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 with Rob Miskosky

Breeding Inequality and Animosity

Many Canadian laws and policies, intended or not, create a level of frustration among Canadians as being unfair. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a born and bred Canadian, immigrant to this country, or an Indigenous Canadian – we are all affected one way or another, either negatively or positively, by laws and policies set by our federal government. However, sometimes the federal government can be blinded by its own views and thus, create laws and policies that are unfair, breeding inequality and animosity where it need not be.

While it is agreed that there have been many great injustices against our Indigenous peoples, many in the outdoor community believe that special rights given to Indigenous peoples are unfair when it comes to hunters and anglers, hunting and fishing.

On the other side, it is believed that Indigenous peoples have the unfettered right to hunt and fish at all times of the year, regardless of established seasons set by provincial governments. This is a constitutionally protected “right” the Supreme Court of Canada has guaranteed to our Indigenous folks. However, that debate has been going on for as long as I can remember and most likely will continue in perpetuity.

However, my question is why does the Liberal government continue to create inequality and animosity where it need not be?

Back to our Indigenous folks in a minute.

In light of all the anti-racism protests taking place across North America and beyond, it’s appalling that the Trudeau government, with the stroke of a pen and without parliamentary debate, can create laws that invoke inequality and animosity.

Of course, I’m talking about the recent firearms ban decreed through Order In Council. We know how the firearms ban creates inequality, that’s an easy one; if you own a firearm on the banned list, your private property is being taken away from you, along with your basic rights and freedoms; yet, those unaffected by such law have lost nothing, at least nothing personally owned.

However, it could be argued that those unaffected by the firearms ban could eventually be affected in other ways where personal property is involved. As an example, in the UK there is talk of making it illegal to own a knife with a pointy end (in the UK, where there are strict gun control laws, knife crimes have soared in recent years). If you were suddenly told that you could no longer own a knife with a pointy end, kitchen knife or otherwise, and that they had to be turned over to government or destroyed, well, join the club.

And animosity... for Canadian gun owners whose guns are now prohibited, there will be a transition period of two years to protect owners from criminal liability, but their guns can no longer be used or transported. Unless, however, you are an Indigenous person. If you are, you can continue to use your gun(s) over the two-year transition period.

This has led to much frustration (animosity) for folks that aren’t Indigenous, believing they are now being discriminated against unfairly. If the gun is too dangerous for me to use, why is it not too dangerous for Indigenous folks to use? One law should suit all, should it not? According to the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 it should,

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Allowing Indigenous folks to legally use a firearm that is illegal for others to use certainly appears to go against 15. (1) of the Constitution Act, 1982. And it creates inequality and animosity. By themselves they are reason enough to strike down a ridiculously bad law that benefits nobody; together, they surely hold weight.

Is this a government worried about offending a constitutionally protected right, or is it a government without the strength to fight an Indigenous court challenge? Regardless, this is a government pandering to large urban centres where votes are numerous, putting politics ahead of public safety while creating, again, inequality and animosity.

Currently, there are many legal challenges being assembled across this country readying to take on the Liberal government and its asinine gun grab, for good reasons, as pointed out above.

Trudeau should be ashamed of himself; I know that many Canadians, including myself, are certainly ashamed of him, on many fronts.

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