Open Letter to Senator Pat Duncan Re: Bill C-71

April 09, 2019

Dear Senator Duncan,


Although conveyed previously in person, I would once again like to congratulate you on your appointment to the Senate of Canada.


With your considerable experience pertaining to federal, territorial and First Nations matters, particularly during such remarkable advances in our territory’s governance, from devolution of federal powers to implementation of land claims, you are uniquely qualified to represent Yukoners’ interests in the upper chamber.


I truly wish you all the best.


Today I also write to you on matters related to Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms.


The Bill wrongfully targets licensed firearms owners; the more than two million men and women across the country who are the most vetted and statistically law-abiding Canadians.


Their ranks include hunters, farmers, recreational shooters, competitors, collectors, and very many Yukoners.


Yukon has the highest number of firearms licenses per capita in the country, and unsurprisingly Yukoners themselves own the highest number of actual firearms per capita as well.


Firearms play a central role in much of our culture, are an integral part of our daily lives, and as such this Bill has considerable potential to negatively affect Yukoners from every walk of life.


The Bill does nothing to address the criminal use of firearms, illegal smuggling, or provide support for mental health for those who are at risk of harming themselves or others.


As such, the Bill is often referred to the “Federal Firearms Owners Harassment Act.”


As you are aware, the Bill has cleared the House of Commons, passed the second of three readings in the Senate, and upon the review completed earlier this week by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defense, is now destined for its third and final reading before you and your colleagues in the Red chamber.


On behalf of all Yukoners, I urge you to vote against this Bill.


In the absence of representation from Yukon’s Member of Parliament, the Hon. Larry Bagnell, P.C., who voted twice to support the Bill and failed to stand up for Yukoners on his third and final opportunity when he intentionally shirked voting on third reading in the House of Commons, Yukoners are depending on you to provide some long overdue sober, second thought.


Will the criminal use of firearms in Yukon be reduced if this Bill is passed, will Yukoners be safer?


The answer is clearly no.


If due to pressure from the Liberal government-appointed Independent Senators Group, or for any other reason you feel you are unable vote against this Bill, I would urge you to at the very least support the amendments that resulted from this week’s Senate committee hearings.


These amendments remove some of the more offensive clauses that are an affront to law-abiding firearms owners while providing no benefit to public safety, however very many concerning clauses remain intact.


Thank you for your consideration of these matters, and for your dedicated service to Yukoners.




Jonas J. Smith

2019 Candidate – Yukon

Conservative Party of Canada