Statement from Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and Danforth Families for Safe Communities on Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party platform
Far from being reassured by Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole’s statement yesterday regarding the ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, our organizations – representing physicians, scientists, survivors of gun violence, and anti-hate researchers – are further alarmed.
Mr. O’Toole has not committed to maintaining the assault weapons ban, nor has he committed to enshrining the ban in legislation and preparing to buyback the now-prohibited guns. The scientific literature from around the world is very clear: removing semi-automatic assault weapons from society and reducing access to guns generally is proven to save lives.
Mr. O’Toole has only committed to studying the ban as part of a review of the classification system of firearms. Yet, on page 90 of the Conservative Party platform, he commits specifically to consulting with gun manufacturers and gun owners. There is no such mention of survivors, physicians, women, anti-hate researchers, scientists, or academics.
Mr. O’Toole also noted yesterday that he is committed to taking the “politics” out of gun control. Yet he has ignored our repeated requests that he distance himself from gun lobby politics. Organizations including the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) and the National Firearm Association that have continuously and vituperatively harassed our members, including an organized campaign by the CCFR to smear the professional reputation of a physician, later deemed an abuse of process by her professional regulator.
Finally, and also on page 90 of the Conservative platform, Mr. O’Toole has committed to repealing Bill C-71, legislation that, among other important measures, strengthens background checks on new gun purchasers. As with all the gun control measures Mr. O’Toole intends to roll back, these policies enjoy widespread public and stakeholder support.
Gun injury and death represent an increasingly important and complex public health issue in Canada. As we know from other public health issues, including on climate change and vaccination, policy makers must take evidence-based and comprehensive measures focused on prevention, including addressing social determinants such as poverty and racism and the importation of illegal guns. Restricting access to guns, including semi-automatic assault weapons, must be part of that equation. Until Mr. O’Toole takes a more thoughtful approach, we cannot have confidence his firearm policies will make Canadians safer.
For more information please contact:
Empower Consulting for
Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns