It has been fourteen years since Bruce Montague, a decent God-fearing, law-abiding family man, a citizen of Dryden, Ontario, started on a journey that would expose the worst of what a modern Canadian democracy can be. Bruce’s journey could have been that of many others but he got singled out because he believed in his rights, his cherished civil rights as an Ontarian and proud Canadian and he walked the talk for all to see despite the risks. His outspoken protests and civil disobedience over the draconian assault on his civil liberties brought on by the federal liberal government of Jean Chretien and subsequently enforced by the Ontario liberal government of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne has all but ruined his life and taken away his livelihood.
Bruce’s occupation was the honourable profession of gunsmith; I use the past tense because, under court order, he’s now prohibited from getting back into that. Bruce was very skilled and knowledgeable in his profession and well known in his community. Northern Ontario towns are close-knit not unlike northern towns all across Canada; people know one another, wave hellos from behind the wheel and stop and chat at Canadian Tire. Bruce and his family fit that mold and led a very normal life until the Gestapo tactics of Ontario’s legal system intervened and put him through hell. His wonderful little daughter Katey put up a website to document the saga so Canadians could monitor what was happening to her family and offer support; this helped get her daddy some needed financial assistance to fight for his rights despite the dilatory machinations of the legal system that most citizens find unaffordable; but unfortunately all efforts failed to exculpate him from the venomous liberal persecution.
Gun-hating liberal ideology is a creeping disease globally and no stranger to jurisdictions in the USA despite what we hear about the open gun culture south of our border. If we look in on the recent writings of civil rights warriors such as Dana Loesch (1) and Emily Miller (2) we have a window into just how noxious the use of big money and political influence-pedalling can be even in a country that has the right to bear arms cited specifically as the 2nd Amendment in their Constitution. As usual there are lessons to be learned in Canada from all this as more and more examples of government brutality are exposed in the USA and elsewhere, especially in cases of military personnel returning from heroic service to their nation being savagely persecuted for picayune infractions of inane liberal laws in places like Washington DC where citizens can be arrested and jailed if even a spent shell or cartridge case is observed in their vehicle and no gun is present. Emily Miller’s efforts in her Washington Times journalist role has exposed the DC inanities and she has had a positive effect on changing the rules. The media world in Canada needs more courageous, investigative journalists like Emily to expose serious miscarriages of justice and work along with the little Katies that stand up for their families.
Bruce’s problems started when he openly defied some of the force-fed rules under Bill C68, the 1995 Firearms Act, brought in by Jean Chretien’s Justice Minister, Allan Rock, the guy that went by the motto that “only the police and military should have guns”. In the aftermath of the horrendous December, 1989 attack at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal when 28 people were shot resulting in the murder of 14 young women at the hands of a women-hating psychopath named Gamil Gharbi (changed to Mark Lepine at age14, taking his mother’s surname due to his hatred of his Algerian father), the liberals struck with a gun control, broad–brush law aimed at punishing all law-abiding firearm owners under the guise of safety. The few relevant aspects of this mostly new law already existed, namely those having to do with safe storage and background checks; but It’s not uncommon, despite the redundancy, for liberal regimes, in 21st Century parlance known as “progressives”, to pounce with ideological gun control venom on the backs of families suffering from tragedies as it makes them look strong and purposeful when in fact they are acting like bullies. A more recent example occurred south of the border in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy when President Obama and his right hand man Biden, aided and abetted by billionaire, former New York Mayor Bloomberg and his paid-for, anti-gun orgs, tried in vain to push gun-hating regulations through Congress whilst chastising the NRA for putting forward a sensible, well-sponsored program designed to help school districts keep kids safe from psychopaths bent on murderous rampages.
Citizen disarmament always precedes tyranny, history has shown that in spades with extreme examples as was the case in Nazi Germany when all Jewish citizens were disarmed as a precursor to their attempted annihilation; and civilian disarmament is always preceded by unwarranted gun registration so the dictators in either totalitarian or “progressive regimes” know where the guns are even though it’s none of their damn business, that is, if we indeed have property rights in a free and democratic society. We’ve seen this not long ago in Great Britain and Australia. Such regimes do nothing to put in place social programs to weed out the psychos that walk among us due to the progressives’ penchant for privacy notions when it comes to mental health records; but they take glee in putting in place feel-good laws under the “gun control” banner that time and again, including the above examples, prove to have no effect on crime control whatsoever while seriously encroaching on the civil rights of law-abiding gun owners.
On a global scale, the current effort aimed at civilian disarmament is the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that Mr. Harper’s government wisely refused to endorse given its blatant assault on the civil rights of individuals everywhere but most particularly law-abiding Canadians. Ostensibly aimed at commercial gun trading, its cleverly worded text can only be interpreted to include law-abiding gun owners in all walks of life. Talk about an “assault weapon”, this is the biggest one that progressives have in their arsenal these days. If liberal PM Trudeau takes Canada into the ATT, contrary to the logical actions of the former government as early indications seem to indicate, then the next time a group of terrorized little girls are kidnapped into sexual slavery or some horrendous genocide occurs where the citizenry is prohibited from owning firearms, the horror will lay squarely on his and the shoulders of all other political heads that pushed this UN agenda as surely the world has learned by now that the major reason these inhuman atrocities occur is that the victims are totally defenseless.
When implementation of the long gun registry (LGR) under C68 was finally brought into force in 2003 after amnesty delays, many revisions to the ill-thought-out draft regulations under the Act and the country having witnessed the largest citizen demonstration in history on Parliament Hill by law-abiding firearm owners, Bruce refused to register his long guns as the new law required and he allowed his Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) to expire without renewing it into the sinister replacement now called a “Possession and Acquisition Licence” or PAL for short. You see, for Bruce, it was simply unconstitutional for the government to force him to register his long guns and get a PAL for his legally owned property, some of which were family artifacts passed on down through the generations just like grandma’s jewellery. So he stood his ground- not be confused with “stand your ground laws” in the USA that have a different meaning having to do with self defense using lethal force if necessary; in Bruce’s case he was taking the position that C68’s impingements on what he firmly maintained were his fundamental property rights were merely administrative in nature and had no place under the Criminal Code to thus render any law-abiding citizen a criminal for non-compliance. He believed that unfettered rights to his property, in this case his long guns, were not privileges but natural heritage rights going back long before the government of Canada even existed; and accordingly, his thesis was that no government nor any court, howsoever concocted, has the legitimate authority to take away those rights. He still believes that as do several million other law-abiding firearm owners in Canada that revel in enjoying their cherished hunting heritage, family heirlooms and various recreational target shooting sports.
In 2012, given its uselessness by any measure, and its wicked, wanton waste of taxpayer dollars, the Harper government agreed with that philosophy and repealed the requirement to register long guns in Canada. Every democracy needs an emergency brake to safeguard citizens’ rights; and thankfully, the denunciatory action by Mr. Harper applied ours. The implementation of this long overdue policy was the end result of the most acrimonious and divisive rural vs urban Canadian debate in our history, a debate that spanned 17 years since the tabling of C68. It was of course aided and abetted by smug urban liberals that comprise the largest voting block in Canada, groupies and liberal sycophants that sit around sipping their lattes and besmirching the rural hics that Obama, in the USA context, has called “bitter clingers”, a moniker that will live in his legacy as one of the rudest of any President in history, but thankfully, despite the liberals’ dogma here, has not been replicated in Canada. Dana Loesch (1) has coined a term that describes middle-America as “fly-over country”, a descriptor very appropriate to the sparsely populated, rural regions of Canada as well, and, in its political context, areas given light policy-making weight by liberals. And the “flat-earthers” as she has coined progressives, only look on ruralites collectively as “the bastard child of the coasts”; the same sentiment is exhibited here from large urban centres!
Mr. Harper’s democratic intrusion to end the LGR debate was in a way a satirical metaphor for Trudeau senior’s “bedrooms of the nation” privacy assertion several decades ago. But unfortunately for Bruce and his family this came too late as he had already been convicted on several charges during his court ordeal, mostly picayune paper crimes created under C68; and he paid dearly for that by serving seven months in prison prior to his release in 2011. The most serious of the charges he was convicted of had to do with his altering a personally-owned semi-automatic rifle to full automatic simply for his own target shooting pleasure; after all, he wasn’t some misfit, radicalized Islamic jihadi bent on killing innocent people or anything of the sort but the court made no distinction. Ironically, had Bruce owned such a full automatic rifle before C68 was implemented he’d have been grandfathered to legally own such a “prohibited firearm” as many Canadian collectors do now. Adding to this inconsistent application of justice is the fact that, contemporaneously, an organization known as “The Unregistered Firearms Association of Canada” had been created, with membership across Canada, and the followers of this cult were never persecuted by the authorities. So one has to question just what was accomplished by this inscrutable persecution other than its attempt to acculturate Ontarians into a ludicrous gun-control ethos by the prosecution’s dogmatic push to imprison an otherwise law-abiding man in erstwhile common -sense Ontario?
Looking in on the saga of Bruce’s case I remind myself that more than 100,000 Canadians gave their lives in two World Wars to preserve the natural heritage rights that Bruce was fighting for. There were no omissions to those rights when my grandfather served in WWI with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was wounded during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France. There were no omissions to our rights when Canadian forces moved forward with our allies to liberate Holland from Nazi tyranny close to the end of WWII. And throughout history, the same inclusion was a fact resplendent in all other conflicts when Canadian men and women put their lives on the line. These rights go back well beyond Confederation and are derived from British common law, a fundamental principle on which we are founded; and yet there is an element of society today, leftist politicians prominent among them, that not only has no respect for the totality of our valiant and well-purposed history but also has little interest in knowing much about it at all as these progressives view the world through blinkers and care not about rights that don’t suit their agenda. If any other minority group was being so-persecuted they’d be up in arms, pardon the pun!
In hunting circles it’s well known that bloodhounds never give up the chase and the actions of the McGuinty/Wynne liberals were no exception. Not content that Bruce served time for his misdemeanours, their nihilistic administration launched the most abusive assault imaginable; they went after the Montague family home. Under the Civil Remedies Act of Ontario (CRA) they put forth the ruse that it represented the spoils of crime. Ironically that Act was brought in by the Harris/Eves Conservatives but what the rapacious liberals failed to reveal was that its sole purpose was to circumvent the amassing of wealth by organized crime; so Bruce, with his honest gunsmith business and personal civil disobedience that earned him not one red cent, was being equated to the Mafia. What complete and utter brutality! That home had been built by the family prior to the advent of C68, not that it mattered since Bruce’s business was perfectly legal and accounted for; but that fact mattered not to this egregious liberal regime intent on pushing their gun-hating ethos to the extreme, immersed in their moral relativism and caring not that this man and his family were being nailed to the cross for no good reason other than the pursuit of liberal ideology.
After a long fight with the Province the Montague family has finally won the battle to keep their family home. This happened in two stages. First, after several years of this civil case onslaught, the Province, after already forcing the forfeiture of Bruce’s $100,000 gun collection, reluctantly came partway and reduced the demand that the home be forfeited to the Crown if Bruce would pay a penalty of $50,000 and sign a confidentiality agreement. Bruce, being totally innocent under any interpretation of the CRA, even by the most uneducated of lawyers, of which there appeared to be many such sinecures on the Province’s payroll, refused this benevolent offer. Instead, he posted the Province’s offer on social media so the public would know the truth of just how devious this government can be. It worked. The government acceded to the pressure that exposed their evil and abandoned the civil case with no further demand for a penalty payment. They have even released a few of Bruce’s more cherished family heirlooms to his daughter Katey as she holds a PAL and wasn’t charged with anything in this mindless episode. So it seems the old adage “see no evil speak no evil” indeed has relevance; social media is a very powerful antidote to a regime out of control.
I donated to the Montague legal fund a few years back as did a great many others and hopefully we all helped make a difference in this utter fascist-like persecution. It’s like any other worthy pursuit in life, in as much as if those that believe in a cause aren’t prepared to put their money where their mouth is, then the legal manipulations of an out-of-control regime will rule the day because their resources are limitless. Thankfully the Canadian Constitution Foundation came forward to take on Bruce’s case when his original lawyer, Doug Christie, died; had that not happened, with the credibility of their prodigious place-setting on the table to gallantly expose the injustice taking place, this might not have been a happy ending for the family. But of course it’s not a totally happy ending since Bruce is under court order prohibiting possession of firearms which means he cannot recommence his gunsmith business. It’s hard to conceive how we have allowed a court to have such authority in democratic Canada as to force a person to abandon their career when in fact the pursuit of that career, in a strict sense, was not germane to the charges under which Bruce was convicted; it wasn’t as if he was a lawyer embezzling his client’s funds and building a mansion with the proceeds ; the charges had to do with very personal actions based on his civil rights beliefs, not actions for financial gain, and with no intent to use his guns for criminal pursuits, so in that vein one has to ask the question- “did the court act outside of its lawful jurisdiction in a discriminatory manner contrary to the Charter”?
I’ll leave it to legal scholars to grope with that but there’s one thing I’m certain of; in a country playing in the noxious weeds of the gun-grabbing intricacies of C68, invoked and relentlessly promulgated by the Disney World mentality of the Chretien/Rock/Annie-get-your-gun McClellan and Hopalong-Martin era, stories like this are far from over. Whether the liberals have learned anything from the Bruce Montague saga or not remains to be seen at the Provincial level. Federally it’s obvious that Bill C68 needs to be repealed and replaced by a straight-forward law that respects the property rights of firearm owners and decriminalizes paper offences. This would have absolutely no reference whatsoever to the nonsensical tome to be found in the pages of former liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette’s proposed Bill S223, a proposal so devoid of respect for the heritage rights of Canadians that it defies comment notwithstanding the silly, sycophantic and technically arid caterwauling of pipsqueak progressives like David Climenhaga in his recent “Rabble Blog”. S223 is another story and will hopefully die quickly on the Senate floor as its inanities are too embarrassing even for semi-intelligent progressives to contemplate further. Adding to the unintelligible debate put forward in S223, the mainstream media continues to use the term “assault weapon” for any cosmetically-confusing rifle used in a homicide, especially semi-auto, modern sporting rifles used by hundreds of thousands of hunters and competition target shooters when in fact assault weapons are full automatics and only issued to the military; they have been illegal to purchase in Canada for decades and it’s the same rule of law in the USA. As Orwell once said, “there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them”!
Canadians should not be required to have a “licence” to own property that’s been in the family for generations. The registration of handguns that’s been with us since the 1930’s, although not loved by law-abiding firearm owners, is more or less palatable; but the requirement to have a “licence” over and above that is not, as it serves absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever. In place of the PAL, a return to the FAC system is all that’s needed to facilitate background checks for firearm purchases and help keep the sociopaths that walk among us under control. Property rights are a fact of life in our democracy and shouldn’t need to be enshrined in a Constitution or modern-day epistle called a Charter to be legally recognized; and it might be a surprise to many that our Charter is remiss in this regard, just a little oversight by Trudeau senior. So far Justin Trudeau’s liberals, except for the potential back door ATT approach, haven’t directly heightened the Chretien liberals’ assault on law-abiding gun owners, an assault we can thank Bruce Montague for highlighting. Maybe, just maybe, even though he seems to lack perspicacity at times, if there’s such a thing as genetic aptitude transfer, PM Justin Trudeau might be astute enough to be tuned in to his dad’s democratic focus on civilian privacy, in this case the long gun cabinets of the nation.
Our current Prime Minister needs to remind himself that our predecessors gave much to ensure continuance of the rights they fought for. This ultimate gift was forever documented by Lt. Colonel John McCrae as eulogized in his prophetic memorial poem, “In Flanders Fields”, when he wrote, “…to you we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep…”. The government of the day is simply the custodian of that flame and duty bound to safeguard it from both internal and external extremists that exude toxic hatred towards the recreational firearms community and show no respect for the sacrifices of those that came before us.
(1) “HANDS OFF MY GUN…Defeating the Plot to Disarm America”
By Dana Loesch, Center Street, Hachette Book Group, 2014
(2) “EMILY GETS HER GUN….But Obama Wants To Take Yours”
By Emily Miller, Regnery Publishing Inc., 2013
Ron P. Alton