Manitoba NDP call on feds to withdraw amendments to Bill C-21

Manitoba NDP call on feds to withdraw amendments to Bill C-21

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Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew adds his voice to the chorus of those opposed to changes to federal law C-21.

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Debate on the amendments to the bill will resume next month as MPs examining the government’s proposed definition will hear from more witnesses as critics say it would ban some common hunting rifles.

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Bill C-21 was introduced in Ottawa to ban assault-style weapons, but some liberal backbench amendments seemed to expand the definition, which would include any rifle or shotgun that could have a magazine of five rounds or more.

Kinev held a press conference on Friday in which he said the changes were excessive and called on the federal government to withdraw the proposed changes. The official Manitoba opposition has now raised the issue as lawmakers are heading home to their constituencies with the amendments still on the table.

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Kinev says he himself is a law-abiding gun owner and enjoys hunting with his family.

“I teach my kids how to hunt safely,” he said. “And we really enjoy spending time together in the bush, hunting is part of our way of life. There are many Manitobans just like us.”

Kinew says he heard from many concerned Manitobans about the proposed changes that would affect the way they live.

Kinew has contacted the federal NDP about the proposed changes, and federal leader Jagmeet Singh, speaking to the special chiefs’ gathering, said his party would not support an amendment to the C-21 bill that violates the rights of the First Nations violates. Singh’s commitment comes after First Nations leaders voted against the law.

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Kinev said he doesn’t think he owns any guns that would be banned under the new law, adding that he would have to do a lot of research to find out.

“I think part of the concern here is that the approach that the federal government is taking with this change to the C-21 is not only overdone, it also seems very unclear and is of great concern to people who are licensed and law-abiding gun owners are,” Kinev said.

Concordia NDP MLA Matt Wiebe says the NDP has opposed gun laws in the past and understands the desire to limit violence on the streets, but law-abiding long gun owners should not be targeted. Kinev went as far as saying that the federal government has alienated many gun owners, which should be a cause for concern.

“In Manitoba, gun stewardship and hunting are part of our way of life,” he said. “And the state government has to respect that, and a federal government has to respect that too. And right now, it seems like this current approach is overkill.”

Parliament will resume in six weeks.

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