RCMP Constable David Matthew Wynn, 42 is not another person in the news. He is one more law enforcement officer who has been gunned down by a criminal who used a gun freely. There is outcry and focus in the mainstream media as well as in social media. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was the last major incident in 2014 that gripped Canadians. The Harper government wants to bring in laws regarding Canadian jihadists/terrorist. Does he understands it is guns that kill people as well the pathologies that plague our society.
On-duty police officers can carry handguns as well as Canadian border guards carry side arms as our Firearms Act and Regulations Act in Canada defines who can legally carry them. National Firearms Association of Canada works on trying to change our laws and protecting their membership’s rights with views such as ‘research is clear that arming law-abiding people’. Guns for the sake of protecting are not part of our everyday culture which has it roots in First Nations, the UK and France. Unlike the gun crazy USA and their constitutional right to bear arms, Canada has tried to support a value where guns are used mostly if “the individual’s principal activity is the handling, transportation or protection of cash, negotiable instruments or other goods of substantial value.” The Harper government passed Bill C-19 and Long gun registration is no longer required except in the province of Quebec. This change in policy could not be stopped in spite of the outcry by women ,Police, Health and Safety Experts .
As I look at today’s sad Wynn family in the news, it is more than having unarmed auxiliary officers, it is more about us. It is also about the flow of illegal guns from the USA, the lack of political will, and removing guns for criminals. As well, allowing any Canadian, age 19 or older who does not have a history of violence, drug trafficking or other habitual criminal behaviour to legally buy and own firearms must be revisited as storage, lending and violence against family members will find holes in this part of our legislation. Arm sales is big business and Canada is a target market when we read that the UN report ‘that Canada ranks third among the developed western countries (behind the United States and Norway) in the civilian ownership of firearms.’ Our society’s social capital, our schools where young people die, and our health as a society pay a price when guns wreak havoc as it has done on Constable Wynn’s family and friends.
Rights legislations are a baseline for establishing values and the social construction of democracy and freedom add to these values. However, with rights comes responsibility. Who is responsible for his unnecessary death? We will all be upset for the next while. The family will always have a missing chair at the table. We, the people must vote for parliamentarians who represent us and ask for less party politics and send more independent candidates to parliament. Staying home and not voting in Canada sends the same actors back to parliament beholden to big business and big donors.
If we want increased control over the availability of weapons in Canada we must try to change social perspectives which allows for our current dysfunctional political system. The pathology of not voting as viewed as exercising one’s vote. This is a view that needs re-educating. If the citizens of Canada take political power back by voting, current identity politics, and pandering to large vote rich ethnic groups can be limited. Canada needs a government that listens to all of us, making laws that the majority view as important while protecting minority political and civil rights.