A directive from the former public safety minister ordering the RCMP to speed up the classification of certain firearms, was rescinded Ralph Goodale, the current Liberal minister of public safety, because it had the potential of causing the “misclassification” of weapons.
The directive touches on critical issues on the matter of gun control in the Canada, which are: who can lawfully classify firearms; and which firearms should be classified as restricted and non-restricted.
In July last year, then public safety minister Steven Blaney sent a directive to the RCMP Commissioner Bob Polson giving the RCMP 180 days to evaluate, classify and issue a Firearms Refernce Table (FRT) for a certain firearm model so that that model could be imported into Canada. The directive also warned that if the RCMP missed the deadline, the firearm would be automatically classified under the classification provided by the manufacturer, according to a report from CBC News.
After sending the directive, Blaney issued a press release announcing that he had overturned the RCMP’s decision to classify the Ceska Zbrojovka CZ-858 rifle and some firearms from Swiss Arms which have been classified as prohibited firearms.
Goodale told the CBC he learned of Blaney’s directive during a briefing he attended months after he took over the office.
The new public safety minister said he rescinded Blaney’s directive in June 6 because he found several problems with it.
One of those problems had to do with timing. The directive was sent two or three days before an election and “that immediately sent out a red flag,” he said.
“That is not the right way to make public policy — at the last minute, on the back of an envelope,” Goodale said. He also pointed out that directives are suppose to dictate policy changes rather than administrative changes and that this particular directive imposed an “arbitrary timeline.”
Goodale also said the directive “could lead to the misclassification of certain weapons and therefore present a danger to public safety.”
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To view a copy of Blaney’s directive, click here.