FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
~Ottawa, ON May 6, 2020
The CCFR, as the public relations and education branch of the Canadian firearms community, has not typically pursued litigation as a tool of changing legislation or steering public policy. As a result of this unprecedented attack on the freedom and liberty of Canadian sport shooters and hunters, that’s changing.
A message from Rod Giltaca, CEO & Executive Director, CCFR
Over the last five days, the CCFR has looked at what the Liberal Party of Canada has done to us with their massive, overreaching firearms ban, and in that short time to the best of our ability we have assessed all of the associated issues and the ways that we can respond to protect our members.
This issue gives rise to complicated arguments of constitutional law and the legislative process, however the arguments boiled down to this fundamental truth: the government, in an entirely arbitrary and irrational way, has created legislation that will deprive us of our property and our freedom to live as we wish, on pains of incarceration for failing to comply.
While we have assessed the legal technicalities of what they have done in great detail, the government is charged with passing legislation governing the nation and our options are not great. That said, when we took our analysis back to first principles, and the actual nature of our complaint, it became quite simple: we believe that this is a wrongful deprivation of liberty arising from an improper exercise of legislative power.
Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”.
Although the application of this section of the Charter to our circumstances is not guaranteed, this much is clear: what’s gone wrong in this process is that we have been deprived, both as to our freedom to live as we choose, as well as being put at risk of incarceration by this law, in a manner that is fundamentally unjust. We will ask the Court to rule on whether or not the government has the right to deprive us of our liberty, or our property, on penalty of incarceration, on fundamentally irrational grounds.
In looking at the role of the CCFR and what our members want and need from us, it is clear that lobbying and running educational programs will not solve this problem. While we will keep doing that of course, to deal with this problem we must do more. We must fight for our liberty, and we must fight to oppose irrational legislation. In the present case, this requires litigation. We must try to use the powers of the court to stop the unrestrained and abusive exercise of legislative authority given to the government. Regrettably, nothing else will work.
As an additional argument beyond issues of liberty, while the government is clearly authorized by section 117.15 of the Criminal Code of Canada to make regulations classifying firearms, we say their use of that authority in this instance is irrational with no foundation in the factual circumstances of Canadian society. Such an arbitrary exercise of legislative process is abusive, contrary to the principles of fundamental justice, and must be struck down. We will ask the Court to do this as well.
We are not guaranteed success in this fight, although the arguments are far from frivolous. In the end, we can either choose to simply take this treatment, or we can oppose it in the only ways we can.
And so, here we are – we ARE doing this. There is no guarantee of a win – but our team believes we have a chance, and we promised our community we would leave no stone unturned, nor avenue unexplored. We meant it.
Stay tuned for details on how you can help, when the action is officially filed and where we go from here. Rod, Tracey, Michael and the entire team at the CCFR are grateful for your continued support. We are all in this together.
Our legal team: JSS Barristers are experts in the litigation of Constitutional Law, The Constitution Act, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They have a proven track record with substantial successes under their belt. Our team leader, Laura Warner has an impressive repertoire as a litigator and specialist in this area of law, along with her outside interests including being a volunteer for the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association, proposing amendments to Human Rights legislation and serves on her firms Inclusion Committee. Laura is a former World & National Ringette champion and has been inducted into the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame.
Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2011 SCC 61
Strickland v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 37
Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. University of Calgary, 2016 SCC 53
Ernst v. Alberta Energy Regulator, 2017 SCC 1
Calgary (Police Service) v Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2018 ABCA 114
Fitter International Inc v British Columbia, 2019 ABQB 990
The CCFR’s General Counsel Michael Loberg of Loberg Law will liaison and quarterback the litigation on our behalf. Michael brings with him a wealth of litigation experience and a deep understanding of firearms legislation & regulation, both as a lawyer and a restricted firearms owner. Check out Michael on LinkedIn