Liberals failing to keep Canadians safe from gun violence, says Polytechnique survivor
MONTREAL -- Gun control advocates are taking the federal Liberals to task over their record and say the party has not done what it promised to make Canadians safer.
For more than 30 years, Nathalie Provost has been an advocate for stricter gun control. She was among those shot when a gunman stormed into the École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989.
“He had modified his magazine, so he had 30 bullets shot in less than two, three minutes. It’s so quick,” Provost said Monday in an interview.
“And you cannot do anything. You can just realize what’s happening and it's finished. I was shot four times; two times in my legs, a bullet in my foot, and one in my forehead.”
Fourteen female students were killed, and since then, there have been demands for changes to Canada's gun laws.
“Right now, our laws are not strong enough and look at what's happening in Montreal. Look what’s happening in other big cities. We have to do something,” Provost said.
With the recent shootings in the city, Montreal Mayor Valerie plante is also calling on Ottawa to do more.
“We’re done. We want our people to be safe and ultimately, there has to be a choice of society. What kind of world do we want to live in? What kind of Canada do we want to live in? What kind of society do we want? I think most people will say no guns,” the mayor said.
The Liberals tabled a bill in February to amend gun control laws that included a voluntary buy-back program for a list of guns prohibited last year, but Provost said the proposed legislation falls short.
“Now we have a prohibition, but what’s in Canadian hands is still in Canadian hands," said Provost.
Where do the other federal parties stand on the issue of gun control? The Conservatives want to expand the Criminal Code to make sentencing harsher for firearm smugglers while providing more support for the RCMP.
The NDP vows to strengthen community programs to prevent gang violence and to fight organized crime.
Meanwhile, a coalition for firearm owners says it's concerned that gun control efforts could affect legal sport and hunting practices.
“I think a lot of people don’t understand how difficult and arduous it is to be a gun owner in Canada,” said Tracey Wilson, vice-president of public relations at the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights.
“We aren’t the ones running around in Toronto to Surrey shooting up the streets. As a mom and a grandma, I find it disturbing the lack of effort being put into fighting actual crime and violence.”