- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2001

Canada still hospitable to hunters

The Oct. 17 Outdoors column "Canadian gun rules have our hunters upset" contained some misinformation regarding new requirements for firearm owners coming into Canada.

Since Jan. 1, 2001, firearm owners visiting Canada have been subject to new provisions, as are Canadian firearm owners. Those bringing firearms into the country must now stop at Canada Customs and declare all firearms in writing. Previously, only an oral declaration was required.

Contrary to the statement in your column, it does not cost $50 per firearm brought into the country. The fee for the 60-day Firearm Declaration (for nonresidents) is $50 in Canadian funds (about $30 in U.S. currency), regardless of the number of firearms that are declared. This declaration is valid for 60 days, and it can be renewed for up to a year at no additional cost.

As an alternative to a firearm declaration, visitors may opt for the Temporary Firearms Borrowing Licence (for nonresidents). This temporary license allows nonresidents to borrow nonrestricted firearms for certain purposes, such as hunting while in Canada. The fee for this 60-day temporary license is $30 in Canadian funds (less than $20 in U.S. currency). It is renewable once at no cost, within a 12-month time frame. Nonresidents should apply for this temporary license well in advance of arrival at the Canadian border.

Finally, frequent visitors to Canada also have the option of applying for a Canadian Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), which costs $60 (less than $40 in U.S. currency) and is valid for five years. PAL holders are not required to complete a declaration at the border.

It is important to remind visitors that they may only bring into Canada nonprohibited firearms temporarily and for a permitted purpose only. Nonresidents are also subject to the same safe storage and transportation regulations as Canadian firearm owners.

To expedite the border process, the preprocessing of the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form is now available through some high-traffic land border and airport Customs offices. Visitors who fill out their firearms declaration in advance will also reduce delays when arriving at the border.

We will continue to work closely with outfitters and the firearms community to ensure that the law is applied fairly and with as little disruption to visitors as possible. Visitors are finding that the new requirements are a small price to pay for all that the Canadian landscape has to offer.

As for the "tough registration fees" for Canadian firearm owners mentioned in your column, it actually costs $18 (about $10 in U.S. currency) for Canadians to register all their firearms at the same time. Currently, these fees are being waived for a limited time, on a region-by-region basis, and there is an online application service.

Additional information, along with the firearms declaration and temporary license forms, are available at www.cfc.gc.ca or by calling 800/731-4000. Customs offices across Canada also have the declaration form available.


DAVID AUSTIN

Communications and public affairs

Canadian Firearms Centre

Department of Justice

Ottawa

U.S. treatment of Northern Alliance reminiscent of Bay of Pigs

In his Oct 26 column, "When a terrorist is just another patriot," Wesley Pruden correctly concludes that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's views on how to conduct the war often contrast with those of our president. I agree and hasten to add that Mr. Powell's ill-advised foreign policy ventures are downright dangerous for our allies, not only in Israel but also the Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan that are fighting our war for us.

U.S. and allied support of the Afghan rebels is at best sporadic and dangerously reminiscent of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. History tells us that in that ill-fated attempt to overthrow dictator Fidel Castro, we betrayed our brave allies the Cuban freedom fighters and patriots by suddenly withdrawing air support for the mission, an action that led to the massacre and capture of the all-Cuban force.

Sad to say, under Mr. Powell's august auspices, the same pattern of support/nonsupport now manifests itself in Afghanistan, where our stalwart but, alas, miserably equipped freedom-fighting Northern Alliance patriots struggle to keep their positions and are now even pushed back from them. Yesterday, their commander was captured and killed by the Taliban while desperately calling a U.S. gunship for much-needed air support. We have betrayed them in much the same way we have betrayed Israeli and Cuban patriots.

What will it take to convince our diplomats and especially Mr. Powell that pushing political solutions ahead of judicious military action costs lives and does not win wars?


CARIN SALA

Palm Beach, Fla.

Hidden agenda in 'Dark Ages' column

In her Oct. 26 Op-Ed column, "Islam is in Dark Ages," Diana West attacks Islam by paraphrasing a self-proclaimed expert, Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum. Mrs. West says, "The experts tell us militant Islamic fundamentalists, or 'Islamists,' represent a narrow, if murderous, fringe. They number no more than 10, maybe 15, percent of all Muslims. That works out to somewhere between 100 million and 150 million people. Which is a lot of murderous fringe." These are Mr. Pipes' estimates, which he often cites in his newspaper opinion columns.

Had Mrs. West reasoned well, she would have seen the apparent and obvious fear and hatred of Muslims in Mr. Pipes' analysis. He has a history of attacking Muslims and Islam, but not for humanitarian reasons. Mr. Pipes has a hidden political agenda.

Mr. Pipes is a die-hard supporter of Israel, and he fears that a strong, politically active Muslim community in the United States may challenge the uncritical and unconditional support for Israel.

If he can cause the American public to fear Muslims, he will succeed in marginalizing them and delegitimizing the major Muslim organizations and their leaders. Hence, Mr. Pipes would score big for Israel.

In a time when Americans need healing and emotional recovery, such wild fear and hate-mongering should be condemned strongly, loudly and specifically. It is most unfortunate that Mrs. West fell for this self-serving expert's trap.


FEDWA WAZWAZ

Communications director

Islamic Resource Group

Crystal, Minn.


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