WHEREAS the federal government has enacted firearms registration legislation now in effect across Canada;AND WHEREAS Alberta’s rural municipalities believe that the firearms registration legislation is a direct violation of the democratic rights of the citizens of Canada;AND WHEREAS firearms registration legislation will do nothing to register the firearms of the criminal elements of our society;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta was unsuccessful in its legal challenge of the constitutionality of the federal government’s firearms legislation;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties recommend to the Premier of Alberta that the provincial government invoke section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (commonly known as the “notwithstanding clause”), to withdraw the Province of Alberta from the federal legislation requiring firearms registration.AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Alberta to hold a province-wide referendum on this serious issue, in conjunction with the October 2001 municipal and school general elections.AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that, if the notwithstanding clause is found to be inapplicable in this case, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to refuse to participate in any aspect of administering, enforcing or supporting the federal legislation requiring firearms registration, and hold a province-wide referendum, in conjunction with the October 2001 municipal general elections, asking Albertans to provide their direction as to whether the provincial government should participate or assist in the firearms registration legislation in any way.
The Province of Alberta, in particular its rural residents, have from Day One been opposed to the registration of firearms.It is not that Albertans approve of the criminal element having guns; it’s just that firearms registration will not impact the criminal element but only restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.The time is right to invoke the notwithstanding clause.A March 18, 1999 press release on the use of the notwithstanding clause stated at its beginning:EDMONTON – The power of deciding when to use the notwithstanding clause is in the hands of Albertans. The Alberta Government decided today, that in future, a province-wide referendum plus a vote in the Legislative Assembly will be required before a decision is made to use the clause.A decision to use the notwithstanding clause is serious, Premier Ralph Klein said. We need a clear process in place that puts the decision where it belongs — with the people of Alberta. In future, no provincial government will be able to arbitrarily take away the rights of any Albertans by voting behind closed doors to use the notwithstanding clause. A referendum guarantees that all Albertans will have a say in those important decisions.As well, in 1999 Bill 38, the Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act was introduced and debated but dropped from the order paper.This matter is still a policy issue with the Government as recommended by a Ministerial Task Force.
Resolution 15-98F, endorsed at the fall 1998 convention, calls on the Government of Alberta to “take whatever actions are necessary” to ensure that the federal firearms registration legislation is not implemented in Alberta.Resolution 10-95F, endorsed at the fall 1995 convention but no longer in force, also calls on the Government of Alberta to “exercise all their rights and powers in opposing gun control legislation, and failing that, to opt out of the proposed bill.”