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

A Cancer of the Soul

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Chiefs of Police Need to Refocus their Oversight

I was incredibly startled to read the editorial comment in the July 11 edition of the News!!! "Who are the politicians to say the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police support of the 'long gun registry' is wrong?"1

The answer is the politicians are the duly elected representatives of the people. To suggest that the police should hold sway over public policy comes perilously close to the suggestion that a police state is acceptable.

The shocking reality in this case is most, if not all, of the major police forces are prohibited by their own rules of conduct from participating in political activity. The reason for this, although apparently not obvious to the News, should not escape any citizen concerned with civil liberties. And make no mistake, the loss of our civil liberties is something all citizens should be concerned with. It is not just the public that should be concerned with this behavior but the police themselves. When the police take a political position on an issue that divides the population as seriously as the Firearms Act does they endanger the support of large segments of society. It is not the job of the police to make law; their job is only to enforce it. That politicians from all of the federal political parties paraded police on both sides of the issue in order to support their positions is shameful. Equally shameful is the fact that the police have received donations from the IT company at the center of all the cost overruns.

The police would do well to concentrate on their Peel's Principles of Policing and leave politics to the politicians. The horrendous behavior of the police last year at the G20 summit, the questionable taserings, and the ignoring of procedure resulting in the death of a native Canadian in Cape Breton are just a very few of the abuses that underline the public need for civilian oversight of the tremendous powers afforded our police. It is in these areas - not police oversight of public policy - where their concentration is needed.

This phony debate over the “long gun registry” ignores the Firearms Act and its related criminal code provisions that are a direct assault on the civil liberties of a large segment of the Canadian populace. In this age of tabloid journalism that has overtaken all of our mass media, it is probably too much to expect the News to look at these issues that continue to be ignored even by the federal Conservatives. That the editors in all likelihood do not even know what the issues are is a testament to how far the media had fallen in our "sound bite" world.

Al Muir
Plymouth, Nova Scotia
12 July 2011

1. Throwing out system doesn’t regain money