Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday November 30, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Gun control activists urge Trudeau not to compromise with firearm lobby

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — Gun-control activists implored Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday to not let the pro-gun lobby slow down his government’s efforts to introduce firearm legislation.

Serge St-Arneault, who lost his sister during the Ecole polytechnique massacre in 1989, asked Trudeau to keep his party’s campaign promise.

“I know the gun lobby is strong and noisy,” he said, standing with eight other gun-control activists in Ottawa.

“But your party…was elected with a majority due to, among other things, your promise to reverse the damage caused by the Harper government.”

Trudeau promised firearm-tracing regulations that would help police better trace guns used in crimes.

The campaign pledge was not popular with the firearm community, which has long opposed the rules and “continues to advocate against their coming into force,” according to an internal note to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, obtained by The Canadian Press last spring.

Heidi Rathjen, co-ordinator of an organization comprised of survivors of the Polytechnique massacre and members of victims’ families, criticized the government’s working group on firearms.

“The new committee … has had only two meetings — one in March and one in May,” she said. “When the minister (Goodale) was asked when the gun control bill would be tabled, one of his responses was the committee was ‘hard at work.’”

Rathjen said the delays are due to the “objections of firearm owners.”

Her group, called PolySeSouvient, has recently found new allies: members of Quebec’s Muslim community who are still in shock over the shooting deaths of six men in a Quebec City mosque last January.

“I lived this event, I saw the destructive force of these firearms,” said Nizar Ghali, who survived the attack and who was among the activists in Ottawa.

“I saw my brothers fall and die in a pool of their own blood. What are you waiting for to act?”

A spokesperson for Goodale released a statement to say, ”in the near future, we will introduce a host of legislative measures in harmony with what was in our electoral program.”

The statement also said the Liberal party has no intention of creating another long-gun registry, which was destroyed by the Harper government.

Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press

CanadaPrime Minister Justin Trudeau

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