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There is nothing new about Conservative Party sport shooting fundraisers

Brad Trost’s Electoral District Association raised eyebrows for a fundraising invitation sent to party faithful on the weekend of August 11, 2017. 
Saskatoon StarPhoenix writer, Alex MacPherson, asked Brad Trost, a former Conservative Party leadership candidate, whether this fundraiser was a political statement. Nothing could be further from the truth. A healthy portion of Conservative Party supporters are gun owners. It makes sense to target them for fundraising with a fun day at the shooting range.
“Trap shooting’s a sport. I like it more than golf. I mean, nothing wrong with golf, but if I have an afternoon I’d sooner take my 12-gauge (shotgun) out and do it,” said Trost.
Shooting events are a staple of conservative fundraising. The website calls shooting range fundraisers “a good idea for small groups as it can raise a lot of money while providing a fun and entertaining activity.”
Oshawa MP Dr. Colin Carrie agrees. He proudly supports the “family-friendly” fundraising event held at the Orono Fish and Hunt Club. The annual event, founded by the Oshawa Conservative Electoral District Association is a cornerstone of the EDA’s fundraising efforts. The Oshawa EDA website says:
“Join us for our annual target shoot at the Orono Fish and Hunt Club. You will have the opportunity to shoot a variety of different firearms under supervision.”
Held in cooperation with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), the gun club ensures a full complement of range safety officers are available to assist new shooters.
It’s not just electoral district associations who use shooting events for fundraisers, either.
During the Conservative Party Leadership race many contenders used their pro-firearm stances to raise funds from party faithful. Kellie Leitch used photos of her shooting and holding her target in an email fundraising letter to supporters. Maxime Bernier said the following in one of his fundraising pitches to supporters:
“With my firearms legislation, many popular guns like the AR-15 would become non-restricted, because gun legislation wouldn’t be based on fear anymore.”
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, then a leading candidate, attended a CSSA fundraising event in Saskatoon earlier this year, where he was the event’s keynote speaker.
“The reason why I say I get it is, you know, my whole journey through firearm ownership, becoming a hunter and enjoying it more and more, trying to find more reasons to do it, more opportunities to shoot. The one thing that has always been impressed upon me was the attention to detail and the culture of safety around firearm ownership. And I think that’s a side of the story we, as politicians, and you, as firearm owners, have to do more of, to tell that side of the story,” stated Scheer.
But electoral district associations and politicians aren’t the only people using shooting events as fundraisers.
Every year for the past 24 years, the Buffalo Target Shooters Association hosts a shooting fundraiser in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. They bill the event as “a fun shoot, some scores are kept, but the objective is, first, to raise as much cash as possible for the Foundation and, second, to have a lot of fun.”
In 2016, John Rakich and the Decew Gun Club hosted a target shooting fundraising event to raise money for 11-year-old Abbi Monoghan. The young girl suffers from a rare and incurable disease that forces children to wear sunglasses indoors and to take upwards of 30 pills a day just to manage symptoms. John Rakich, an executive member of the Decew Gun Club board of directors, works with Abbi’s grandfather and wanted to raise as much money as he could to help his friend’s grand-daughter. 
“Any amount is a good amount,” Rakich said. “The main goal is to raise money and raise awareness.”
DVC Ventures, and indoor shooting range in Port Coquitlam, BC, regularly hosts shooting events to raise money for a host of worthwhile charities. The “Giving Back” page of their website says:
“DVC Ventures along with our staff and friends are firm believers that a life is best lived when sharing our time with others that need some help. To this aim we promote a culture of community engagement and charitable works within our business.”
They’ve raised money for the BC SPCA, Coquitlam Search and Rescue, multiple Christmas Toy Runs, and the Port Coquitlam Fire Fighters Association Movember Hockey Tournament in support of prostate cancer research and awareness.
Gun owners, generally speaking, are generous individuals who support their communities, and we happily support specific needs, like those of young Abbi Monoghan.
That Conservative riding associations regularly use target shooting as a fundraising tool should surprise nobody. It shouldn’t even raise an eyebrow, as it did in the case of the Saskatoon–University Conservative Electoral District Association fundraiser.

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