What is a licence? It is nothing more than a Government Permission Slip (GPS) to break the law. Just because you may choose not to believe me doesn’t make it any less true.
It is a crime to do a myriad of things in Canada today; things that should not be a crime, yet are. Politicians mistakenly believe they must always be doing something when the very best thing they could do for our nation is to do absolutely nothing.
I would happily help fund their outrageous paychecks and even more outrageous pensions if they would only leave Ottawa, comb through every Act and Regulation that’s been passed and find all the items that can be repealed. One month a year they could converge on Ottawa solely for the purpose of repealing everything that is needless and wasteful.
I know, it’s a fantasy that will never happen. I get that.
A politician’s primary job, once elected, is to get re-elected. Period. I get that too.
Doing what’s right for their constituents happens only to the degree to which it will get them re-elected.
So instead of politicians ridding Canada of all the unconstitutional laws, regulations and statutes on the books, we get something far more useless. We get endless reams of legislation that panders to one voting block or another and is generally destructive to the Rights and Freedoms we’re all supposed to enjoy.
We get more legislation making more things illegal…. requiring more government bureaucrats to manage more government programs, issue more licences to individuals who the government deems worthy of breaking all of these laws.
You see, every time the government makes something illegal, they have to create a regulatory body filled with bureaucrats to issue permission slips to some part of the population.
Most people don’t comprehend what a Government Permission Slip, or licence as we commonly know it, really is. A licence is, as I said at the beginning of this article, nothing more than permission from the government to commit a crime.
Yes, it really is that simple.
If you do not have a licence you will be charged with a crime and you will be convicted. The penalty for breaking the law will depend entirely upon which law you have broken.
For example, it is a crime to drive a vehicle on the Crown’s roads unless you have a permission slip from the government excepting you from that crime. We commonly refer to this type of Government Permission Slip as a driver’s licence.
People seldom get sent to prison for the crime of driving on the Crown’s roads, but they do for many other regulatory crimes.
This crime is spelled out in British Columbia by Section 3 of the BC Motor Vehicles Act. Other provinces have similar Acts and similar crimes.
3 (1) Except as otherwise provided under this Act, the owner of a motor vehicle or trailer must, before it is used or operated on a highway,
(a) register the motor vehicle or trailer with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia,(b) obtain a licence for its operation under this section, and
(c) obtain for it an owner’s certificate under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
As you can see, under the Motor Vehicles Act, much more is required than a single permission slip. Multiple permission slips are required.
The Fisheries Act makes it a crime to fish.
You are exempted from the crime of fishing when you purchase a permission slip from government to break the law. We call it a fishing licence. Failure to pay the government to break the law will result in fines and/or jail time. The government can even cancel your permission slip without warning if it believes you haven’t conducted yourself properly according to the terms of that permissions slip.
9. The Minister may suspend or cancel any lease or licence issued under the authority of this Act, if
- (a) the Minister has ascertained that the operations under the lease or licence were not conducted in conformity with its provisions; and
- (b) no proceedings under this Act have been commenced with respect to the operations under the lease or licence.
Lastly, there is the much-vaunted Firearms Act. When this Act was passed into law in 1995 it created some brand new crimes that had never existed before.
Mere possession of a firearm became a crime. It didn’t matter if you’d owned the gun for 50 years, never harmed a soul and left it locked in your gun safe 24×7. You were now considered a criminal by the state even though you had done absolutely nothing wrong, even though you had done nothing differently than in your previous years of firearm ownership. The State didn’t care. You were now a criminal, no different from a rapist, a child molester or a murderer.
The simple ownership of a specific type of private property, firearms, was now a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. Yes, even if that gun just sat in your gun safe; even if you never ever took it out at all.
The Firearms Act amended the Criminal Code of Canada to create the crime of “Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm” as outlined in Sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Unauthorized possession of firearm
- 91.(1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm without being the holder of
- (a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
- (b) a registration certificate for the firearm.
Unauthorized possession of prohibited weapon or restricted weapon
(2) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any prohibited ammunition, without being the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it.
Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized
- 92.(1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm knowing that the person is not the holder of
- (a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
- (b) a registration certificate for the firearm.
Possession of prohibited weapon, device or ammunition knowing its possession is unauthorized
(2) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any prohibited ammunition knowing that the person is not the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it.
These penalties are very clearly spelled out as well.
92. (3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
- (a) in the case of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years;
- (b) in the case of a second offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; and
- (c) in the case of a third or subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years less a day.
93. (2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
- (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
- (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Last but not least is the warrantless search provisions that make it possible for police to search your home and arrest you on the basis of an anonymous and groundless tip.
Don’t believe me?
Then just ask Kitchener, Ontario resident and father Jessie Sansone. When school officials freaked out because his daughter drew a picture of him holding a gun, they called Child Protective Services, who then called the police.
When he arrived to pick up his kids from school he was arrested, strip searched and held in a jail cell until police finally realized they, along with everyone else in the system, had freaked out unnecessarily.
The Waterloo Regional Police even apologized to him, which has got to be a first, but not before searching his home without a warrant. Sure, they “requested” that he give them permission for their search, but not until after they had already invaded his home without a warrant and discovered they didn’t have anything to charge him with.
Section 117.04 is the part of the Criminal Code used to justify their warrantless search of an innocent man’s home.
Search and seizure without warrant
(2) Where, with respect to any person, a peace officer is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not desirable, in the interests of the safety of the person or any other person, for the person to possess any weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, the peace officer may, where the grounds for obtaining a warrant under subsection (1) exist but, by reason of a possible danger to the safety of that person or any other person, it would not be practicable to obtain a warrant, search for and seize any such thing, and any authorization, licence or registration certificate relating to any such thing, that is held by or in the possession of the person.
The fact that there were absolutely NO “reasonable grounds” to believe Jessie Sansone had done anything wrong is entirely beside the point.
Like all Canadians whose Charter Rights have been violated by agents of the Almighty State, the only remedy comes well after those egregious Rights violations have taken place. In Jessie Sansone’s case, this means AFTER he was arrested, placed in handcuffs, hauled away in a police car in front of a crowd of parents and children at his children’s school, strip-searched “for officer safety” and dumped in a prison cell with nothing but a flimsy blanket.
Jessie Sansone had done absolutely nothing wrong, yet the Almighty State punished him anyway, simply because they could.
The warrantless search didn’t turn up a single thing. The alleged gun? It was a toy that you can buy at any Canadian Tire store or a host of other retail outlets in Canada.
Possession of a toy is not yet a crime in Canada.
Someone ought to explain that to the teachers and principal at Forest Hills Public School, the Nanny State Do-Gooders at Family and Children’s Services as well as the Waterloo Regional Police.
Maybe then they’ll actually talk to a parent first, instead of violating the rights of a parent and traumatizing an entire family for no reason.
Ed. Hudso says
Thanks, Chris, good writing. Ed.
People assume that “the law” is something sacrosanct – that it is similar to The Ten Commandments, is all-knowing, impartial and derived from the masses. But, in actual fact, you or I could just as well pass our own laws by ourselves – perhaps to stop public shouting, to abolish sex or to collect tax money for ourselves, whatever… – and no one would pay any attention to us. Why not? Because “laws” are only the edicts of bullies: they only have power insofar as the proclaimer has the use of force. And “government” can quite rightly be defined as “…a body having a monopoly on the use of force within a given territory.” Simple power, nothing more.
You seem to be opposed to the idea of government regulating fields that are potentially dangerous to the general public; or is it that you are gainst the idea that anyone can do these things?
Consider the firearms sections of the Criminal Code. Their purpose is, among other things, to create a legislative scheme whereby police officers and members of the military can legally possess things like assault rifles, and RPGs, while members of the public cannot.
Are you of the view that our armed forces should be going into combat with nothing more than bows and arrows, or perhaps hunting rifles? Or are you of the view that my 12 year old should be able to purchase a flamethrower or an Uzi, and show it off to all his friends at school?
Or are you willing to admit that perhaps your analysis was a little simplistic, and not worthy of serious discussion in this modern and very complicated world?
Also, it’s worth mentioning that a large number of your “government” licenses are not issued by the government, and cost taxpayers nothing. Motor Vehicle insurance certificates are issued by private insurance companies in some provinces, and Crown Corprations like ICBC in others. ICBC is responsible for drivers licenses in B.C., and as a Crown Corp that makes a profit, there is no cost to the tax rolls. Many professions — doctors, lawyers, psychologists, stockbrokers — are privately regulated, again, no cost to the taxpayer, though offences exist for practising without a license.
There are countless other examples. So again, your analysis is overly simplistic and generally ill-informed.
Christopher di Armani says
Well, “Clovenhoof”, I fail to comprehend how you make the magical leap from what I wrote to claiming that I want the military to be armed with “nothing more than bows and arrows, or perhaps hunting rifles.” Nowhere have I ever made such a claim.
The point I was making and one you clearly aren’t interested in, is that it is a crime to do many things that should not be a crime, a problem fueled by a politician’s need to get re-elected.
Whether it’s a bureaucrat on the government payroll or one mandated by government legislation, is there really any difference? Most if not all of the private regulatory bodies were created to preempt government stepping in to regulate them. The end result is the same since the “crimes” are created by government as are the permission slips to break it, regardless of who actually issues the Government Permission Slip.
If it weren’t for the “crime” created by government in the first place, there would be no need for the Government Permission Slip to break it. I’m not sure why you find that so hard to understand.
Given your comments, I imagine you are totally in favour of the treatment of Jessie Sansone and his family at the hands of a bunch of overzealous Nanny State morons who freaked out over a 4-year-old girl’s crayon drawing.
Me? I’ll side with Liberty any day over that kind of gross stupidity and lack of common sense.
The regulatory scheme created by the Firearms Act has absolutely nothing to do with ensuring “police officers and members of the military can legally possess things like assault rifles, and RPGs, while members of the public cannot” as you wrote.
It has absolutely nothing to do with “public safety” either. If it did, then the Firearms Act would track the people who actually commit violent crimes with guns, not the people who don’t.
Is kicking down the door of a 70+ year old man’s home and arresting him simply because he legally owns firearms serving public safety? Of course not. It’s padding arrest statistics at the expense of the most law-abiding segment of Canadian society: law-abiding firearm owners.
The purpose of the Firearms Act is to manufacture criminals out of the most law-abiding segment of Canadian society. It has nothing to do with cracking down on violent criminals.
The only people who can become “clients” as the RCMP calls them, of the licensing system created by the Firearms Act are law-abiding citizens. If you are NOT law-abiding, you cannot get a license or legally own a firearm, and are not tracked at all.
The people who commit violent crimes with guns are completely exempted from the Firearms Act.
If you are a serial rapist who holds a gun to the head of your victims, however, the Firearms Act couldn’t care less. If you are a thief who uses a gun to rob banks, the Firearms Act couldn’t care less. Because you are a violent criminal you are not tracked at all.
The only people tracked by the Firearms Act’s licensing system are law-abiding people. Tracking the people who are NOT the problem is absurd.
But hey, that’s just my “overly simplistic” view of it.
Thanks for stopping by.
I agree with you that the provisions of the Code and Firearms Act are overly broad, and created unnecessary offences with regard to possession of things like hunting rifles. But your attack goes far beyond the scope of the Firearms Registry and the need for a PAL. You appear to attack the entire legislative scheme, which deals with ALL firearms — regular, restricted, and prohibited. So you avoid the question — should there not be some kind of law that makes it illegal for my kid to have a flamethrower, but legal for members of our armed forces to possess and use them?
Throwing Sansone’s name into the mix gets you nowhere. This was an internationally reported story — the UK Daily Mail picked it up, several U.S. papers and magazines, and every single daily paper in Canada ran that story. Why? Because the cops in that case were morons who screwed up on an epic level. Almost everybody everywhere recognizes that what they did was a gross overreaction. Tht’s why it was worldwide news, and the hundred or so other arrests in Canada that day for possession of a firearm didn’t make the papers.
As for your point on government versus private regulation, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It was the whole point of your article: government funding of enforcement bodies, which you see as bad. Well, a user-pay system and a taxpayer-funded system are not the same thing, and you can talk around it until you’re blue in the face. It won’t make it so.
As to the genesis of these regulatory bodies, you’re in over your head. They’re all different. Auto insurance predated the legal requirement for auto insurance. But it wasn’t because Allstate and Co-operators got together back in 1900 nd said, “Shit, we better get insurance policies going for these car thingys before The Man steps in and passes a law!” It was capitalism in action. Nothing more sinister than that. As for bodies like the law societies or colleges of physicians, I expect you’ll find that they were created for the purpose of consumer protection, and the laws that made membership mandatory to practise in those fields came about because those societies pushed for them. The idea that they were trying to preempt the government is just wrong.
Your views on the justice system… well, you and I are so far apart in terms of what we’ve seen and what we know that it’s just not possible to engage in a meaningful conversation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Let me just say one thing: the justice system isn’t a living, breathing entity that, itself, has a purpose. The system is made up of indiviuals, all acting according to their own motives. The actions of two stupid cops in Hamilton aren’t the actions of every cop in Vancouver. The system is also made up of laws, passed at different times, always with some purpose (too often conflicting with other existing laws).
The system that you paint with a broad brush also includes prosecutors who would never charge someone with the offences you are so opposed to, and judges who would never convict them. Absent a conviction for a criminal offence (and driving without a license — section 24(1), btw — isn’t a crime), a person isn’t a “criminal”. So your statement, “if you do not have a license, you will be charged with a crime and you will be convicted” gave me a good laugh. If nothing else, I thank you for that.
Christopher di Armani says
Well, I’m glad I could amuse you. 🙂
I’m not sure why you’re so hung up on the military angle, since the Firearms Act doesn’t have anything to do with what they’re armed with. Do you really need “another law” instead of simply teaching your children they shouldn’t play with flamethrowers, torches, or anthing else that’s potentially dangerous?
The issues that most people seem the most concerned about when it comes to firearms are best dealt with by education, not criminal sanctions.
If you examine the uselessness of the long gun registry, you will quickly realize that the handgun registry, which we’ve had since 1934, is far more useless.
Handguns are the weapon of choice for thugs, gang members and violent criminals of all stripes yet despite the registration requirement for them since 1934 criminals are able to get handguns with ease.
So yes, I think the current system is flawed for all types of firearms, not just rifles and shotguns.
If we want to address violent crime involving firearms, then let’s repeal the Firearms Act entirely and bring in a set of laws that actually focuses on violent criminals. Our current laws do not do that.
The government can tell you where over 1.6 million law-abiding gun owners are, but they haven’t got a clue where the 300,000 or more people with Firearm Prohibition Orders are. Does that make sense? It doesn’t to me.
Have you actually read the Firearms Act in its entirety? If you haven’t, please do. You will quickly see it is, as I have said repeatedly, focused entirely on the wrong people.
You also claim that Jessie Sansone’s case is irrelevant. You couldn’t be more wrong on that count. You obviously don’t follow firearms cases in Canada or you would know his case, as atrocious as it is, is hardly the exception to the rule.
The only reason Jessie Sansone is NOT facing multiple criminal charges for Firearms Act violations is, ironically, BECAUSE he doesn’t own any firearms. If he did, he most likely would have been treated exactly like almost every other lawful firearms owner is in these types of cases.
At a bare minimum Mr. Sansone would be facing “unsafe storage” charges. Ian Thomson of Port Colborne, Ontario, is a perfect example of this.
Despite overwhelming evidence including the entire event being captured on video tape of three masked thugs trying to murder him, it’s Mr. Thomson who is facing charges because, as one idiotic cop said, “he was able to reach his firearms too fast” so they “must” have been stored illegally.
Had he NOT reached his firearm in time he would be dead, his charred corpse recovered from the burned-out rubble of his home. Yet the police and Crown prosecutors are going after him as though he actually did something wrong.
Ian Thomson is just one of dozens of cases just in the last year or so where this garbage has gone on. The prosecutors you say would never bring charges are EXACTLY the ones doing this to him. That the judge didn’t toss the case out doesn’t bode well for him either.
The Firearms Act is focused on the wrong people. You cannot stop violent gang crime in downtown Toronto by harassing law-abiding firearm owners. We’re not the ones causing the problem.
I thoroughly agree with you that the “justice system” is made up of people. Unfortunately in far too many cases those people see “firearm” and imediately stop thinking rationally.
Jessie Sansone’s cases is just the most extreme example I’ve seen yet, that’s all. It’s not the only one by a long shot. (pun intended)
Sadly, you are also correct when you say we see this from two totally opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve witnessed too many decent Canadians mowed over by the Firearms Act to believe it is the answer to violent crime in Canada.
As I’ve said, those committing violent crime with guns in this country aren’t affected by the Firarms Act. It’s not concerned with violent criminals, only the law abiding citizens.
I appreciate our discourse but you’re right about one thing: we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this. :)_
I love how the government uses the word Weapon in it’s laws, when that, based on it’s own acceptable purposes for owning a restricted or prohibited firearms, it can never be used for it’s “weaponized” purposes.
Frankly, the law has it in such as a way, that these “weapons” are merely triggered “targeting” devices that can only be used to push holes in paper.
Government of Canada, please stop calling them weapons unless this implies that they can be used for the defence of person or property.