Thank you so much, Chair.
I filed a motion last week with the clerk, and it has been distributed. I'm hoping that we can deal with this quite quickly, because we need to turn to a very important private member's bill that's before us today on recidivism. I thank Conservative MP Bragdon for bringing that forward.
Last week, following the tabling of Bill C-21, our government's new firearms legislation, the National Firearms Association took to their show, NFA Talk, where extremely dangerous words were uttered. This video from the NFA now has close to 7,000 views.
My motion today seeks to have our committee condemn this behaviour.
During the broadcast, NFA president, Mr. Sheldon Clare, said the following, and it's in the motion: “...revisit our old woodworking and metal working skills and construct guillotines again. [Laughter followed.] That would really be the best kind of Committee of Public Safety to get re-established. If they want to make it about public safety that was the way.... [T]he sound of this [person's] voice was not one that is joking. He was not joking. I don't think they understand that this is not New Zealand, this is not the United Kingdom, this is not Australia. This is a country made up of people who've been here for thousands of years, [our] aboriginal people, immigrants from Europe who fled tyranny, who fought against tyranny and know tyranny when they see it. And this my friends is tyranny.”
Mr. Chair, words matter. We saw in the Unites States, on January 6, what happens when inflammatory words provoke insurrection and violence. We've seen it here in Canada, with someone breaching the grounds of Rideau Hall and someone else following NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
It sent a chill down my spine to hear talk of building guillotines when referencing the Committee on Public Safety by the NFA and its leadership.
By no means are these the only statements that the NFA has made, and I want to read some of the other ones that have been made by NFA executive director Charles Zach on social media.
In June 2020, he posted this, along with a photo of four men holding large rifles: “Coming to a Canadian Main Street near you. If the police will not protect you during a violent riot, you will have to protect yourself and others who cannot defend themselves from dangerous and armed organized domestic terrorists.”
On June 25, 2020, Mr. Zach posted an article about gun and ammunition sales soaring, with his heading saying, “Buy more guns and ammo. The police will not protect you.”
In May 2020, Mr. Zach said, “Perhaps we would see organized demonstrations in front of the homes of these civil disarmamentalists”—his term.
There is another one in which he posted a caricature of me and Minister Freeland that says, “But... but... think of the women!!”, with another picture of two women holding firearms saying, “I think we'll be fine”—talking about our firearms policy.
Mr. Chair, I think I'll leave it there with the statements I'm going to read, but what I find extremely concerning is that when confronted with the concerns around their statement, the National Firearms Association has actually doubled down.
In a Global News story yesterday, Mr. Clare is quoted as saying “I've merely related comments from upset people who have a real big problem with tyranny. And I think the virtue-signalling woke liberal left has a problem with being called out as being tyrants.”
Mr. Zach has called me “a rabid anti-gun civil disarmamentalist”, and remember he called for organized demonstrations in front of the homes of “civil disarmamentalists”—his term—in May 2020.
Mr. Zach also told Global News, noting that his use of the metaphor is intentional, “We're locked and loaded.... And I say that unapologetically and unabashedly.”
Today Mr. Zach posted, “If the Liberals feel offended for being called 'tyrants'—then should stop acting like tyrants”, but still has not apologized for talking about the need to start constructing guillotines.
Mr. Chair, this kind of language is dangerous. Sharing these comments on their platform—which, as I mentioned, has had 7,000 views—can lead to violence, as we saw in the United States. The storming of the U.S. Capitol by an armed mob was spurred on by similar language.
These calls for violence against those who want a safer community are not tolerable, and it is incumbent on all of us to condemn them. I'm asking the members of the committee to support this motion and condemn the National Firearms Association and the statement made last week.
Mr. Chair, I ask that the motion be amended at the end to include “and the committee report this to the House”.
I'm hoping we can deal with this quickly and vote on this right away.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.