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Yukon MP promises local roundtable meetings on federal gun bill

Yukon MP Brendan Hanley, seen in the House of Commons in December 2021. Hanley says he won't support the federal government's gun-control legislation as-is. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Yukon MP Brendan Hanley, seen in the House of Commons in December 2021. Hanley says he won't support the federal government's gun-control legislation as-is. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Yukoners will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on proposed amendments to federal gun control legislation, the territory's MP says.

"I'm certainly glad to see there's been some movement," Hanley told CBC News. "We're seeing this on a number of different fronts. Primarily due to some of the concerns raised by myself and many constituents and other MPs. Especially rural MPs from all parties."

Bill C-21 was initially aimed at banning handguns but an amendment now proposes certain long guns, including rifles and shotguns, be added to the list.

Hanley said there will be two roundtable-type meetings through Canada's Public Safety office with a Yukon focus being planned.

"What we're looking forward to is hopefully two separate roundtables," Hanley said. "The first would be really focused on First Nation concerns, with First Nation representatives. The second would be more from a stakeholder point of view."

Hanley said that second meeting would include representatives from the fish and game association, and representatives of the hunting-guide community "to make sure we have a range of input from various interests around how important firearms are for hunting, for sustenance,for lifestyle, for Indigenous culture."

Hanley said there is no set date for these meetings at the moment.

In the meantime, he said his stance on the amendments remains the same. He said he is going to continue working to ensure Yukoners' voices are heard, and more importantly, that Yukoners feel heard.

"Ultimately my goal is to ensure that the right to hunt, using the appropriate firearms that are used in modern hunting, is protected," Hanley said.

'Pisses me off,' says one Yukon hunter

Joe Popadynec is a Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation citizen who lives in Dawson City, Yukon, with his family.

Popadynec said if Bill C-21 passes with the current amendments it will severely impact his lifestyle and his family traditions.

"I grew up hunting and trapping," Popadynec said. "I teach my kids weapon safety."

The federal legislation "pisses me off," he said.

"They are attacking legal gun owners," he said. "People like myself and everybody else that's gotten out and taken the courses. Gotten their licences and done everything legal."

Submitted by Joe Popadynec
Submitted by Joe Popadynec

Popadynec said that as the price of food, particularly meat, continues to rise he's had to rely more on wild game. He feels the amended federal legislation would make that challenging.

Last month, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau promised gun control legislation wouldn't target legitimate firearm use. That promise doesn't carry much weight with Popadynec.

Popadynec said some of his other guns have been passed down from generation to generation.

"My father was a World War Two veteran," he said. "He fought for his country. His guns I'm going to pass on to my kids, and if this bill passes they're going to try to come for all of our stuff."

Popadnyec told CBC News that he won't give any of his firearms up willingly.

"I'm not giving them up. They'll go and get buried or something."