Last week, while speaking to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities during a public event, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked about gun control in the nation. Without hesitation, Harper responded that his wife was from a rural area and that “gun ownership wasn't just for the farm, [but] it was also for a certain level of security when you're a ways from immediate police assistance.” Without delay, critics went into overdrive suggesting that Harper was supporting or insinuating that gun owners should engage in “vigilante justice” or take matters into their own hands or that they should use their guns for their own protection. Harper has made it clear that this was not what he meant, for he isn't to be confused with one who values natural rights.
In response to the uproar, Harper has assured Canadians that, “gun owners in Canada are not able to take the law into their own hands....Gun ownership is a responsibility,...[and it comes along with] accepting a range of responsibilities.” To the amusement of some, former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant came out and claimed that Harper was promoting vigilantism, and he strongly dismissed any idea that Canadians would ever need to defend themselves. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was quick to voice his discontent in labeling Harper's comments as irresponsible. Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard seemed rather enraged over the entire incident, proclaiming that he prefers less guns (more victims), and that he doesn't want to live in a country that has an armed citizenry and is awash in firearms.
Some are coming out and saying that Harper was wrong and that Canadians don't have a legally-protected right to defend themselves with a firearm. Is this the entire truth? Pretty much. The Criminal Code in Section 34 defines defense of person as follows,
This essentially means that Canadians have the right to match the force that they are confronted with in order to repel an attack, but of course whether or not you are legally justified in doing so is a decision that is left up to the discretion of the Crown. The state is the one who gets afforded the decision of determining if one acted reasonable in the circumstances and within the realm of the law. When they are considering factors as to whether or not a person acted reasonably under the circumstances, they will be considering many factors including the nature of the threat, the person's role in the entire incident, the size and age of the parties involved, if the use of force was imminent or if there were other means of escape or protection available, any history or prior relationship between the parties involved in the incident, and much more. As it currently stands, Canadian citizens are not afforded the natural right to protect their lives, their property, or their families, their only source of protection is a phone call to the authorities, or attempting to flee from the situation at hand.
It might not be comforting to know then that police response is at times up to over an hour in some areas across Canada, and for many cities it is only increasing. The response time from police also depends on what is going on that night in your area, as calls (and your protection) are placed on a priority scale. In areas within the Vancouver region, police were able to respond in many cases under 15 minutes. Areas like Winnipeg can sometimes see a wait up to 77 minutes, while Ottawa has an average of around 9 minutes for a Priority 1 call. If you are facing real danger, you are going to have to hope that the danger holds off for at least 10 minutes or so, in order for you to wait for the police to show up and offer you help. Unless of course, an officer happens to only be a short distance away from you at the time of the incident taking place. Luckily for now, crime seems to be on a downward trend in the nation, but one never knows when they might be targeted. The motto in Canada is clear, hope that you never get victimized and flee or wait patiently if you do.
Check out our previous work on guns/gun control:
If you do not use PayPal or credit cards you can still donate! We accept checks, money orders, cash and equipment. With good old fashion mail you can send Dan stuff to:
Mail to Dan Dicks:
505-8840 210th Street
Langley BC, V1M 2Y2