The Hill Update - March 4

Dean discusses the Liberals firearms legislation, Bill C-21 and that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police stated that it will not be backing this legislation because in the majority of cases involving gun violence, the handguns being used are already illegal and it makes no sense to ban something that is already prohibited. He also talks about a Conservative Private Member's Bill C-220 to allow more time for caregivers to grieve and take care of practical necessities before returning to work.



Last month, the Liberal government announced their new firearms legislation – Bill C-21.

C-21 sets up a program to buy back the firearms the government banned last May. It prohibits the use, sale and importation of more than 1,500 makes and models of legally purchased firearms. The legislation also allows municipalities to ban legal gun ownership.

Shortly after this Bill was introduced, the government also introduced their crime legislation – Bill C-22.

Bill C-22 includes the elimination of a number of mandatory minimum penalties for firearms offences. So, on the one hand, the government is cracking down on legal gun owners with C-21, and on the other, it’s easing penalties for those convicted of crimes involving illegal firearms with C-22.


Brian Lilley, a Toronto Sun columnist, thinks that Bill C-21 fails on all fronts, except perhaps the one that matters most to Prime Minister Trudeau — getting votes from people who think he is acting to stop gun crime.

The Conservative Party has called the government’s actions “confusing and hypocritical.”


Niagara Falls Member of Parliament, Tony Baldinelli, says that the Government’s gun legislation will not reduce gun crimes. He says he’s frustrated with the Trudeau Government’s tactics of making every serious policy matter a wedge issue to garner votes in a midst of a pandemic.

Brian Lilley, a Toronto Sun columnist, thinks that Bill C-21 fails on all fronts, except perhaps the one that matters most to Prime Minister Trudeau — getting votes from people who think he is acting to stop gun crime.

The legislation has also been roundly criticized from victims rights groups to gun owners, from police associations to city mayors.

In fact, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police stated that it will not be backing this legislation because in the majority of cases involving gun violence, the handguns being used are already illegal and it makes no sense to ban something that is already prohibited.”

Conservative Leader, Erin O’Toole, has also made his position clear: he stands with law-abiding firearms owners and against lighter penalties for those who commit crimes with illegal guns.

In a statement made shortly after the government’s announcement, Mr. O’Toole committed to repealing Bill C-71, C-21, and the May 2020 Order in Council – all three seen by Conservatives as punishing legal gun owners.

The Trudeau government also recently voted against and defeated Bill C-238 -- a Conservative bill that would’ve imposed tougher sentences for criminals smuggling or in possession of illegal firearms. It’s worth noting that the evidence shows the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained guns, usually smuggled across the border.

As such, more and more critics are asking whether the Liberals are serious about stopping criminals from getting their hands on illegal guns, or if they are just playing politics for votes in what seems to be an imminent election… If the government is serious about illegal guns, why not invest in police anti-gang and anti-gun units? Why not invest in more resources for the Canadian Border Services Agency so that they can have the tools necessary to stop more illegal smuggling operations?


Thus far, it seems like the Liberal Government has failed to address the realities of border smuggling and gang and gun activities. Perhaps that’s where they should concentrate their efforts.


We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in the weeks ahead in Parliament.

The second topic of this Hill Update is about a Private Members Bill that passed a critical stage on its way to hopefully becoming law.

Bill C-220 was introduced by Matt Jeneroux, Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Riverbend.


His bill aims to amend the Canada Labour Code for full-time employees by extending their compassionate care leave benefits to up to three weeks after a loved one passes away. The current system allows for only a few days.


The Bill’s intention is to allow more time for caregivers to grieve and take care of practical necessities before returning to work.


The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association commented saying they’re pleased that Mr. Jeneroux has drawn attention to the grief and the financial, emotional and physical exhaustion of caregivers who take time off to care for a loved one with a terminal illness.


The CEO of the Association remarked that Bill C-220 acknowledges the reality that the difficulties experienced while caring for a terminally-ill loved one persist beyond the death of that person – and that allowing a caregiver to continue to receive benefits for up to three weeks past a death will help minimize economic hardship, give time to heal and time to attend to the necessary practical tasks that follow a death.


The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized how important it is to be talking about grief and its impact on workers.


MP Jeneroux said that he is pleased that his private members bill received the support of all parties and that he will continue to work through the legislative process to hopefully see it become law.



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