Oscar Alvarado

Oscar Alvarado (The Coalition for Gun Control): Oscar is a dual citizen of Canada and Panama whose academic, professional and volunteer work has taken him to all continents. He is fluent in English, Spanish and French. After receiving his BA in Biomedical Science and Economics from McGill University, Oscar spent a year in Kazakhstan as an English teacher with the United Nations Volunteers. He then earned an MA in Environmental Security from the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica. Prior to his AP fellowship, Oscar also interned at the Security Governance / Counter-Terrorism Laboratory of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in Turin, Italy.

When chiefs fall and fried chicken doesn’t help your cause…

20 Aug

9 months ago, RCMP Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak was vetted and hired as Director General of the Canadian Firearms Program to “raise awareness and promote firearms regulations and safety to all law-abiding gun owners.”

That includes ensuring that all gun owners are properly licensed and that ALL guns (including handguns and long guns) are registered.

During his testimony at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) in May, he explained how “the information and expertise provided by the Canadian firearms program is vital to the prevention and investigation of crimes related to firearms. The program also helps to reduce firearms-related death and injury in Canadian communities by enabling and promoting responsible firearms ownership, use, and storage.”

No surprise then that the SECU committee, after hearing expert opinions on the matter, submitted a report recommending that the House of Commons “not proceed further with Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry), because the Committee has heard sufficient testimony that the bill will dismantle a tool that promotes and enhances public security and the safety of Canadian police officers.”

Interestingly, Mr. Cheliak was scheduled to present a comprehensive pro-registry report at an important police chiefs meeting this month as well as receive an award for his work in improving the registry. Instead, he was removed from his position with the absurd excuse that now was the appropriate time for him to undertake French language training (!?). This isn’t the first time the government has prevented a pro-registry report from being released. Nor is the first time they remove an influential figure for speaking out in support of the registry.

The very next day, Monsieur Harper decides to “jump the gun” and tell employees at the Canadian Firearms Centre that they will all have new jobs once the registry is abolished (as if it was a certainty).

As we approach the vote on the SECU committee’s recommendation, the Conservative government has no fear of demonstrating just how fake of a Private Member’s Bill C-391 actually is. First they come out with a national radio ad campaign promising to abolish the registry. Then, this “private member’s legislation” comes up with a website “Authorized by the Registered Agent of the Conservative Party of Canada”. And just yesterday, they went through the trouble of gathering several MPs, Senators and a Minister at a fried chicken restaurant for a gun rally that nobody showed up to.

(side note: if you cannot attract supporters or curious folks DESPITE associating yourself with fried chicken, maybe your stance isn’t that popular..)

You would think that firing an RCMP Chief would finally make NDP leader Jack Layton realize that it’s OK to whip the vote on an issue that affects public safety. I mean, the Conservatives are doing it too you know.

Posted By Oscar Alvarado

Posted Aug 20th, 2010

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