Firearms, Principled Conservative and Libertarian groups publish open letter to Stephen Harper and Senators warning that Bill C-51 will create “a long gun registry on steroids”
Letter signed by National Firearms Association, Free Dominion and nearly 100 other groups and individuals from the “conservative and libertarian side of the political spectrum”
Sheldon Clare, president of Canada’s National Firearms Association, said: “Using fear to generate legislation is a dangerous path to follow. Oversight of any legislation that limits the freedoms of Canadian residents is a necessity.”
Connie Fournier, co-founder of principled conservative group Free Dominion, said: “Bill C-51 goes against every core conservative principle we have ever espoused. We have worked for smaller and more transparent government and more freedom for Canadians. It is astounding and appalling to think that a it is a Conservative government that is now throwing away all of our critically important accomplishments.”
Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia, said: “This letter shows that even the government’s core supporters are outraged by how Bill C-51 will affect our everyday lives. Nobody wants an all-powerful government spy bureaucracy prying into their private business, shutting down freedom of speech, and even censoring websites from the Internet. C-51 directly states government bureaucrats will ‘collate’ data from 17 institutions including eavesdropping agency CSE. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars undermining our basic liberties, the government should listen to Canadians and implement pro-privacy protections that benefit all of us.”
The letter raises a number of specific concerns about the Bill. It states that:
Bill C-51 will undo the abolition of the long gun registry by enabling the government to create databases, not just on gun owners, but on all Canadians.
Bill C-51 undermines freedom of speech and judicial transparency by allowing for secret hearings, censorship of speech, and unconstitutional “disruption” measures that could be targeted at Canadian website operators.
Bill C-51 would mean that Canadians’ personal information could be widely disclosed among government agencies, and obtained by CSIS, undoing the whole purpose of abolishing the long form census – a step that was justified on privacy grounds.
These conservatives conclude by asking the government: “Do you really want to live in a C-51 Canada that you don't govern? We thought not. We don't either. Kill Bill C-51.”
The letter is published just weeks after top business leaders spoke out to warn that Bill C-51 will stifle business, undermine international trust, and do lasting damage to Canada’s economy. That letter prompted government MP Laurie Hawn to attack business leaders in the House of Commons, sparking outrage by the business leaders.
Previous Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark has also previously expressed concern with C-51 in a letter published by the Global and Mail. Sinclair Stevens, who served as President of the Treasury Board under Prime Minister Joe Clark, has also penned a letter raising concerns about preventive arrest provisions in C-51.
Conservatives and libertarians can add their names to the joint letter at StopC51.ca/Conservative
OpenMedia is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia
Cofounder, Free Dominion
The National Firearms Association may be available upon request.