Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns statement on fourth anniversary of Islamic Cultural Centre mass shooting - Justin Trudeau and Bill Blair urged to take action on guns and hate
As Canadians mark the sombre fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) expresses solidarity with the affected families, the Muslim community, all Quebecers and Canadians. We continue to mourn the horrible loss of life and are saddened by the unthinkable trauma faced by survivors and the families of the victims.
As we were tragically reminded that day, the combination of hate and guns is a toxic mix – and continues to be a threat to the public health and well-being of Canadians. The recent political violence in the United States underscores the scope of the threat. It is incumbent on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair to act with urgency. Words are not enough, action is needed.
The federal government’s decision to ban assault weapons was a wise, preventative measure. Discussions on placing a rising number of extremist groups on Canada’s terror list are welcome too. Still, Canada must do more. The gun used to murder six people and injure five others was a legally registered handgun. Also used were multiple large capacity magazines. The government should move swiftly on a national ban on both.
Measures to restrict access to handguns as a means of reducing gun injury and death are supported by medical research. Handgun bans also have wide support among Canadians according to regular opinion polls. Experts including the Canadian Anti-Hate Network have detailed the ongoing risks to society if governments fail to stop hate and strengthen gun control. Indeed, the tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Centre is not an isolated event in Canada; gun violence motivated by hate resulted in the two worst mass shootings in our country’s history – École Polytechnique and Portapique. We urge the government to move forward with a mandatory buy-back program for assault weapons and to an evidence-informed red flag law.
With Parliament back in session, renewed attention is on evidence-based decision-making and the need to take bold, comprehensive action to foster safe and inclusive communities. We urge the federal government to act now on behalf of Canadians.
About Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns
Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) is a grassroots organization concerned about the increasing public health impact of firearms. We represent physicians working in collaboration with nurses, paramedics, rehabilitation specialists, psychologists, researchers and other front-line health care professionals. We have all witnessed first-hand the emotional and physical trauma and devastation caused by guns. CDPG calls for a comprehensive public policy response to this crisis in our communities, including preventative tools to reduce gun use and their consequences on youth violence, domestic abuse, and suicide.
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