Tories backed out of C-51 deal with firearms group
Party spokesman says group’s accusations are ‘baseless’
OTTAWA— The head of the National Firearms Association says the Conservative government did a “deal” with him to quell gun owners’ criticism of Bill C-51last spring and then betrayed them by not agreeing in exchange to loosen restrictions in a firearms bill.
In an online posting to Facebook on Monday and in an interview Wednesday with the Star, NFA president Sheldon Clare said Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office asked his group not to publicly testify to criticize the national security bill, C-51.
In exchange, he said, gun-owners would see changes made to C-42, a bill amending firearms legislation.
A Conservative party spokesman, Kory Teneycke, whom Clare says was involved peripherally in his contacts with the government last spring, called his accusations “baseless” and the timing politically motivated.
Clare is running as an independent candidate in the B.C. riding of Cariboo—Prince George, where a Conservative incumbent is not running for re-election. Clare said he is running on the economy, not on firearms issues because his positions are well known. But he criticized the Conservatives for betraying gunowners.
“I found that the Conservative government is not the friend of firearms owners despite what they’re claiming; they’ve had ample opportunity to make a lot of changes, they have not done so; they pay lip service to this part of their so-called base, and when people tell you ‘you have no one else to vote for so suck it up,’ that’s not what works well for me.”