MONTREAL, April 19, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The student movement, NOT_HERE, which represents 18 student associations and confederation with more than 250,000 students across the country, gathered outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Montreal office the morning to protest the inaction so far by the Government of Canada to ban handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons. The Students are deeply concerned about the availability of these types of guns and do not want Canada to follow in the step of our neighbours to the South.
Wendy Vasquez, President of the Quebec Confederation for Engineering Student Outreach – QCESO (Confédération pour le rayonnement étudiant en ingénierie du Québec - CRÉIQ) and spokesperson of PAS_ICI/NOT_HERE asks: "four years in power and several mass shootings - including the Quebec Mosque, Toronto's Danforth and Fredericton - and what progress have the Liberals made on gun control?"
Vasquez believes that the measures in Bill C-71 do not go far enough. « Bill C-71 brings some modest measures that were already in place decades ago, without controversy, such as commercial sales records which exist in the United States. But with Bill C-71, these same measures have been watered down. In short, we are talking here, at best, about of a few half-measures with a host of concessions to the gun lobby."
Faced with recent amendments passed in a Senate committee gutting the bill, she adds: "We are counting on the majority in the Red Chamber to reject the amendments instigated by Conservative senators and ensure that this bill, at a minimum, passes as it was written when it arrived at the Senate."
Handguns and Assault weapons
"But what concerns us the most are the weapons that are typically used in mass killings: handguns and assault weapons. We live, after all, in the era of mass shootings, and more specifically school shootings. We are concerned for our safety as well as that of future generations. We do not want to practice active shooter drills in our classrooms and cafeterias - as if we can outrun bullets shot from a handgun with 10-bullet clips or a military-style semi-automatic weapon! This is NOT prevention!"
During the last election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised: "take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets". And what has his government done so far regarding these weapons? "A lengthy public consultation led by Minister Blair, which taught us nothing new, produced nothing concrete and wasted a lot of time. We are beginning to have doubts about the sincerity of this government when it claims to want to protect the public against the risks associated with the most deadly weapons."
After the massacres that occurred in the two mosques in Christchurch, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, was quick to act, announcing legislation to ban assault weapons within six days and passing a law to do just that within 30 days. This is in stark contrast to the Canadian government.
Manuel Klaassen, president of the Polytechnique Student Association and spokesperson of PAS_ICI/NOT_HERE, reminded the crowd that tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the shooting massacre at Columbine in Colorado during which 12 students and one teacher were shot in less than 15 minutes. It was the worst mass shooting in the US at the time, but has since inspired many others, including the one at Dawson College, and the death toll has been repeatedly surpassed. "Like the students of Parkland, Florida, we say: "Enough is enough!"
"Students across Canada now practice 'active shooter' drills in their schools. That's right: we are expected to prepare for a mass shooter entering our classrooms and cafeterias! So it's ok to traumatize kids and teenagers with active shooter scenarios, while nothing is done about the weapons that make these kinds of tragedies possible? What country are we living in?!?"
Wendy Vasquez and Manual Klaassen are also asking fellow students to support the campaign "Your voice is a weapon / Make yourself heard " of the Coalition for Gun Control, encouraging Canadians to be heard by contacting their MP or signing the petition to ban handguns and assault weapons.
"Mr. Trudeau, you made good promises, but it is now time to deliver," concludes Klassan. "Listen to Canada's youth and the overwhelming majority of Canadians that are in favour of banning handguns and assault weapons. Do not surrender to the gun lobby which represents a loud and self-interested minority. »
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