Red Deer gun expert removed from committee
A Red Deer gun expert believes Prime Minister Stephen Harper removed her from an influential federal firearms committee.
“I think this has come down from the prime minister,” said Linda Baggaley. “It was a blindside definitely. I really didn’t think I’d be one of the ones gone.”
Baggaley was told by email two weeks ago she was no longer a member and thanked for voluntary service on the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (CFAC) by an assistant to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Two others, a Saskatchewan gunsmith and Ontario sportsman, were also removed. This week, Calgary’s police chief, the Winnipeg Police Association president and the Abbotsford Police Department’s chief constable were appointed as replacements.
“I have no hard feelings for minister Toews. I’m sure it’s a top-down order.”
Baggaley, who runs Bud Haynes Auctions, Canada’s oldest firearms auction house, thinks the prime minister gave in to gun control advocates who thought the committee was stacked with firearms supporters.
“I know the committee has been functional, well-rounded and balanced,” said the 40-year gun veteran in rejecting the criticism.
The prime minister rejected committee recommendations last December to reclassify some guns as restricted rather than prohibited and extend firearms licenses to 10 years.
“I’m obviously very concerned with some of the recommendations made in that report, and I think the committee does need some re-examination in that light,” he told the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister’s Office didn’t have any comment on Wednesday other than repeating the prime minister’s statement made to the House of Commons and saying that Toews can comment on the composition of the committee.
Originally appointed by Stockwell Day, Baggaley served on many federal firearm advisory groups, including two CFAC predecessors going back to the early 2000s under Liberal justice minister Anne McLellan.
“At least she met with us four times a year and made conference calls. I’m still in touch with her.”
In addition to running gun auctions, Baggaley remains an executive member of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.
Despite the repeal of the federal long gun registry, Baggaley predicts concerns by law-abiding gun owners will continue.
“I don’t go anywhere where I’m not asked about gun control and legislation.
“I think the committee will be in for a rough ride. I don’t really envy their jobs now, having three police chiefs on there.”