The following transcript is from Episode 188: Trudeau comes for some of your guns of PolitiCoast. We’ve done our best but please forgive minor errors.
Segment 1: Restart BC
Ian: [00:02:00] Well, let’s jump into the restart BC plan. Are you excited to hug people, Scott?
Scott: [00:02:04] Yeah. It’ll be good to start actually seeing people in person again.
Ian: [00:02:08] So the plan was released yesterday at 3:00 PM Wednesday. They had john Horgan, Adrian Dix, and Dr Bonnie Henry at a press conference, although 90% of it was Premier Horgan presenting the plan, and then Dr. Henry answered a few questions. So poor Adrian Dix just had to waste his afternoon sitting in the corner of this press conference.
They presented a four-phase plan of which we are already in phase one of and have been because we never fully locked down, as we talked about last week, and the goal is to enter phase two sometime in the next week or two.
We don’t have a real hard date, but it’s described as mid-May sort of before or after the long weekend, depending on exactly what is being reopened.
Scott: [00:02:58] I think most people took mid-May to mean the weekend of the 16th but, uh, there was really no firm dates that, which is probably a good thing because this really is a sort of situation where you want to hit objective measures on when you can take these steps rather than just jotting it down in a calendar and feeling bound to it.
Ian: [00:03:20] Yeah. And that, I keep wanting to say first phase, but that next phase, phase two is moving to restore some of the services that have been shut down, particularly elective services, medical services like dentistry and chiropractic that are not urgent, uh, typically, uh, expanding childcare, reopening BC Parks, for example, reopening beaches that have been closed, starting to move to new restaurant models. Cafes and pubs are also listed, although there’s still be strict guidelines to promote physical distancing through all of this.
The emphasis is on stay home if you’re sick, no handshakes outside your family, keep good hygiene, keep distancing whenever you can. For businesses, put up engineering controls, make sure you have clear rules and procedures in place, have personal protective equipment. And so we’ll start to see many things start to open up in mid-May.
But I think the big question will be for different businesses and different industries: What guidelines are they putting in place and what are they looking for to restore confidence among consumers and customers?
Scott: [00:04:31] That’s going to be the big question because it’s one thing to say, yes, you can open up a pub, but if nobody actually wants to sit in a room with a bunch of other people they don’t know, it’s going to be pretty tough to make that work. And that’s even assuming these places open up under the new conditions, because a lot of restaurants, business models just don’t pencil out when you take away half the seats.
Ian: [00:04:55] So those are definitely the challenges for the next few months. Once we look into June to September, at some point to when things are looking like we’re at a very good, stable state, uh, they’ll move us into phase three, which is further restoring more services, easing more of those restrictions. And the final phase, phase four is the, not until we have a vaccine and we’re sure we’ve pretty much beaten this. That’s when rock concerts, as the press conference said, and other large gatherings will be allowed.
Scott: [00:05:28] Yeah, the 50-person rule that’s sticking around to phase four. So that’s really limiting the big gatherings and the health officers been pretty clear that until there’s a vaccine, you’re just not going to be anywhere where there’s more than 50 people. But that does limit stuff such as the large gatherings, the rock concerts, conventions, all of that stuff.
Ian: [00:05:51] So a big emphasis in the release of this plan was kind of continuing the trend that British Columbia has followed for this, which is to kind of encourage people to do what they think is best and use common sense rather than to overly prescribe every single situation. And for some people, I think that’s liberating, but in many other cases, I know people, I have friends who are just like, I don’t-I want rules. Tell me, tell me how many people I should see. Am I allowed to go outside? That kind of stuff. And this is more of a, you know, you know your personal health circumstances, you know how risky it is if you get sick and the people around you. Use that to kind of guide how many people you go visit.
And be smart about it.
Scott: [00:06:42] Yeah. And I can see why people want the firmer rules because this is, it’s a cliche now, but unprecedented time. Like nobody has a great mental model of just how much contact they can have with anyone. So having a firm rule does, I think, allow people to feel more confident and kind of build on the expertise that is the public health system.
Ian: [00:07:09] And that was actually the thing Andrew Wilkinson, the BC liberals, I saw them jump on that in the last 24 hours, which is possibly one of the first times I’ve really seen them take a strong criticism of some of the fundamental plans coming out of public health. So I think he was targeting the Premier’s office and the government in terms of it is their plan, but generally when it comes to questions like this, the- all parties have been in broad agreement and not really attacking one another, so it’s interesting to see where this will go.
Scott: [00:07:48] Yeah. Well, once the crisis has let up, or at least being starting to be scaled back, the the need for everyone to come together and present quite a unified front also decreases.
So we will be getting more of that political friction for sure.
Ian: [00:08:07] And we may even get it in the legislature soon as one of the things to open up in phase two will be the legislature itself at some point in the coming weeks.
Scott: [00:08:17] I don’t know how, how that, uh, legislature works with its 89 members and how they’re doing to make that work with a 50-person cap.
Ian: [00:08:28] Yeah. I hope that perhaps the MLAs will, especially considering how close all the seats are together, um, likely there’ll be some effort to continue to keep the number of MLAs down, but who knows? We haven’t heard anything about attempts at a virtual, uh, legislature here,
Scott: [00:08:45] the 87-person legislature not 89.
Ian: [00:08:48] So that’s the main elements I took away from the BCs bracket careful restart plan as it was tweeted out.
Scott: [00:08:57] We kind of skimmed over phase three a bit, but there’s a couple of things in there that I do want to, uh, touch on, particularly the film industry. That is one industry that’s a major sector of the economy here in Vancouver, and they’re planning on being able to bring back production of that in June or July, which is both good and we’re I think one of the first major filming centers in North America to be going ahead with a reopening uh, Georgia’s a fairly big one too, but that’s enough of a mess. I’m not sure how many Hollywood places productions are going to be locating there. Uh, so that one’s quite significant
Ian: [00:09:36] and I think that is sort of in the realm where it came out in this press conference that John Horgan had also written to the NHL PA to say, Hey, Vancouver’s willing to be one of your hub cities as where you can host quarantine type games for professional hockey while keeping, you know, the crowd out of the stands, but at least allowing the players to come together.
Scott: [00:10:02] Yeah. If you get ev- fly all the teams in here 14 days before you restart the season, you in theory could just have all the teams working out of Vancouver for a while. I’m sure there’s a bunch of complicated logistics that would go into that, but it seems like a doable way to get the NHL restarted.
Ian: [00:10:21] Well and the other big plan that was announced this morning is the surgical renewal plan.
This is actually quite a difficult task as since March 16th there’s been about 30,000 non-urgent surgeries postponed or not scheduled. Uh, an additional 24,000 people haven’t gotten their name on waiting lists that would usually start to happen.
And the press releases really talk up how much the, how many gains the government claims to have made on surgical wait times in the past three years. And that this has effectively wiped that out.
Uh, these surgeries are largely ophthalmology eye surgeries, over 10,000 of them, orthopedics, 5,500 general, 4,200 OB GYN, and 2,500, another 2100 urology, 2100 head and neck, and then just a spattering of other surgeries. So a lot of surgeries just kind of kicked down the road in favor of keeping our hospitals open.
Uh, the other element of the challenge is that all the additional COVID-19 protocols in hospitals have meant the surgeries that have happened have taken 30% longer for the surgeon to put on the extra PPE before and after, and all of the prescreening nurses to put on extra PPE and so forth.
So we now have this massive backlog to resume and the plan the health minister laid out is to complete all of these lost surgeries within the next two years, possibly within 17 months, which is ambitious.
Scott: [00:11:57] Yeah. That’s going to be really hard to push forward, but they seem to be trying to do everything they can. They’re looking on bringing on additional staff as well to support that.
Ian: [00:12:07] Yeah. They want, they have sort of five areas of this plan, increasing surgeries, so extending OR hours, weekend surgeries, open new ORs, and possibly most controversially contracting private surgical clinics that quote agreed to follow the Canada Health Act and not extra bill patients.
In terms of staff, they want to find an extra 400 nurses to be trained, probably from existing staff to be surgical nurses. They’re going to hire all 1,550 nursing graduates from this year’s class right into hospitals and prioritize them into surgeries, get a hundred new medical device reprocessing staff.
Continue holding on all of those nurses who re-signed up during COVID-19, the initial phases. Uh, they’re also going to put a focus on prioritizing the most urgent patients. Uh, they’re going to throw more money at this, but they have not priced out what this has costs.
They do note that surgeries, because they’ve been canceled, have cost less. You know, there’s been less money spent in the last couple months than would otherwise be, but catching up is going to cost a lot. And most promising is there’s going to be regular reporting at least monthly starting in July.
So an ambitious plan, and in theory, anyone who surgery was canceled should get a call in the next days and weeks to ask you if you want to proceed.
Segment 2: Dey took er guns
Scott: [00:13:32] Let’s move on to the other big news from this past week. On Friday, the prime minister announced a ban on what he termed assault style firearms. And this is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. One it comes a couple of weeks after the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Also, this is the first kind of real non-COVID policy announcement the Liberals have put out since the, uh pandemic really became serious in March.
Ian: [00:14:03] Yeah. This is a order-in-council that’s going to be followed up with additional legislation. So the big headline news was basically changing a number of weapons from the non-restricted or restricted categories to the prohibited classes and then later, but you know, instituting a buyback program.
Scott: [00:14:24] Okay. So before we get into it, I think probably it’s a good idea to kind of give a basic overview of how the Canadian firearm arms laws work, because pretty much nobody who doesn’t already have a gun license really knows the ins and outs of these. Uh, but it is quite important to understand what is being proposed.
So in Canada, firearms get put into one of three categories. There’s the prohibited firearms, which is hand guns with short barrels. One’s that fire specific cartridges. As well as any automatic weapon. So a gun that can fire multiple bullets with the single trigger press as well as, uh, rifles or shotguns that are shorter than 660 millimeters in length.
Ian: [00:15:16] no sawed off shotguns.
Scott: [00:15:18] Exactly. Or collapsible or firearms that are designed to be folded down, collapsible stocks as well as any firearm that is prescribed by regulations to be prohibited, which is what’s happening in this case.
So those you can’t own, some of them are still out there because people got grandfathered in when they own these before the current laws were put in place. But you can’t take them out shooting, you can’t, uh, you know, go to the gun range. You can’t fire them on your own property. You can’t sell them. They basically just got to stay locked away at home if you’re one of the people grandfathered in.
Then you have your restricted firearms. These ones are pretty much any handgun that didn’t get included in the prohibited list. Firearms that are not in the prohibited category, but nevertheless have barrels below 470 mils in length, short barreled center fire. Semiautomatic firearms as well as any firearm that’s prescribed to be in the restricted class. Ah, an example of that would be the AR 15 that wasn’t the restricted class before this recent change.
And then you have your non restricted firearms, which has pretty much anything else besides those.
Uh restricted firearms, have a bunch of limitations on what you can do. You can basically only take ’em to the gun range, to a gunsmith. There’s limits of where you can fi fire them. Limits on where you can transport them, th-they’re pretty thoroughly curtailed. You have to get special authorizations to transport. So overall, they’re quite a restricted fire arm class and you need a special license beyond just the normal possession acquisition license. It’s fairly easy to get that extra step. Once you’ve gotten your first license, you can even do it simultaneously, but these are a much more restricted firearm and whether they can be legally used.
And then you have your unrestricted, which is pretty much everything else. So that’s any long barrel semiautomatic that didn’t get included in one of the other categories. That’s your hunting rifles, that’s your, you know, your bolt action rifles.
All of these sorts of firearms or shotguns. They are all unrestricted and well, there’s a bunch of regulations around where you can store them, when you can use them, they have a wider latitude and where they can be legally used.
Ian: [00:17:39] So this announcement looks at nine specific weapons, although the headlines were continually talking about this 1500 number of weapons when really it’s just variations on nine specific weapons and two classes.
Scott: [00:17:56] Yeah. What they’ve done here is they’ve just listed off a whole bunch of them. If you actually go to the, uh, Canadian Gazette where this gets published, there’s just 30 pages of AR 15 variants that are prohibited. That’s because the AR 15 is an incredibly common rifle.
That pretty much, if a company makes guns, they’ve probably bought the license to manufacture an AR 15. It’s just a very widely manufactured rifle. And it’s also worth noting that based on the technical specifications that I’ve listed off of those various classes of firearms, the restricted in the prohibited in AR 15 would typically be considered a non-restrictive firearm if it wasn’t specifically being included in the previous version of the regulations, and that’s because it’s a long barreled semiautomatic firearm, which under just the technical analysis on how firearms get classified, it would just be a non-restricted firearm, like any other semiautomatic rifle.
Ian: [00:19:02] So we have here, there’s so much going on here. Cause a lot of the criticism I’ve seen thrown around talks about how this is Trudeau using dictatorial powers to make this change. When it’s not, it’s well within the government’s authority under existing weapons laws to reclassify weapons. At the same time this is, you know, not a full assault weapons ban because I’ve seen the criticisms that there’s a bunch of other weapons and types that are actually missed by this.
Scott: [00:19:41] Well, before we go into that, I think it’s worth discussing what is meant by an assault rifle and assault weapon. A, so an assault rifle is a rifle that’s capable of selective fire and fires an intermediary cartridge. So basically a medium sized bullet goes out of it and you can select whether or not you want to fire it in single shot, automatic, burst fire.
A couple of different variations exist out there, but they would have all been already prohibited because uh, the selective fire means they’re capable firing automatically, so this was already illegal.
They list the M16 in here for some reason, even though that was clearly prohibited before this. So that’s been, I think a misconception a lot of Canadians have had is that this is somehow banning, you know, military weapons that are capable of automatic fire.
And those have been illegal since the seventies. There’s no change here that fundamentally alters what firearms that Canadian with a valid gun license can buy at a general technical sense. You could- before you could buy an AR 15 it was a semiautomatic rifle and you can’t buy that specific model now, but you can buy with the non-restricted license, you can buy another semiautomatic rifle with the same caliber and there’s being no effective change in terms of that category of weapons that have changed.
What does link most of these ones together is that they’ve been associated with a high profile shooting or that they’ve, uh, have the appearance of a military firearm. Whether or not they would be in the arsenal of any military or have the same capabilities as a similar look and rifle that military is actually use.
Ian: [00:21:30] I think it’s that last bit there that’s kind of the key. It’s these are infamous guns. These are guns with a links to, or perception that their only use is mass murder. That’s not necessarily true.
You know, I struggle with this policy because on the one hand, you know, I don’t see much of a valid use for most of these guns. Like they’re not hunting rifles. I don’t really believe anyone who says, you know, I need to hunt with an AR 15. It’s like my dad hunted. He didn’t have an AR 15 hit a friggin rifle and a shotgun, you know, 22
Scott: [00:22:10] Right. But at the same time, like a rifle that looks like an AR 15 at functionally can be pretty similar to a hunting rifle in all but appearance.
So there, and that’s where kind of the assault weapon idea comes in, is. Really does seem to be more about kind of the appearance in the general, I guess, feel people have, but it’s not a technical category at all. And it’s more gets applied to rifles that appear to have a military look than rifles that are actually used by militaries.
Ian: [00:22:42] So the other elements of the policy are there two categories in addition to the nine kind of specific weapons that are being banned. Uh, it’s firearms with bore diameters 20 millimeters or greater and firearms with a muzzle energy greater than 10 kilojoules.
Scott: [00:22:58] Yeah. So that, uh, 20 millimeters or greater, it’s grenade launchers. They’re prohibiting grenade launchers. Yeah. So anyone who wanted to go out and shoot an M203, you’re now out of luck.
So, yeah, actually before they were legal, you’re couldn’t legally acquire the grenades to them, but you still could nevertheless purchase a firearm capable of firing them.
Ian: [00:23:23] Oh, that’s like the kind of half joking, half serious policy I’ve seen in some States suggested where it’s like, well, if we can’t ban guns, let’s at least make bullets really, really expensive so that no one will have them anyway.
Scott: [00:23:38] Well, you turned own explosive ammunition before and you can’t now, but now you also can’t own the thing that fires it either.
Ian: [00:23:45] So the other element of the policy announcement is there’s going to be a transition period of two years, so you can’t be found to break the law until April 30th, 2022 if you have one of these weapons already.
Although at the end of the amnesty, they say, you must comply with the ban. And so there’ll be a buyback program in that interim period. But to get that buyback program that will have to actually have some money and that will have to go before Parliament and that will get us into the politics. But we’ll come back to that.
The other thing I’ve seen people on really bad memes try to criticize as the amnesty for indigenous people that’s mentioned. Uh, this relates to Section 35 of the Constitution, treaty rights. And it is explicitly for people to have these to hunt, trap or sustain themselves and their family. It’s not going to be the Trudeau government that goes in and tries to stomp on indigenous sovereignty in this situation.
And I think there is some discussion even within the policy announcement about trying to work with indigenous communities to make sure that additional guns aren’t going through there. And personally, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a story where either an indigenous person committed, uh, you know, active violence with one of these weapons, you know, mass violence with one of these weapons, or sort of was the funnel for it to get out there.
So I think that’s just a racist red herring that people are trying to go after.
Scott: [00:25:12] I have not seen any of these memes you’re referring to. So I really can’t say about that, anything about that.
Ian: [00:25:17] I have too many Alberta friends.
Scott: [00:25:19] I was going to say it’s probably because I don’t have many Facebook friends from Alberta, but there’s, I think there, there may be some valid questions about that.
Um, I have heard there’s some concerns around smuggling from the U S that goes through, uh, reserves that straddled with border. Uh, in addition, I kind of want to bring this back out to the reason why this is being brought forward, how it relates to that.
So the reason the Trudeau government says they’re bringing this new ban in is that it’s a public safety issue. These are, they say these are not firearms for hunting. We need to get these out of the hands of Canadians because they pose a public safety threat. Now, that does raise some questions. If. You can still buy a semiautomatic rifle that is functionally identical to an AR 15 do you actually increase public safety at all?
Let’s put that aside for a moment. But if you’re, if this is so urgent that they have to do it in the middle of a pandemic, you know, why have a two-year transition period? It doesn’t sound like it’s that urgent. If it can wait two years, ah, additionally, if these aren’t suitable for hunting, it doesn’t necessarily mesh with that part about the exemptions for indigenous peoples for use, for hunting. So I’m not sure how the two parts of the policy intersect there because it does appear to have some contradictions inherent in that.
Ian: [00:26:49] I don’t disagree. I just don’t think the government has the will or wants to engage in the inevitable court case of trying to be seen to be taking indigenous peoples rights, whether they’re real or perceived. In this case, the, you know, one of the big reasons this has come forward is it was a Liberal platform policy plank to ban assault weapons, which I don’t know if they had defined at the time, but they have talked about an assault weapons ban for a while, and they also ran on beyond that moving to ban or allow cities to ban handguns, and there’s questions about whether that will be the next step in their gun policy, as messy as that will be.
Scott: [00:27:36] I mean that, just to touch on that briefly, it’s actually a really stupid policy that, I guess it appeals to a lot of people who vote for them, but it doesn’t really make sense as a way to prevent gun crime, because as mentioned at the top of the segment, all pistols and handguns are already in the restricted category.
If you legally own one and go outside with one, you’re breaking the law and you make it also illegal to have one in your house, it doesn’t fundamentally change whether or not it’s legal to carry one in a city. And also just the fact that, yeah, we don’t live in walled cities. They’re interconnected with the rest of Canada.
So doing it at a municipal level where you could have, you know, a case in Metro Vancouver patchwork with 15 of the municipalities prohibiting it, and then you get into this awkward situation of, okay, say Vancouver prohibited prohibits it, but it’s legal to own a hand on, on the endowment lands out at UBC but the firing range’s in Langley, like how do you then transport your, your gun to the firing range? So it’s just a lot of weird quirks like that that don’t make sense.
Ian: [00:28:48] And this has been pulled out by some of the opposition by all of the opposition parties. In fact, I did try to do a little look around to see who supported this, because I saw one headline talking about how this move seems to have upset everyone.
The Coalition for Gun Control is supportive of this move I saw. I couldn’t find too much information about what co- who is in that coalition though. They say it’s 200 health, crime prevention, victim’s groups, women’s groups, et cetera.
But like even the conservatives. Well, the conservatives are obviously against this. The Bloc and NDP are both kind of perplexed, it sounds like, by a number of the seeming contradictions in this. For example, Yves-Francois Blanchet was pointing out the issues that this buyback program may be optional, which might have to be the case to make it more constitutional because you would otherwise be criminalizing someone for doing something legal in the past.
Scott: [00:29:53] Well, that’s doesn’t make a lot of sense because this is not the first time and Order-in-Council has banned a firearm. There’s a process that happens. There’s grandfathering in, there’s buyback programs and yeah, it cost the government a bunch of money, but they can do it and it’s pretty well established that they can,
Ian: [00:30:14] I guess the question is whether, because the way I read the prime minister’s press release is that after two years, it won’t be, there won’t be a grandfather option.
All of these all fire, it says all firearm owners must comply with the ban, but then I guess there was some discussion about an optional buyback program, so that needs to be cleared up. Whether you agree with it or not, it should at least be clear.
I think the NDP also uh, raise that concern.
Scott: [00:30:43] Yeah. So in the Canadian Gazette it does say the option to participate in a grandfathering version would be made available.
Ian: [00:30:50] So it is unclear yet. The ‘NDPs critic for public safety Jack Harris also said he supports the goal of getting military style assault weapons off the street, but they’re looking for more clarity.
They also raised the issue of, um, the fact most of the guns used in crimes in Canada are illegally brought in from the U S and so they’re looking for a little bit more clarity on that side. Although the prime minister is saying the NDP and Bloc are on side, and they’ll be able to push this through.
Uh, I couldn’t actually find anything from the Green Party on this. In the past they have called for bans on handguns and assault weapons. So I’m suspecting they’ll be sympathetic, but I could not find their statement.
And obviously the Conservatives are very against this because I mean, for both the, you know, nuanced reasons you’ve discussed, but also just their base is more likely to be gun owners
Scott: [00:31:51] In terms of whether or not the votes are in parl- they’re in parliament for this, they are. They can do this through order-in-council, but there’s a few of the other tweaks and stuff about the buyback program that would need to pass parliament. But yeah, overall, I don’t expect this to face any real challenges going ahead either from the courts or from parliament.
The- I think the bigger question is just the broader political issues around it. And most Canadians generally polled are pretty supportive of some methods of restricting firearms access and availability and all. So, yeah, like it’s the sort of thing that sits well with a lot of Liberal voters as well as- as well as I think the non-rural chunk of the NDP. So like politically, I can see how it’s somewhat safe, but at the same time, you do gotta wonder about this because this is all ultimately a symbolic gesture for the reasons I’ve discussed. It’s doesn’t fundamentally change the access to a gun that is the functional equivalent to an AR-15, that’s just not being changed here at all.
So this is, in one sense, ultimately symbolic, but nevertheless, it’s gonna suck up a bunch of political oxygen. The gun owners are going to be angry because, well, they now have a bunch of guns that are worth thousands of dollars each that they now can’t use. But at the same time, if you know, they bought just a slightly different gun, they could still. If it’s a bunch of like the sport shooters and people are going to be unhappy about a change that, you know, we don’t want to use the word infringes on their rights, but definitely represent a serious inconvenience to them.
That doesn’t actually accomplish anything. The Conservatives are going to push back on this. So now you’re fighting a political battle over an ultimately symbolic gesture in the middle of it- one of the biggest national crises since the Second World War. It’s really hard to see how this is something that a responsible government would choose to do at this time.
It’s going to be a political winner for sure, with a lot of Canadians, but as a thing that a government in theory should be doing at a time like this, it makes no sense and is crassly political.
Ian: [00:34:27] So I want to push back on the last arg- last line there. I mean, to a certain extent, you know, for the last two months has definitely been, governments need to have their focus on the pandemic, but that, you know, excuse to some extent only lasts so long. At some point, politics does return. And whether you agree with the government, with the government’s agenda or not, at some point they do have, you know, the power and capability and should start moving forward with it again. And so I don’t begrudge them for the timing so much.
You know, there was a mass shooting. I think rolling out gun reform after a mass shooting, whether it’s good policy or not is going to happen, and I’d rather see efforts made than the kind of stuff that doesn’t happen in the US. I did appreciate, and I saw a lot of people appreciating that Trudeau said, you know, we do more than thoughts and prayers here, which was just a good line.
Even if you know I’m not sold on the policy.
Scott: [00:35:34] Well, it’s a pretty typical case of trying to import American politics into Canada in that case.
Ian: [00:35:39] I think the other question here is, so there’s 1500 variants of these weapons on this list, and I get your point that, you know, you could just have a slightly different variant for sale of the AR 15 but eventually, you know, if you take 99% of them off the market, it gets more difficult. It, this will make it more difficult to acquire these weapons. No one’s really disagreeing with that because if it didn’t, then it’s just a show policy, which to some extent…
Scott: [00:36:11] I think it is just a show policy.
Ian: [00:36:13] There is that element, but you know, and that’s where I criticize the Liberals because I think this could be done better, but, you know, if, like I’m saying, if there’s a hundred different kinds of AR 15 and they’ve just taken 80 and said they’re banned and they miss 20, it’s not such, it’s not as easy as just saying, you know, Oh, they can just have a different AR 15 well, maybe it’s not as available.
Like if it we’re banning motorcycles and you banned all the most common ones on the road, finding those rare ones is going to be harder, and so it does achieve some measure of what they’re claiming to whether it’s good or not.
Scott: [00:36:55] I mean, perhaps, but there’s a a lot more intermediate cartridge semiautomatic rifles than just the AR 15 and the other few that got included on the list.
This isn’t the case of banning, you know, 90% of the market. Probably. It’s a lot smaller than that.
Ian: [00:37:11] I mean, overall, I think my takeaway has been this is kind of a prototypical Liberal Party type policy, which is big on flashy headlines. You know, they really pumped up the 1500 types of weapons line, which is frankly a lie.
It’s 11- at best nine.
Scott: [00:37:31] As was the, we’re banning military rifles, but those were already illegal.
Ian: [00:37:36] And the risk there is you kind of prompt the Conservatives into a reactionary push where if they were, when they eventually do re-form, government kind of have an angry gun lobby that wants them to just tear up of these kind of flashy laws or, you know, headline laws, but then also some of the more substantive ones.
And you get a harder policy swing there because you have not good policy following not good policy. So I’m kind of just annoyed by everyone in this.
Scott: [00:38:15] Yeah it is a case where everyone’s kind of annoying. It’s pretty rare, from what I understand, for guns to be moved down the classification ladder. I’m sure it’s happened a couple times, but they tend to be pretty sticky.
Just as, I mean, even the Conservatives don’t like to see a bunch of headlines about, you know, legalizing assault style weapons. So that- I think this may be longer lasting, or you know, you’ll probably will see some tweaks.
I think a good example of this was actually during the first couple of years of the Liberal government. They did a big study of the firearms laws, and when it all came back, they made a couple of minor tweaks. They, uh, so back in the Conservative government, they allowed basically anyone with the restricted firearms license to automatically have an authorization to transport to research and firearm, which before were basically two separate pieces of paper and they combine them, the Liberals split them back apart.
I mean, it’s minor stuff like that that mostly changes, and this is, this is something that a lot of Canadians will probably debate and disagree on, but like overall, given the various interests that Canadian firearms laws are- have to serve, do a pretty good job of balancing the needs.
Like overall as a country, we’ve decided that there are cases where it made sense for some people, particularly, uh, people who live in rural Canada to own certain firearms. And we’ve constructed a system that has a pretty rigorous background check and licensing regime and like a huge amount of the heavy lifting of our gun control policy is done with the firearms license. We really haven’t really talked about it all today, but overall like we take- we have a system that balances that with the obvious need to keep the public safe and keep the most dangerous firearms away from people.
And there’s a lot of like little bit things in the firearms laws that don’t make a lot of sense. And you know the finer tooth comb you go through it the more weird bits that should probably eventually one day be cleaned up, but most likely never will, are..
Ian: [00:40:29] That’s kind of true of all of our laws to some extent.
Scott: [00:40:32] …are going to stick around and like you, you can find, like I said, it doesn’t feel like, it makes no sense that having a bayonet lug on a rifle fundamentally changes which classification. When- when was the last time anyone was killed by a bayonet Canada?
Ian: [00:40:46] It’s because we have that regulation.
No, you’re, you know, you make a good point, right? Canada’s gun laws are largely pretty good. We don’t have a massive epidemic. There are some finer things that can be improved, particularly around concerns around street crime and gun crime in cities. I don’t know that the Liberals have presented ideas that will tackle that, but that’s a very difficult challenge and overall, I’m just happy we don’t have an equivalent to the NRA in Canada.
Like even our gun lobbyist groups are largely subdued and just kind of trying to make sure we have sensible policies going forward. No one wants to tear everything down.
Scott: [00:41:30] Yeah. And we don’t have, we don’t have people showing us the protests with rifle strapped to their chest, which you know, okay, I, I know I said earlier that assault weapon is not a technical category, but as a rule of thumb, if it’s a gun one of those idiots down in Michigan thinks looks cool it’s probably fair to call it an assault weapon.
Yeah. Like we do a pretty good job overall, I think, of balancing the various needs. And it’s not really clear beyond further cracking down on uh cross border smuggling, how you can significantly improve public safety while maintaining a system that also allows Canadians that we as a country have collectively decided probably should have access to a gun for one reason or another to maintain that.
I mean, if, if the Liberals did want to actually pick out a substantive move that would change some things, you know, they could have proposed making semiautomatic rifles restricted by default rather than unrestricted, We’re- we’re running long, I’m not going to go into the various complications with that, but that would be a more, trying to have technical change the laws rather than just picking out a handful of high profile guns to ban.
Segment 3: Land transfer
Ian: [00:42:53] Moving into our final segment, land transfer.
I didn’t really think we’d have much to say after last week on the news that the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs had reached a memorandum of understanding with both the provincial and federal governments that they would be signing soon on the 14th, you know?
It seemed like that document was gonna lay under wraps for the next week. And also that the community had largely come to consensus, but basically as we were recording it came out that the elected chiefs for the local reserve, at least five of them, uh, strongly opposed, not necessarily the MOU, they haven’t spoken specifically to specifically about that, but they strongly opposed the approach of the consultation that had happened and they felt that both that and the timelines that were ultimately included in the MOU it turns out we’re rushed.
And I can kind of get that because trying to finish these consultations within the midst of a pandemic must have been tough. But on the other hand, when you don’t like something but don’t really want to say why or don’t really have a good reason, going after the consultation and the process is something I think as Vancouver residents, we both recognize is a very frequent red herring.
Scott: [00:44:22] I think there’s maybe a little more to it here than the typical Vancouver issues around consultation. And I think that goes to what we’ve talked about quite a few times when we’ve discussed the issues around, uh, the Wet’suwet’en, and the, uh, protest and locked down this pipeline and everything is that it is a rather fractured governing framework, and there are two groups that both have claims on political legitimacy here, and they’ve clearly been butting heads for a while now.
And the elected chiefs sound like they feel like they’re ah basically being sidelined on a ma- on these major discussions, and it’s, you can definitely see their point there.
Ian: [00:45:13] Yeah. And so CBC and a few other outlets have apparently gotten a copy of the memorandum to be signed. Before I get into the details, it’s always worth when you see that someone has leaked something to just reflect on, you know, who’s likely to gain from this or who, who was the leaker? You know, there are kind of three parties that would have had the document, the provincial, federal governments, and the Wet’suwet’en peoples.
I don’t think either of the levels of government were, you know, they were happy. There’s a signed document, let’s have it out there once it’s signed. But within the Wet’suwet’en Peoples, you have seen that there is a dispute between the elected chiefs and the hereditary chiefs. And so that’s where I would suspect a leak likely came from. But you know, it could have come from anyone.
Uh, the document itself sets out a framework for transferring control of the 22,000 square kilometers of territory in Northern BC to the Wet’suwet’en tradition- traditional leadership, to the hereditary chiefs that is, uh, and it’s super fast. It’ll basically be done this year, early next.
So there’s a three-month timeframe for the Houses and the hereditary chiefs to formalize their governing structure and, uh, create a governing body for the multiple different houses. And then six months after that will be the discussions between that new body and the governments to transfer jurisdiction as well as look at revenue sharing, compensation and a bunch of issues around, uh, resources and family wellness.
And so a nine-month process to both create a somewhat new governance structure and transfer 22,000 kilometers square kilometers of land does sound kind of fast. I mean, it’s a welcome, it’s a welcome speed to finally have some finality to it, but.
Scott: [00:47:16] Yeah, and I think there’s a lot of groups that are anxious, I think to get this resolved, both sides of the pipeline protests and debate around that definitely, I think, want some resolution. as no doubt do the, uh, Wet’suwet’en people. But, uh, it’s really definitely a case where there’s enough internal disagreements on governing that rushing into things before that dispute is resolved, seems a little premature and trying to rush to an outcome, uh, before it may be wise to do so.
Ian: [00:47:54] But it’s also, you know, it’s tough to say without being party to those discussions, which none of us are. I mean, the elected councils are the ones who have signed an agreement with Coastal GasLink to build this pipeline and this agreement, this memorandum, doesn’t touch on Coastal GasLink, but I can suspect the faster this land is transferred to the hereditary chiefs, the harder it gets for resource development.
And so there’s somewhat of an incentive. Not so much an incentive, but it’s the counc-I can see why the elected council would side more with, if things stay the same, that benefit agreement continues to benefit them. You know, they’re, they’re reserved lands, they’re responsible, not necessarily them personally.
And so there’s tensions there. Uh, also on the other hand, that hereditary chiefs probably want the clarity and the power faster. So everyone has incentives here. It’s, it’s murky and it sounds like it’s been murky for a while, and naturally this would have to end that way. Not that this is likely to bring it to an end.
Scott: [00:49:10] I definitely expect we’ll be seeing this fight play out for quite a while to come. So this is no doubt, not the last we’ll hear about this.
Ian: [00:49:20] And just the last thing I noted in the CBC article is they mentioned that the ch-, the elected chiefs have the backing now of three Conservative MPs who are, who have written in support of their position of delaying this and slowing us all down, which I can understand the tie there, but it would have looked so much better if they could have had, you know, one of the Northern BC NDP MPs or just someone of another party. Because when it’s just three Conservatives, it suddenly looks more partisan than maybe it is.
Scott: [00:49:57] Well you’ve also had a few, um, BC Liberals, uh, in the past folks voiced support for the elected chiefs, including, um, uh, including Ellis Ross. So it’s, I think, not unexpected to that there has been a layer of partisan identification applied to this in terms of who’s voicing support for which group.
Ian: [00:50:21] But it’s something to keep watching. It’s still sounds like the signing ceremony is going forward on the 14th and moving forward from that I guess there’ll be this effort to create a new governance structure, and if that doesn’t happen within three months, I guess we’ll have to see where it all goes.
Scott: [00:50:42] Well, I expect that, uh, this may get drawn into maybe a court battle or something like that. I think the timelines are probably going to get extended somehow.
And we’ll just have to wait and see.