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Bill to Amend Certain Acts and to Make Certain Consequential Amendments (Firearms)

Motion in Amendment--Vote Deferred

December 12, 2023

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition) [ + ]

Therefore, honourable senators, in amendment, I move:

That Bill C-21 be not now read a third time, but that it be amended in clause 43, on page 49, by replacing lines 27 to 34 with the following:

“(i) that they are participating in a handgun shooting discipline,

(ii) the disciplines in which they participate, and

(iii) that the handgun in question is appropriate and necessary for participating in those disci-”.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Honourable senators, in amendment, it was moved by the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin — may I dispense?

Honourable senators, I rise briefly to speak to my colleague Senator Plett’s amendment. I tabled a similar or the same amendment at clause‑by‑clause consideration, and I deeply commend Senator Plett for his genuine concern for athletes. But in the interest of thinking for myself, I have continued to think, think more and act following our final committee meeting a few weeks ago, and act I did.

I obviously shared the concerns of Senator Plett. I have worked first-hand with many high-performance shooters and witnessed the challenges they had in moving their competition gear at the best of times. Moving those guns around the world is a very big challenge.

In committee, we heard — you heard part of it already today — from two chief firearms officers and athletes concerned that handgun shooting in Canadian sports disciplines could completely disappear as a result of this legislation. I, of course, was very sympathetic to this, which is why I tried to amend this at committee. It was defeated. Although it was defeated, I appreciate the degree and due attention this was given at committee.

I have since heard from the minister’s office who acknowledged my concerns, which I appreciated. It is not their intention to take away shooting sports in this country for young people, beginners or older people. Our committee also received, as you heard recently, correspondence from Minister Leblanc reasserting this commitment in paragraphs 3 and 4 of his letter, in which he wrote:

They are concerned with finding a balance between allowing legitimate shooting sports and competition while also not opening up the back door to handgun ownership.

I appreciate that as well. It’s something that they must fine‑tune in the regulations, and I think I at least need to let them keep true to their word.

We have already seen immediate action regarding chief firearms officers in the North, action which came about because of our committee work — not because the bill was passed or approved, but because of the work at committee. So I hope and choose to believe that they will follow through on their commitments as per this letter when it comes to shooting sports as well.

On behalf of Canadians, I have promised sport shooters that I will keep the pedal to the metal on this. So today, I am comfortable with that, leaving the bill as it is in this regard.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Are the honourable senators ready for the question?

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment? Those in favour of the motion will please say “yea.”

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Those opposed please say “nay.”

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

I think the “nays” have it.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

I see two senators rising. Do we have an agreement on the bell?

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Pursuant to rule 9-10(1) and the order adopted on September 21, 2022, the vote is deferred to 4:15 p.m. tomorrow with the bells to ring at 4 p.m.

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