opposition to Bill C-71 Raining Down on the Rural Liberal Caucus?

In February, rural Liberal caucus members expressed displeasure at the lack of consultation over firearm legislation during a national caucus meeting. One news outlet reported that T.J. Harvey, M.P. and chair of the National Liberal Rural Caucus, was soundly rebuked by the Prime Minister for raising the concern. 

Mr. Harvey was doing his job. The role of the National Liberal Rural Caucus Chair is to advise the Prime Minister and his office on issues of concern or high importance.

Coincidentally, two weeks after Bill C-71 was introduced, Harvey’s one-year term as chair expired. The position remained vacant until late April, when it was finally filled by M.P. Marc Serré. Serré has not responded to our requests for information about his new role.

“Our country does not have a gun problem,” said Mike Bossio M.P., former chair of the National Liberal Rural Caucus, speaking to members of the Bancroft District Fish and Game Protective Association on April 9, 2018. 

Bossio, who won his riding by just 225 votes (less than 0.5%) in 2015, will propose amendments to Bill C-71 to make it more palatable. This is surprising, given T.J. Harvey’s smack down for suggesting rural MPs be consulted over firearm legislation. 

“Yes, he is adding amendments. He’s taken a lot of constituent feedback because, well, it’s very important to do. And we’ve received a lot of very good critiques and suggestions on the bill because we know how important it is,” said Landon Wilcox, Bossio’s Parliament Hill assistant.

Wilcox also confirmed the proposed amendments were those contained in a letter posted to an online forum. 

“In order to represent what I have heard from constituents, I will personally be presenting amendments to this bill in the Public Safety committee that encompass the two items that I have had the most feedback on in my consultations and in emails. They are:

  1. There should be a system in place to appeal RCMP firearm classifications.
  2. In addition to travelling to a gun range, the ATT should also include travel to a gunsmith.”

Taken on its own, each piece of the puzzle means little. Taken as a whole, it suggests the Liberal caucus is feeling the heat as opposition to Bill C-71 rises across the nation.

We urge you to keep up the pressure on the Minister of Public Safety and the National Liberal Rural Caucus. 

It’s working.

Full contact information for chair Marc Serré, M.P., vice-chairs Bernadette Jordan, M.P., and Richard Hébert, M.P., and email addresses for all MPs elected by less than 5% of the popular vote are located at:

Use this resource to express your concerns about Bill C-71 today.



January 2016, Mike Bossio is named chair of the National Liberal Rural Caucus.

On April 10, 2017, T.J. Harvey is elected chair of the National Liberal Rural Caucus.

On March 12, 2018,  The Hill Times said T.J. Harvey expressed concern over the lack of meaningful consultation over the government’s upcoming firearm legislation, now known as  Bill C-71.

On March 20, 2018, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale introduced Bill C-71,  The Firearm Owners Harassment Act , in Parliament. C-71 is currently before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU).

On April 11, 2018, T.J. Harvey’s term as chair expired.

On or about April 30, 2018, Marc Serré was acclaimed chair of the Liberal Rural Caucus that, as of this time last year, had 54 members. 

Marc Serré did not issue a press release announcing his new role, preferring instead to post a photo to his Facebook feed on May 1, 2018, with this statement:

“I am honoured and grateful for this opportunity and I would like to thank my colleagues for entrusting me with this position.”

This is unusual only in that it breaks with the tradition of past chairs, that both issued press releases to announce their new responsibility.




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