UNIVERSITY STUDY SHOWS FIREARMS ACT VIOLATES CHARTER OF RIGHTS
“Charter challenges will drive costs up and provide many more reasons
for repealing why Bill C-68.”
– Today, Garry Breitkreuz, Official Opposition Critic for Firearms and
Property Rights, with the help of Professor Ted Morton, Canadian Alliance
Senator-in-Waiting, fired another big salvo at the Liberal’s failing Firearms
Act. “Like the Auditor
General’s report in December, Professor Morton’s research paper will open
many eyes. He has done a great
service for Parliament and for every Canadian who values their fundamental
rights and freedoms,” said Breitkreuz. “The
gun registry is useless and the waste of billion dollars is outrageous; but the
parts of the Firearms Act that violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
are another big reason why we need to repeal Bill C-68.”
the summer of 2002, Dr. Ted Morton, Professor of Political Science at the
University of Calgary, prepared a paper titled: HOW THE FIREARMS ACT (BILL
C-68) VIOLATES THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS.
Professor Morton documented the following Charter violations:
Right to liberty, Right to security of the person, Right to procedural
fairness, Right against unreasonable search and seizure, Right to privacy, Right
to be presumed innocent, Right against arbitrary detention, Right to freedom of
expression, Right to bear arms, Right to counsel upon arrest or detention, Right
to property, and Equality rights.
Morton’s paper goes on to explain: “To the extent that the Firearms Act
restricts any of the rights listed above, the burden of proof shifts to the
government to prove that such restrictions are “reasonable”.
To do this, the Supreme Court has developed the “Oakes test”, which
requires the government to demonstrate that the Act: serves an important public
policy objective; is rationally connected to that objective; impairs the right
in issue as little as possible; and does more good than harm (proportionality). While
the purpose of the Firearms Act - the reduction of illegal use of firearm
violence - easily qualifies as an important public policy objective, the means
used to achieve this objective utterly fail the last three rules of the Oakes
federal Statutory Instruments Act requires that every regulation be
examined by the Clerk of the Privy Council, in consultation with the Deputy
Minister of Justice, to determine that: “it does not trespass unduly on
existing rights and freedoms and is not, in any case, inconsistent with the
purposes and provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the
Canadian Bill of Rights.” Prompting
Breitkreuz to ask, “How can the
government pass 43 Orders in Council with more than 200 pages of Firearms Act
regulations and not find any of them in violation of the Charter?
All Canadians should be very concerned about this legislation because
it’s not just firearms owners that are being seriously affected.
When one person loses his or her rights, we all lose."
billion-dollar estimate of enforcement costs didn’t include the cost of a
dozen or more Charter challenges,” pointed out Breitkreuz. The Liberals could save taxpayers a lot of money by
sending an immediate reference to the Supreme Court on the most obvious Charter
challenges described in Professor Morton’s paper.
If the federal government fails to do their duty, then each of the
provinces and territories should take this initiative,” concluded Breitkreuz.
Here is the link to a 6-page Executive Summary of Professor Morton’s research