Gun seizures fire up nomination race
Politics: Melissa Mathieson calls for inquiry into High River gun grab
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 04:08 pm
The seizure of hundreds of firearms from High River homes after last year’s flood is heating up the Macleod Conservative nomination race.
The issue made headlines when it was revealed the RCMP removed firearms from empty homes in High River after last year’s floods.
Melissa Mathieson, who is seeking the Macleod riding Conservative Party nomination, has added her voice to the call for an inquiry into the matter.
“I’m from High River, this issue is really personal to me,” she said. “Thousands of people were at their most vulnerable, my own door was kicked down, and I think people just want answers and we haven’t provided that to them yet.”
Mathieson said the federal government hasn’t ruled out an inquiry and the RCMP’s Public Complaints Commission is looking into the issue. While it may provide some answers, she said an inquiry would also be needed to restore faith in the Mounties.
“The RCMP, they do fantastic work, they’re a highly respected institution, but in order to restore the faith in that institution there’s a lot of people that want answers and I think that’s fair,” she said.
Mathieson also received the endorsement of the National Firearms Association.
If elected MP, Mathieson said she would fight to ensure the registry is never reinstated and that gun ownership rules are clarified and streamlined.
The debate also flared up on social media after John Barlow, one of the group of five seeking the Conservative nod, responded to a question about the issue on his campaign’s Facebook page where he supported the right of Canadians to own guns, but he added he didn’t believe taxpayer dollars need to be spent on an inquiry and rebuilding after the flood needs to be the primary focus.
In an interview a day later, Barlow said he is willing to support a judicial inquiry if a majority of residents in the Macleod riding want one.
“I’ll champion that as hard as I can if that’s what they want,” he said.
Barlow said the RCMP’s search of homes during the flood was handled poorly and he doesn’t condone the way the situation unfolded.
He said it’s not a major issue with many of the people he has spoken with and said the priority right now is supporting the recovery and getting people back into their homes.
“The people I’ve spoken with in High River and the surrounding area say that is not their priority right now,” said Barlow. “Their priority is getting back into their homes, getting kids back into schools, getting businesses back up and running and rebuilding these communities who were impacted by the flood.”