By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Proposing, discussing, debating, and researching legislation is some of the critical elements of being a member of Parliament.
Precisely because of this Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, took a moment to reflect on three pieces of legislation that he fundamentally disagreed with and fought against starting off with C-21, an act to amend certain acts when dealing with firearms.
“There’s been some legislation that we get feedback on, guns was one of those, and the Liberal policy that they want to implement to restrict firearms from legal gun owners, who use them (in an) inappropriate way,” said Shields. “Basically the legislation under C-21 would have limited them severely in the sense of it’s basically talking about gun buy back — which to me, makes no sense. They didn’t understand. When they put in their amendments in December, they got a really big blow back from across the country. They withdrew some amendments but the piece of legislation itself is not dealing with the critical issue. It’s illegal handguns that are mostly smuggled into this country. Most of the crime is committed in major urban centres, gang related, this is a problem. Their attempt to deal with it is trying to take guns away that are not used in crime, but they’re legal gun owners that are registered, the security checked on a daily basis, but yet that’s who they’ve going after rather than the illegal handguns that are out there. Will continue to work on that.”
Following this Shields brought up two other bills that he felt were quite detrimental in what they were attempting to achieve.
“C-11 (An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts), and C-18 (An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada). C-11, you know, has to do with the Internet, and that has run into a lot of controversy, although they have got it past last year it’s coming to the House this week, but it was a long year dealing with the CRTC and the censorship issue with social media, that’s problematic. We’ve been able to get a lot of people involved in that, a lot of new points expressed across the political spectrum that says this is problematic.”
After explaining Bill C-11 Shields went into much more detail about C-18.
“C-18, which we believe is wrong from the point of, yes, we have media and weekly papers — the community papers, the voices of a lot of things in our communities. The government proposed a basic tax on international Facebook, Google that operate in our country, saying that they might give up $300 million to go to supporting our legacy print media in particular. Well, the problem with it is they put in such restrictions that many of our weekly papers don’t qualify for it, and then we found out that CBC got involved in negotiations. We got a number of organizations, major chains and the CBC have all negotiated with Google, Facebook and 75 to 80 per cent of the money is already gone to the big guys which (is) not what we thought would be possibly a good message for weekly papers in our country, and smaller challenging media productions. That’s still headed to the Senate, but it was a long challenge last year, working on that piece of legislation, because we believe both of those pieces of legislation are not what we need in this country.”