Tories backed out of C-51 deal with firearms group

Party spokesman says group’s ac­cu­sa­tions are ‘base­less’

Toronto Star - - NEWS - TONDA MACCHARLES OT­TAWA BUREAU

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.”

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