Do we believe in experts or do we believe in democracy?
I know that we can believe in the ability of experts to guide us while also believing in democracy, but at the end of the day one has to win out over the other.
This week the Trudeau Liberals took the odd step of saying that our elected officials should, and always will, acquiesce to the will of the experts, at least in this one area.
When it comes to approving pipelines, deploying troops, funding major infrastructure plans, it is the elected government of the day that makes the final decision. Yes, they take the views of various bureaucrats, agencies and advisors into account but the final decision rests with cabinet on so many files.
Not with guns.
In their new gun legislation, the Liberals said they do not believe that cabinet should have the power to overturn a decision of the RCMP no matter how egregious. This move, quite literally, flies in the face of democracy.
No one elects their local RCMP officer, their detachment head, the commissioner or anyone else within the Mounties. The RCMP are bureaucrats, bureaucrats with guns, and in every other aspect of their lives are subject to civilian or political oversight.
Yet somehow, when it comes to determining which firearms are legal to own in Canada and what classification those firearms should be, Justin Trudeau and his Liberals think that this is a matter only for police.
We have an entire apparatus called the National Energy Board that studies pipelines for years and then submits reports with recommendations that cabinet decides on. We have the Department of National Defence made up of the most experienced soldiers, sailors and airmen that make recommendations on troop deployments and yet it is cabinet that makes the decision.
But on guns we rely on a single bureaucrat named Murray A. Smith working out of a lab in Ottawa to make all decisions on firearms and no one can appeal.
Not long before the last election the Harper Conservatives changed the law to give cabinet the final say. They didn’t strip the RCMP of their power to classify guns, they simply said the decisions of the RCMP could be appealed to elected officials and if a case was made, overturned.
That is how it should be in a democracy.
Justin Trudeau thinks differently.
In his push to show a public concerned with gang shootings on the streets of our major cities he has pieced together a bill that creates more paperwork for law abiding gun owners but does nothing to tackle gang shootings.
He promised to get “assault weapons” off our streets and will claim that allowing the RCMP to have sole discretion to classify firearms will make us all safer.
Show me the stats that we have a rash of shootings with any semi-automatic rifle in Canada. Don’t point to school shootings in the United States because we are not them.
In a functioning democracy, hired bureaucrats, especially the ones with guns, answer to elected officials and not the other way around. The fact that so many in our politics and media are willing to reverse that tells me some sad and scary things about the current state of this country.