- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

American hunters and recreational shooters who strongly support the Second Amendment to the Constitution the right to keep and bear arms are keenly aware of what is happening to their closest friends and allies, the Canadians.
Our northern neighbors are in the middle of a national nightmare; a heavy-handed government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a mandatory national gun registration program that sends loud and clear messages to Canadians that they shouldn't own guns. The government seems to say, "Don't worry. Only soldiers and police need firearms. We'll protect you."
When the Canadian gun control program was first announced some years ago, Americans were warned not to bother coming to Canada unless they were ready to comply with Maple Leaf land's latest laws, which might make a totalitarian power proud. Not only that, anti-Canadian campaigns were started to keep American hunters at home instead of spending their hard-earned cash in an anti-gun country.
But a Canadian friend and businessman, whose identity must be protected lest he suffer repercussions from gun registration proponents in his country, says former President Bill Clinton is at least partially to blame for the Canadian gun mess.
Says he: "We have always believed that the Canadian gun registration legislation was initiated by the Clinton White House, given the remarks I heard Clinton make some years ago when [our] Prime Minister was visiting, and the press conference was covered live on CBC radio. I just happened to hear it.
"Normally, when a visiting head of state comes to the White House and the president and honored guest meet with the press, there is some key issue between the U.S. and the other country that is the focus of the day you know the drill. Often the questions stray into other issues, but there is always some focal point to initiate the conversation and prompt questions.
"[But] when Prime Minister [Jean] Chretien visited Clinton and the president made his opening remarks from the South Lawn of the White House, he opened his remarks by saying how proud he was to be standing with the first leader in the Western world to implement effective gun control the Prime Minister of Canada.
"Now given what you know of international relations, issues, visiting dignitaries and diplomacy would you expect such a comment to lead the remarks by the American president when welcoming the Canadian Prime Minister in front of the world press?"
My friend believes that Canada is in large part a test case for U.S. gun registration proponents, just as Canada has been the proving ground for certain animal rights, anti-hunting and anti-fishing agendas. "Canada is a parallel society in many ways to the U.S.," he says. "What better way to experiment and eliminate the problematic aspects of gun registration before introducing it in the U.S.?"
And what are Canadians concerned with right now? Another attack on their hunting/fishing heritage. There are forces at work to pass animal welfare and protection legislation. Who would object to protecting a dog or horse from a senseless beating, and who would object to laws that demand decent living conditions for animals? Nobody. The only problem is that the legislation can be interpreted to mean that hunting is cruel and that it must stop and that a fish hook is injurious to all the creatures that live in water.
Remember the early Clinton years, when the EPA was trying to press ahead with legislation to ban lead fishing sinkers and other lead tackle? Canadian research was cited regarding the effects of sinkers (jigs, etc.) on loons and waterfowl. The Canada connection is loud and clear.
My Canadian friend believes that the press outdoors writers, in particular have missed this story. "There has been a great hue and cry about boycotting Canadian guides and outfitters," he says. "These are the very people who arguably are one of the last lines of defense and political influence against complete firearm confiscation."
He's correct. We would in fact be "shooting the messenger" if we hurt the very people who fought the hardest against such gun legislation. Former customers who quit coming to Canada to protest that country's outrageous attempts to control its people are actually handing their erstwhile hunting friends an economic death sentence.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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