Is it Appropriate to allow Tragedy and Emotion to Shape Canadian Gun Control Legislation?

Written By Karl Fluri, Posted on March 24, 2021

This past Friday, Justin Trudeau spoke out regarding a letter from gun control advocate group PolySeSouvient (PolyRemembers), a group with close ties to Ecole Polytechnique which, as most Canadians certainly remember, was the site of a gruesome mass shooting in 1989.

In the letter, the group insists that Bill C-21, introduced by Trudeau’s Liberal Government, fails to properly address the issue. I myself have heavily criticized the Liberal’s attempt at gun control, for targeting law-abiding Canadians rather than the true source of gun crime, illegal firearms, but PolySeSouvient’s letter brings up a different perspective on the bill stating:

If this bill is not radically changed if the buyback program is not made mandatory if a simple decision by a future government can overturn the assault weapons ban, we lose the battle, and we lose faith in you and your government

If you carry on with this bill, we will never again accept to have you by our side as we mourn the death of our daughters, our sisters, our friends, during annual commemorations

(Screenshot from PolySeSouvient Twitter account)

(Screenshot from PolySeSouvient Twitter account)

Despite everything these victims, families, and friends have gone through, there seems to be a stark difference in their view on proper gun control, and what the data and statistics find to be effective solutions. Rod Giltaca, CEO and Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR), made the following statement regarding the letter

The letter written by the group representing victims of the Polytechnique massacre was some of the strongest language I’ve ever seen them direct at the Liberal Party… Even though we oppose the measures that they’re demanding, few of us can imagine what the survivors, victims, and families have been through.

We don’t believe that disagreeing about what policies would make Canadians safer means we are working against the interests of victims. It’s not true, it’s hyperbolic, and it accomplishes nothing but divide Canadians.

Canadians understand that gun-crime and gun-violence are growing issues, especially in cities like Toronto who appear to be doing everything they can to avoid passing functional legislation, as they’ve had in the past, in order to take on the gangs responsible for the vast majority of gun crime.

(Photo from

(Photo from

The anti-gun lobby has criticized the legislation surrounding the municipal ban on handguns, insisting that this would create an ineffective patchwork of legislation which would put a “needless burden on the backs of elected municipal officials who already have enough on their plate providing local services.”, asking that the ban instead be made at a national level.

Another major criticism regarding Bill C-21 by the group is that without a mandatory buyback program, a future Conservative government would simply roll-back the “progress” made, the letter goes on to say that, “By introducing this bill, you are playing into the hands of the gun lobby”.

Giltaca responded to this claim stating, “We absolutely disagree with the authors’ suggestion that Trudeau has played into the hands of the gun lobby”, going on to say that:

We have offered to sit down with victim’s groups, anti-gun groups, and the government to work on solutions to violence in our country. We have been met with insults, silence, or accusations. This is not how a country solves its problems and I hope that this is something we can come together and change in the near future.

In the spirit of potential cooperation, we think that the anti-gun lobby should be more honest with Canadians and themselves. They should just admit that when they demand “common-sense firearm regulations” they really mean a complete ban on all firearms of any kind.

Tracey Wilson CCFR’s VP of Communications, and CCFR CEO Rod Giltaca (Photo from CTV News)

Tracey Wilson CCFR’s VP of Communications, and CCFR CEO Rod Giltaca (Photo from CTV News)

Suzanne Laplante-Edward, whose daughter Anne-Marie was one of the victims of the Polytechnique massacre, signed the letter and made the following statement.

If Trudeau goes ahead with C-21, he will be a traitor to the cause of gun control, a traitor to me and my family, and a traitor to the memory of my daughter and her 13 classmates… If that is the case, he had better not show his face and cry his crocodile tears at any future commemoration that I or any relative of Anne-Marie attends.

With this very black and white approach put forth by anti-gun groups, it doesn’t appear as though cooperation between differing opinions is in the cards for Canadians on this issue. 

Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, ensured the group that through amendments of the Firearms Act to include the newly banned guns, the changes “cannot be easily undone”;  as the classification as prohibited firearms could no longer be changed by regulation. 

(Photo from CTV News)

(Photo from CTV News)

Power, noting that the banned firearms could not be legally used, transported, sold, transferred, or bequeathed by individuals in Canada, goes on to say

We share their desire to strengthen gun control in this country and thank them for their work and their commitment… We will continue to listen and work with provinces, municipalities and stakeholders who want to tighten gun control.

Furthering this commitment, Trudeau, on Friday made his intentions to anti-gun advocates clear, letting them know “we will always work together.”; additionally stating, 

I look forward to the parliamentary hearings on that bill to make sure that we’re doing everything we can… We are looking to find ways to keep people safe. And we are confident that our approach is the right one. But we’re always open to listening to testimony that may suggest possible improvements.

According to Trudeau, the legislation was based on an “in-depth study” of Canada’s particular situation and legislation which has been demonstrated to work in other nations. Despite this, it seems that both in terms of criminal, as well as cultural/social impact, the bill does not align with the needs or wants of Canadians at large.

Advocates on both sides of the aisle are calling for Trudeau to make drastic changes to the legislation, PolySeSouvient said Friday that Trudeau appears not to have read the letter correctly and that the bill does not need improvements but rather a total overhaul “or, rather, to be scrapped and replaced.”. At the end of the day it appears as though both the pro-gun and anti-gun lobby can agree on one thing, Bill C-21 should be scrapped.

Karl Fluri

7 responses to “Is it Appropriate to allow Tragedy and Emotion to Shape Canadian Gun Control Legislation?”

  1. Dan says:

    Democracy means majority rules. I can guarantee that the millions of firearms owners in Canada out number, by a huge degree, the anti gun faction memberships. Look at there sign. ‘When are you going to ban assault weapons in Canada?’ They are simply ignoring the truth and using hyperbolic lies to push their agenda. Their little clubs have grown to,the point where they make too much money and the members are to invested to shut them down. It consumes their lives to the point that if they quit, their lives would become a void. Gun laws should not be implemented by emotion. We know that trying to discuss any laws with these completely invested zealots is futile.

  2. Shannon lynds says:

    Threats….do i say or our relationship is over. If that group was your wife or girlfriend Id tell you you are in an abusive relationship with a manipulative controling narcissist.

  3. Robert Sean Peterson says:

    Our government is completely one sided. With no true research done. Law abiding citizens are not the problem, that’s been proven. Gun owners abroad don’t disagree with the terrible crimes that have been committed. But they also weren’t law abiding citizens committing those crimes. Laws need to change for sure, for the criminals, stop lessening sentences for gun offences and firearms smuggling. Use tax payers money to the fullest and implement a gang enforcement task force and more boarder security. Stop punishing law abiding citizens for doing exactly what they are supposed to do as firearms owners.

  4. Kevin P Andrews says:

    Lépine’s actions have been variously ascribed from a psychiatry perspective with diagnoses such as personality disorder, psychosis, or attachment disorder, noting societal factors such as poverty, isolation, powerlessness, and violence in the media. The massacre is regarded by criminologists as an example of a hate crime against women, and by feminists and government officials as misogynist attack and an example of the larger issue of violence against women. December 6 is now observed in Canada as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Marc Lépine was born Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi on October 26, 1964, in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Algerian immigrant Rachid Liass Gharbi and Canadian nurse Monique Lépine.[3][4] Gamil’s sister, Nadia, was born in 1967.[5] Rachid was a mutual funds salesman and was travelling in the Caribbean at the time of his son’s birth.[6] During his absence, Monique discovered evidence that her husband had been having an affair.[7] Rachid was a non-practising Muslim, and Monique a former Catholic nun who had rejected organized religion after she left the convent.[8] Their son was baptized a Catholic as an infant, but received no religious instruction during his childhood;[4][9] his mother described her son as "a confirmed atheist all his life".[10]

  5. Neil Batchelor says:

    No law, perhaps especially firearms legislation, should be driven by emotional, knee-jerk reactions to events, tragic though they may be. Our government was formulated with exactly this in mind, having a senate review being the "sober second thought" to balance the sometimes politically-driven policies of the House. It’s why we have a process, and yes, sometime that process is onerous, Nevertheless it is a proven process and Canada’s record of solid legislation (for the most part) is evidence that a carefully considered law is a good law. That the Trudeau government has chosen deliberately to circumvent this proven and cherished process for the sake of political brownie points with a largely urban voting block woefully ignorant of how firearms work, what their limitations are, and what the current legal framework surrounding firearms licensing, classification, and the responsibilities of ownership are under Canadian law as it stands today. I am of courese referring to the Order In Council of last May, as well as the Bill C-21 in it’s current form. Both are clearly an attack on lawful firearms ownership and use in Canada and neither will contribute any measurable improvement whatsoever to public safety since it is impossible to reduce the criminal by persecuting the innocent. That governments at all levels continue to target law abiding owner instead of addressing the actual causation of firearms violence in Canada – which includes cross-border firearms smuggling, urban gang activity, inner city poverty, support for the mentally ill, and actively supporting preventative measures that disincent youth to gravitate towards gang membership – stands as a damning assessment of the capability of our current crop of political leaders and their willingness to engage in image politics rather than take on the real social issues. The sad reality is that the Liberals could have made a different choice and pursued the real issues over the feckless policy they now are engaged in. In so doing, they would have made fierce friends of the firearms community and gained both their trust and participation in activities and programs targeted towards real reduction in firearms violence. Instead, they have chosen the politics of division, and firearms owners, having served as the whipping boy for successive Liberal governments, are now politically aware, unified in their frustration and disgust, and have created well-funded organizations to defend their interests and lawfully acquired property. Where we could have had unity and cooperation, we now have litigation and media wars. And the responsibility for this rests squarely with the Liberal government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. In a government famous for its ethical barrenness, boggled cover-ups, core value reversals, and outright incompetence, the failure to act in a measurable and carefully considered manner that has a measurable effect on public safety ranks among the Liberal government’s greatest crimes.

  6. Joe says:

    No it is not appropriate. Remember when, back in the 1910s, gun control proponents just wanted carry permits for handguns? Remember when, back in the 1930s, gun control proponents just wanted handguns registered? Remember when, back in the 1950s, gun control proponents just wanted full-autos registered? Remember when, back in the 1970s, gun control proponents just wanted licenses to buy guns and full-auto guns banned? Remember when, back in the 1990s, gun control proponents just wanted licenses to not only buy but also possess guns, all guns registered, magazines limited, and small handguns banned? Every one of those times, gun control proponents got their way and were never satisfied, always looking for more control and more bans. I say we go back to the system prior to 1910 when only actual crimes (murder, robbery, assault) were crimes.