Editor: I am writing in response to Kevin O’Brien’s letter in the July 26 edition entitled “Blaney’s comment way over the top.”
To start with, Mr. O’Brien lambastes the Conservative Party for standing up for the rights of law-abiding Canadian gun owners by cutting a considerable amount of the red tape contained within the Firearms Act. Then the writer states he is shocked Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney is on record saying that “it is a right to bear arms in Canada.”
It is no secret that 50 plus years of anti-Americanism, perpetuated largely by the media, academic institutions and various provincial and federal governments, have instilled in three generations of Canadians a false sense of superiority that we are somehow better than our cousins to the south.
Contrary to what many believe, the “right to keep and bear arms” did not begin with the signing of the U.S. Constitution on June 21, 1788. It is an ancient right that existed for centuries prior to the American Revolution.
Canada’s laws are based largely on English common law. The right of English subjects to possess arms was first written into the Magna Carta of 1215 and strengthened by King Henry III’s signing of the Assize of Arms in 1253. The English Bill of Rights stipulated that English subjects were to “to have arms for their defence within the rule of law.”
This ancient right was carried forth into Canadian history with the British North American Act, Canadian Bill of Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Section 26, which clarifies that although not specifically mentioned, other rights and freedoms in Canada continue to be valid.
Mr. O’Brien claims that Mr. Blaney is insulting the charter, which in itself is merely an amendment to our first great constitution, the Magna Carta. To conclude, Canadians have the same rights as Americans, whose 2nd Amendment is derived from English common law.