Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee

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Thanks, Mr. Bernardo, for a Job Well Done

Saturday, 21 March 2009

"A Conservative MP won't be the guest of honour at a gun enthusiasts' dinner in Mississauga next month ... .”

I can well imagine that CSSA/CILA Executive Director Tony Bernardo has had a better week than when the proposed raffle of a special "Canadian Edition'' of a Beretta 9mm handgun figuratively blew up in his face. The Toronto antigun crowd and news media have been in a frothy uproar.

Then in an attempt to help the CSSA's invited keynote speaker Saskatchewan Tory MP Garry Breitkreuz avoid a public reprimand from the Prime Minister, Mr. Bernardo "withdrew" CSSA's invitation from Mr. Breitkreuz (how one does that I leave to etiquette authorities).

Undoubtedly some members of the CSSA will be aghast at all the negative publicity, and others may blame Mr. Bernardo and declared that he "bungled this event and embarrassed everyone".

Although Mr. Bernardo is not one of my favorite spokesperson for firearms owners because he is far too soft in his opposition to licensing, I think firearms owners need to congratulate Mr. Bernardo for a job well done.

The CSSA is an avowed firearms group - the first "S" in fact stands for "Shooting". Why should a shooting group that consists of honest, responsible citizens not raffle a handgun to their members? Why should the most prominent, elected firearms advocate in Canada not attend and deliver his speech? And more to the current brouhaha, why should the CSSA or any elected Members of Parliament not support our Right to have 'Armes for their Defense' by helping responsible citizens become better armed?

Rather than criticism, we own Mr. Bernardo our congratulations for exposing the hypocrisy of the Conservative Party. The current spectacle of Mr. Harper and the Conservatives’ permitting Mr. Breitkreuz to attempt to uphold the honour of the Conservative Party with a pathetic private member's bill was truly appalling. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper's allowing a spokesperson to declare that "our government obviously doesn't endorse the raffle" of a handgun is a national disgrace.

The only basis for the Right that Canadians have to acquire or possess firearms is self-defense. And that Right is under constant, sustained attack by people who will not be satisfied until "only the police and the military have firearms." If we allow to happen, we will be more than embarrassed; we will be shamed.

Thank you, Mr. Bernardo.


Edward B. Hudson DVM, MS

CC: CSSA/CILA Executive Director Tony Bernardo

Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaries san permis
402 Skeena Crt. Saskatoon
Saskatchewan S7K 4H2
(306) 242-2379 (306) 230-8929


Gun lobbyists drop Tory MP as dinner speaker

Group blames 'dirty politics, dirty media' as it withdraws invitation but Beretta will still be the door prize

Jennifer Lewington
Globe and Mail

March 20, 2009 at 5:16 AM EDT


A Conservative MP won't be the guest of honour at a gun enthusiasts' dinner in Mississauga next month, but the organization still plans to raffle off a Beretta semi-automatic handgun - a decision that drew fire yesterday from Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and others.

"My advice to them is that they change the item they are going to raffle off to something that is more acceptable," Hazel McCallion said of the door prize the Canadian Shooting Sports Association plans to give away at its annual meeting April 18.

Tony Bernardo, a spokesman for the association, said "dirty politics, dirty media" led his group to withdraw an invitation to Saskatchewan Tory MP Garry Breitkreuz, author of a private member's bill to kill the federal long-gun registry, to speak at the dinner.

"It was starting to cause him problems," Mr. Bernardo said. "He is a decent, honourable man and we didn't wish him any grief."

Mr. Breitkreuz wasn't available to comment, but Kory Teneycke, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the Tory backbencher didn't know when he agreed to speak to the association that a handgun would be raffled off.

"It's a private organization, they have to exercise their own judgment around these things," Mr. Teneycke said. "But our government obviously doesn't endorse the raffle."

Mr. Bernardo defended the association's annual gun raffle, which raises money for the group's advocacy work.
"We're doing something totally within the law and make no apology for that," he said. "We are sportspersons, not criminals."

While raffling off the gun is legal - assuming permits are in place - Ms. McCallion said the group should rethink its long-time practice of giving away a firearm given "concern in the community, especially the GTA, at the number of handguns."

H er concerns were echoed by a spokesman for Toronto Mayor David Miller, who started a petition last year to ban handguns, and by a Peel Regional Police spokesman, who said the giveaway "is not something we would condone."

Peel Regional Police spokesman Constable J.P. Valade said anyone who won the Beretta PX4 Storm "Canadian edition" - the first-numbered of 500 made for the Canadian market - would have to apply for a permit from the chief firearms officer of Ontario to possess the gun and transport it to a certified gun range.

"We will be looking into this to make sure the laws are respected," he said.

In 2008, a record year for homicides in Peel, Constable Valade said, 11 of 28 killings were committed with firearms.

Mr. Miller is away, but a spokesman issued a statement condemning the raffle. The mayor's "first reaction was that it was outrageous and inappropriate," it said.

With a report from The Canadian Press