bernardo

Guest columnist Tony Bernardo is the executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Do you have a Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence? Do you obey the laws of our country? Are you safe and responsible?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, I am afraid you don’t qualify for Justin Trudeau’s free “Guns for Gangs Giveaway” CERB funding.

Those taxpayer dollars are reserved for Toronto and Montreal gang members.

I know it sounds absurd, but as reported in the Toronto Sun and La Presse , gang members are cashing taxpayer-funded CERB cheques to buy illegal handguns to protect their turf, property, and drugs in the ongoing wars waged on our city streets.

“We have learned of dozens across the GTA who are doing this. This enables them to buy more handguns, ‘dirty weapons’ (previously used in crimes) for between $400 and $800, and new Glocks, which are reliable and have strong stopping power, for $3,000,” the Toronto Sun source said.

“An in-depth analysis supports the latter’s participation in a fraudulent scheme in connection with the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit,” wrote Quebec Superior Court Justice Yvan Poulin in his Nov. 23, 2021 decision

La Presse then tied CERB payments to criminal gangs who bought illegal guns with CERB payments.

“It is unacceptable that under your watch, illegal firearms were purchased with taxpayer money in the form of CERB, especially with the surge of deadly shootings taking place across Montreal,” wrote Conservative MPs Raquel Dancho, Pierre-Paul Hus, and Stephanie Kusie, in a joint letter to the ministers responsible for CERB and public safety.

When asked in Parliament what he would do to “ensure this fraudulent activity ends and, more importantly, to bring these criminals to justice,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s response was more than a little baffling.

“Mr. Speaker, I think that all members in this chamber agree that we have seen too many lives lost to gun violence,” said Mendicino “That is why we have taken concrete action by introducing a ban against military-style weapons and additional resources to fight gun trafficking at the border.”

Only someone disconnected from reality and accountability can utter those silly talking points with a straight face.

It’s frightening the Trudeau government seems completely unconcerned they paid for more than $100,000 of illegal guns for drug dealers and gang members in Toronto and Montreal.

Guns that will very possibly be used to shoot people.

Worse, they were aware of massive CERB fraud from the program’s inception and didn’t lift a finger to stop it.

That same Liberal disconnect applies again here. They can’t hide from the fact that gang members used CERB payments to buy illegal guns smuggled in from the United States and they won’t lift a finger to stop this either.

Quebec’s Public Safety Minister Geneviève Guilbault has even gone so far as to say the Trudeau government needs to “take its responsibility” and increase penalties for gun crime.

Instead, the Trudeau Liberal government, through Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, will reduce penalties for:

  • Robbery with a firearm
  • Extortion with a firearm
  • Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition
  • Possession of firearm or weapon knowing its possession is unauthorized
  • Possession of weapon obtained by commission of offence
  • Weapons trafficking (excluding firearms and ammunition)
  • Discharging firearm with intent
  • Discharging firearm — recklessness

Meanwhile, law-abiding firearm owners continue to have restrictions imposed upon them.

If this whole situation makes you as furious as it did me, take a minute from your busy day and drop a quick (and polite) e-mail to your local member of parliament.

Tell them how you feel about this almost criminal act of negligence and pass them the ammunition they need to expose this appalling negligence to the whole country. 

Guest columnist Tony Bernardo is the Executive Director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association

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