The Tsilhqot’in National Government is questioning amendments to Bill C21 which will now include hunting rifles and semi-automatic shotguns.
In a release, the TNG said hunting rifles are necessary tools for hunting and exercising the Indigenous right to hunt as affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution.
Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in Government, Chief Joe Alphonse said they’re all about community and public safety and recognize the need to address gun violence in Canada.
“You want to take handguns away, we’re fine with that. If you want to take assault rifles, we’re fine with that. But when you start tapping into stuff that’s used for hunting then that’s a concern.”
Alphonse added that a lot of their people still depend on wild game and hunting in order to provide food for their families.
He noted what the Tsilhqot’in National Government wants is clarity.
“If you’re going to be putting stuff like that on the table, that’s going to have an impact on us. That’s an infringement on our Aboriginal right therefore they (Canada) needs to be consulting and talking with us, and anything that’s going to infringe on that Aboriginal right ” Alphonse said, “If you’re not going to include us in those talks then you’re going to put us in a situation where we’re gonna challenge you and we’re confident that we’re going to win in that court of law.”
In that same release, Alphonse stated “We applaud countries like New Zealand and Australia that have dramatically reduced gun violence through gun bans but any law must take into account the environment it exists in”.