Conservatives go silent over gun group leader's violent comments

Conservatives yesterday abstained from a Commons committee vote condemning the president of a pro-gun group who urged Canadians to "construct guillotines" for federal politicians who support gun control legislation.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The National Firearms Association has been censured by a House of Commons committee for inflammatory comments about the Trudeau government's recent gun control legislation.

The national security and public safety committee unanimously passed a motion Monday condemning the association's response to the gun bill, with the support of Liberal, Bloc Québécois and New Democrat members.

The four Conservative committee members abstained.

Liberal MP Pam Damoff proposed the motion, citing a video podcast about the bill last week in which the group's president Sheldon Clare recounted a conversation with someone who suggested Canadians should "construct guillotines" in response to government "tyranny."

Damoff says last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol shows what happens when "inflammatory words provoke insurrection and violence."

Clare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Damoff told the committee Monday that Canada is not immune to the kind of violence that erupted in Washington.

She cited the example of heavily armed military reservist Corey Hurren, who rammed the gate at Rideau Hall last July in a bid to confront Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about, among other things, the ban on assault-style firearms.

Hurren pleaded guilty earlier this month to eight charges related to the incident.

Damoff also raised the issue of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh being accosted last fall by a member of a fringe protest group calling itself the Canadian Revolution, which had set up camp across from the building that houses the Prime Minister's Office with the stated purpose of making citizens' arrests of politicians.

"Words matter," Damoff told the committee, adding that "it's time to stop accepting these kinds of rhetoric and vague threats."

"I think we need to take a stand. We need to shut down this kind of language, this way of talking and thinking that's OK to talk about building guillotines and laughing about those kinds of comments in a public forum."

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said her party takes threats against politicians "extremely seriously," citing examples of threats she and her staff have received in the past.

But she suggested if the National Firearms Association president's comments constitute a threat, they should be investigated by the appropriate authorities and discussed only behind closed doors by committee members. She also suggested Clare's comments may have been taken out of context.

Liberal committee chair John McKay told Stubbs that the authorities have in fact been informed about Clare's comments.


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